The Arktikum building in Rovaniemi was dedicated to celebrate Finland's 75 years of independence. Today, Arktikum celebrates Finland’s centenary year with Arctic Expo.
In the early 1980’s the Ministry of Education, the City of Rovaniemi and the Finnish section of the European cultural foundation organized an international architecture competition to design Arktikum Science Centre in Rovaniemi. Designers from the eight Polar countries were invited to participate. A record number of participants sent in 184 design proposals.
From the proposals, the commissioning body selected the most original one, “The Inextinguishable” by Danish architects Soren Birch, Ellen Waade and Claus Bonderup. Their idea was to have the Arctic landscape towards the Ounasjoki River cut by a simple, geometrical and technocratic figure.
The Arktikum became one of the building projects of the official celebrations of Finland’s 75 years of independence.
The crescent-shaped new building was completed in the autumn of 1992 – in schedule. Since the very first days, the visitors have admired the “glass tube”, a 177-metre-long glass-roofed corridor that allows in the changing lights of the seasons and time of day.
Arktikum hosts the Regional Museum of Lapland and the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland. Arctic Centre exhibitions present the history, nature and development of the northernmost areas in the world. The exhibitions tell to the public and to specialists about Arctic research, its results and applications and about the problems faced in the Arctic.
The researchers working at the Arctic Centre study all aspects of life in the Arctic region. Outside, by the rivers, there is a unique Arctic garden.
Over the years, Arktikum has served as the framework for various international and national events and initiatives. International interest in the Arctic regions keeps growing. Arktikum has turned out to be a wise investment in Arctic research and in the sharing of information about the Artic.
The Science Centre and the Regional Museum of Lapland bring in around 100000 visitors annually. Half of them are tourists from abroad; German, French and Chinese are the biggest visitor groups. The centre also welcomes local schoolchildren to learn about what life in the north has been in the past and what it is now.
“What I like best about Arktikum is that it is like a voyage round the Arctic. It is also a travel through time, starting in the history, in the exhibition at the Lapland regional museum, and then continuing to the present day at the Arctic Centre exhibition where you also get to take a look into the future of the Arctic”, says chief executive producer Nicolas Gunslay.
He is proud of the permanent exhibition at the Science Centre.
"I think it is exciting and beautifully done. The visitors can learn new things while having fun.”
For the centenary of Finland’s independence Arktikum Science Centre has prepared an exhibition highlighting Finland’s expertise in Arctic-related technologies.
The Arctic Expo 2017 exhibition offers an overview of how Finland and the Finns have adapted to the Arctic conditions and how this has developed into a strong Arctic know-how. Visitors will get an introduction to the history behind Finland’s Arctic know-how, to products related to snow and ice and to the future of Finnish Arctic technology. The exhibition also presents Finnish icebreaker technology and products related to oil spill recovery, forestry and tourism.
“The expertise related to Arctic technologies is tied to the history of Finland. Finland is basically an island. To ship goods to the west you needed to keep the sea open. That is the reason Finland is now the world's leading supplier of icebreakers. You can find cold-technologies everywhere, but in Finland, there is a geopolitical and historical perspective to the Arctic expertise”, Nicholas Gunslay notes.
Arctic Expo 2017 is part of the Finland 100 celebration and it opens open during the Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit Conference, which is the main Arctic event during Finland’s centenary. The exhibition in also a part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of Arktikum House. The exhibition is open to the public in Arktikum until January 28, 2018. After that, it will circulate either physically or as a multimedia presentation in Finnish embassies abroad.