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Finland: Sibelius Monument

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Sibelius Monument | Finland | Europe

[Visited: May 2008 and June 2004]

One of Finland's famous people is Jean Sibelius who died in 1957 at the advanced age of 91 years. Soon after that, it was decided that the composer deserved to be commemorated with a monument, and a competition was organized to invited artists to submit designs. After years of not only examining the proposed works of art, but also public debate about the extraordinary design by Eila Hiltunen, it was decided that she should be given the project. Eventually, this would lead to the Sibelius Monument, that now has become one of the top attractions of the Finnish capital.

Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument in summer

Before she could go ahead, she had to add a figurative element to the abstract monument as a compromise with all those who were opposed to her initial proposal. This now is all far behind us and the monument has gained an important spot in many tourists' itineraries on visits to the Finnish capital. Approaching from the seaside, the monument appears from behind the trees of the park it stands in. It is a collection of some 600 stainless steel tubes wielded together and elaborated by the artist. During the four years of welding and constructing the monument, the artist developed chronic bronchial asthma because of exposition to toxic fumes.

Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Head of Sibelius as part of the monument in his honour

Despite continuing opposition against her work, the artist persevered and finished the monument after four years. It was finally unveiled almost exactly 10 years after the death of Sibelius. It developed into an attraction for many visitors, not just because of its particular shape, but also because it is possible to touch it, to see the monument from close up, and some people even stick their heads into the lower tubes. It is said that the monument reflects the seasons pass, it reflects changing lights, and this is what makes the monument come alive for the eyes of the visitor.

Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Looking up to the sky through the metal pipes of Sibelius Monument
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Head of Sibelius and part of the monument
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument against a blue sky
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument and grey sky
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument at close look
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument seen from below
Picture of Sibelius Monument (Finland): Sibelius Monument and tree

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