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Arctic beach was a busy place in the beginning of 1980's. Photo by Lapin Kansa.

A summery exhibition tells the story of the Arctic Garden

4.6.2020 10:39

The Story of the Arctic Garden looks at the developments in the area surrounding the Arktikum building from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. After the exhibition at the Arktikum Science Centre, you can visit the Arctic Garden and see it with new eyes.

Many Rovaniemi residents know that there is a concrete structure on the island in front of Arktikum, but not many know why it is there.

– The concrete construction tells about the beginning of the 20th century, when sawmills were founded in Rovaniemi. It is what remains of the so-called Vikman sawmill, explains research professor Monica Tennberg of the Arctic Centre.

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The concrete construction. Photo by Monica Tennberg

The exhibition is based on Tennberg’s recent book Arktinen heterotopia: Neljä tarinaa Rovaniemeltä (Arctic Heterotopia: Four stories from Rovaniemi), with a familiar concrete structure on its cover. In the book, Tennberg researches urban arcticity from the viewpoints of the memory of the city, of nature, of mobility, and of internationality. One chapter focuses on the Sahanperä area, another concentrates on the Arctic Garden.

– Instead of a park, I prefer calling the outdoor areas of Arktikum a garden. The Arctic Garden is a gem the locals know about, but those from outside Rovaniemi will not easily come across.

According to Tennberg, gardens are places that combine physical labour, technology, botanical expertise, and ideals and traditions of beauty. Gardens strive to achieve perfection in nature.

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Arctic Garden. Photo by Johanna Westerlund 

– What is a perfect Arctic Garden like? What meanings, materials and skills does it consist of, and how does it change over the years?

These are good questions to ask about the Arctic Garden that was selected as one of the hundred most popular parks in Finland in 2017.

The exhibition Story of the Arctic Garden runs at the Arktikum Science Centre from June 5 until September 27, 2020.

You can download the book Arktinen heterotopia: Neljä tarinaa Rovaniemeltä (in Finnish) free of charge.

More information 

Research professor Monica Tennberg, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, phone +358 400 192 005, monica.tennberg@ulapland.fi

Arktikum opening hours and ticket prices