The Ateneum celebrated its inaugural opening on November 18th, 1887. The new art forum was a momentous achievement for the Finnish cultural establishment, albeit that its inception was the subject of heated controversy and debate. The project was conceived by Professor Carl Gustaf Estlander, who envisaged a 'house of the arts' in which art and crafts would flourish under the same roof in a creative alliance — an idea greeted none too enthusiastically by Finland's artists. Few in number though they were, they felt reluctant to relegate 'real art' to the same status as 'commonplace' applied arts, particularly as the Finnish Art Society (founded 1846) had already instigated the practice of organising art exhibitions. Eventually these differences were put aside and a compromise was reached, but the motto carved above the building's main entrance survives as a telling reminder of the Ateneum's controversial early history: Concordia res parvae crescunt ('Through unity small things do grow').
Helsinki is a high-tech city with excellent facilities. It is a safe and modern city where practically everything is within walking distance. Here you will find East and West, bright summer nights and short winter days, beautiful nature and urban attractions.