Kansallismuseo

Lonely Planet review

The impressive National Museum, built in National Romantic style in 1916, looks a bit like a Gothic church with its heavy stonework and tall square tower. This is Finland’s premier historical museum and is divided into rooms covering different periods of Finnish history, including prehistory and archaeological finds, church relics, ethnography and changing cultural exhibitions. It’s a very thorough, old-style museum – you might have trouble selling this one to the kids – but provides a comprehensive overview. Look for the imperial throne of Tsar Alexander I dating from 1809, and the basement treasury, gleaming with coins, medals, pewter and swords. From the 1st-floor balcony, crane your head up to see the superb frescoes on the ceiling arches, depicting scenes from the epic Kalevala, painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela.