Artist community


Järvenpää Culture Trail








Lake Tuusula



When looking for a peaceful working environment and a home for his growing family, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) at first moved into the Mattila house in Kerava. Being close to friends was not only important to him but also his family as he was often on the go and therefore they soon ended up in Järvenpää. During a ski trip in the winter of 1903, painter Eero Järnefelt said to his brother-in-law Jean Sibelius on the Kielomäki hill (now known as Ainola hill) that it would be a good place for the Sibelius family's new home.

The Järvenpää manor agreed to sell a piece of land on the hill and the following year a log villa designed by Lars Sonck was built on the site. At first the Ainola area only included the building site and the garden. In order to ensure a peaceful and inspiring working environment, Sibelius later bought practically the entire four hectares of forest area. He used to walk on the winding paths every day. One place was especially important to him, an area with pine trees in the southeast corner that he called a temple.

Sibelius lived the rest of his life, over 50 years, in Ainola – with the exception of a short period during the interim peace. Ainola is where he composed most of his works, including his symphonies from the third one onwards. During his years in Ainola, he also composed Aallottaret, Luonnotar, Tapiola and other major orchestral works as well as many other pieces. After the death of Sibelius' wife Aino (née Järnefelt, 1871-1969), Ainola became a museum with the Ainola Foundation in charge of the museum activities.

See also: www.ainola.fi

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The spring of 1897 could be considered the beginning of the Lake Tuusula artist community. That is when Juhani Aho's (1861-1921) wife Venny (née Soldan, 1863-1945) inspected Vårbacka, part of the Järvenpää manor and later known as Ahola, and accepted it as the family's new home. The house was repaired and extended in accordance with Venny's plans and the family moved there in November of the same year. The Ahos rented the house until 1911. The house was originally a one-storey building that resembled a rural parsonage. Later it was extended with an atelier wing for Venny, including a home stage with a real curtain for the youth. During the Ahola years, Juhani Aho's status as a national author became stronger. While living in Ahola he wrote, for example, his novels "Kevät ja takatalvi" and "Juha", the play "Tuomio", travel books "Minkä mitäkin Tyrolista" and "Minkä mitäkin Italiasta", the description of journalist life "Sanomalehtimiesajoiltani" and a large number of short stories known in Finnish as "lastuja" ("splinters").

After the Ahos, the house was briefly occupied by sculptor Yrjö Liipola. When the manor ran into financial difficulties, the state bought the site and established a home economics teacher school and an agricultural school. In connection with the construction of Paatela, the main building of the home economics teacher school, its designer, architect Jussi Paatela was given the task of adding another storey to Ahola and turning it into teacher housing. The building served as teacher housing until the 1950s when it became a student dormitory. The house was empty from the late 1970s until it was repaired in 1995-1996 and equipped with an exhibition showcasing Juhani Aho and Venny Soldan-Brofeldt's works.

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There was originally an estate called Lepola on this site. The main building was a two-storey Russian-style villa which burned down in the winter of 1943. At the turn of the century Lepola was owned by archiater Otto Edvard August Hjelt (1823-1913).

Among his children were chemistry professor Edvard Hjelt and theology professor Arthur Hjelt. After Otto E. A. Hjelt, his third son politician August Hjelt, PhD, took over the property. In 1922, the ownership of the house was transferred to Finnish language professor and statesman Emil Nestor Setälä (18641935). However, it was not possible for such an active man to live in a place called Lepola, which refers to resting, and in no time its name was changed to Toimela which was more appropriate. Under Setälä's ownership, Toimela grew into a remarkable farm. After Setälä's death the property was bought by the Finnish Sunday School Association in 1936 and a Christian educational institution, Luther-opisto, started its operations there. The school faced a new era after the war when a long building process began, at first with the help of the American evangelical church. As a result, the Church Training College was established in 1946.

Agricultural activities ended and the Terioja village was built by war veterans and migrants on the Lepola fields on the other side of the road. Today the site is not only occupied by the Church Training College, but also the Institute for Advanced Training of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. In spite of the hectic activities in the area, it is still known by its original name Lepola today.

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Painter Eero Järnefelt (1863-1937) moved to the shores of Lake Tuusula a few years after Juhani Aho. At first he and his family lived in the Vanhankylä manor on the other side of the lake. He then bought a piece of treeless pastureland, located near Juhani Aho's Ahola, from the Järvenpää manor for his own house and workspace.

The house was designed by architect Usko Nyström and the family moved into their new home, Suviranta, in 1901. Järnefelt's wife Saimi was one of the nine Swan siblings and the sister of author Otto Manninen's wife Anni Swan. Saimi Järnefelt was an actress at the Finnish Theatre in Helsinki, but she gave up her career shortly after moving to Suviranta. Eero Järnefelt and his family lived in Suviranta year-round until 1917 when they moved to Helsinki and only came to Suviranta for the summer and special occasions such as Christmas. While living at Suviranta, Järnefelt painted, for example, his marsh-marigold and great crested grebe paintings, many pictures of the sun and clouds, lakeside aspens and other landscapes and details found in nature, the altarpieces for the Lieto church and St. John's church in Helsinki, the painting of the Aurora Society as well as a large number of portraits.

Suviranta was also visited by the young writer F. E. Sillanpää, who would later become a Nobel Prize winner. He was a fellow student of Eero Järnefelt's oldest son, Heikki. Eero Järnefelt took a liking to the young man and used him as a model, for example in the Aurora  Society painting. In later life Sillanpää often mentioned his time at Suviranta and the discussions that took place there. In 1933, Eero Järnefelt's daughter, artist Laura Järnefelt (1904-1985) and her family moved to Suviranta. Since then the house has been used throughout the year and is still occupied by the family.

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The house was owned by Karl Alfred Paloheimo (1862-1949). He moved to the area in 1899, around the beginning of the artist community. The site originally had Kalle Kuninkala's farmhouse on it, the same place where painter Pekka Halonen (18651933) lived for a short time after moving to Tuusula in 1898. K. A. Paloheimo, PhD, was a businessman and the first and long-serving managing director of the Pohjola insurance company. He did, however, also have an eye for art. This had a lot to do with his wife Kerttu (Gertrud), née Hernberg, who was a good painter and a skilful writer.

The Paloheimos were good friends with the local artist families and constantly interacted with them. Together they did theatre, had parties and went on trips. The Paloheimos had five sons and the artist families had a lot of beautiful girls. So it is only natural that three of them ended up marrying local girls – Arvi became Sibelius' son-in-law, while Olli got married to Eero Järnefelt's daughter and Paavo to Pekka Halonen's daughter.

After K. A. Paloheimo, the ownership of KallioKuninkala was transferred to his youngest son Yrjö who, together with his American wife Leonora, established the Paloheimo Foundation that now manages the estate. The Leonora and Yrjö Paloheimo Foundation was in charge of having the buildings and environment renovated with respect for traditions and the needs of music education and teaching. The Sibelius Academy Music Centre has operated at Kallio-Kuninkala since 1987.

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Here the Culture Trail runs along the old Ristinummi village road. The road leads to the Ristinummi railway stop that the members of the artist community used, in addition to the Järvenpää station, when traveling to Helsinki by train.

One of Ristinummi's residents was Tilly Soldan, the younger sister of Juhani Aho's wife Venny. Aho had an affair with Tilly and they had a son, Björn Matias, also known as Nisse, when the Ahos lived in Järvenpää.

As an understanding person Venny largely raised Nisse in Ahola alongside her own sons. Later Aho's sons Heikki and Nisse established the well-known short film company Aho & Soldan. During the summers of 1914 and 1915, Elisabeth Järnefelt and her oldest son Kasper also lived close to the road. Two of her children, Eero Järnefelt and Aino  Sibelius, lived in the Lake Tuusula artist community. The group of siblings also included author Arvid Järnefelt as well as composer and conductor Armas Järnefelt. On the southern side of the road, across the field is Riihikallio with a grassy heath that served as a theatre in the summertime. One of the plays performed there was "Kuningas Salomon" written by Kerttu Paloheimo. It was so successful that the place was later known as Salomoninkallio, at least within the  artist community. At the top of Riihikallio sits the old Tuusula folk high school where the Pekka Halonen Academy now provides art education for budding artists. The trees are, however, now so tall that the school can no longer be seen from Ristinummentie.

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The hill rising by the road is called Lippumäki ("Flag Hill"). It was named after the tall flagpole that used to be on the top of the hill. There are still some early 1900s buildings left on the hill, occupied by artists and researchers.

In the shelter of the forest one can see the white villa with a tower which used to serve as a home school for the children of the artist community. The teacher was Matti Kivekäs (1888-1918) who was also the first editor-in-chief of Suomen Kuvalehti and Maija Halonen's cousin. Now composer Harri Vuori (b. 1957) lives in the house with his musician wife Marja. Vuori was a music lecturer at the University of Helsinki for a long time, which is a position also once held by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) and Fredrik Pacius (1809-1891).

In 1925, draper Vilho Volotinen built the most visible building on the hill, known as Vilhola. A yellow cowshed and a sauna were also built on the slope below the house. After Volotinen the buildings were owned by one of the Kallio-Kuninkala boys, Veli Paloheimo, who was known as a supporter of young artists. After the wars, Paloheimo had the cowshed renovated to provide housing for evacuees.

The yellow house was painter Esko Sarkkinen's (1932-2013) atelier and home for a long time. It is also said that Elisabeth Järnefelt (1839-1929), painter Eero Järnefelt's mother, lived in the house at one point. Today there is also a new building in the area, built by architect and composer Antti Heikkilä for his family.

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LAKE TUUSULAkulttuuripolku_tuusulanjärvi

Lake Tuusula was originally a wilderness lake between Sipoo, Helsingin Pitäjä (now known as Vantaa) and Nurmijärvi and far away from inhabited areas. The old name of the lake was Kaukjärvi. The current name was established after the mid-1600s when the Kaukjärvi population built their own church  in the Tuusula village and the parish became independent. The lake water was originally clear.

Over the decades, population and agriculture have placed a heavy burden on the lake, making the water rich in nutrients and cloudy. At first the eutrophication process was positive. The amount of fish caught increased and the lake became a fisherman's paradise. The flora and fauna on the shores became more diverse. The most impressive species are the yellow iris and bulrush in the flora category and the great crested grebe and grey heron among the fauna. The lake is one of the richest natural areas in Southern Finland. As a source of refreshment and as an element livening up the landscape, the value of the lake is nearly priceless. However, over time the burden of population and agriculture has become a major problem. In order to stay alive and gradually recover, it needs human help. Luckily the measures taken have been successful and the lake has slowly begun to recover.

The lake was also important to the local artist community. For Juhani Aho, the lake was a reminder of his childhood landscape and allowed him to enjoy one of his favourite pastimes, fishing. For painters it was an endless source of inspiration with diverse lakeside scenery and sunsets reflecting on the grey water. The views from Sarvikallio, also known as "Little Koli", resembled the atmosphere of the rugged Savo-Karelia landscapes. Among the key elements for Sibelius were swans that still in the springtime stop at the lake to rest and wait for the weather to warm up.

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See also

Visit Lake Tuusula, Artist community

Visit Lake Tuusula, Culture and museums