Museum investigates damage to iconic statue after ice hockey celebrations

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The City of Helsinki will explore ways to better protect the statue of Havis Amanda.

Celebrants climbed the statue of Havis Amanda in downtown Helsinki on Sunday night and Monday morning after Finland’s ice hockey victory. Image: Jouko Kallio

Investigators will assess whether damage was done to the iconic statue of Havis Amanda in downtown Helsinki on Sunday night and Monday morning as ice hockey fans celebrated Finland’s world championship victory.

The city of Helsinki had erected plywood fences to protect the statue, which has become a popular place to gather and celebrate Finnish success – usually after winning international sports – by climbing the statue and swimming in the fountain .

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However, the fences were knocked down as thousands of people converged on the market square. Additionally, security personnel hired by the city to protect the statue could not control the crowd, some of whom climbed and clung to the piece of cultural heritage.

The statue will be thoroughly inspected in the coming days to determine the extent of any damage, although an initial inspection showed it to be in good condition, according to the director of the Helsinki Museum of Art (HAM). Maija Tanninen-Mattila.

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However, Tanninen-Mattila told Yle that she was concerned that part of the statue might break or suffer damage that cannot be repaired.

“The statue must be preserved for future generations,” she said.

The statue was cast in Paris more than a century ago and has several fragile parts, including the neck and wrists, which could prove particularly susceptible to breaking under stress, Tanninen-Mattila noted. .

The statue and fountain will be renovated in the coming years, but the museum director remained skeptical whether they can be made “celebration-proof”.

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Tanninen-Mattila added that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to somehow strengthen the bronze sculpture in such a way as to preserve its unique original elements and thus maintain its artistic value.

Climbing will be prohibited

The city of Helsinki said it wants to ban climbing on the statue in the future, to protect both the statue and the celebrants.

Laura Aaltoladirector of the cultural center at the City specifies that solutions are currently being sought to protect it.

“We cannot allow people to climb on it. It’s a matter of safety, as well as preserving the sculpture for future generations,” Aaltola said.

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