In a ceremony taking place on site at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, 13 June 2017, the foundation stone for the Stadium rebuild was laid by Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori and Director General Esko Ranto of the Ministry of the Education and Culture. The second foundation stone was placed near the Olympic Stadium Tower in this centennial year of Finland’s independence.
A historical moment was celebrated at Helsinki Olympic Stadium – which is undergoing extensive renovation and rebuilding – when the foundation stone for the rebuild was laid next to the original foundation stone dating back to June 1936. The Stadium is now officially on its way to becoming a multi-purpose arena that meets the requirements of major international events. Foundation document read and greetings of the City of Helsinki delivered by Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
“In his address given at this equivalent ceremony in June 1936, then Helsinki Mayor Erik von Frenckell expressed his wish that the document he entombed within the foundation stone would bear witness, for decades and centuries to come, of the great achievements sure to be accomplished by our nation in this arena. His wish has come true. Opened in 1938, Helsinki Olympic Stadium is famous not only for its Tower but also for the many memorable moments in culture and sports that it has witnessed. The Stadium and Helsinki provided the setting for the 1952 Olympics and have also hosted an abundance of mega-concerts and athletic extravaganzas, all in front of packed audiences. The modernisation and rebuild of the Olympic Stadium is of great significance to Helsinki and the entire country in that it will allow us to welcome events of even greater scale and scope. The Stadium’s impacts on industry and economy in the city are also considerable,” said Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
We are building a setting for another 100 years of life together
“Helsinki Olympic Stadium is a powerful symbol of Finland’s independence, a monument both in spirit and construction. When the Stadium first started to rise, it was already being talked about as a place ‘for all the people’. Rather than fading over time, that quality has only grown in strength with each new experience shared here. The ongoing modernisation and rebuild of the Olympic Stadium will convert this historic sports arena into a venue that is fully equipped to host major events and also available on a daily basis to Finns and tourists alike.” said Director General Esko Ranto, who delivered the greetings of the Finnish government.
Time capsule carried to Stadium by distance running legend Lasse Virén
The time capsule to be laid within the foundation stone entered the Stadium in the hands of multiple Olympic medallist Lasse Virén. In keeping with tradition, items from the present day were placed in the capsule for posterity: a commemorative coin celebrating 100 years of Finnish independence, the foundation document, an excerpt from the rebuild plan, the guest list for the ceremony, the day’s newspaper and the coins currently in circulation.
Welcoming a new era
The renovated Olympic Stadium will be even safer and more functional while still remaining instantly recognisable. New facilities totalling 19,290 gross square metres will be built for audiences, event organisers and city residents. The entire existing Stadium premises (roughly 20,000 GSM) as well as the stands, pitch and tracks will also be modernised. With the pitch and stands included, the project has a scope of 90,000 square metres. In future, the Olympic Stadium is expected to attract about one million visitors every year.