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Ainola

Ainola, meaning "Aino's Place", was the home of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, his wife Aino and their family from the autumn of 1904 until 1972. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1974. Ainola stands on the scenic shores of Lake Tuusulanjärvi in Järvenpää, 38 kilometres (24 miles) north of Helsinki, the Finnish capital. It was designed by the famous architect Lars Sonck. The only requests Sibelius had for Sonck were to include both a lakefront view and a green fireplace in the dining room. Water pipes were never installed until after Sibelius' death because he did not want the distraction while he was there composing.

Its distance from the hustle and bustle of the nation's capital gave the composer the peace that he needed for his creative endeavours. His biographer Erik W. Tawaststjerna writes that "when Sibelius first left Helsinki, Järvenpää was to a large extent untouched countryside. Foals and sheep almost nosed their way into the house, and from time to time an elk majestically bestrode the grounds." There were also other artistic families living in the neighborhood who provided a lively social circle for the Sibelius family.

Daily life in Ainola was documented by Sibelius’ private secretary Santeri Levas in the 1945 photographic book Jean Sibelius and His Home.

Ainola’s sauna was designed by Aino Sibelius.

Buildings around Ainola include the sauna and the family's personal workshop. Sibelius died at Ainola on September 20, 1957; he is buried in a garden there. His wife Aino lived in Ainola for the next twelve years until she died on June 8, 1969. She is buried there with her husband.

In 1972, Jean Sibelius' daughters Eva, Ruth, Katarina, Margareta, and Heidi, sold Ainola to the State of Finland. The Ministry of Education and the Sibelius Society of Finland opened it as a museum in June 1974. It is currently open from May to September. Among the personal effects remaining there are a Steinway grand piano, which was a gift to Sibelius on his fiftieth birthday in 1915, and paintings by Aino's brother Eero Järnefelt.

LiteratureEdit

  • Levas, Santeri: Jean Sibelius ja hänen Ainolansa – Jean Sibelius och hans hem – Jean Sibelius and His Home – Jean Sibelius und sein Heim. (2nd edition.) Helsinki: Otava, 1955. ASIN B000B3F6A0

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