Finland is selling a Sibelius house. Interested?

Finland is selling a Sibelius house. Interested?


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2014

The conductor Sasha Makila tells Slipped Disc that house where Jean Sibelius lived in his home town Kerava is being put up for sale by the Finnish Government. Sibelius lived there between 1889 and 1902, the period when he composed Finalndia and the first two symphonies. You would have thought the house counted as national heritage but the Finns are an unsentimental lot.
sibelius mattial house
Known as the Mattila House, the auction is being held here today. The lot includes a granary, where Sibelius retreated to compose when his kids got too noisy.
Sasha says he would have kept the sale to himself and made a decent bid, but the property needs a lot of work to make it habitable again. ‘When I saw the list of urgent repairs, I got cold feet,’ he tells us. The Mattila house is not to be confused with Ainola, north of Helsinki, which Sibelius built later from the royalties of his successful works and which remains his national shrine.


  • Warren Cohen says:

    Google translates “vankila” as “prison”. Was this property used as a prison, or jail? It appears to have been owned by the state, and the sale is not from a private party, so this is entirely plausible, but maybe a proper Finnish speaker could clarify.

  • The property was not used as a prison, but the land did belong to the nearby prison until the beginning of this year when it was transferred to “senaatti-kiinteistöt” which is now selling it.

  • Eric Berman says:

    How about if you pan for contributions and we all buy it–Sasha Makila could manage it! Finlandia is too important to let slip away!

  • Michael Schaffer says:

    Does it come with a sauna?

    • Eric says:

      No sauna–but the ghost of Sibelius is said to haunt the place! Worth the price of admission.

      • Actually there is a small separate sauna building on the property, and I am pretty sure it is the one Sibelius was using at the time. Badly in need of repairs as everything else there…

        • Eric says:

          Why can’t a group of foolish Sibelius fans buy the place and hire somebody to fix it up? Handing around the contribution plate for a few days, I bet we could raise enough–or has someone already bought it?