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Politicians bin Guggenheim museum plan for Helsinki


Two visitors pass German artist John Bock's installation 'Palms' during the presentation of 'The Luminous Interval: The D. Daskalopoulos Collection' at the Guggenheim museum in the Spanish/Basque city of Bilbao.



LONDON, UK – Politicians in Finland have rejected a proposal to build a $180 million Guggenheim museum on the waterfront of the capital city, Helsinki.

The Helsinki city board, a committee of 15 municipal politicians who vet proposals for the capital’s city council, voted eight to seven against putting the project forward to the council for consideration, Reuters reports.

“The city board rejects the project,” a message on the municipal website read Wednesday. No reason was given for the decision, though local media suggested the project’s cost and concerns over its management were in play.

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According to Bloomberg, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation had proposed in January that a new contemporary art museum be established on a city-owned site on Helsinki’s south harbor, with attendance estimated at around half a million people a year.

The Guggenheim Foundation has museums in New York, Bilbao, Berlin and Venice while a fifth is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi.

The Helsinki museum was planned as a mainly non-collecting institution which would host traveling exhibitions. It was to open in 2018, following around three years of development and a competition to decide the building’s design, the BBC reports.

Finland’s culture minister, Paavo Arhinmaki, had expressed reservations about the project when it was initially mooted. Wednesday’s rejection comes amid government budget cuts to tackle the country’s debt crisis. 

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