Veijo Rönkkönen’s Sculpture Park

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In the Finnish town of Parikalla, close to the Russian border, is a remarkable sculpture park consisting of some five hundred concrete figures that were all sculpted by the late Veijo Rönkkönen, a humble press worker and an artist with extraordinary dedication.

Veijo Rönkkönen was only 16 years old when he started working on his park. Veijo had recently got a job as a press worker in a paper mill in his hometown Parikkala, a job he held for 41 years. With his first pay check, he purchased ten apple tree seedlings and a bag of concrete to create a garden around his family home. For the next fifty years, until his death in 2010, he dedicated all his spare time and money planting flowers and trees and creating hundreds of caricature-like sculptures, mostly of full scale human figures.


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio

Rönkkönen worked on various themes and some of his groups of sculptures include dozens of individual works. A section featuring around 250 figures in various yoga poses is particularly well known. Rönkkönen was a yoga practitioner and his yoga statues are purportedly self-portraits of himself. Rönkkönen is reported to have once said that the park was a monument for the memory of his young body.

Over the years, the sculpture park became a popular tourist attraction drawing thousands of tourists from Finland as well as abroad. Rönkkönen charged no entrance fee, but kept a guestbook for visitors to sign when they left the garden. The artist himself remained recluse and avoided meeting visitors. In 2007, three years before his death, when he was awarded the Finlandia prize, his brother had to go and receive the prize for him at the ceremony.

Rönkkönen also refused to lend his statues to museums or expositions. When asked what would happen to the park after he was gone, he said that he would bury it in sand and leave it like the Chinese Terracotta Army. Rönkkönen didn’t believe anybody would be interested in maintaining it. He was wrong. After Veijo Rönkkönen’s death, the park was purchased by a Finnish businessman and art-lover, who together with the Union for Rural Culture and Education developed the park further. Today, the park is visited by as many as 30,000 people every year.


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio


Photo credit: Ilkka Jukarainen/Flickr


Photo credit:


Photo credit: Paparazzi Stas/Panoramio


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio


Photo credit: Alex Panfiloff/Panoramio


Photo credit: Ilkka Jukarainen/Flickr


Photo credit: Ilkka Jukarainen/Flickr


Photo credit: Ilkka Jukarainen/Flickr


Photo credit: Ilkka Jukarainen/Flickr


Photo credit: Tor Lillqvist/Flickr

Sources: Big in Finland / /

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1 comment:

  1. The park is located in Parikkala, Finland (not Parikalla). More information is available at


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