Open competitions2.2.2024

The committee in charge of former president Martti Ahtisaari’s grave memorial invites professional artists from Finland or permanently residing in Finland to take part in the design competition for a grave memorial honouring the former president.

The goal is to find proposals for a memorial to be erected at former president Ahtisaari’s grave at Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki. The memorial will be created based on the winning entry. 

The memorial must be suitable for its intended purpose. Its size and dimensions must fit in with its surroundings. The memorial must be lasting and timeless. It must be possible to visit the memorial and lay flowers or wreaths beside it, close to it or against it. The memorial must be able to withstand the passing of time and natural conditions and must take into account variations in weather during different seasons.

The Prime Minister’s Office will conclude a separate agreement for the selected work with the artist.

Competition to be conducted anonymously

Entries will be accepted from 12 February to 15 April 2024. The results of the competition will be announced on 13 May 2024. The total sum reserved for the prizes is EUR 24,000. 

The prizes are not tax-exempt. It was not possible to apply for a tax exemption from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland because the deadline for applying for tax exemptions for competitions taking place in 2024 was 31 August 2023. Former president Ahtisaari passed away on 16 October 2023.

The results of the competition will be decided by a judging committee consisting of nine members of the memorial committee appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office and two members appointed by the Artists’ Association of Finland. 

The submissions must not include the name of the designer or any other markings from which the identity of the designer could be discerned.

Lawyer Viivi Kuosa from the Artists’ Association of Finland will serve as a mediator in the competition. Questions about entries for the competition can be submitted to her via email until 18 February 2024. The answers to the questions will be published later on the Government’s website.

Ahtisaari was the tenth President of the Republic 

Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (23 June 1937–16 October 2023) was the tenth President of the Republic of Finland. He served as president from 1994 to 2000. Former president Ahtisaari was buried at Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki on 10 November 2023.

All former presidents of Finland, with the exception of Pehr Evind Svinhufvud and Kyösti Kallio, are buried at Hietaniemi Cemetery. All former Presidents of the Republic have been honoured with a grave memorial. The design competition for former president Ahtisaari’s grave memorial continues this tradition.

The Prime Minister’s Office last organised a design competition for a grave memorial honouring a former president in 2018. The winner of that competition, for the grave memorial honouring former president Mauno Koivisto, was visual artist and photographer Perttu Saksa with his entry Kartta. 

The goal is to unveil the grave memorial for former president Ahtisaari on St. Martin’s Day, 10 November 2024, exactly one year after Ahtisaari’s funeral.

Inquiries: Tiina-Kaisa Laakso-Liukkonen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 29 516 0220 and Aapo Riihimäki, Senior Communications Specialist, tel. +358 50 471 3020, Prime Minister’s Office (general questions about the competition), and Viivi Kuosa, Lawyer, Artists’ Association of Finland, about competition entries until 18 February 2024)

Competition website (link)

More information about the design competition (in Finnish)

Press release 16 January 2024: Design competition for former president Ahtisaari’s grave memorial to be held in spring 2024

Presidentti Martti Ahtisaaren hautamuistomerkin suunnittelukilpailun kilpailuohjelma