Parikkala Sculpture ParkVeijo Rönkkönen (1944-2010) (8-8-2019)
21-23 Tiviäntie, Parikkala, 59100, Finland
1960s to 2010
The park is accessible by car, and visitors are welcome to enter twenty-four hours a day. There is no entrance fee, though donations are encouraged.
About the Artist/Site
Veijo Rönkkönen was 16 years old when he got a job as a press worker in a paper mill in Parikkala, Finland, near the Russian border, a job he held for 41 years. With his first pay check, he purchased ten apple tree seedlings and a bag of concrete—the beginnings of an extensive sculpture park and garden he would build around his family home.
Rönkkönen worked for fifty years on his art environment, spending all his spare money and time installing flowers and trees and creating almost 500 sculptures, mostly full-scale human figures.
Over the years, the sculpture park became a popular tourist attraction; a section featuring 255 figures in yoga poses is particularly well known.
In recent years, the site has drawn as many as 25,000 visitors, from Finland and abroad, during the summer months. Rönkkönen generally avoided meeting visitors, but all were welcome. He charged no entrance fee, requiring only one’s signature in a guestbook left in the garden. Following his death, the site was sold by the family. New owner Reino Uusitalo, a businessman and art-lover, is working with the ITE Association, one branch of the Union for Rural Culture and Education, to renovate the sculptures, as needed, and to provide guides for public tours.
Map & Site Information
21-23 Tiviäntie, 59100
Latitude/Longitude: 61.548326 / 29.512834
Žagarė, Šiauliai County