The Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Transition


  • Wessel de Jonge




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Many 20th century sports facilities are in need of upgrading according to present standards and the 1938 (1952) Olympic Stadium of Helsinki is no exception to the rule. The international sports federations increase their requirements and security issues become more prominent by the year. Finland’s largest stadium is mainly used in summer for soccer matches, athletics, rock concerts and other events, and additional usage throughout the year would be welcome in order to strengthen the venue’s financial position and to pay for the extensive maintenance and renovations. At the same time the stadium is a popular historic site that plays an important role in the collective memory of the Finns and needs to retain its character as cultural heritage. Many delegates have visited this outstanding example of Modern Movement Heritage during the last docomomo International Conference that took place in Helsinki last August. Now, the building needs to be improved.

How to Cite

Jonge, W. de. (2013). The Helsinki Olympic Stadium in Transition. Docomomo Journal, (48), 88–89.




Author Biography

Wessel de Jonge

Wessel de Jonge graduated in architecture at Delft University of Technology and co–founded docomomo International. Beside his 1999–2004 rehabilitation project for the Van Nelle Design Factory in Rotterdam, his other Master Planning projects include the extensions of Amsterdam’s 19th century Artis Zoo and the 1958 Cité Modèle in Brussels. He founded Wessel de Jonge architecten bna which has specialised in the field of rehabilitation of existing buildings that in many cases involve additional or new interpretations in particular environments. Among other projects he has been in charge of the restoration and adaptation of Gerrit Rietveld’s 1953 Biannual Pavilion in Venice, Italy (1995); the supervision of the restoration of the Wiebenga and Van der Vlugt’s 1922–23 former Technical Schools in Groningen (1999); and the rehabilitation of the 1947 former Control Tower at Schiphol International Airport (2001). Recent commissions include the Forum Rotterdam, in cooperation with OMA; the extension to the 1920s Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam, involving the rehabilitation of the museum’s entrance and the addition of a hotel and a new theatre.


Makkonen, Leena, Modern Architecture in Helsinki, Helsinki, Helsinki City Planning Department, 2012, 86–101.

Högström, Hikka, “Architecture of Helsinki: ‘Great is to Triumph, Greater Far Noble Combat, Tournikiotis, Panayotis, ed., The Body, Sport and Modern Architecture, Athens, docomomo Specialist Committee on Registers, 2006, 287–306.