Cultural centre Jaatsi

Tervetuloa Akseli Gallen-Kallelan lapsuudenkotiin

Jaatsi, the childhood home of Akseli Gallén-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela, National Artist of Finland

Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s parents Peter Wilhelm and Mathilda Gallén and their family owned and lived in Jaatsi 1868-1884.

As a young man P.W. Gallén was rural chief of police for the crown in Tyrvää.  After the death of his wife in 1855 he married Mathilda Wahlroos.  In 1862 the Senate of the Grand Principality of Finland named him Treasurer for the Bank of Finland in Pori.  In December 1867 Gallén left the Bank of Finland and the family moved back to Tyrvää.  Akseli was under three years old at the time.

During the years of the great famine 1867-68, Tyrvää’s rural chief of police P. W. Gallén commissioned a manor house-style main building on the Jaatsi estate.  The new house rose, according to Akseli, “in the forest near the Vammaskoski rapids, in an area where bears frolicked not long ago.  A dense forest surrounds the house on three sides; on the fourth, a vista of the lake opens up.”  The new house was made of timber but looks like a stone building, because the outside was rendered.  A layer of bricks was laid in front of the timber.  The perforated bricks were made on site and attached to the timber with nails through the holes in the bricks.

Akseli’s childhood environment

The Jaatsi house was the ideal environment for the artist-to-be to grow up in.  The large evergreen firs shielded the gardens from the cold winds.  On the south side was a large garden, which Akseli’s mother, Mathilda, was particularly fond of, and where she planted many decorative trees and countless apple trees.  The views over the waters, islands, beaches and bulrushes of Liekovesi, the Vammaskoski rapids and St Olaf’s Church in Tyrvää were firmly imprinted on Akseli’s mind as he was growing up.

The sights, scents and sounds of the many outbuildings, barn, stable and grain stores gave the lively boy something to do and explore.  The Gallén boys were known to be very active; when the commotion started to be too much for their father, the boys would be driven to their own den, known as ’The Rat Cabin’.

From a boy to an artist

Akseli’s father, Peter Wilhelm, was ahead of his time in many ways, and he was involved in establishing many new projects.  He started the first dairy on his estate and was also instrumental in establishing Tyrvää’s first library.  While he was man of the house at Jaatsi P.W. Gallén worked as a lawyer.  He died suddenly on a court trip to Loimijoki in 1879, aged just 62.

Akseli’s mother was naturally artistic and, noticing Akseli’s artistic talent, Mathilda encouraged her son to pursue art and had no objections when he changed schools to attend drawing school.  During the fairytale years at Jaatsi Akseli drew and painted diligently.  The most famous works of this time are the painting of his sister ’Sitting Girl from Behind’, ’Boats on the Shore’, ’Rotted Zander’ and ’People’s Meal at Sipi’s House´. Akseli painted his famous work ’Boy with the Crow’, which opened the doors to art school in Paris, in Tyrvää in 1884, whilst spending summer at Sipi’s house.  In the same year Mathilda Gallén had to sell the Jaatsi estate and other farmlands.

Jaatsi’s journey to Sastamala

After the Galléns, Jaatsi remained in private ownership for a time.  Then, from 1920 to 1973 Jaatsi was the town hall for the municipality of Tyrvää.  The Tyrvää library was also housed at Jaatsi during those years, up until 1958.  After the municipality of Tyrvää joined the Town of Vammala in 1973 Jaatsi was used for commercial and temporary purposes.  After negotiations with the National Board of Antiquities and the Gallén museum foundation, the Town of Vammala decided in 1985 that Jaatsi and its surrounding park lands would be renovated and used as a place to exhibit the town’s art collections. Jaatsi was opened to the public in 1990, 125 years after Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s birth. Thanks to local associations, a statue of Akseli Gallen-Kallela stands in the park.

Today Jaatsi is the Town of Sastamala’s cultural centre, hosting exhibitions, concerts and events. The town’s cultural services office is also in the building.

A plaque on the wall of the Jaatsi house reads: ’This Jaatsi house, which since 1920 has been used by the municipality of Tyrvää, was built by Peter Wilhelm Gallén during the time of the birth of municipal self-government, in the years of the great famine 1867-1868.’

The Town of Sastamala warmly welcomes visitors to culturally and historically significant Jaatsi. The walls of Jaatsi are steeped in creativity; here is space, room to breathe, beautiful grounds and gardens. To borrow from poet Kaarlo Sarkia, ’something immortal must have touched the soil of the ground’

Jaatsi is the childhood home of Finland’s National Artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela.  As it says on the plaque embedded into a natural stone in Jaatsi’s gardens, ’The great illustrator of the people Akseli Gallen-Kallela grew from cradle to manhood around these parts’.  Jaatsi’s gardens feature a statue of Akseli Gallen-Kallela and a cast bronze head, Alpo and Nina Sailo, 1927/1960.



Jaatsi’s exhibition space hosts changing exhibitions or the town’s own collections. Normally open from Tuesday to Sunday 12am – 6pm, check times by telephone +358 40 517 1671 or at Cultural center Jaatsi on Sastamala city website


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