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Helsinki names park after Moomin creator Jansson

Helsinki officials have decided to rename a park in the Katajanokka district in honour of author and artist Tove Jansson. The move is the latest to commemorate Jansson’s centenary.

Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson in her Katajanokka studio home in 1982. Image: Pekka Elomaa

The Helsinki City Planning Board unanimously approved the plan on Tuesday.

The green space behind the Greek Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral has simply been designated as Katajanokka Park since 1956. It is near the apartment at Luotsikatu 4 where Jansson lived until she was 20 years, when she went to Stockholm to study art. She described the park in her 1968 memoir Sculptor’s Daughter, which was recently reissued in English. Jansson again lived in Katajanokka during the decades leading up to her death in 2001.

City officials rarely approve changes to existing names, but this measure had broad political support – and did not attract a single complaint during the period of public comment. The proposal was made in November by Anni Sinnemäki, a Greens MP, poet and former environment minister.

A move to name a street after Jansson in Stockholm was recently blocked by the Moomin Characters company, which said that the name is protected as a trademark. However the company’s chair, Sophia Jansson, told Yle she did not have anything against a park in Helsinki named after her aunt.

Tove Jansson is one of Finland’s most widely-translated writers, with the Moominvalley novels by far her most popular works.

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