Helsinki’s newly renovated Olympic Stadium is set to reopen on Wednesday when PK-35 play HJK in a National League football match.
Stadium Director Ari Kuokkanen told Yle that he is pleased with the results as the long wait for the stadium's reopening is finally over.
"It feels a bit like the marathon is coming to an end. We set out to make the most beautiful stadium in the world, and I have to say that by all measures this is a really successful outcome," Kuokkanen said.
The 300-million-euro renovation project has lasted a total of four years, which is as long as the original construction period, from 1934 to 1938. The stadium had been built in anticipation of the 1940 Olympic Games, but had to wait another 12 years for the honour of hosting games due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Prior to the renovation, the stadium had a capacity of 40,000, but this has now been reduced by about 4,000 as the newly-installed contoured, fireproof chairs take up more space than the older bench-style seats.
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This innovation contributed to raising the final bill for the renovation by about 100 million euros from the original estimate of 209 million. Other factors which led to increased costs included the poor condition of the stadium’s foundations and the requirement to cover the entire arena with a roof as international football matches will be played there.
Initially, only a small section of the stadium auditorium was covered.
A further requirement for international football matches was that the stadium be renovated so every seat has an unobstructed view of the playing field.
Olympic Stadium board chair Nasima Razmyar (SDP) told Yle that the outcome was worth the cost.
"Absolutely! Everyone who comes here sees that it was worth it," Razmyar said.