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Guggenheim Helsinki plan scrapped by Finnish goverment

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Finnish government officially denied state funding for the $156 million museum

The Guggenheim Helsinki was always a controversial plan. Almost immediately from the first proposal in 2012, the idea for a glitzy Guggenheim outpost in the Finnish capital was criticized by some as a waste of money in a country known for its social welfare spending. Others believed that the museum would prove an invaluable tourist destination and economic draw.

But with more austerity measures coming to curb Finnish debt, the nationalist Finns party has officially cut off state funding for the museum project.

"This is the end of the matter," said Sampo Terho, the parliamentary head of the Finns party, in an interview with Reuters. "We have ruled out state funding (for Guggenheim) once and for all, for this government."

Designed by Moreau Kusunoki Architects—who had the winning entry out of 1,715 submitted designs—the museum is projected to cost between $134-$156 million, with the government initially planning to cover roughly $45 million.

While state funding was thought to be a necessary element for making the project a reality, the Guggenheim Foundation hasn’t yet given up hope. They are attempting to extend discussions with the city of Helsinki and the Finnish government to find another way to get the money.

But time is running out. The museum’s reservation for the planned 18,520-square-meter harborfront site is set to expire at the end of the year.