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THE HOME OF AINO AND JEAN SIBELIUS

AHOLA

In the spring of 1897 the author Juhani Aho (1861–1921) and his artist wife Venny Soldan-Brofeldt (1863–1945) rented a villa called Vårbacka from friends at Järvenpää Manor; the villa was named Ahola, after the author. The Aho family also included their two sons, Heikki and Antti, and Björn Soldan, son of Venny’s sister Tilly. The family lived at Ahola until 1911, when the author’s numerous obligations required him to move to Helsinki. The children’s education also necessitated this move.

Life at Ahola was for both artists a busy and productive time. Juhani Aho’s major works Katajainen kansani, Kevät ja takatalvi and Juha were all completed during this period. Venny Soldan-Brofeldt produced the most notable examples of her work at Ahola. She was a sharp-eyed realist, and drawing was her speciality. This is shown by numerous drawings of her own and her family’s children, illustrations for children’s books and quick sketches of everyday people.

Ahola was a significant building in terms of cultural history, rather than in terms of its architecture. Over the years the house’s external appearance changed, and it served as a training college for home economics teachers and as a rural homemaking school. Nowadays Ahola is home to a photographic exhibition about the family’s life and work. It is run by the Juhani Aho Society in collaboration with the Municipality of Järvenpää and Järvenpää Home Economics Teacher Training College.