Join us for a visit at the home museum of a former Finnish President, Svinhufvud by Lake Kivijärvi in South Eastern Finland.
The museum is located amidst nature by Lake Kivijärvi in Luumäki some 20 km from Lappeenranta. The estate comprises the main building that includes the home museum and a garden with related outbuildings that have been restored to their 1930s look.
Kotkaniemi is the home museum of President Svinhufvud and his wife Ellen (their surname is Swedish and means Pighead!). Svinhufvud was appointed the Circuit Judge of the Lappee Circuit in 1908 where he purchased the Kotkaniemi estate and since then four generations of Svinhufvuds lived at and maintained the Kotkaniemi estate until the Finnish Heritage Agency acquired it in 2000. The last Svinhufvuds to live at Kotkaniemi were Pehr Evind’s grandson with his family. Today, the rooms of the home museum have been restored to the era of the Svinhufvuds and contain original furniture and items.
Have a look at the six home museum rooms first. The permanent exhibition consists of six home museum rooms that have been restored to their original look during the era of P.E. and Ellen Svinhufvud in the 1920s and 1930s. You will fell the local atmosphere and the life in the days long gone by. In the president’s study, you can almost see him at work. The grand hall was used for entertaining guests and the issues of the day were discussed over a dinner in the dining room.
President Pehr Evind Svinhufvud was a central figure in the struggle for Finnish independence. In 2022-2023, the changing exhibition introduces the presidency of P. E. Svinhufvud through the critical times of the early 1930s when a right wing radical Lapua movement “Lapuan liike”, threatened the constitutional state. Restraining the actions of the Lapua movement is considered as one of the most significant achievements of Svinhufvud´s presidency.
The Kotkaniemi museum shop sells some literature and products for home. The profits of the museum shop are used to support the maintenance of Kotkaniemi. In addition to the museum shop, there is another shop held by the local Martha Organization in a barn in front of the museum, on the way to the parking lot. The Marthas is a Finnish non-profit organization know for education the public in matters of home economics - and Ellen was a Martha, too!
After your visit inside the house, go for a short walk in the garden to see the rest of the estate, the beautiful Lake Kivijärvi, the family beach, the sauna and the place where Svinhufvud kept his boat. If you are truly into the Finnish way of life, you can rent the freshly renovated sauna for a proper Finnish treat, a sauna bath and a swim in the lake. The sauna was built by the grandson of Svinhufvud in the 1980’s!
Do not forget to check the garden of Ms Svinhufvud. It has been restored to the state it was when she was in charge of keeping the household going with home grown veggies and home made jams etc.
After the tour, you really must check Café Ellen serving a lot of local delicacies but including the “Ellen Svinhufvud’s cake” that remains still today a must at the buffet that the ruling President throws on the Independence Day reception on 6 December every year!
There is plenty of parking space and if you come in a wheel chair, you can take the lift to the café and enter the museum from there. Unfortunately, there is no way to get up to the first floor but the rest of the museum, including the garden path are accessible.
There is a loo upstairs and an accessible one at the café.
If you are interested in talks about democracy, check the museum’s website. The municipality of Luumaki together with the Regional Council of South Carelia organizes an annual Kotkaniemi Forum in early August for talks about salient topics regarding democracy, Finnish sovereignty and related issues.
Kotkaniemi, the Home Museum of President Svinhufvud
Itsenäisyydentie 799 a, Luumäki