In English

In the outdoor museum area of the Gold Museum, you can see authentic gold diggers' cabins, unique work machines and washing equipment. Countless sympathetic details and the remains of Finland's northernmost railway bring a charming addition. The outdoor museum area is crowned by the bronze statue of Vaskaaja ( the man panning for gold ) carved by Ensio Seppänen.

Stories of gold in Tankavaara: Welcome to the world’s only international Gold Museum

The Gold Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023. For fifty years, the Gold Museum in Tankavaara has recorded the gold tradition of Finnish Lapland and all over the world. The colourful gold-prospecting stories keep fascinating visitors – such as this story of the discovery of the nugget Aleksi.

Mikko Aleksanteri “Iso-Aleksi” Kiviniemi was a local gold prospector, who worked with a group of men in Hangasoja, in Laanila. In September 1910, he found a good-sized nugget.

When weighed, the nugget was 385 grams, making it at the time the biggest nugget found in Finland.

It is known that the largest gold nugget "Aleksi" found in Finland was found in 1910 in Laanila, Inari. Its current weight is 385 g.

Even today, it is the officially second largest gold nugget of Finland. However, there has been speculation that the piece would have originally weighed more than 400 grams, but that before the official weighing Aleksi whittled some gold from the nugget to make a ring for his wife, perhaps also for a one for himself. The rest of the group let Aleksi whittle this so-called “reward” for the find, as he was the discoverer of the nugget and known as a decent man.

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The stories of the gold nuggets found in Lapland can be seen in the exhibition until the spring of 2024. Kuva: Elina Melamies

We should also keep in mind that at that time all nuggets of 400 grams or more had to be delivered to a museum in St. Petersburg. Finland was still a Grand Duchy and part of the Russian Empire.

It is reasonable to assume that Aleksi and the rest of the group did not want the big nugget to end up in the museum in the capital of the Empire, but rather they’d have it stay in the homeland (or at least within the borders of their future homeland, as Finland became independent a few years later in 1917).

The nugget was named after its founder and is now known as Aleksi.

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