Maritime Centre Vellamo

The splendid building of Maritime Centre Vellamo is located by the sea and houses several exhibitions about life at sea and local stories, an Information Centre that is open for everyone, various meeting and event spaces, a restaurant and a museum shop. Most importantly, Vellamo offers information and fun activities for everyone!

What are we made of?

Maritime Centre Vellamo is home to the Maritime Museum of Finland, the Museum of Kymenlaakso, the Coast Guard Museum, Information Centre Vellamo and the Kotka Cultural Centre. In addition to this, the building holds classrooms, seminar rooms, a 200-seat auditorium, Restaurant Laakonki with 100 seats, and Museum Shop Plootu.

Did you know?
We have about fifty employees, including conservators, chefs, customer service personnel, cleaners, researchers, facility managers and museum technicians.

The facade of Maritime Centre Vellamo, which resembles a massive wave, consists of sheet metal cassettes, silk-screened glass panels and aluminium grids. The sheet metal cassettes reflect the blue, green and grey shades of the sea. The glass panels feature pictures of the crew of the steel barque Favell (1912) and the masts of the merchant fleet of Lavansaari Island (1914). As darkness falls, lights are lit behind the glass panels.

An essential element of the interior is oak, which has been used in the ceilings, walls and floors. The colours of Vellamo – lime, orange, deep blue and dark grey – and the pictures and graphical elements recur throughout the building. The walls, restaurant chairs and shop items all feature members of the Favell crew, load line marks, call signs and owner’s marks from Seskar Island.

Maritime Centre Vellamo was opened to the public on 11 July 2008. It was designed by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects with architect and professor Ilmari Lahdelma as the main designer.

View from the roof stage

The roof stage commands an expansive view of the city and sea. At a single glance, you can see the factories with their impressive chimneys, the high-voltage lines, the light masts and the ships, trains and trucks transporting goods to and from the ports. The roof structure resembling a breaking crest of a wave provides a sheltered space for concert-goers and picnickers, as well as people simply wishing to enjoy the scenery.

Maritime Centre Vellamo in numbers

The building has 1,960,000 kg of steel structures, its total length is 300 metres and its highest point is 30 metres above ground level. The total area of the building is 14,366 m², of which 4,600 m2 is exhibition space. Information Centre Vellamo’s 500 m² contain around 20,000 books and 3,500 volumes of newspapers and magazines.

Awards

Maritime Centre Vellamo has won numerous travel and construction awards, including steel structure of the year, top domestic travel destination of the year and best lit location of the year in the category for exterior lighting. Vellamo also won the Finnish championships for municipal marketing in the travel category and received a commendation for significant efforts to promote accessibility.

The story of Vellamo

Maritime Centre Vellamo is located in the Kantasatama district in Kotka, surrounded by the historical port of Kotka. The location could not be more fitting.

In the 1870s when Kotka was a small sawmill town, it didn’t have a port yet. The sailing ships waited for the sawn timber on the roadstead.

Pakkahuoneenlaituri dock was built in 1879 on the location where Maritime Centre Vellamo currently stands. When apothecary Grahn opened a soft drinks parlour in the port, the area became a place where people gathered to meet each other and marvel at the busy port.

The sheltered port grew gradually, spreading towards the sea on reclamation ground that was built from sawing waste and ballast. The development of the port area took a giant leap in 1890 when the railway arrived in Kotka, making the transportation of goods notably easier.

In the early decades of the 20th century, stowage operations were automated and machines replaced stevedores.

Kantasatama has become more quiet after the opening of the Hietanen harbour in 1971 and the Mussalo harbour in 1989. However, the spirit and look of the old port live on around Maritime Centre Vellamo.