After decades of neglect and abandonment, the historical neo-baroque palace Milavida aka. Näsilinna has finally been fully restored, refurbished, and ready to open its doors to the public again.
Milavida in 2010.The palace was originally built as the home of Peter von Nottbeck, one of the owners of the Finlayson cotton mill (which was the chief employer of much of Tampere's citizens). Designed by Karl August Wrede and finished in 1898, the building was a show of the affluence of the Nottbeck family, whose aristocratic loftiness and involvement in the city's development were quite significant, particularly when contrasted to the rather low-brow citizenry of the town that had grown into what it was mainly due to it being the centre of industry in Finland. The house was given the name "Milavida" ("beautiful view"), which was shared with their older, wooden villa situated next to the new palace. However, the new home didn't get off to a happy start as Peter's wife Olga died when giving birth to twins the very year the palace was finished. Things didn't continue any better as Peter himself came down with appendicitis while in Paris and died there following an operation in 1899.
Eventually the palace, and the surrounding park, was sold off to the city of Tampere in 1905 and was renamed "Näsilinna." In 1908 the city gave the space for the Häme Museum and as such continued to operate until being closed for public in 1997, becoming more a storage place than anything else. It also acted as a significant historical stage when, during the civil war of 1918, following the country's declaration of independence from Russia, Näsilinna was one of the Red Guards major outposts. In a daring offensive launched by the White Guard, led by Erik Melin, the palace was successfully captured for a few hours, before a general back-and-forth between the two guards fighting over the base eventually led to the White Guard being victorious. In the process, the building was badly damaged by artillery shells and rifle fire, but once peace had come was fixed up to the shape it was to be in for the next nine decades.
But the city council's rather blasé attitude toward the building, and their ownership of it, sadly caused the once luxurious palace to slowly rot away. It took several petitions and inspections that finally got the city to act before the house was beyond repair (which was not far off at the point when restoration began) and from fall of 2014 a complete and thorough refurbishment of Näsilinna began in earnest, both inside and out. Now once again renamed "Milavida," the scaffoldings have been peeled off and the restaurant Milavida has just opened its doors for business. while in the future the palace will also host a museum for the Nottbeck family and their achievements in the city. What else may still be implemented here has not been decided, but possibilities are certainly numerous. But what is most important, though, is that this too-long neglected jewel has finally been brought back to its original splendour and will hopefully remain an active fixture in the cityscape for the foreseeable future, thus guaranteening its existence for future generations.