Guess who’s the surprise greeter at the National Archives of Finland? Yep, you got it – a teeny, tiny mouse! And I call it the Helsinki’s Wise Mice.
Here, you can forget about your usual library rules; this little furball welcomes you with a quirky twist since this wise mouse explores and takes notes on the stairs leading to the National Archives.
Imagine a pint-sized rodent balancing a pencil like a boss on its shoulder, as if it’s about to sign some top-secret documents, whip up a mini log cabin, or help you with your homework.
They call it “Viisas Hiiri” or “Wise Mice,” it was crafted by the incredible artist and punk rocker Jyrki Siukonen and placed there in 2000. It’s one of the many projects the Helsinki Cultural City Foundation set up and the State Works of Art Commission’s Stop and Look series in the Year of Culture 2000.
This mouse isn’t pulling a disappearing act, but it’s so sneaky that many visitors might miss it. It was tricky to find, mainly because it’s such a small statue that I thought it was covered in snow when I looked for it. But that wasn’t the case. I just had to look in the right place.
So, if you want to see Helsinki’s Wise Mice, head to the upper staircase, not the lower one, that leads to the café, and you might spot it relaxing on a stone ledge.
But wait… there’s more!
On the second floor, there’s another part of the mouse gang. This time, it’s hanging out on a bronze book next to a ladder, with a Latin saying, “Spoken words fly away, written words remain.” It’s too bad I didn’t get inside the building to photograph it. Maybe next time I’m in town.
A quick tip: If you plan to visit these mice, hit up the upper stairs for the outdoor one, and don’t forget to say hi to its indoor buddy on the second floor. Both only come out to play when the archives are open.
Happy mouse hunting!
Helsinki’s Wise Mice: The National Archives of Finland’s Adorable Welcome Committee