Panssarimuseo - Parola - Finland

Address: Hattulantie 334, Parola (See map)
Telephone: +358 (0)3 18144524

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2007
Overall rating:

Description: Crammed from wall to wall with tanks and sporting a genuine armoured train on the premises, the Panssarimuseo in Parola is bound to keep you busy for at least two hours. The fact that about half of the collection is on display in the open air makes it an ideal destination for a nice day out in the sun with even a bit of a picnic maybe (and a f***ing lousy destination when it's pouring down rain!). For those who don't speak a word of Finnish: Nil desperandum, as every item is accompanied by information panels in English (note to museum manager: when will you put up signs in Dutch?).

The main focus of the museum is on the armed struggle against the bloodthirsty armies from the east during WWII, or to be more precise: the Winter War (in which the Finns mostly successfully endured Soviet attacks in '39-'40) and the Continuation War (the combined Finnish-German effort to invade Russia during '41-'44, which was 'rewarded' with a declaration of war from the UK and ultimately ended in failure). The collection features a lot of captured Russian tanks and armoured vehicles, which were used to fight their former owners.

The unwary visitor might think he wandered into a German war museum as most of the tanks have large white swastikas painted on them, but don't be fooled. These swastikas (standing on one foot as it were, contradictory to the Nazi ones which in comparison seem rotated 45 degrees) were symbols used by the Finnish army during the first half of the 19th century. Ironically the swastika was considered to be a symbol of good luck which gave protection against evil spirits.

You could combine a trip to the Panssarimuseo with a visit to the Sotamuseon tehtävät (the "Military museum of Finland") in Helsinki, or you could combine it with a few beers in nearby Tampere. You work out which is the best option!

Map of the museum.

Russian T26 light tank, captured by Finnish forces.

Covers of Finnish military magazines of WWII.

All sorts of Finnish tanks used in battle, on display in the outside area of the museum.

Study model of a tankturret bearing signs of various impacts of anti-tank ammunition.

German assaultgun (Sturmgeschütz 40) used By the Finnish army during WWII.

Armoured train used during the first half of the 19th century.

Another view of the armoured train. Note the Swastika-like symbol used by the Finnish army.

Various anti-tank weapons used during the Winter War of 1939-1940.