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News, 12/12/2011

Moomins take over London's Covent Garden

If you love the Moomins (and who doesn’t?) you’ll be thrilled to know that they now have their very own shop. Situated in the centre of one of London’s most popular shopping areas at 43 Covent Garden Market, the Moomin Shop is full of a vast array of wonderful products in a magical Moomin setting.

Present at the official launch on 7 December were Pekka Huhtaniemi, Ambassador of Finland, and Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson and Creative Director of Moomin Characters Ltd. "I am very pleased to be able to associate the Finnish Embassy with this happy event here in the heart of London. The Moomins are a very important part of the Finnish brand that we hope to strengthen here in the UK", Ambassador Huhtaniemi said in his opening words at the launch.

The Moomin experience starts the moment you enter the shop - only it´s not exactly a shop: it´s Moomin Valley. (photo by Tiina Heinilä)The Moomin experience starts the moment you enter the shop - only it's not exactly a shop: it's Moomin Valley. (photo by Tiina Heinilä)

Gentle anarchy is one of the attributes that sometimes is attached to Tove Jansson’s artistic aspirations and to the lifestyle of the Moomin community. Maybe that is one of the secrets of Jansson’s global success. In our modern world, many people, young and old, feel hard-pressed by obligations, dead-lines, rules and strict codes. For them, Tove Jansson has offered an imaginary world where tolerance, tenderness and mutual acceptance dominate."

Sophia Jansson was really pleased a Moomin Shop has been opened in such a central place in London. Looking back on the Moomin history in Britain that started already in the 1950s, when Tove Jansson was asked to draw a cartoon for the Evening News, Sophia said: "There are quite a lot of Brits that are aware of the Moomins. And that's wondeful, because those people probably now have children, or even possibly grandchildren. And now when the Moomins are coming back to Britain, if you like, there is this shop where you can go and find out more."

"I'm sure Tove would have been more than happy and I'm really sad she couldn't see that this is happening today", she continued. 

"I have very positive vibes about this shop", Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove, said at the opening. (photo by Tiina Heinilä)"I have very positive vibes about this shop", Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove, said at the opening. (photo by Tiina Heinilä)

The Moomin Shop has been developed by Patrick Haddad, owner of Edinburgh-based designer furniture and accessories outlet DesignShop UK. A Moomin fan for many years, he was inspired to open the shop after the extraordinary response to an Edinburgh Festival exhibition he entitled And the World went Mad for Moomins. Visitors came from all over the UK and as far afield as Japan to see a vast collection of Moomin memorabilia, original drawings and sketches, books, gifts and accessories.

As Patrick says: “The popularity of the Edinburgh show was part of my inspiration for the new shop but it also came from watching peoples’ reaction to Moomin over the years. They may have the cares of the world on their shoulders but when they see Moomin toys and books they always smile. It’s a sort of therapy! That’s why the Moomins and their friends are still loved after 65 years — and that’s why there just has to be a Moomin Shop!”

Welcoming customers from the first week of December, the Moomin Shop will open from 10am - 8pm Mondays to Saturdays and 11am - 5pm on Sunday.

Text and photos by: Tiina Heinilä, Embassy of Finland
For more photos from the Moomin shop opening, please see our
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Updated 12/12/2011

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