One of the most famous burghers in the history of the city of Helsinki is most probably Johan Sederholm in the 18th C. during the Swedish reign in Finland. During this time Helsinki grew fast due to the erecting of the seafortress Sveaborg/Viapori (now Suomenlinna) from the 1740s onwards. Sederholm’sfather, Erik, was from present day Sweden and came to Helsinki after the Great Nordic War in 1722. At this time Helsinki lay in ashes and was started to be rebuilt. Like many other burghers, Johan Sederholm’s career started as an assistant for a shopkeeper until he managed to found his own business. In the 1750’s he got the opportunity to ship parcels and buildningmaterials to Viapori and thus started to form his wealth.
Johan Sederholm in 1800. Painting by Emanuel Thelning, Helsinki City Museum.
Sederholm became well off and could give loans to the crown. Due to this reason he got a dispence for owning noble estates although he was a burgher. King Gustavus III had rested at Håkansböle (Hakunila) manor in 1775 during his voyage through the country and also visited Johan Sederholm in his townhouse in Helsinki. A few years later Sederholm was poointed to one of the godfathers of the crown prince. Sederholm was very wealthy: he owned shares in several mills and factories and worked as a shipowner. Ha became one of the most powerful landowners in the area as he bought the manors in Pukinmäki, Käpylä, Kumtähti and Hakunila and owned several smaller estates. Among others Sederholm bought Kumtähti manor in 1775 that remained in his family 1840.
Like other wealthy burghers Johan Sederholm built himself a stonehouse in the center of Helsinki. The house still has its 18th century look. Nowadays Helsinki City Museum recides in the buildning. Photo: Matti Huuhka 1995, Helsinki City Museum.
In 1777 Sederholm bought Hertonäs manor. At this time the wooden main buildning was situated further south. He measured the estate and at this time it was about 1000 hectares (ca 2500 acres). Sederholm had 12 tennants. In a similar fashion he improved the fieldwork in Hakunila that he owned 1760–93. Sederholm founded a park here in the 1780’s and also built a gazebo on Hakunila’s land where king Gustavus III had dined on his journey through Finland.
Johan Sederholm was married twice and had 12 children. In 1792 he sold the manor to one of his sons in law, Johan Gustaf Olander. In 1793 Olander sold the manor to officer Carl Olof Cronstedt, who owned the manor twice: in 1793–99 and from the year 1813 to his death in 1820.
Johan Sederholm was buried at the Ulrica Eleonora church that was placed on the present Senate Square. His grave was moved to the Old Church Park in 1812. He now rests in a chapel in neoclassicist style designed by the architect C. L. Engel. Photo: Mika Peltonen 1997, Helsinki City Museum.
Aalto, Seppo 2016: Kauppiaita ja laivanvarustajia Helsinkiläisten elämä Ruotsin aikana 1550–1809. Siltala: Helsinki.
Backman, Sigbritt 2017: Hertonäs Manor. SOV: Helsingfors.
Lönnqvist, Bo 2009: Herrgårdar och rusthåll i Helsingforstrakten. Schildts: Helsingfors.