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Världsutställningen i Paris 1889

Paris är idag en av de populäraste städerna att besöka i världen. Frankrikes huvudstad har en lång och rik historia från medeltiden till franska revolution och till den moderna tiden. I staden finns också många kända sevärdheter som t.ex. Louvren, Notre Dame de Paris, Triumfbågen, Versailles palatset och förstås Eiffeltornet. Världsutställningen 1889 är känd för att ha introducerat Eiffeltornet. Men vad har Paris 1889 och Eiffeltornet med Hertonäs gårds museum att göra? När jag gick igenom olika fotoalbum i Hertonäs upptäckte jag att Helene Bergbom (f. Gripenberg) har lämnat efter sig ett album med bilder från världsutställningen 1889 och det fanns många intressanta bilder i albumet. Läs mera nedan!Läs mera »
Karl Heikkilä
12.01.2022 kl. 19:02

Pariisin maailmannäyttely 1889

Tänään Pariisi on yksi maailman suosituimmista paikoista, jonne matkustetaan. Ranskan pääkaupungilla on pitkä ja rikas historia keskiajasta ranskan vallankumoukseen ja moderniin aikaan. Kaupungissa on myös monta kuuluisia nähtävyyksiä kuten taidemuseo Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, Riemukaari, Versailles palatsi ja tietenkin Eiffelin torni. Pariisin maailmannäyttely 1889 on kuuluisa siitä, että Eiffelin torni esitetiin siellä. Mutta mitä Pariisilla 1889 ja Eiffel tornilla on Herttoniemen kartanon museon kansa tekemistä? Kun olin käynyt erilaisien valokuva albumeiden läpi Herttoniemellä, huomasin että Helene Bergbomilla (os. Gripenberg) on valokuva albumi maailmannäyttelystä 1889 ja albumissa oli monta kiinnostavaa kuvaa. Lue lisää alla! Läs mera »
Karl Heikkilä
12.01.2022 kl. 18:57

Exposition Universelle 1889

Today Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The capital of France has a long and rich history from the medieval period to the French revolution and to the modern age. There are many famous attractions in Paris such as the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe, Palace of Versailles and of course the Eiffel Tower. The Exposition Universelle (world’s fair) 1889 is known for introducing the Eiffel Tower. But what has Paris 1889 and the Eiffel Tower got to do with Herttoniemi Manor Museum? When I went through different photo albums at Herttoniemi I discovered that Helene Bergbom (born Gripenberg) has left behind an album with pictures from the world’s fair 1889 and there were many interesting pictures in the album. Read more down below!Läs mera »
Karl Heikkilä
12.01.2022 kl. 18:48

Sytning – bondens pension, den välbärgades möjlighet II

De så kallade sytningsavtalen fanns kvar ända in på 1900-talet – ett faktum som visar hur viktiga de var för många människor på landsbygden. De sista sytningshjonen, det vill säga äldre som ”tagit sytning” hos sina barn, upplevde också de första folkpensionerna på 1930-talet innan pensionssystemet och urbaniseringen förpassade sytningssystemet till historien. Också borgarna slöt sytningsavtal med sina föräldrar. Läs mer nedan!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
21.12.2021 kl. 16:13

Syytinki - maanviljelijän eläke, varakkaan oikeus II

Syytinkisopimukset säilyivät 1900-luvulle asti. Tämä osoittaa, kuinka tärkeitä ne olivat monille maaseudulla asuville. Myös viimeiset syytingillä olevat kokivat ensimmäiset kansaneläkkeet 1930-luvulla ennen kuin eläkejärjestelmä ja kaupungistuminen siirsivät syytinkijärjestelmän historiaan. Porvarit solmivat myös syytinkisopimuksia vanhempiensa kanssa. Lue lisää alla!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
21.12.2021 kl. 16:08

Retirement Contracts – On Aging as a Farmer and a Burgher II

The signings of retirement contracts (Swe. sytning) remained important up and into the 20th century – a fact that proves their importance to the denizens of the Finnish countryside. The last people living as so called sytningshjon lived to experience the birth of the national pension system in the 1930s, before national pensions and urbanisation eventually made the retirement contract system redundant as a primary form of retirement. The contracts could also be signed by burghers and their relatives. Read more below!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
21.12.2021 kl. 15:59

Sytning – bondens pension, den välbärgades möjlighet I

Genom tiderna har många hemman varit föremål för sytning, även Hertonäs gård. Men vad är sytning? Andra namn för fenomenet är bland annat undantag eller födoråd, samt en mängd andra regionala varianter – men oavsett vad man kallar det vet få vad ordet betyder mer. Att syta någon eller något betyder ursprungligen att ta hand om, sköta, och kom att beteckna en typ av pensionsarrangemang som existerade i Norden i flera hundra år. Läs mer nedan!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
13.12.2021 kl. 17:25

Syytinki - maanviljelijän eläke, varakkaan oikeus I

Kautta aikojen monet kodit ovat peritty syytingin kautta, myös Herttoniemen kartanolla. Mutta mitä on syytinki? Ilmiöllä on monta nimeä, kuten ruokahuolto, sekä joukko muita alueellisia muunnelmia - mutta kutsutaan sitä miksi tahansa, harvat tietävät nykyisin mitä sana tarkoittaa. Syytinki tarkoittaa alunperin huolehtimista ja tuli merkitsemään sellaista eläkejärjestelyä, joka oli olemassa Pohjoismaissa useita satoja vuosia. Lue lisää alla!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
13.12.2021 kl. 17:21

Retirement Contracts – On Aging as a Farmer and a Burgher I

Through the ages many homesteads have switched hands via something called sytning/syytinki, amongst others Hertonäs manor. But what is sytning? It’s a phenomenon that has had many other names, depending on what Nordic country and region you’re from, but no matter what it is called few know it’s meaning and importance nowadays. Originally, the meaning of the word is to take care of something or someone, but it came to mean much more - as a form of retirement contract, sytning was the main form of pension for most property-owning farmers for centuries. Read more down below!Läs mera »
Ida Karlgren
13.12.2021 kl. 17:16

Antikt formspråk på Hertonäs gård

Tidigare på hösten rapporterades det tyvärr i nyheterna om flera vulkanutbrott på vulkanön La Palma på norra Kanarieöarna i Spanien. Historiskt sett har det funnits flera stora vulkanutbrott i världen. I flera av dessa fall har de haft en avgörande påverkan på historien. Ett sådant vulkanutbrott skedde år 79. Då var det vulkanen Vesuvius 10 km sydöst om staden Neapel i dagens södra Italien som hade ett utbrott. Händelsen influerade bland annat det formspråk som nu finns till påseende för besökare på Hertonäs gård. Hur syns vulkanutbrottet i de existerande utställningarna? På vilket sätt påverkar antiken fortfarande idag det som finns tillgängligt på Hertonäs gård? Det här kommer jag nu att behandla i denna bloggartikel. För mer information om Vesuvius och antikens influens på Hertonäs gård och utställningarna se texten här nedan.Läs mera »
Ralf Palmgren
29.11.2021 kl. 07:33

Retirement Contracts – On Aging as a Farmer and a Burgher II

21.12.2021 kl. 15:59
The signings of retirement contracts (Swe. sytning) remained important up and into the 20th century – a fact that proves their importance to the denizens of the Finnish countryside. The last people living as so called sytningshjon lived to experience the birth of the national pension system in the 1930s, before national pensions and urbanisation eventually made the retirement contract system redundant as a primary form of retirement. The contracts could also be signed by burghers and their relatives. Read more below!

The year is 1725. Customs officer Petter Wetter, at this point 66 years of age, signs a retirement contract with his son Abraham, who is about 30 years old. Father and son agrees that as long as Petter is alive, his son will care for his living arrangements – this includes the services of a maid and servant, as well as feed and care for a horse. In return, his father signs over several properties in the modern Helsinki region to him, including Herttoniemi manor and all of its grounds. Petter, who at this point has had a long successful career both as a civil servant and businessman, moved to Turku for a few years before returning to Helsinki. 

But in 1737, Abraham Wetter dies – not even 50 years of age. During his lifetime he had accomplished many things and is first and foremost remembered as a well-liked mayor of Helsinki (according to the bourgeoisie, at least) from 1722 until his premature death. He had been married since 1721, and at the time of his death he had several living children. 

A situation where the elder signee of a retirement contract survives the younger probably wasn’t very common – Petter had already celebrated his 66th birthday when the contract was drawn up and couldn’t possibly have known that his son would pass before him. So, who were to take ownership of Herttoniemi manor, and all other estates, now?

Turns out, old Petter, now 78 years old, still sees himself as the rightful owner. The whole affair is eventually taken to court, where the city judges decrees that the ownership should fall to Petters grandchildren, no matter their young ages. The young Wetter siblings had lost their mother the year before, and the oldest child, also named Abraham, was only 16 when their father passed the year after. Abaham the younger died young in 1741, the same year as his grandfather Petter. It only took until 1750 until the Wetter heirs sold the Herttoniemi estate to Berndt Johan de la Motte.

A retirement contract like the one between the Wetters had been a common thing in Finland for centuries. It generally meant that one person, the owner of property, signed over the rights to this property to another (often a son, a daughter, or a son-in-law) in exchange for regular payments in natura and a place to live (typically, but the contents and conditions varied accordingly to the needs of the people in question.) This was usually done as a means to acquire security in one’s old age – which explains why many signed over the property to one’s children (typically only one child). In many places it was legally regulated who could or couldn’t be offered property in this way; relatives had to be asked first, non-relatives only after relatives declined. This rule is connected to another old law custom, which assumes that children have a duty to care for parents and relatives who are old or otherwise struggles to make ends meet. It was also generally thought that those who care for the old and sick had priority when time came to divide the assets for the inheritance. The rule to offer these contracts to direct relatives before non-relatives makes a lot of sense considering this, since questions of inheritance could (and probably often did) turn into very complicated affairs.

The custom of drawing up specific retirement contracts is very old – they are already mentioned in the oldest form of Swedish-Finnish laws, the different regional codexes called landskapslagar, as well as in old national laws and city law codex. This means that contracts of this sort had been around since, at the earliest, the Middle Ages, and their existence tells us that care and property management has been deemed best formalised in writing, rather than taken for granted or loosely agreed upon face to face. Retirement contracts were especially common in southwestern Finland, where households usually consisted of one couple that formed their own household at the time of marriage. In central and eastern Finland, households generally consisted of several families, which rendered the retirement contract system unsuited and unnecessary. 

In the Wetter case, the retirement contract probably didn’t have the same meaning as for the majority of Finns of that century. Most people who entered into these contracts were farmers, whose entire capital usually consisted of the family farm and land. It’s fair to assume that Petter Wetter didn’t have to fear poverty in his old age, but still felt that signing over his properties to his son provided an extra measure of security. The son himself probably gained much from the use of his father’s holdings – at the time of his death, Abraham Wetter was believed to have been the richest man in Helsinki. One can only assume that his fortune stemmed from the profits he made off his lands and the businesses made possible from land use.

Literature:
Hannikainen, M. & Vauhkonen, J. 2012: Arbetspensionernas historia inom den privata sektorn i Finland. Sammanfattning av verket Ansioiden mukaan. Yksityisalojen työeläkkeiden historia. Helsingfors, 28.11.2021.
Holmgren, S. 2020: Med tacksamhet förbinder jag mig. En diskussion om formalisering utifrån 20 undantagskontrakt. Uppsala, 28.11.2021.
Moring, B. 2006: “Nordic Retirement Contracts and the Economic Situation of Widows.” Continuity and change 21.3. Cambridge, 383–418.
Haggrén, Georg 2014: Wetter, Abraham, Biografiskt lexikon för Finland, Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 28.11.2021.
Bergbom, J. G. 1910: Hertonäs anteckningar. Helsingfors.
Jonasson, F. 1931: Suomen maatilat. Borgå, 28.11.2021.
Svenska Akademiens ordbok (SAOB), syta, (2001), 28.11.2021.
Charpentier, A. 1896: Om sytning. Helsingfors.

Photos from the Church records, City of Helsinki.

Ida Karlgren