The Estate was founded by a Field Marshal called Åke Henrikinpoika Tott in 1634, after which several notable Finnish families have governed the grounds. The golden age of the Estate was during the 19th century, when it was owned by the Linder family, and governed by Hjalmar Linder, who was married to Sophie, the sister of Baron Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, the sixth president of Finland. During its heyday the Kytäjä Estate comprised 50 000 hectares of land and it had its own railway, dairy, liquor factory and even currency, making it the biggest privately-owned estate in the whole of Scandinavia. As you wander through the Estate, you might be lucky enough to find one of the old Kytäjä coins that would have been used to buy a bottle of milk from the local dairy.
Hjalmar Linder, who was the first person in Finland to own a car, was a progressive thinker and was keen on looking after the rights of his staff. He introduced an eight-hour working day and offered his employees free medication. However, caring for the workers’ rights eventually led to his ruin: During the Finnish Civil War he loudly criticised the treatment received by the imprisoned Red Guard members, and eventually had to flee the country because of his comments.
After the Linder family, the ownership of the Kytäjä Estate was transferred to the family of Väinö Vähäkallio, a reputed architect. Vähäkallio renovated and refurbished the Manor House, and designed the Kytäjä village church, which is still in use and hosts the couples who decide to celebrate their wedding here. While the Vähäkallios were in charge, the Estate became a popular haunt among the Finnish nobility and upper classes, who gathered here to go hunting together and enjoy the lovely surroundings.
The financial troubles experienced by the Vähäkallios led to the decay of both the Estate and its reputation, until the dire situation was salvaged by the Laakkonens, a merchant family from Eastern Finland. According to the story, after visiting the area for the first time, Reino Laakkonen was bursting with excitement as he called his brother Yrjö to tell him that “the forests at Kytäjä are damn fine!”. The Laakkonen family fell in love with the area and decided to invest in it, and after several years of hard work the Estate was back on its feet, looking more beautiful than ever.
THE NEW ERA OF KYTÄJÄ
The guiding principles of the Laakkonen family are to preserve the magnificent local forests and keep the rural areas thriving. The agricultural lands and forests are maintained in a responsible manner. More than ten percent of the surface area of the Estate is protected virgin forest, while the commercial forests are logged in a sustainable manner and conservation agriculture methods are used when the fields are sown. The Laakkonen family have spared no expense as they have invested in new road networks and infrastructure for the residents of Kytäjä.
Under the new management, the biggest Estate in Finland can look forward to a bright future. Alongside traditional agriculture and forestry, hospitality and tourism keep Kytäjä alive and well. The Kytäjä Estate has always been known for its beautiful architecture, and with every new building the Laakkonen family are keeping with tradition. Their commitment to classic architecture is demonstrated by the stylish rental villas and the beautifully restored Manor Stables that are modern, yet respectful of old building traditions. A new Manor House is next up, and it will be designed by Rainer Mahlamäki, an award-winning Finnish architect. The Laakkonen family’s visionary approach and willingness to invest in Kytäjä has turned the Estate into a little paradise, where the modern and traditional live side by side in perfect harmony.
Today, Kytäjä is a thriving community with a bright future ahead. Become part of the story of Kytäjä!