Vanajanlinna's roots can be traced back to the Middle-Ages, when its predecessor, Äikäälä, was situated in the same spot. The actual period of Vanajanlinna began in 1918, when Doctor Carl Wilhelm Rosenlew bought the estate and later annexed other estates onto it. Rosenlew was aspiring to transform the estate into a hunting Manor, for at the time, the estate included 500 hectares with free rights for hunting. Construction of the Main Building began in 1919.
The Main Building was designed by the architect Sigurd Frosterus who is also famous for designing the Stockmann department store in Helsinki. The architecture of the building represents the vogue of its time, with influences from Baroque, renaissance and the style present in English Manor houses. Construction of the Main Building began in 1919 and the Manor was finished, in all its glory, five years later. The beautiful gardens around the Manor were designed by the famous gardening designer Bengt Schalin whose touch can still be seen around the courtyard.
The Manor house was mainly built during the summer and took five years to complete. To accommodate the massive project, a narrow railroad was built from the Harviala stop, so the materials could be transported onto the building-site. Contractors for the project were August Mattson and Hilpi Kummila. The builders were the best builders from a business in Helsinki, Kruger & Tollin.
Rosenlew, known to be a pedantic man, built the Manor out of the best materials accessible. For example, the floors of the Manor are made of oak, fireplaces out of marble and granite and the walls with Indian mahogany. All domestic timber came from Rosenlew's own woods.
The Main Building contained over 80 rooms, altogether covering 3 000 square meters. The ground floor included the dining room, music room and the salon. The cellars were vaulted, as was the mural Wine house, the Turkish bath and marble pool.
The second floor contained rooms for the Master and Lady of the house with luxurious bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms. The second floor also offered accommodation for honorary guests including Marshall Mannerheim and the Fazer family, who had their own sets of rooms.
Other guests stayed in one of the eight guest rooms reserved on the third floor of the building. All rooms were furnished in high-quality, highly stylised furniture, complimentary rugs, paintings and other ornaments.
Periods of the Manor
Rosenlew remained the owner of the Manor until the year 1941. There were two candidates to take up ownership: President Risto Ryti and the extremely wealthy German weapons manufacturer Willy Daugs. Permission for purchase went to Daugs and the Manor didn't become the President's summer home as planned. However, following Germany's loss in WWII, the German property was transferred to Soviet possession in compensation. The Manor was overseen by the board for Soviet property, and during this time the Main Building was left empty and fell into disrepair.
Yrjö Sirola rented the house in 1947, and it began to house the Sirola College. In 1956 the Sirola Foundation bought the buidings and the land. More than half of the land was given to veterans to use as small farms and land for houses, leaving the other half to what was Vanaja municipality at the time. Sirola College was finally shut down in 1994.
Two years later, Hämeenlinna City Council bought the estate, and it was leased by Vanajanlinna Oy, partly owned by the Sirola Foundation. In 1998, Mika Walkamo and Pekka Vihma became owners of Vanajanlinna Oy, and began running a Conference Hotel on the estate.