Skip to content
Karl Herman Renlundin muotokuva mikä on nähtävillä Roosin talolla.

K. H. Renlund – Patron of the Museum

Karl Herman Renlund was born in 1850 in Kokkola. His parents were seafarer Petter Renlund and Brita Maria Skoglund. Karl Herman Renlund was a Finnish ironmonger, generous donor as well as a representative of the Diet of Finland for many years. He also greatly influenced the fields of art and culture in Kokkola.

Young Karl Herman moved from Kokkola to Helsinki in 1864, where he at the age of 14 was employed as an errand boy at G. A. Herlin’s hardware company. From there he moved on to work at the hardware store at Stockman for four years. In 1874 he was employed as a travelling salesman at Parviainen & Winter, which had been established the same year. The company, founded by tradesmen Anders Parviainen (1848–1887) and G. H. Winter, sold colonial goods and hardware and were involved in wholesale trade of burning oil and salt.

Winter, who was a partner in the company, died in 1878, and Renlund became a partner in his place. At the same time the name of the company was changed to A. Parviainen & Co. Karl Herman Renlund was a partner in A. Parviainen & Co from 1878 to 1884. In 1884 the business partners parted ways: Parviainen continued with selling colonial goods and Renlund took over the company’s hardware store.

Renlund was an independent hardware dealer on Mikonkatu in Helsinki from 1884 to 1905. The company became a joint-stock company in 1905 and was named Oy K. H. Renlund Ab. Karl Herman Renlund was CEO from 1905 to 1908. Renlund’s hardware store became one of the largest in its field in Finland. Later, in 1959, the company’s ownership was transferred to OTK and in 1993 the business name Renlund was taken over by Kesko when the Eka Group went bankrupt.

Karl Herman Renlund was also involved in many Finnish companies during his time.

  • A. Parviainen & co, Director of Oil Imports 1887–1901
  • A. Parviainen & c:o oy, CEO 1901–1908
  • Suomen Naulakonttori oy, Chairman 1898–1908
  • partner in companies such as Höyrylaiva Oy, Oy Ferraria, Paraisten Kalkkivuori Osakeyhtiö.

Karl Herman Renlund is also associated with the early days of Karl Fazer’s career. Fazer contacted Renlund after calculating that he needed to borrow 150,000 Finnish marks to set up his own business. Fazer asked for Renlund’s guarantee for the sum, to which Renlund answered: “I have to refuse, but I will guarantee a sum of 250,000 marks, as that is the sum Mr. Fazer needs.” Karl Fazer’s café at Kluuvikatu 3 got off to a good start and after a couple of years the debt was paid off.

In 1888, Renlund represented the Bourgeoisie of Helsinki in the Diet of Finland and later in 1891, 1894, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1904–1905 and 1905–1906 he represented Kokkola. He was an avid supporter of culture and art during his life.

Renlund bequeathed 500,000 Finnish marks to set up a foundation called K.H. Renlunds Stiftelse för Finlands praktiskt geologiska undersökning. The foundation, whose name was changed to K. H. Renlund’s Foundation in 1990, supports geology research in Finland. Renlund bequeathed his art collection to the City of Kokkola, and an orphanage and kindergartens were also established in Kokkola with funds donated by Renlund. The foundation Brita Maria Renlunds minne sr. that was founded in accordance with the last will and testament of Karl Herman Renlund was responsible for i.e. the school meals of Swedish speaking children in Kokkola. Today, Renlund’s art collection is exhibited in the K. H. Renlunds museum in Kokkola, in the Roos House, which was built in 1813.