Rauma lace week is an opportunity to get to see the yards of the Old Rauma. This year, 35 yards are open for the public to see. Some have something to sell, old clothes and things.
The wife of a seamen, depicted on the paintings of the 19th century, is standing on the sea side sad and distressed. Next time she sees the husband in a year or two. Maybe never. She is responsible for taking care of the house and the kids alone. I wrote this story to the newspaper Raumalainen, published on 17.07.2019.
Every third man in Rauma was a sailor around the middle of the 19th century. In 1830 Rauma seamen got the right to sail further away from the shores of Finland, on open seas all around the world. Sailors received new duties at faraway ports and their ships did not return home for years.
The sailor’s wife received a third or half of the man’s wage through the seamen’s house. Not bad! But that was not enough to feed the family. Women had to rent out rooms in order to make extra money. They would take care of the sick, the orphans and the old people and be paid by the seamen’s house (just as if the men on sea would pay their wives, but the money goes to a caretaker). If women had no house of their own, they would have to work as maids and live in the employer’s house (under constant supervision, losing their independence). Most of the women from 1750s to 1840s were engaged in bobbin lace making for extra revenue.
The other men in the family, the grandfathers and the brothers, helped them. Sometimes a grandma would live in the next room, as you can see in Kirsti’s house museum.
One fifth of the seamen earned so well that they could buy the real estate from that income. Only house owners were allowed to practice farming and rent fields from the city. It was a good side income. The owners of the Kirsti’s house kept cattle from 1755 until 1947.
The salary and working conditions of Finnish sailors were not good. No wonder they escaped the ship for a better life in America or for a better paid job on American or English ships. Some got sick on faraway journeys and had to be left at the hospital in South Africa or other remote countries, with no opportunity to return.
According to Jari Lybeck’s dissertation, 270 seamen from Rauma escaped from the ship in 1840-1870 (that is 30 years). The same happened on the other Finnish ships and every third seamen from Turku would desert the ship! The masters would then have to find new personnel in order to continue sailing.
What did the seamen eat on long journeys during the times they had no refrigerators? Pea soup and porridge. Porridge and pea soup. Stomach pains, yes. Weak health from the lack of vitamin C as well. When they reached the land, they would buy meat, fruit, alcohol, tobacco and coffee. It was only after the 1850s that they had any money. And the young boys, of course, went for an “adventure”. Married men wanted the same, but they were afraid the rumors would reach their families at home. They were all from the same town.
Have you seen the porcelain dogs on the windows in the old Rauma? The dogs look in the house if the man is home. According to a rumor these were given to the seamen as gifts by the most expensive prostitutes at English ports.
But only a third of the divorces were a result of a woman’s misbehavior. Only? Or too many? I wonder where these extra men arrived to the small town to comfort lonely women, if at some point Rauma had 1000 seamen (sounds like all boys aged 10+ and men were on the sea).
A woman filed for a divorce if a man had deserted the ship for a better life and there was no sign of him for a year. Usually she waited longer, even 10-20 years. A single woman with kids was not a nice status those days. Some did a crime to feed the family. A seamen’s house supported those deserted wives to some extent, but not forever. If she got pregnant, she filed for a divorce. She could keep his belongings, as he was the initial cause of their divorce (not her extramarital relationship). She had to be quick, as he could still decide to return and she would be the only sinful.
It was not only the status of a married woman, the independence from a master and the financial security that lead women to such a lonely marriage. It might as well been love. Why else would anyone walk all the way from Rauma to Turku harbor (100 kilometers!) to meet a husband. It took them days to get there. They helped carry the things home. Gifts? Stockings? Perfumes? No. All she got from a well-travelled man was a self-made ship in a bottle. Most important was that he came back alive. The captain’s wife might have got a scarf.
Nowadays not only the seamen leave homes and families. Several positions require a trip from time to time. But our spouses come home more often. We have the electricity, washing machines, television, hot water. Food is available at the store; there is no need to grow the potatoes and keep cattle. Children’s diapers go into garbage, not the laundry. Rauma is no longer a city of single mothers.
Enjoy your family summer holiday and why not visit the Rauma museums together. The sailor’s house museum Kirsti is open on summer time only (Tue-Sun 10-17). Rauma Maritime Museum is open every day in summer (from 11-17). On other times it is only on Saturdays. The wealthy shipowner’s Gabriel Granlund house museum Marela is open every day except Mondays.
Article by Kairi Rintanen (just like all the others in this blog)
Why not drive out of the Rauma town and visit an art house in a village? Väinö Ylen (1908 – 2000) was a mason and a part time farmer. He became interested in arts after participating at the art courses in Rauma. His barn has about 200 works.
In his art he depicts the old ways of working and the life of the village community.
His wife was a house wife and died 10 years before him. They had no children and they inherited their house and arts to Kodisjoki religious community. The house museum is currently under renovation.
Google-maps sends you to a wrong location (house number 900 something). Drive further, through Kodisjoki village, until you reach a yellow barn and a white house number 1535 on your right hand side.
Before going, check on its website Taidekoti Ylen if it is open.
Address: Kodisjoentie 1535, 27310 KODISJOKI
Marela shows the life and lifestyle of a wealthy shipowner and his family at the turn of the 1900s, the golden age of seafaring in Rauma.
The shipowner Gabriel Granlund II started off at sea at age 9. He didn’t go to school, but he knew foreign languages. His English skills, for example, were used at the peace negotiations of the Crimean War in 1855, when British ships tried to bomb Rauma.
He founded the family quite late. He was 57, when he married a 20 years younger Kristina. They had 3 sons, one of whom died in a sailing accident at an early age.
Gabriel was a rich, but stingy man. When he died in 1901, his grown-up sons and the wife started wide renovations of the house and built a summer residence Villa Tallbo (now a fancy restaurant). They went bankrupt soon. Not only because of wasting the money, but also due to the more competitive steam ships. None of their belongings can be seen at the museum, but thanks to the precise bankruptcy list, similar things have been found there.
Rauma’s town council has been in several buildings before the people of Rauma built this baroque style stone house in 1776. It is similar to one in Porvoo.
The 18th century town halls in Rauma and Porvoo are the only ones in Finland which have remained in their original form. Rauma’s building is the second oldest stone building in Rauma after the Church of the Holy Cross (1512).
In 1776 Rauma was a town of 1500 people, half of whom were working age people. Each was required to bring grey stones for the construction of the building.
The town council moved away from the second floor into a new building in 1902 and the police department moved out of the first floor in 1930ies. Rauma museum occupies the whole building since then.
Why Rauma got a museum so early? In 1891, during the renovations of the Holy Cross Church, many things needed to be stored somewhere. Hence the idea of a museum was born.
Funny, the museum walls say the town had 15 city councilors, chosen among the biggest tax payers. But those wealthy men were not interested in such additional tasks given to them. The only revenue they received was a free rent of a cabbage field for 8 years. Haha. Imagine telling this to your current city mayor 😊
Collecting taxes to the Swedish king was an unpleasant thing to do and the youngest clerk got that job. The Swedish copper coin from the 1700s and 1800s could be 19 kilos heavy! Look at the picture.
The second floor is about the history of Rauma and Finland. The first floor has an exhibition of Rauma bobbin lace. Now that it has temporarily moved into the premises of Marela house museum, the Town Hall museum holds an exhibition of church lace.
The first floor has a nice souvenir shop. Toilets are on the ground floor. You can see the windows of the lockup (prison).
By the way, while in Rauma, visit 3 museums for the price of 8 euros! (Raathihuone- old town hall, Kirsti seaman’s house museum and Marela shipowner’s house museum).
It was a time when roads were of bad condition and horses were used for the transportation of goods. Don’t forget that Rauma had the biggest sailing ship capacity in 1892-1898 in whole Finland! But what to ship if there was no connection to the factories?
Rauma asked government for the railway already in 1880s, but the heads of state refused to invest in such a small town. Rauma was a city of 4000 people, just like Uusikaupunki. But Pori, which received the railway connection, had over 10 000 inhabitants. Pori and Rauma have for long been competing with each other for the same projects.
Besides the funds of the road transportation, which were derived from taxing the alcohol consumption, were low those days.
As the long-awaited 47 kilometers of railroad was ready, the town’s people were in an overly festive mood hooraying on the streets of Rauma.
Rauma would not be such an important export harbor these days if the town council had not decided to take action then.
Also the training center for teachers was established in Rauma due to the positive developments in transport connections. It would otherwise have gone to Pori.
The first regular rail
service started in the United States in 1830. The same year in England. In 1850’s
The railway was considered expensive and not suitable for winter traffic. The government was thinking of creating a transport network through building inland river-channels instead!
Compared to horse transport, the railway was fast and efficient. The Emperor Alexander II announced that a railway had to be built from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna. So the first railway in the country was already 35 years before.
In 1868, the Riihimäe- St. Petersburg line was opened (in order to be able to bring food from Russia during the years of hunger).
Rauma was the only municipality to build its own railway
In 1895, Rauma received permission to build a railway and government promised to give half of the money if the town of 4000 people found the other half. That was 20 times the size of Rauma’s annual budget. It is 9.5 million euros in today’s currency.
Merchant J. L. Stenius inherited 145,000 marks in his will for the construction of the track. The city borrowed another 1 million marks in bonds. Construction went fast and the track was completed with a smaller budget due to the delay. The price of iron and steel had almost dropped by half and the interest rates on loans had also declined.
When Rauma got its 47.5 km long railway line from Rauma harbor to Kokemäe Peipohja in Pori, it started transporting both cargo and passengers. Different wagons were merged into one. Wagons were rented from the government.
There was a lack of carpenters and sometimes the work was interrupted by excessive drinking, but otherwise the work progressed quickly and great damage was avoided on site. At some point, there 1,500 employees (in the town of 4000 people!) and accommodation problems occurred. Fifty families were homeless before the winter arrived. They were accommodated in summer villas, at a cholera hospital on Syväraumankatu street and at restaurant Suoja at the harbor.
An interesting fact
For 3 years the Rauma Town Hall clock was 14 minutes behind the railway station’s clock. In 1899 the official time of Helsinki was introduced in the whole city to avoid misunderstandings. But who needs a clock anyway, haha. The first 100 years the town hall clock showed hours only.
The Rauma railway station is as old as the
railway, built in 1897. The drawings are similar to that of Oulu railway
The appearance of the building is unchanged, but the interior has been changed during renovations. The city sold the building to private hands 20 years ago. The current owner is planning to build a restaurant in the old premises.
Refugee port during the war
At the beginning of the World War I in 1914, all Finnish harbors were closed except the one of Rauma! Refugees started to use this as an opportunity to escape from Russia to Western Europe and vice versa. The port in Pori, Mäntyluoto, was open for the traffic of goods only. Or was it?
I have seen pictures of nicely dressed ladies sitting on top of their hat boxes on the sandy dunes of Rauma pine forest. The first refugees were of an upper class and could pay for the housing and food to Rauma families, in money or jewelry. They travelled in VIP wagons of the train. The rest were not doing so well and helping became a burden to the citizens of Rauma.
Why the port of Rauma was not closed by the Russian
decision makers? I made a quick research and came to these conclusions (you may correct):
1. It was a winter port. The sea was ice free.
2. Same railway track width as in Russia.
3. Rauma port was active in foreign trade.
4. Affordable position as a recipient of Gevle and Stockholm traffic
The shipping offices moved from Helsinki to Rauma (also the branch office of the famous butter producer Valio).
The goods for the Russian state arrived to Rauma in bad condition. It had been stored outside in Sweden and got wet on the way. It could have been an arbitrary behavior of frustrated people. Not everyone was on the Russian side. Different books give different approaches on being faithful to the Russian government and about the relationship to the German enemy. Sea marks were removed from near the port to confuse the German enemies.
In 1950 Rauma sold the railway to the state as it was economically difficult to maintain. Rauma city received 175 million marks from the sale that it used for the construction of Otankoulu schoolhouse in 1952 (the yellow building near the baseball field and the beach).
Passenger traffic on the track ended in 1988 and from then on people were taken to Kokemäe by bus. The Tampere – Pori train stops at Kokemäe.
Freight traffic is still very lively, and the track was electrified in 1997, 100 years after its establishment.
The Finnish government was recently offering four towns of Finland to participate in a short pilot project to test if there was a need for the passenger railway traffic. Rauma was unfortunately left out of the project as the research showed low interest in passenger traffic (70 000 -100 000 passengers per year would only be 10% of the full capacity; 14-20 passengers per train). The railway station would have been built somewhere close to Prisma or Citymarket, cause its old building is under private ownership and in a distant place.
Matti Vahe ja Mauri Rautavuori, the experts of the Rauma railway history, are of the opinion that the city council’s brave decision to build the railway on its own was as good as today’s city council’s decision to rescue the shipbuilding business by purchasing the premises of the shipbuilding company that closed its doors in Rauma 7 years ago. Rauma Marine Constructions has a bright future ahead with orders for about 1 billion euros for the coming 7-8 years!
So it is all connected to each other. Rauma started to flourish as it got its own railway connection! The population has grown from 4 000 to 40 000 people. Rauma is a successful industrial town.
I just wish we had more people visiting the town. A spa would be an opportunity to get people visit Rauma all year round. But it’s another topic. Enjoy the many beaches of the Rauma town while it’s still warm outside.
June 13 is a flag day in Rauma. Why? Did you see these men march in their sailor’s hats to the monument of Hj. Nortamo in front of the cafe Prassen?
Frans Hjalmar Nortamo (known as Hj. Nortamo, also known as Nordling) was born on June 13, 1860 in Rauma. He was a doctor and worked in many places besides Rauma. As he got older, he started missing his hometown and started to write about it.
Nortamo is best known for his series of ‘Raumlaissi jaarituksi’ (‘Yarns from Rauma’), which was also a name of a book published in 1920. It was written in the dialect of Rauma, and is regarded as the first Finnish language text that has been written in a dialect (during the times when dialects were out of fashion).
The dialect of Rauma has a lot of words from the old seafaring days from Swedish, English, Estonian, French, Russian and German languages. Rauma dialect is regarded as its own language (Rauman gial). It is hundreds of years old and it was best used in the 1800 century.
Nortamo’s writings have been crucial in saving the knowledge of the dialect for the current generations.
He died on November 30, 1931 in Pori.
Both Rauma and Pori have statues and street names dedicated to the famous writer.
Tauno Koskela, another writer from Rauma, continued his work as the savior of Rauman language. He was also head of the Nortamo club Nortamo-Seor that was created 1 year before the death of the famous writer.
Some words that remind me of my Estonian language are:
Word in Rauma language -> Finnish meaning -> English translation for you (with the correct Estonian version in brackets)
- afäär – bisness, kauppa – business
- ahter – perä, laivan peräpää – stern, the rear of the ship (also referring to a woman’s butt)
- ankkur- ankkuri – anchor
- eilä – eilinen – yesterday’s (eile)
- evangeeljum – evankeliumi – Gospel
- hilja- myöhään – late
- hirvhammas – joker
- jakk – pusero, lyhyt takki – jacket
- jopi – homma, työ – job
- just- tarkalleen, juuri niin – right so
- kali – kalja – suds
- kartiin- ikkunaverho – curtain
- kaste- kastike- sauce
- kastrull – varrellinen keittoastia – pan, sauce pan
- kasöör- kassanhoitaja – cashier
- katalook – puhelin- tai muu luettelo – catalogue
- klimpp – kokkare – dumpling (in soup)
- koer-koira- dog
- kostyym -asu, puhu – costume
- kraan – nosturi – crane
- kraappi – raapia – scratch (in Estonian kraapima)
- krapin- rapina (in Estonian krabin)- patter (noise)
- kruus – savipullo (also a cup in Estonian) – clay bottle
- kröhä -yskä – cough (in Estonian köha)
- köökk – keittiö – kitchen
- ladv- latva – topp (topp of a tree for example)
- laev – laiva – ship
- leip – leipä – bread (in Estonian leib)
- liki – lähellä – close (in Estonian ligi)
- limunaad- limonaati – lemonade (in Estonian limonaad)
- lips- solmio, kravatti – tie
- mamma- äiti, isoäiti – mother or grandmother
- mamsel – neiti – miss, young lady
- mandel – manteli – almond
- maneer- tapa – manner
- mansikas- mansikka- strawberry
- masinist- koneenkäyttäjä – machinist
- massöörskä – hierojatar – (in Estonian massöör) – masseur
- matras – patja- mattress (in Estonian madrats)
- matruus – ammattimerimies – professional sailor
- meetter – metri- meter
- metssika – mäyrä – badger (but sounds like metssiga / wild boar in Estonian /villisika)
- mukul – lapsi- child
- mull – sonnivasikka – bull calf (mullikka)
- muuttorpaatt – moottorivene – motorboat (in Estonian mootorpaat)
- mööpel – huonekalu – furniture (in Estonian mööbel)
- neli – neljä -four
- nisu-vehnä – what (nisu in Estonian)
- nokk – nokka, niemi, nenä – nose, cape
- nolkk – nulikka, pätkä (keltanokka) – freshman (nolk – a young man who does something wrong)
- olu – olut – beer (in Estonian õlu)
- opplaine -aloittelija, uusi työntekijä – beginner
- paatt- vene- boat (in Estonian paat)
- pakane-pakkanen – frost, cold
- pankkrott- konkurssi – bankrupcy
- pap, pappa – isoisä, isä, vaari – dad, grandfather
- paperos- savuke – cigarette
- pasiseer- matkustaja – passenger (sounds like Russian „passazir“)
- pits-pitsi – bobbing lace
- plangett – lomake – paper form (in Estonian plankett)
- pliitta – hellanlevy – the stove plate
- pluus – takki, pusero – shirt
- pott- astia, pullo – container, bottle
- prilli – silmälasit- spectacles (in Estonian prillid)
- pross-naisten rintakoru – women’s brooch
- pruun-ruskea – brown
- puolamari- puolukka – cowberry (pohl, pohlamari)
- pukett- kukkakimppu – bouquet
- pukseer- hinaaja – tug (to carry broken cars)
- puljong- lihaliemi- broth
- pyst -pienehko patsas, rintaveistos – byst
- raad- raati – council
- raam – kehys – frame
- reis-reisi – thigh
- reiss- matka – trip
- remontt – korjaus, kunnostus -repair
- ruum-lastitila laivassa – cargo space on board
- ruuppar-sireeni, äänitorvi – horn
- ränn – vesikouru – gutter
- rästäs- räystäs – eaves
- sinkk – kinkku – ham
- svampp – pesusieni – sponge (švamm in Estonian)
- syltt- hillo – jam, conserve (sült is meat jelly, not the sweat jam)
- talrik, taltrik – lautanen – plate
- tapplus- tappelu – fight
- telefuun -puhelin – telephone (telefon in Estonian)
- telekram – sähke – telegram
- tikkerpäär – karviaismarja – gooseberry
- tool- tuoli – chair
- toopp – tuoppi – mug
- toos-rasia, koppa
- trapp – rappu, porras- stairs (trepp)
- tross – touvi, paksu köysi – rope
- trotuaar – jalkakäytävä – pavement
- tuur – vuooro / onni – luck
- täkk- sängynpeitto / laivan kansi – blanket (tekk)
- täkst- teksti-text (tekst)
- uus- uusi- new
- vahdat- katsoa, tuijotta – stare (vahtima)
- vahe – kahden rakennuksen väinen sopla, kapea, päättyvä kadunpätkä – area between something, street end
- vahetta- vaihtaa- change (vahetama)
- vahetuskaupp – vaihtokauppa- barter deal, swap
- vaht – vahti / vaahto – guard / foam
- vakstuuk – vahakangas – oilcloth (vakstu)
- vale- valhe- lie
- valehammas- tekohammas – artificial tooth
- vare- kiviröykkiö- cairn
- vares- varis – crow
- värkk – läite, koje, tarvike -accessory
- väärt- arvoinen – worth
- yässeks -yöksi – (stay) for the night (ööseks)
- äksaam – testi, koe, tutkinto – exam (eksam)
- äppelssiin – appelsiini – orange
- öli – öljy – oil
You might also hear such Rauma words often:
- Ehto – ilta tai illallinen – evening or supper
- Fingerpori- sormustin – thimble
- Hamin – satama – port
- Hellambiitta – liesilevy -stove plate
- Kippar- laivuri, kapteni – captain (e.g. Kipparinpuisto is a kids’ play area that refers to the captain’s garden)
- Kitukränn – Suomen kapein katu (kapeimillaan 2,65m) – unofficially the narrowest street in Finland
- Lapskous – Lapskoussi is a traditional food of Rauma that has come to the town with the seamen. The dish is also known in other European port cities. You can often buy one for lunch or to home at Ankkuri restaurant in the theatre building.
- Lyst – huvi, hauskuus – fun
- Mummu – äidinäiti, mummo – grandmother, mother’s mom
- Nurangätine – vääränkätine, joskus vasenkätinen – „wrong handed“ referring to the left-handed
- Onnipuss – linja-auto- bus
- Paapuur – laivan vasen puoli perästä katsoen – the left side of the ship from the rear
- Peti- sänky, vuode – bed
- Petat – sijata vuode- make the bed
- Potatt – peruna – potato
- Pusk – pensas – bush
- Puting- vanukas- pudding (puding)
- Sylyvau – sylivauva (also name of the company in Rauma)- infant
- Pyyrman – entisajan kaupungin virallinen tiedottaja, uudistenlukija, joka rummuttamalla kutsu väen koolle – An official „spokesman“ for the old city, a news reader. He calls the people by drumming.
- Raum – salmi -strait
- Saför – kuski, autonkuljettaja – driver (refers to Russian shafjor)
- Styyrpuur- laivan oikea puoli perästä katsoen – right side of the ship from the rear (the sign you can see at the entrance of the old people’s house)
- Suvilyst – kesäloma, piknik – summer holiday (suvi is summer in Estonian)
- Terveksi – terveisiä – greetings (write to your friends on a Christmas card – Oikke luanikast uutt vuatt ja terveksi Raumalt!)
- Tua- tuo – that
- Tupla- talven ajaksi asennettava sisäikkuna / kaksinkertainen – winter window / double
- Tämne – tälläinen, tämmöinen – such, like that („tämne mnää vaa ole“ -> „I am like this“)
- Täsä- tässä – here
Source of Rauma words: “Raumlaine sanakiri. Rauma-suomi sanakirja. Raumankielisiä tervehdyksiä ja muita sanontoja.”
by Hannu Heino
The way people call each other sounds like they’ve been friends for ages. It’s a “you” with a small letter, not the “You” that you call your teacher, the strangers or the older people in your own country. So if you follow your friend in a town, seems he knows everyone. And if he comes to your country, seems like he is flirting with strangers.
The other politeness related issue is that Finns don’t say please as a word. They put ‘ko at the end of the verb and that’s it . ( Voitko antaa minulle .. = Can you give me).
A nice habit is to say “thank you” after each meal before getting up. Even the smallest kids say so, regardless of whether the hostess hears it or not.
Unlike Russians or Estonians, Finnish people do not have the habit of bringing flowers when visiting somebody. Even at the wedding you might end up having a flower girl stand empty handed (the little girl who is supposed to collect all the flowers guests bring).
But they do care about people on the “other side”. For me it seems that they take too expensive flowers to the graveyard and visit the graveyard every week of December. ..when instead I’d pay more attention to the ones alive. The graveyards are then full of candles.
Finnish people are very polite and modest to my mind. They speak few and seldom you hear them speak about someone behind the back. Avoid getting to the yoga class too early. You end up looking at your toes quietly for too long time and it’s a pain.
Finns are rather too early than late. Especially the church and the concerts, sometimes even half an hour early.
Ther eis a certain tradition with the funerals that you have to learn or see what others do or tell you.
At the birthdays and parties it is considered polite not to come to the table when a hostess calls people! It shows that you came with an empty stomach. Unlike me, don’t take too much cake. People take a queue for the cake and the coffee. At bigger events, people at the first table go first. Then second table and so on.
Unfortunately I have to say something sad too. Finnish party, if alcohol is offered, turns out into a zoo. A grayest mouse becomes a talkative brave bull. The events last too long, from 17 til 1 or 2 at midnight. Alcohol is consumed to become social. At the beginning hardly anyone speaks and it just doesn’t get started til people rescue themselves by smoking corners to avoid the restless situation or hide behind the beer cans. Alcohol is expensive in Finland. The winner gets to carry one home in his stomach.
I just wanted to write you what a nice colorful candle-like flower called lupine grows on the roadside.
As an outsider, you would notice it right away. But for the locals it is a rapidly spreading weed that should be destroyed. It is in the national list of harmful alien species that doesn’t enable local flowers to grow . Read more here.