The history of the original estate of Vanajanlinna, Äikäälä, goes back to the Middle Ages. Historical records mention Olle af Aeykaelum (Olli of Äikäälä) as the owner of the Äikäälä estate in 1374. After him the farm has had many owners and a colourful history as a freehold and holding farm used for agriculture.
The actual history of Vanajalinna begins from the year 1918, when the industrialist Carl Wilhelm Rosenlew bought the Äikäälä estate. His idea was to build a hunting lodge for politicians and economical elite of the new, independent Finland. The Vanajanlinna palace was designed by Sigurd Frosterus and it represents baroque, renaissance and British manor architecture styles. The massive red-brick palace was completed in 1924.
After the death of C. W. Rosenlew Vanajanlinna was left for minimal use and in 1941 Rosenlews decided to sell the estate. There were two interested buyers. Risto Ryti, the President of Finland, wanted Vanajanlinna as the President´s summer residence instead of the present official summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali. The other interested was an immensely rich German munitions industrialist Willy Daugs. Despite Risto Ryti´s strong opposition, Vanajanlinna was sold to Daugs, who then moved to the house.
After Germany was defeated in the war, all German property in Finland was transferred to the Soviet Union as war reparations, including Vanajanlinna. The Russian embassy used Vanajanlinna for holiday residence few times, but the main building began to decay. In 1956 Yrjö Sirola Institute acquired the estate and moved it as the folk high school. After the acquisition over a half of the land was conveyed to veterans to build small farms and dwelling houses. The Sirola Institute was shut down in 1994 and in 1996 the buildings and land of Vanajanlinna were acquired by the City of Hämeenlinna.
Today Vanajanlinna provides hotel, restaurant, conference and event services. There is also a high class golf course.
The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.
The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.
The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.