An influential force in Vaasa and Ostrobothnia

The Harry Schauman Foundation was established in 1933; the basis for the foundation was laid by the socially enlightened businessman Harry Schauman in his will. The official name of the foundation is Harry Schaumans Stiftelse (HSS). Over the past 80 years, the foundation has grown into a leading social developer in Vaasa, in Ostrobothnia and in Finland’s Swedish-speaking community.

Harry Schauman was born in 1879 into an affluent business family. Both his father, Axel Schauman, and his mother, Hanna Schauman, were successful entrepreneurs. The family’s cluster of businesses included, among others, a shipping company and Finland’s first commercial crispbread bakery. After selling the crispbread bakery to Vaasan Höyrymylly Oy, Harry Schauman became a major shareholder in the company’s steam mill.

Harry Schauman lived all of his life in the city of Vaasa, in the same house at the address Rantakatu 4, now home to Svenska Klubben (the Swedish Club). His great passions were culture, art and literature, but he also supported sporting activities in his home city, by founding, for example, the Vaasa Swimming Club – Vasa simsällskap. Harry Schauman died in 1932 at the age of 52.

HSS’s mission is to support Swedish-language science, education and culture in Ostrobothnia. Each year, the foundation awards scholarships and grants amounting to nearly one million euros. The foundation particularly supports higher education and it played a leading role when the University of Helsinki established a bilingual programme of law studies in Vaasa.

The foundation is the largest private property owner in Vaasa’s city centre. The properties include Alatori’s new and old Commerce building, the HS Centre, the “Bank of Finland building”, i.e. KOY Ritz, and Kurtenia, voted Vaasa’s most beautiful building, formerly home to Helsingin Osakepankki (originally Wasa Aktie Bank).

HSS is an committed developer of Vaasa’s cityscape and over the years it has played a responsible role in promoting the construction of the Toriparkki car parking facility as well as the city’s heated pavements. HSS owns around five hectares of covered floor area, of which 44,000 square metres have been leased.

The foundation is also an active and dedicated newspaper owner in Ostrobothnia. The foundation’s wholly-owned media company, HSS Media, publishes four newspapers: Vasabladet, Österbottens Tidning, Pietarsaaren Sanomat and Syd-Österbotten.