Heinrich Müller (Rentmeister)

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Heinrich (Henrik) Müller (born March 16, 1609 in Itzehoe ; † March 2, 1692 in Lejregård ) was a German rent master, financier and businessman in the Danish service.

Live and act

Heinrich Müller was the son of a merchant of the same name from Itzehoe and his wife Catharina Lorenzen (* around 1580; buried in December 1658 near St. Nikolai in Copenhagen ). Gerhard Rantzau accepted him as a talented youngster at the age of 15 at Schloss Breitenburg . Here he should be trained together with Christian zu Rantzau . In 1627 both attended the Sorø Knight Academy .

From 1628 to 1630 Müller worked at the German Chancellery in Copenhagen , then until 1632 for the imperial court master Franz Rantzau . However, he died that same year. In November 1632 Christian IV made Müller his chamber clerk who administered his personal income. In 1642 he took over the post of customs collector in Copenhagen. At the same time he started a private trading business in close cooperation with the royal sons-in-law Corfitz Ulfeldt and Hannibal Sehested , whose acquaintance he had made in Sorø. During the Torstensson War, Müller supplied the Danish king on a large scale with timber and materials for building ships. His demands on the Danish state in the 1640s amounted to 690,000 Reichstaler . For this he received mostly money from the Norwegian and Danish customs. In addition, King Friedrich III. several of his properties in Copenhagen. Here Müller built on a larger scale and set up two copper works, a salt works and other companies. He thus developed into one of the pioneers who built up manufactories in Denmark . In March 1651 he was appointed general customs administrator in Denmark and reorganized the customs system.

In July 1651, Corfitz Ulfeldt was ousted, which brought Müller briefly into distress and even into prison. However, since the royal family had financial problems, it needed Müller's loans. In addition, the Krone wanted to continue to use his extensive business contacts, including forFKmfmannsfailie Marselis, his expertise and ideas. Müller continues to supply the royal family. Alone or as a partner of the Marselis family or the Postmaster General Paul Klingenberg , he became one of Denmark's most important donors. This was particularly true during the Second Northern War . In 1653 he received privileges for merchant shipping to Greenland and the Danish possessions in the West Indies . He received shares in the African trading company and maintained several structures in Norway. During the war he worked in various positions for the state. As admiralty councilor he equipped the fleet, belonged to several commissions and worked as a diplomat, u. a. in the negotiations for the Peace of Roskilde in 1658, at which Corfitz Ulfeldt represented the Swedish side.

After the end of the war, Müller received several posts in the reform of the Danish state in 1660. He worked in the new treasury college as a rent master, assessor and councilor. Initially, he was responsible for the excise tax and Danish customs duties and payments for the army and fortresses. Later the Norwegian customs duties and the monetary affairs of the court budget were added. He earned services through good bookkeeping. From 1661, Müller took part in the creation of a new Landesmatrikel . In 1662 he probably helped shape the Norwegian customs roll and in 1670 he belonged to a commission that worked out a new Norwegian tax system.

His large loans it granted the State has been with Crown lands and several places as a royal bailiff settled. For 500,000 Reichstaler he received more than 11,000 tax tonnes of land. Alongside the Marselis family, he was the financier of Denmark, which received most of the state land. Müller also acquired numerous aristocratic properties, which the bourgeoisie was not allowed to do until 1660. At the same time he converted abandoned farms into new estates, including today's Ledreborg. He bequeathed most of the land to his children. As a landowner, he acted harshly on his farmers, which caused constant conflict. At the same time he had to pay the crown high prices for land and suffered from the poor economic situation in the agricultural sector. In 1664, for example, he paid the king a price for the ruins of Dragsholm Castle, which was destroyed by Swedish troops in 1660, and the office that went with it, which far exceeded the value of the castle and office. He therefore had to pledge the castle and office to his own creditor, the Hamburg-based Jewish merchant Isaac Chaim Senior Teixeira . In addition, other projects did not develop as desired: With the privilege granted in 1662 for a sugar refinery in Copenhagen, Müller speculated as well as with trading with Iceland .

In 1670 Christian V took over the government in Denmark. He dismissed Christoffer von Gabel , who had enjoyed great influence under his father. In the following years, Müller withdrew a little from the financial administration and ended his activities as a bailiff. However, he was able to win the favor of Chancellor Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld and thus in 1673 buy the Kongsberg silver mine , lands in Trøndelag and the jurisdiction, patronage rights and the royal tithe for several Danish goods from the royal family. On May 1, 1674, he and his children were raised to the hereditary nobility .

At the latest with the outbreak of the Skåne War in 1674 and the fall of Griffenfeld in the following year, Müller's creditworthiness and influence fell constantly. In addition, there were losses in its trading operations and the collapse of a copper mine. When a new board of pensions was created in 1679, his civil service ended involuntarily. After an intensive check of his accounts, he was confronted with a claim for 132,496 Reichstaler. Several goods worth a total of 115,853 Reichstaler were expropriated to settle this debt, including Dragsholm. In 1685 he paid off the remaining debt by handing over his property in Norway. He also had to serve other creditors.

For the last years of his life, Müller lived impoverished with his widowed daughters, initially with Anna Cathrine on Kornerupgård, and after her death with Drude on Lejregård (today Ledreborg ). After his death, the king paid the family 500 Reichstaler to be able to dignify Müller in the Nikolaikirche in Copenhagen.


Müller married Sophie Hansdatter on July 6, 1633 (born June 20, 1616 in Varberg ; † March 3, 1669 in Copenhagen). Her father Hans Jensen was a councilor. The Müller couple had seven sons and four daughters. Three sons and three daughters were still alive when their father died. His sons achieved high offices, which they also held after their father's decline. For several of his children he had been able to negotiate advantageous marriages with members of the most distinguished middle-class families or even the nobility.

  • Henrik (1635–1717), 1682–1714 bailiff of Skivehu's office, married into the Marselis family.
  • Anna Cathrine (* ~ 1635; † ~ 1691) married the lawyer Caspar Bartholin (1618–1670) on Kornerupgård, a son of the physician and theologian Caspar Bartholin the Elder
  • Christian (1638–1720), bailiff of Iceland 1688–1718, ∞ Margarethe, a daughter of Thomas Bartholin .
  • Jørgen (1643–1695), bailiff of Bamble in Norway, ∞ Karen Henningsdatter Pogwisch .
  • Drude (1644–1704) ∞ Chancellery Thomas Fincke (1632–1677) on Lejregaard.
  • Sophie (1646–1718) ∞ Commerzienrat Johannes Fincke at Sæbygaard


Individual evidence

  1. a b Vello Helk: Müller, Heinrich. In: Biographical Lexicon for Schleswig-Holstein and Lübeck. Volume 6, 1982, p. 200.
  2. JA Fridericia: Hinrik Müller . In: Carl Frederik Bricka (Ed.): Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Tillige omfattende Norge for Tidsrummet 1537-1814. 1st edition. tape 11 : Maar – Müllner . Gyldendalske Boghandels Forlag, Copenhagen 1897, p. 582-586 (Danish, runeberg.org ). ; P. 582.
  3. a b c d Vello Helk: Müller, Heinrich. In: Biographical Lexicon for Schleswig-Holstein and Lübeck. Volume 6, 1982, p. 201.
  4. ^ History of Dragsholm Castle
  5. a b Vello Helk: Müller, Heinrich. In: Biographical Lexicon for Schleswig-Holstein and Lübeck. Volume 6, 1982 p. 202.
  6. a b c J. A. Fridericia: Hinrik Müller . In: Carl Frederik Bricka (Ed.): Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Tillige omfattende Norge for Tidsrummet 1537-1814. 1st edition. tape 11 : Maar – Müllner . Gyldendalske Boghandels Forlag, Copenhagen 1897, p. 586 (Danish, runeberg.org ).
  7. Hans Rudolf Hiort-Lorenzen, Anders Thiset : Danmarks adels aarbog . tape XXII . Danmarks Nobility Aarbog, 1905.
  8. Jørgen Müller