Saturday, 5 September 2015

Hovdala Castle - An Eventful Site Over Course of Time

Hovdala Castle - An Eventful Site Over Course of Time

From a medieval stronghold to...
...a blossoming family estate in the 18th century and...
...a cultural heritage in the 20th century.

Hovdala Castle and main tower (tower built by Siwert Grubbe, 1600).

Hovdala Castle, in Hässleholm municipality, is a medieval fortification originating from early 16th century. It is located on the former war torn boarder zone between Sweden and Denmark and suffered over the years from hostilities on both sides. From being a Danish stronghold it became a blossoming country estate of the Mickelsson / Ehrenborg family for 9 generations under Swedish rule. By the 20th century it had run into financial difficulties and was taken over by the state (Swedish National Property Board) and was turned into cultural heritage site open to the public by 1998. 

Location of Hovdala Castle (courtesy Google maps).

Hovdala Castle in a beautiful park surrounding near lake Finja.

The Danish reign lasted until 1658 and during that time the castle was reinforced with new buildings including the white gate tower and the moat was also made deeper. This proved useful when king Gustav II Adolf of Sweden tried to assault the castle but failed in the end. Especially Siwert Grubbe also paid attention to the looks of the surroundings and planted trees and flowers. A Danish assault towards the end of the 17th century destroyed the castle in a fire but Jens Mikkelsen / Ehrenborg had it restored. The moat was later dried up which caused financial difficulties for the Ehrenborgs.

Cultural heritage plants and the garden in Hovdala Park.

The head gardener, Georg Grundsten, proudly presented the above round perenna that contains historical plantmaterials derived from a gene bank with plants like Garden phlox and Butterfly stonecrop dating back to the 1940's. They are strong and healthy with a long blossoming period. Also the kitchen garden was in full bloom and schoolchildren had erected large scare crows all with specific given names and a story to tell in the garden. Ricky, the tall one in blue, "arrived on a stormy day and felt scared. The Black Knight showed a safe way to the cellar where he could sleep until the next day. Ricky had found a new friend and decided to stay in the garden all summer". 

Mighty protectors also called scarecrows in the kitchen garden.

The orangery, below, was built to store exotic plants over the winter time. Today it is used as an exhibition area and is also a popular venue for weddings. The red painted orangery is probably the first thing to spot when arriving to the castle. It is very photogenic as is the whole area. The path passing the orangery leads to the magnificent and colorful kitchen garden that provides the castle with  flowers, vegetables and herbs. The staff in the garden is most helpful and keen to answer your questions should you have any. Occasionally there are also plants to be bought and taken home.

The orangery was designed and built at the end of the 18th century by the Ehrenborg family.

Hovdala Castle also offers a beautiful surrounding nature with several hiking paths in the vicinity that have sections suitable for people with prams or wheelchairs. Lake Finja is rich in birdlife and one hiking route (Alslingan) passes through a big wetland forest sometimes known as "Europe's rain forest". 

Lush greenery by Hammarmölledammen near the castle.

Surrounding nature at Hovdala Castle.

As a cultural heritage site, Hovdala Castle, offer today a variety of programs including concerts, operas, exhibitions (extensive historic tapestry this time), a museum and culinary experiences and wine tasting. In early spring a very colorful and exciting knights tournament is organized when some 50 knights challenge each other for glory and rewards. Another special event this year was the exhibition displaying old models of the US built car Mustang. For more details about their program please visit the website:

The Castle Shop and Tapestry exhibition.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this photographic excursion to Hovdala Castle, a historic site with many tales to tell and much to offer with anything from exciting nature adventures to special events, cultural happenings and culinary menus as well as wine tasting. 

Have a great working week everyone!


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