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!


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Ingeborrarp - Refreshing if not Euphoric

Ingeborrarp - Refreshing if not Euphoric

Outstanding Cultural Landscape Scenery

- For a quiet afternoon with a glass of wine
-  For Playful team events
- For an educational guided tour in the museum

Interior of the main house.

Scania is hosting a number of historically very interesting and beautiful cultural landscape sceneries. They all tell us of the past; how we worked and lived, how we socialized and managed our daily routines. Ingeborrap Open-air Museum is taking a keen interest in handicrafts because the municipality of Örkelljunga, as a district, has been strong in handcrafting and less so in agriculture. They display a number of workshops and offer a special exhibition with a variety of wood crafts practiced in the region since 1750's. This museum is very well kept, situated in a tranquil place and very photogenic.

Discovery of the day: A wooden water pump.

Örkelljunga is in northern Scania along the E4 highway.

The above water pump is just one great example of the skills people possessed - a masterpiece of manually fabricated construction to pump up the water and made of locally available materials. Working the wood is a very strong tradition that is still visible particularly during the Xmas Season Markets when you can find fantastic hand crafted ornaments with such detailed and precise work that makes you wonder how it is possible to cut, shape and place with such a precision. The history also have so many great stories to tell like the one when a young couple had been married for a year and they wanted to celebrate it - with a lump of sugar EACH (Source: Örkelljunga - En Hantverksbygd by N-A Brings)

Interior of the wonderful and well equipped museum.

Ingeborrarp is a place to come to if you only want to sit down and do nothing but sense the warm air, the aroma of the nature and let your eyes relax on the landscape.....and there is no rush to leave. Of course, a glass of wine would not necessarily spoil this feeling - a question of personal taste, it is.

But then again the organizers also offer activities like markets, courses and e.g. playful team events. They offer guided tours as well and it struck my mind that, unless already organized, it might tempt people to go on a day's cultural landscape excursion to selected places together with a guide.

The fabulous cultural landscape of Ingeborrarp.

The nice thing also is that the visitor can walk freely in the workshops that are very well kept and carry plenty of genuine tools to provide for an authentic atmosphere of former working conditions. The work was not always that lucrative but people helped each other out and managed with hard work. To commercialize something it could take a long walk to reach a market place where goods often were traded for other goods and not necessarily money.

The forge and a mechanical workshop.

Other interesting work shops; The smithy, The shoemaker and The Timber Museum.

The loft above the old water driven saw mill carry this exhibition where one can admire the work of others skillful hands. The quality is admirable and of course using wood nowadays, instead of plastics, seems almost luxurious. This is also is a photographers paradise but time did not allow for any artistic close-up photography.

An interesting exhibition displaying various handicrafts.

Details of the handicraft exhibition.

The Farm Shop is a hazardous place! They offer delicacies and art work as well as literature that one cannot resist. Or how would you like traditional chocolate sirop on your ice-cream? Or Blueberyjam with arrac? Or private labelled herbal salts? They all tasted fantastic and the chocolate sirop will not take long to finish. A warm appreciation also to the very kind shop assistant that offered a tasting of many of the products. And if anyone is hungry the Inn will provide for a tasty lunch.

Interior of the high quality Farm Shop.

 The Scanian cultural landscape is unique and offer so much to experience, learn and feel. And above all it safeguards old traditions for the future generations to understand and appreciate. Ingeborrarp is a major attraction dating back 150 years. It is an excellent venue for many kind of events for both smaller and larger groups. Do check their website that also exist in English:

The good old days!

Thank you also to all the readers. Hopefully this photographic excursion has been interesting and added something new to your knowledge about Scania - the region of relaxed and genuine friendliness.

Have a great week-end everyone!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Svaneholm Castle; the Homestead of Physiocracy.

Svaneholm Castle; the Homestead of Physiocracy

Originally, in 1530, a stronghold but later transformed to a castle.
In the 18th century it revolutionalized agriculture.
Nowadays it is an exciting museum and venue for many activities.

Svaneholm Castle, Inn and Banquet halls.

This castle is built in a gothic renaissance style over the years. The garrison was accommodated in the cellar, the Knights Hall was on the first level and the castle hall, where the ladies stayed, on the second. The third (attic) was reserved for defensive purposes. Towards the end of the 17th century the castle was extended with the five-storied building influenced by italian barogue architecture (Erik Mårtensson / castle leaflet). During the 19th century baron Rutger Macklean removed the mosse and installed a park in english style.

The castle is situated by lake Svaneholm.

The castle is open for the public from april until end september and offer an exciting visit to the museum that display original items of unique textiles and antiquities. Different kind of guided tours (also night time) is on offer as well as exhibitions and concerts. Feel free to ask for details or visit their website: 

Separately the castle's restaurant (Gästgifveri & Festsalar) and banquet hall arrange meetings, weddings, festive events and different kind of activities for small and large groups. Their kitchen hold two stars in The Green Guide - Guide Michelin and vary the high gastronomic menu seasonally. For details visit their website: 

Svaneholm Castle is near the village of Skurup, Scania, 35 km's from Malmö (Googlemaps).

Of more than 13000 catalogued items many are displayed in the museum.

Physiocratic thinking by Rutger Macklean

The renowned owner, Rutger Macklean, occupied the estate in 1782-1816 and found the farming to be in an utterly poor condition. Based on European experience he undertook profound changes in the agricultural policy and restructure the estate. Farmers received their own allotment to work for and paid rent for their rights. New housing was built and agricultural equipment brought in. Half-timbered housing was changed for straw-reinforced clay buildings called "mackerelled houses". Mackleans thinking was physiocratic emphasizing that agriculture is the basis for our prosperity. The reforms resulted in farmers becoming independent and in the end the impact was felt through a new legislation revolutionizing the whole society. 

Rutger Macklean 1742-1816

One of the most interesting attractions in the museum: The Macklean room.

Furniture, art, silver and porcelain from 18th and 19th centuries.

On display also smithery, textiles, costumes, tools and much more.

Interior from the castle.

Macklean also had an interest in charity work and took initiative in organizing education forming two schools for farmers children as well as a mass vaccination program of smallpox. Pedagogically he had been influenced by Pestalozzi, a Swiss pedagogue.

The school museum at Svaneholm Castle.

Maclean's origin is uncertain. When he died in 1816 he had increased the value of his estate from 20.000 riksdaler to 150.000 using his new agricultural methods and tools. 

Rutger Macklean overlooking his castle.

Svaneholms castle is one of the most interesting sites in Scania to visit. It offers many attractions and activities, for program please visit their website, as well as cultural events and fine dining. It is easily accessible also from Denmark via the bridge of Öresund and a short drive from Malmö. Hope you liked this photographic visit to Svaneholm.

Have a very good working week everyone!


Tuesday, 18 August 2015



Denningarum Farm
Designhotel Pappersbruket 

Welcome to Denningarums Farm in Östanå, Scania.


We have been living in Östra Göinge for more than a year and only now, prompted by an advertisement, decided to pay a visit to Östanå that is off the main road 19. A hidden gem it is for a holiday seeker that look for a touch of wilderness, lush green scenes and a touch of adventure also for the younger family members.

Östanå in Östra Göinge municipality.

The village of Östanå was built around a paper mill that was operational from the 18th century until 1981. River Helge, the largest river in Scania measured by the volume of flowing water, passes the village and stretches out towards the Denningarum Farm on the outskirts of the village. To get to the village you can follow the signs from the main road, pass the village and after a few kilometers turn right. When you cross river Helge you can admire the wilderness scenery next to the farm.

Close but yet remote with wilderness scenes.

Denningarum Farm

A very welcoming environment for the whole family.

Denningarum Farm is operated by Karin and Ulf Ivarsson and their team. They offer a multitude of activities including canoeing, adventure packages, a large playing ground for the children, self-picking of flowers, fruit and berries, water excursions and mingling with animals. The Farm shop offer local delicacies and a home cooked lunch is served daily during the season at a fixed time.

Fields, garden, playground, farm shop, catering.....

Fresh flowers hanging up-side down to dry....for long-term use. Lovely!

The beautiful nature by River Helge tempt a visitor for water activities. Why not rent a boat for a cruise on the river with lunch or dinner. You may alternatively opt for playful competitions, fishing or sauna bathing. The farm also offer a simple hut accommodating up to 10-12 persons. Special daytime events like birthdays, conferences, family reunions or e.g. school excursions including buffé can be organized for up to 80 persons. The owners are only too happy to fulfill customers special wishes.

Check their website:

Canoeing, "yachting", adventure, animals ...anything the family can desire.

Beautiful summer sceneries.

Ready to go! Are you?

Lamas, emus, guineapigs, rabbits, chicken and much for children to enjoy.

Designhotel Pappersbruket

This former paper mill by river Helge has now been transformed into a stylish designhotel with a "touch of secrecy" as the the owners Peter Severin (artist) and Jessica Kriesz (designer) proclaim. They offer a unique, historical and inspirational atmosphere for relaxed accommodation, conferencing, courses and other events. They are all ecological in their dining as well as their special AromaBad offering including massage. They organize FESTIVE events with own design furniture, chandeliers, old porcelain and full of feeling. 

DO CHECK THEIR WEBSITE:  and get prepared for a very special treat!

Designhotel Pappersbruket collaborate with Wanås Art (sculpture park and much more) nearby and they are a fantastic relaxed and welcoming alternative to what might have been your first choice. 

AMAZING is the word!

Designhotel Pappersbruket - a fabulous concept!

Dear me! What a great day out to the neighboring Östanå village with both the farm and the design hotel to experience. Both cary excellent concepts in their own distinct ways. WE CAN ONLY RECOMMEND BOTH SERVICES TO ANYONE and express our sincere appreciation for the welcoming atmosphere in both places.

And by the way, 1st May each year Östanå organize a big carnival event!

Have a great week everyone!


Monday, 3 August 2015

Summer on Ivö island

Summer on the fairy-tale Ivö Island

Ivö is Scanias largest island,
situated in lake Ivö and
reachable by a a ferry from Barum.

The northern part of Ivö island with its lush vegetation reminds of a scene from a fairy-tale.

My previous visit to Ivö was early this year with a promise to be back to experience the summer high season when the island turns into a green oasis welcoming many national and international tourists. The island has 170 inhabitants and is Scanias largest island. A limestone layer contain fossils dating to the cretaceous period 70 million years ago. Typical fossils would be belemnites, mussels, brachiopods and ammonites. Sharp teeth and parts of skeletons of large lizard like animals called plesiosaurs has also been found. During 1880's until 1950's the island had a kaolin and limestone quarry. Kaolin was used to manufacture china, porcelain, paper, rubber, paint and many other products. Now tourism and agriculture is important but the island also produces ginger breads for Sweden and Germany. During the high season the daily production reaches 400.000 units.

The wonderful nature inspire to many kind of activities.

Visitors can stay at one of the two camping sites or at Ivögården B&B. Alternatively Kungsgården, a private farm with long traditions since 1848, offer the chance of enjoying farm life with its animals and crop cultivation. They all organize daily activities ranging from canoeing, cycling, water skiing to fishing. The northern area, where the quarry was, is a fossil rich area that can be visited by yourself or by joining an excursion tour to the area.

Ivögården (center) and the gorgeous nature on the island.

For anyone interested do ask for courses on cooking, marmalade production and cheese tasting. If you do not have the opportunity to stay on the island then the town of Bromölla offer programs, too. Humleslingan takes you on a 5 mile long trip around the island and the boat Klacken around on the lake with a stop at Ivö.

The church of Ivö and wheat fields next to Ivögården in the center of the village.

The church of Ivö is in roman style and it was built in the 13th century probably on the initiative of the bishop of Lund. It is one of the oldest brick-stone churches in Sweden. The wall paintings of fresco is dating back to the 14th century and the baptismal font in the church to the 13th century. Other old relics are displayed by the University of Lund (historical museum). 

Ivö church is dating back to the 13th century.

Ivö is a historical island with many tales to tell. You may discover the well of Ursula that is said to have transformed water into vine, the mystic caves that carry ancient fossils, the cellar of Ivöhus (remains of a stronghold where bishop Andreas Sunesson lived his last years) or the red ruins of Bratting Castle that is said to have sunk to the bottom of Ivö lake. If you take a tour at Klacken you will see what is left of the quarry and enjoy the lush shoreline while enjoying picnic or a barbecue at facilities provided.

Wild flowers of the season at Klacken shores.

Klacken shoreline by lake Ivö.

Ivö has much to offer but it all starts with one main issue; the relaxed environment and beautiful nature for anyone to enjoy. Activities are available for all in the family and excursions to nearby Kristianstad and its Vattenrike another opportunity. Have a great end to your holidays and a wonderful and sunny August!