Scan Magazine, Issue 86, March 2016

Page 58

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Culture in Sweden 2016

Take a tour of the Walloon estates

By Malin Norman Photos: Vallonbruken

The early 17th century wave of skilled Belgian immigrants from Wallonia introduced new methods for iron production in Sweden. The Walloons also brought with them a wealth of culinary and cultural traditions still celebrated today. Vallonbruken preserves and showcases the unique industrial community in Uppland, from its Walloon iron production techniques to the women’s history and the characteristic food and drink. “I would recommend a tour of at least a couple of our 15 estates to get the full picture of this fantastic era,” says operations director Stefan Wårdsäter. “For example, why not pay a visit to the smithy in Österbybruk, combined with a guided tour of the Lövstabruk manor?” Österbybruk is the world’s only preserved operational Walloon smithy, dating back to the 17th century, and well worth a trip for its beautiful orangery and vegetable garden. The estate also celebrates Belgian traditions such as Knutsmasso, when locals would dress up in decorative costumes and take the opportunity for some mischief. Back in

the day, Lövstabruk was Sweden’s biggest ironworks and owned by the famous de Geer family. Visitors are welcome to see the impressive mansion and surrounding park, including an inn, church and garden. A perfect opportunity to explore the area is during Vallonbruksveckan, on 6-14 August, a week fully packed with guided tours of the estates and ironworks, traditional entertainment such as concerts and storytelling, and plenty of other activities. This year’s theme is industrial with a particular focus on the production of charcoal, mining techniques and living conditions during that time. Vallonbruken is located in a beautiful area close to Stockholm and Uppsala, ideal for a daytrip or a longer visit, with many excellent restaurants and comfortable places to stay the night.

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Modern time travel in Östergötland Östergötlands museum has kickstarted the spring season with a culinary theme and an all-new exhibition for children, offering two great reasons to visit the Swedish city of Linköping this year. By Ellinor Thunberg | Photos: Östergötlands museum

“We have opened Viljans värld, a playful world where kids can play and learn about history,” says Olof Hermelin, managing director at Östergötlands museum. The mysterious forest is part playground, part traditional exhibition, named after the gnome Viljan who tells the story of planet Earth. “It has a spaceship, an ant hill and a giant oak tree to explore,” says Hermelin and adds that real historic items are also on display. Children aged three to ten make up 58 | Issue 86 | March 2016

the main target audience, although toddlers are welcome to join as soon as they know how to crawl. This year, the museum also initiated a yearlong regional collaboration about food and will display culinary items from the collections, particularly focusing on the relationship between food and culture. On top of that, a castle run by the museum, Löfstad slott, offers a peek into the history of a noble home. “It is an authentic exhibition of what things looked like here in 1926,” says Hermelin and paints a picture of a Swedish Downton Abbey, complete with a downstairs kitchen and splendid drawing rooms. The museum and the castle boast everything needed for a complete day

trip, including shops and restaurants. “We want our visitors to see us as a living room where they can spend time and enjoy themselves,” says the director. “A good visit to the museum is one that is allowed to take up some time.” For more information, please visit:

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