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Heidi

Sparreholm Castle in Sörmland

Posted in Sörmland by

Sparreholms Slott is one of the most bizarre domains I already visited in Sweden. In addition to an idyllic castle, you’ll find the largest collection of jukeboxes in Europe, an extremely refined private collection of vintage cars, a bicycle museum, a nostalgic café and a horse center. If you find this a somewhat strange combination, then I can tell you that this applies to the collections as well. Something for everyone!

Sparreholms Slott

I visited Sparreholms Slott – Sparreholm Castle in July 2016, along with some other travel bloggers, as part of a press trip to Sörmland. Sparreholm Castle is one of those gems that I might not have visited otherwise. And although vintage cars and bicycles usually don’t appeal to me, I did enjoy this place. Let me introduce you to Sparreholm Castle.

The history of the castle

Sparreholms Slott

Sörmland is just south of Stockholm and is known as Stockholm’s Country Side. It is a region with 400 castles and country houses. Over the years there have been several country houses and castles on the Sparreholm domain. Sparreholm was originally called Hyltingenäs. Around 1580, the domain came into the hands of the Sparre family. In 1643 they changed the name of the domain to Sparreholm. In 1757 the family left the domain. The castle came into the hands of Baron Antoine De Geer’s widow. The castle would change owners several times until the current owner Anna Karinen bought it together with her family in 1996. They completely renovated the castle and now offer a diverse range of activities on the property.

Jukebox museum

Sparreholms Slott

Above the summer bar you’ll find the jukebox museum. They boast that they have Europe’s largest jukebox collection. The collection ranges from phonographs to gramophones to modern jukeboxes. The collection is simply magic when the lights in the museum are turned off and the space is transformed into a disco.

Sparreholms Slott

Bicycle Museum

Near the jukebox museum is also a unique bicycle museum with dozens of old bicycles. The owners of Sparreholm Castle are clearly collectors. Collectors of just about everything.

Oldtimer collection

Sparreholms Slott

In the car museum you will find vintage cars from 1800 to contemporary cars. It is one of the most exclusive private collections in Europe. They have around 60 classic cars, including a 1936 Mercedes 540K that was once owned by Prince Gustaf Adolf, the father of the current Swedish king. In addition, they also have the Cadillac V8 from King Gustav V who gave the name to Kungens Kurva (= the shopping center near Stockholm where you find one of the largest Ikeas in the world).

Sparreholms Slott

The Horse Center

The horse center is active throughout the year. They also offer weekend trips with riding lessons. This way you can go for classic dressage with their lusitano horses and modern riding techniques.

Practical

Sparreholm Castle can only be visited by appointment. Only during the Swedish summer holidays (from midsummer to mid-August) can you visit the domain spontaneously.

Thanks to Visit Sörmland.

How Sweden celebrates midsummer

Posted in Something Swedish by

Last year I celebrated midsummer in Sweden for the first time. What a wonderful party! In Sweden, midsummer is just as important as Christmas . Girls wear flower crowns in their hair and a lot of people wear traditional costumes. The maypole is straightened together with the entire village, after which children and adults dance around it while they sing about frogs.

Midsommar or midsummer

The Swedes celebrate the start of the summer, the time of the solstice, on the Friday that is closest to June 21 (ie the Friday between June 19 and 25). It is a real holiday: just like at Christmas (almost) everyone is home and almost all shops are closed. On midsommarafton or the eve of the midsummer party, the shops and museums close earlier so that everyone has time to prepare the party. Midsummer is mainly celebrated with family or friends. For many Swedes, midsummer is the start of their summer vacation.

Midsummer in Sweden

If you are in Sweden with midsummer, try to find out in advance where you can attend a traditional midsummer celebration. If you’re lucky, Swedish friends will invite you to this party. I myself was in Mora last year and happened to come by a very authentic midsummer party in one of the neighborhoods. Whoever is in Stockholm may experience the city as ’empty’. Most of them go to their summer house (or that of friends). Yet with midsummer in Stockholm you can also go to Skansen for a traditional celebration.

The maypole

Under loud encouragement from the public, some strong men (and women) set up the maypole (in Swedish: midsommarstång or majstång). The May tree is a cross-shaped pole that is completely decorated with greenery and ribbons and symbolizes the fertility of the earth. The different villages / neighborhoods sometimes outdo each other with the most beautiful or largest maypole.

Små grodorna

Young and old will dance and sing around the maypole. Everyone happily participates. You soon learn the dances. The day before midsummer I had practiced the song Små grodorna on the Inlandsbanan together with some Swedish couples. A moment I will never forget! They taught me the lyrics of the song and the accompanying dance. Imagine: 9 adults who happily jump around like frogs in the aisle of the train. Memorable!

Strawberries and aquavit

Besides the maypole you can also see strawberries (or strawberry cake) popping up everywhere. The Swedes are crazy about these red fruits and eat a lot of them during midsummer. A little later in the evening the aquavit (strong drink) should not be missed. All kinds of traditional Swedish dishes are on the table (lots of vegetables but also potatoes and fish).

Just as traditional as pickled herring and potato salad is the fact that the weather is often less good. The Swedes sometimes laugh that it is just as cold on Christmas as it is on midsummer. A few years ago it was even the reverse and in certain places in the south of Sweden it was warmer at Christmas than on midsummer.

Make your own midsummer flower wreath – tutorial

Posted in Something Swedish by

Midsummer is approaching, I thought it would be nice to post a tutorial ‘making a flower wreath’. For this tutorial I asked the help of expert Gillian Lowyck. She brought organic flowers and we had a lot of fun making our own floral wreath.

Creating a flower crown tutorial

What do you need to make flower crowns?

  • Magical flower tape – if you stretch the tape, it will stick.
  • Rope with a fine metal wire
  • Flowers and leafs
  • Good wire cutter
  • Possibly a water spray to keep the crown ‘fresh’ for a long time

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Flower crown tutorial

Start by measuring the ribbon / rope. Take the circumference of your head (also choose how you want to place the crown on your head – on your head or slightly more obliquely like a diadem) and take an extra 10 cm. Make a loop on one side.

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Then you make 10 mini-bouquets. Let your creativity run free. Do you want a symmetrical crown or not? Choose a few eye-catchers in every bouquet and make sure there is some stuffing and a bit of green. You bind them together with the magical flower tape.

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Creating a flower crown tutorial

You can now attach those little bouquets, also with flower tape, to the string that forms the basis for your wreath. Place the bouquet with the flowers towards the loop. Then you place the following bouquet on top in a scaled fashion. Continue this way until you reach the penultimate bouquet.

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Maybe you will have make a few extra bouquets. This depends on the length of the rope and the size of the bouquets. You put the last bouquet in the opposite direction so that you can camouflage the stems.

Creating a flower crown tutorial

Creating a flower crown tutorial

To camouflage the closure of the crown, you can tie a ribbon around it. Ready for the midsummer party!

Midzomer tutorial bloemenkroon maken

Glad midsommar!