Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Summertime - Sweden time and this year historic time

Summertime is the time I go to Sweden. This year I was very lucky with the weather; sunshine but not too hot. I spent the time in Karlskrona which is situated in the south east corner of Sweden by the sea. It is built on islands so wherever you go you see the water. It is possible to walk around the whole city on the water front. Karlskrona was founded in 1680 by Carl XI who needed an ice free harbour for his war ships. The province of Blekinge where Karlskrona is situated was perfect. This area as well as Skåne and Halland was given back to Sweden from Denmark in the peace of Roskilde in 1658. However, the Danes were still trying to take it back so a harbour in this area seemed perfect.

This year I decided to go historic in my reading (as you see from the reading list) and discover more about this city where I lived between 1968 and 1980.

 The city has many houses still from the 18th and 19th century. Unfortunately there was a big fire in 1790 which destroyed most of the houses in the city centre. However, wherever you turn you still see something historic. Since it was founded as a military city it has been more or less ruled (for good and for worse) by the military until the end of the last century. During the last years Karlskrona has gone from a closed military city to a prosperous IT centre with an influx of new people as well as using its historical context in the tourist promotion.

I had the opportunity to vist an exhibition at the Blekinge museum on 'The Danish time in Blekinge' as well as an exhibition of the city in the 1800th century. This was the glorious time of the city. Furthermore, a guided tour by Michael Helgesson on 'Vanartigt kvinnfolk' (Vicious womenkind). He has gone through court protocols from the years 1787-88 and written a very interesting book on the common people living in the city at the time. The guided tour took us around the city and the houses where some of the people who ended up in court were living.

Kungar, drottningar, älskare och älskarinnor' (Kings, queens, lovers and mistresses)

Anna Constantia von Brockdorff
Apart from reading the historic books of the city I also found another two interesting books. The first one is 'Kungar, drottningar, älskare och älskarinnor' (Kings, queens, lovers and mistresses). It covers the famous lovers and mistresses to kings and queens in France, England, Poland, Prussia, Russia, Denmark and Sweden. For some of them it ended very well and they were taken care of even after falling from the power abodes. Some were treated very badly and very sadly.

The saddest story is of one of August the Strong's mistresses Anna Constantia von Brockdorff. She was his mistress from 1704-13 and then he got tired of her. She did not want to go quietly and she had a paper where he had promised her marriage. However, that did not help and she was arrested and taken to Burg Stolpen where she spent the remaining 49 years of her life. By then August the Strong was dead since 32 years!

Historiens 100 viktigaste svenskar (The 100 Most Important Swedes in History)

A very interesting book which also gives a good background on Sweden's historic developments in various areas; kings and queens, science, art, literature, clergy and administration. For a list of all the 100 names please look here

I will only mention here the 10 top names and some other names which are known internationally:
1. Gustav Vasa (ca 1496-1560 King)
2. Astrid Lindgren (children's writer)
3. Axel Oxenstierna ( 1583-1654 Chancellor)
4. Alfred Nobel (1833 - 1896 Inventor)
5. Olof Palme (1927-1986 Politician)
6. Marcus Wallenberg (1899-1982 Bank Director)
7. Evert Taube (1890-1976 Song writer)
8. Lars Magnus Ericsson (1946-1926 Entrepreneur - Ericsson gsm today)
9. Carl XIV Johan (1763-1844 King; former Marshal of France under Napoleon before he became the King of Sweden)
10. Carl Larsson (1853-1919 Painter)

Some other internationally know historic Swedes:

Holy Birgitta, August Strindberg, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), Ingmar Bergman, Carl von Linné, Selma Lagerlöf, Dag Hammarskjöld, Björn Borg, Raoul Walenberg, Ivar Kreuger, Lennart Nilsson (photographer), Greta Garbo, Alva and Gunnar Myrdal, Anders Celsius, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA), Sven Hedin, Emanuel Swedenborg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gustaf de Laval, Kristina.

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