Things to do
Swedish homes you can visit
Carl and Karin Larsson
An icon of Swedish interior design, Carl and Karin Larsson’s home Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn has come to define the idyllic Swedish family life. Carl, one of Sweden’s most beloved artists, and Karin, a graduate of the Art Academy in Stockholm, lived here with their eight children at the turn of the last century. Their original interior decoration style, with bold colors, embroidered textiles and rustic furniture, has stood as a model for many Swedish homes.
Carl Larssons väg 12, Sundborn
One of Sweden’s most famous writers and the first female Nobel Laureate in literature, Selma Lagerlöf, was born and raised in this mansion originally built in 1793. The family lost the mansion due to financial troubles in 1889, but some years later Lagerlöf was able to fulfill her dream and to buy it back, thanks to her success as a writer. Here, you can visit the mansion and admire its lavish interior, including the library where Lagerlöf used to sit and attend to her correspondence.
Mårbacka 42, Östra Ämtervik
It’s no coincidence that Astrid Lindgren’s beloved figure Karlsson on the roof has his apartment in Stockholm’s Vasastan. That’s exactly where the author herself lived for more than 60 years, from 1941–2002. The home, with four rooms, a kitchen and – unusually for the 1940s – two toilets, looks exactly as it did when the world-famous children’s writer was still alive. You can even see the bed where she used to write in the mornings. The interior is pretty typical for a middle-class Stockholm home of the time, with an open fireplace for cold evenings, easy chairs and a sofa for cozy socializing, and, naturally, lots of book shelves.
Dalagatan 46, Stockholm
A home and a rare collection of art in one, Sven Harry’s home is actually a replica of the art collector’s former house, a 18th century manor on Lidingö. It’s located on the roof of his art museum in Stockholm and furnished exactly as the house was, including Karlsson’s extensive art collection. Paintings by Carl Fredrik Hill, Helene Schjerfbeck and Ernst Josephson are joined by more contemporary acquisitions such as Ylva Ogland and Dan Wolgers. Rugs by Märta Måås Fjetterström share space with furniture designed by Georg Haupt and Gio Ponti.
Eastmansvägen 10–12, Stockholm
This home offers a fascnating glimse into the life of one of Swedens most celebrated artists, Anders Zorn. He acquired the plot of land near Mora church in 1886 and built a home here with his wife Emma. Designed by the artist himself, the house combines local timberwork traditions with the architecture of English houses and Zorn’s conception of Viking-era dwellings – simultaneously rustic and refined, grand and cozy. Artistic craftwork from Dalarna mixes boldly with luxurious items acquired from abroad: woven tapestries, silver pieces, antique sculptures and paintings by old masters. The Zorns also equipped the home with unusual luxury for the: refrigeration, stainless-steel kitchen counters, central heating, hot and cold running water and even a vacuum cleaner.
Vasagatan 36, Mora
Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl
Stepping into the Hallwyl museum is like stepping back in time. The house was built as a winter residence for the affluent couple Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl in 1898 and donated to the Swedish state in 1920, together with all its contents. The style is a combination of Venetian Late Gothic and Early Spanish Renaissance, resulting in something as unusual as a palace with 40 rooms in the center of Stockholm. Thanks to the interior and the collections of art and personal items – including everything from Chinese crockery to Italian cupboards in gold and a slice of the couple’s wedding cake – the house is a unique testimonial of the décor and lifestyle of the upper classe in this era.
Hamngatan 4, Stockholm
Famed Swedish author August Strindberg spent the last four years of his life, 1908–1912, in this apartment in central Stockholm. The reconstructed home, consisting of three rooms and a library of some 3,000 works, today form the Strindberg museum. When he moved in, the house had just been built and boasted all kinds of modern comforts, including central heating and an elevator. Strindberg had no kitchen, though – he had his food sent down from a hotel on the 5th floor. The flat offers interesting insights into the author’s thoughts and preferences. He favored a color scheme of bright yellow, green and red, and above his piano, he hung a mask of Beethoven, his favorite composer.
Drottninggatan 85, Stockholm
Opera singer Birgit Nilsson was at home on the most glamorous stages of the world – but grew up on a farm in Svenstad and lived there until she was 23 years old. She used to help out with all the farm chores, from planting and digging up potatoes, harvesting hay and milking cows. It was a simple life without electricity or running water, until modern conveniences were installed in the 1930s.
Nilssons väg 27, Båstad
This museum, the former home and studio of sculptor Carl Eldh, is worth the climb up to the hilly Bellevue Park where it’s located. The wooden house itself is worth a good look, designed in 1919 by Ragnar Östberg who also drew Stockholm’s City Hall. Inside, you can see how a prominent artist lived in early 20th century Stockholm. His art takes the center stage, with sculptures and sketches filling most rooms. The windows have been designed to allow the northern light to flow in, and a garden belonging to the studio made it possible for him to work in the open air. The original living quarters of consisted of only a small bedroom but when Carl Eldh's daughter Brita settled in her father's old studio, she had the area extended with a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room.
A home and a mind-boggling collection of curious objects in one. Per-Olof Nilsson, who lived in 1874–1955, started collecting different items from stones to packages, stamps, appliances, ceramics and much more as a child. In 1906, the collection consisted of 10,000 items, and Per-Olof, nicknamed Mus-Olle, started showing his home as a museum in 1911. The cabin he lived his whole life in is still here – a modest dwelling which, with its naturally weathered, grey timber façade, is typical for the area and the time. Open for visits during the summer season.
The Museum of Gothenburg owns three authentic apartments in the historic district of Haga. One used to be the home of a worker, one belonged to a railway builder and one to a shoemaker. Together, they give an interesting picture of life in Gothenburg’s first suburb – today one of the hippest areas in the city – in the 19th and early 20th centuries, before Sweden developed to the modern, affluent society it is today. The museum organizes guided visits to the homes. Check their website for exact dates.
Haga Nygata 7–9, Göteborg