The red cottage
There is hardly anything more Swedish than a red cottage with white trim. You see them all over Småland – by lakes, in forests and on the outskirts of the archipelago. If you'd like to stay in one you should start looking early, they go like hotcakes...
For many people, the name Småland evokes pictures of red cottages with white trim that are surrounded by fields and meadows, with dense spruce forests in the background. Maybe this is the archetype for the Swedish peasant community, an image that has become part of our consciousness, not least through Vilhelm Moberg's and Astrid Lindgren's books.
From "Smålands Historia" by Olle Larsson (original in Swedish)
The red paint originates from the copper mine in the Swedish city Falun and is known as Falu red. It is widely used, not only due to its nice colour, but also for its capacity to protect the house façade. What few know is that the story of the red houses started as a scam.
From as early back as the 14th century, the Falu red was used exclusively by the aristocracy, mainly to imitate more expensive materials. Churches were painted red to look like gothic cathedrals in Europe, the roof of the Royal Palace in Stockholm was painted red to look like the copper roof of a renaissance palace. This went on until finally, in the middle of the 19th century, the red paint was free for anyone, regardless of poisition, to use. This led to an explosion of red around the farms of Sweden, and particularly in Småland.
And it is actually still the case - to this day, we paint our houses using Falu red, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. The best thing is that you can rent your own holiday house. Many houses remain since the 19th century and have room for plenty of temporary guests. Welcome!