Culture & history
“She wasn’t one of those mothers who sits quietly on a park bench watching their children playing. She wanted to play herself, and I suspect that she had at least as much fun as we did!” reminisces Astrid Lindgren’s son, Lasse.
In the Footsteps of Astrid Lindgren
Whatever your age, let yourself be a child again as you follow in the footsteps of Astrid Lindgren in Småland. Just driving to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home and “visiting” it would be so boring! And turning her memory into a museum isn’t what Astrid Lindgren would have wanted either. No way – get out and play! There’s so much to discover and try out, to wonder at and delight in!
One such place is the gardens around Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home – "Näs". The green settings at the Astrid Lindgren’s Näs cultural centre in Vimmerby have grown out of the recurring themes in her writing: themes such as freedom, courage, melancholy and zest for life. Hard to imagine? Then give it a try, and let yourself be bewitched by this special place, which awakes emotions, inspires you and where you can let your thoughts run wild – playfully, and wholly in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren.
Or what about the Film village, Filmbyn Småland? Around Mariannelund, just 20 km from Vimmerby, is where the Emil of Lönneberga films were made. The interactive Filmbyn Småland will give you a behind the scenes look into the lives of the actors, directors and other workers who brought the films to life. It lets you step into the magical world of film in a setting that could have been created by Astrid Lindgren herself. There’s an activity park with a built-in parkour area for you to channel your inner adventurer and you can see classic film clips, sing along to tracks from the films and check out original props. Here you can even slip into the role of Emil yourself! Emil´s home, Katthult, is easily recognisable today and is actually called Gibberyd. It is probably one of the most photographed farms in Småland.
The village of Sevedstorp became Bullerby (Noisy Village) in the films. This hamlet was the childhood home of Astrid Lindgren’s father, and the three farms were in fact also the model for the Bullerby. In Vimmerby, there is much that feels familiar from the stories – as if Bill Bergson lived here or as if Pippi Longstocking were about to come out of the sweet shop. But that’s no surprise, given that Astrid Lindgren grew up and went to school here. The young Astrid played with her siblings and friends in the alleyways of this small town and in the surrounding woods. Her childhood memories provided the raw material for her stories.
One thing not to miss on your journey in the footsteps of Astrid Lindgren is a visit to Astrid Lindgren’s World. Astrid Lindgren’s World theatre park is where the characters and settings from Astrid’s most famous books are brought to life. It lets you truly immerse yourself in the stories of Astrid Lindgren. And by “truly” we mean life-size and true to life: leap across the Hell’s Gap chasm with Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, meet Katla the dragon with the Brothers Lionheart or watch That Emil hoist little Ida up the flagpole. And all the others – Pippi Longstocking, Mardie, Karlsson-on-the-Roof et al. – are here too, ready to lead you into their world: Astrid Lindgren’s World.
Astrid Lindgren also carried the old stories a supernatural creature in the forest. We find Astrid's mysterious creatures especially in the book (and the film) Ronja, the Robber's Daughter. You may recognize grey dwarfs, wild harpies and rumphobs.
Bike Tours Through Astrid Lindgren's Film Sets
Searching for an outdoor activity that lets you explore nearby natural scenes in Småland - and where you get to experience an important piece of Swedish cultural heritage? If so, a cycling excursion that takes you though some of Småland’s most famous filming locations is for you! The route starts at the attraction Filmbyn (Film Village in English), near Mariannelund and takes you through Katthult and Bullerbyn. You’ll pass places featured in the film Emil in Lönneberga, and other worthwhile sights – depending on which route you take. The distance ranges from 12 to 70 km. All day bike rentals are available.