"Sweden's grain basket" Skåne by Sjalen
Skåne Travel Guide: 1,131 reviews and 2,509 photos
"Vid Sverige är fästat en liten jordlapp, som kallas Skåne, för att visa detta Sverige huru det övriga Europa ser ut."
Rudolf H. Stjernsvärd
Stjernsvärd was a proud Skåne man and his words mean:
To Sweden is attached a small piece of soil called Skåne, to show this Sweden what the rest of Europe looks like.
Skåne, known in English as Scania and German as Schonen, is the southernmost province in Sweden and quite a different one to the others.
Along with Halland and Blekinge, Skåne has been Danish longer than Swedish (finally handed over to Sweden at the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658) and in the case of Skåne, it still shows much more than with the other two. For a start, there is a Scania Party which works for independence from Sweden and which although not always taken that seriously, always wins some votes in local elections. It also works for Scanian children to learn Danish medieval history at school (i.e. their own) rather than the Stockholm based one. The dialect here has Danish sounding vowels and several Danish words not used in Swedish in general. Having said that, people in the province spoke a form of Swedish rather than Danish even during the Danish times (and don't think Danes understand the local accent better than the Stockholm accent these days because they don't). Nevertheless, people from northern parts of the country can have difficulties understanding the locals. The Danish influence also shows in place names which often end in -rup, -löv ("leaf") or others common in Denmark. Finally, the architecture is much more continental and it is only in northern Skåne you will find the characteristically Swedish red, wooden houses. In the rest of the county, the houses are either mostly whitewashed or in red brick, and often half timbered.
Say Skåne to a Swede, and we think of rolling hills, funny dialects and a mild climate. It is the most fertile region in Sweden and so, often called the grain basket of the country. Of course this means that food and drink plays a huge part in regional culture and there are always food festivals and ceremonies throughout the year. There are also more horses here than anywhere in Sweden if that's your cup of tea. As the climate is milder, and spring earlier than in more northern parts, there are also beech forests here, otherwise quite rare in Sweden. These are included in two of the three national parks, whilst the last one boasts other trees and sandy beaches since it is in the wonderful seaside region of Österlen. In fact, all around Skåne you have sandy beaches rather than the northern, rocky archipelagos and also fewer lakes than further up the country.
Since I mentioned the mild climate here, I also have to say that in winter you can freeze more here than in Stockholm as, although few days see any snow, the mild climate makes it very humid compared to the dry east coast. Moreover, the wind has no stopping it on the southern plains without any forests or mountains. The snow storms that DO occur here are infamous and people from the far north of Sweden which sees lots of snow, quickly stop sniggering when they realise why Scanian drivers complain about driving conditions in January, as snow drift like sand in the Sahara here and people have to drive in caravans behind the snow plough...
Being where it is has also influenced the general outlook of people here. Berlin is closer than Stockholm and you will find more EU positive people here than in the north. Daytrips to Denmark is natural and the southwestern part of Skåne is in several networks with the Copenhagen area, marketing itself as the Öresund region, in fact one of the most densly populated regions in Europe, so again, unlike the more sparesly populated north.
All these differences have made Skåne quite a distinct province and the rest of us sometimes feel that the natives can be a bit self-righteous in their talk about continental atmosphere, "feeding Sweden" and so on. Nevertheless, people here are extremely friendly and helpful and the landscape very special. Come and see for yourself - this will probably be the first you see of Sweden anyway if you come by car or train.
- Pros:central, picturesque villages, beaches, excellent public transport, early spring
- Cons:windy south, densly populated, few wild forests, no archipelago, freak snow storms in winter
- In a nutshell:Life is easy here!
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