"Forests and furniture" Kronobergs Län by Sjalen
Kronobergs Län Travel Guide: 162 reviews and 581 photos
I would rather have made a page about the whole province of Småland but since VT is split according to counties, I will slowly try to create a page for each of the three Småland counties. Who knows if it will be just in time for the counties to merge into one "County Småland" as Swedish counties are currently merging like never before due to economy. Then VT will have to change things, and so will I :-)))
County Kronoberg is the most forested county in Sweden, with more spruce (Christmas trees to those of you not into coniferous forests) than even the counties in the north of Sweden! It hasn't always been so, since spruce spread from the north, but Kronoberg has simply showed to be great for the forestry industry. A person who certainly wouldn't recognise himself today is Linneaus (Carl von Linné) - the Flower king, who categorised the world's flowers and plants. In his days there must have been more meadows than today, although even then it was a forested landscape, but still had enough flowers to capture young Linnaeus and inspire him to become a world famous botanist. So as you can see, this is a place for those of you who enjoy nature. Everywhere you go, you will find places where you can go fishing, birdwatching, rent a canoe or cycle along quiet country lanes.
The forest is also what has bought prosperity to Kronoberg these days as a place for world famous furniture from for instance Lammhult.
Because of the forests and also the rocky meadows (in stark contrast if you drive north from Skåne), life was hard here up until modern times and nowhere is this better illustrated than in Vilhelm Moberg's "The Emigrant" triology, showing how hundreds of thousands of Swedes, many from Kronoberg, left Sweden for a better life in America. This you can see more of in the county capital Växjö, which houses and excellent research institute and museum, especially helpful if you have Swedish ancestry you want to trace.
The hardship of course made Kronoberg people industrious, and amongst the more well known entrepreneurs is Ingvar Kamprad from Älmhult, who founded IKEA there in the 50s after spending his youth selling pens and matches to local farmers. The Swedish glass making is also centred here and in neighbouring County Kalmar...
Still today, Småland as a whole is a bit of "Sweden's Yorkshire" as others say Smålanders are economic and hold on to their wallets - now you know why! This however, doesn't mean that you cannot make a bargain - on the contrary, the forests are full of clothes outlets and factory shops to rummage around in during rainy days.
8 January 2005 saw the worst storm to hit the south of Sweden for a century. County Kronoberg was one of the worst hit areas and it lost an awful lot of the forest I have mentioned above. Nevertheless, the spruce is fast growing and there are still many forests left. I have some photos of the disaster here and there on other pages.
What I wrote above should be true, but isn't all over Kronoberg anymore since it was the worst hit Swedish county in the worst storm to hit Sweden since 1921 if not ever in modern times. The 8-9 January 2005, two YEARS worth of forestry fellings fell all on its own. My aunt got trapped in our family cottage her last day there after Christmas, as the road out to the main road was cut off by fallen trees and she could only listen to the cracking around her all night whilst they also lost electricity. The day after, she woke up and wondered why it was so bright around her. Turns out we had lost ALL the spruce forest behind our house. The landscape is totally different, a new topography appears and old people who have lived in their own cottages all their life have got lost just yards from their houses as everything looks totally different!
It will take years to clear it all. Electricity companies have had to hire people from Germany, Norway and other countries and the army is everywhere with their special vehicles. As many people have died clearing up fallen trees (trapped under their root systems or hit) as died in the storm and as I type this in mid February, 4000 households still lack electricity (companies could have done more preventive work...). The last bit of the Gothenburg to Kalmar railway only opened last week, and even the main Malmö to Stockholm line didn't run for weeks past the province...
Spruce is however a fast growing tree (hence it is used in forestry here although its roots are far too shallow to stand storms and leafy trees would be much better) but it will still take time for it all to grow back. The logging companies have no time to deal with it all and some foresters have committed suicide since they've lost everything they'd give to their children.
These days, tourists from all over nothern Europe come to look at kilometre of kilometre of timber piles as the most famous ones outside Varnamo and Ljungby. I personally, have to make to with this "little" pile outside our house for some months!
- Pros:peaceful, forests full of elks and mushrooms, countryside shopping
- Cons:crap public transport, a bit dark with all that spruce
- In a nutshell:All them red houses you've been looking for!
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