"Finnskogen" Svullrya by Rusket
Svullrya Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 23 photos
Svullrya is the capital of the Republic of Finnskogen, which is proclaimed the second weekend of July each year, and lasts for three days. The republic has it's own president and government. The author Åsta Holth (1904 - 1999) was proclaimed president for life due to her litterary work about culture and traditions in Finnskogen and to her large contribution in preserving the same.
The rest of the year Svullrya is a small community in the municipality Grue Finnskog, 25 km from the administrative center Kirkenær.
The name "Finnskogen" means Finn Forrest. 400 - 500 years ago the large forests on both sides of the border between Norway and Sweden were used for hunting, fishing and occasionally for mountain dairy farming only. Finnish people from Savolax and Tavastland who fled from powerty and oppression were invited by the Swedish king to settle down in Värmland to utilize the forest by means of their traditional "svedjebruk": They burned down the trees and planted rye seeds in the ashes. Eventually some of the Finns moved across the border as well, bringing their old tradition, culture and language. There are people living in Finnskogen today, whose parents still spoke oldfashioned Finnish.
"Svull" means something that is swollen, commonly used about lumps of ice (swollen ice). "Rye" (or ria) is a house where people used to dry grain. In Svullrya there are two streams which often cause these "svulls" when they freeze, and there are several "ryes". The main sort of grain that the old Finns used to grow was rye, but I don't know whether there is a connection, the Norwegian word for rye is "rug".
The picture shows Finnetunet, a collection of old farmhouses situated in Svullrya by one of the streams. Finnetunet is used as a museum.
One of the finnish traditions is the "røykovn", an open hearth that let smoke out into the room. The smoke filled the room and escaped through a small opening in the roof. This heating method is so effective that the fire was lit only once a day. The "røykovn" was used in dwellings as well as in the "ryes" and saunas.
Finnskogen continues on the swedish side of the border, in the county Värmland (El_Sueco's Värmland page).
There are so many things to do in this area that I cannot write a tip about each and every one: fishing, hiking /... more travel advice
Several of the old crofts in Finnskogen are preserved and possible to visit. I have mentioned Mullikkala under... more travel advice
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