Sailor's Coast, Småland-Öland
- A network of maritime museums
Kalmar län county, in south-east Sweden, has a long coastline, extending over 200 km from north to south. Öland, second-largest of Sweden's islands is included within those limits and gives the coast a particular character.
The cultural identity of this coastal region has always been important in stamping the identity of Kalmar län. Seafaring and fishing. shipbuilding, trade and craftsmanship have always had deep roots in this region, and such traditions are kept alive today by almost a dozen museums which are integral features in the natural landscape. They are spaced along the whole length of the coastline, and are managed by local support groups. Visitors have the opportunity to get to know the collections in any or all of these museums, from Loftahammar in the north to Bergkvara in the south. In the Local History Museum of Loftahammar close to the windmill, you will find displays, with particular emphasis on seafaring and fishing. Close by is the spa town of Källvik, where the humorous singer/songwriter Povel Ramel wrote his famous number ìSorglösa brunnî.
Proceeding southwards from Loftahammar, you may enjoy the splendid view from the beautifully-located manor-house at Casimirsborg over the Bay of Gamlebyviken, with an old wooden shipyard at Gamleby
Of all Swedish towns, none can rival Västervik for its comprehensive survival of timber-built merchants' houses and seamen's huts. A visit to Västerviks Museum on the top of Kulbacken is not to be missed.
In Figeholm , where the Norrån meets the sea, stands the early 19th century harbour warehouse, now the home of the remarkable Museum, with its displays on navigation under sail, the local culture of the skerries and boat-building.
In the centre of Oskarshamn you find the Cultural Centre, housing the Döderhultarmuseum with its famous wood carving together with an Art Gallery, a Library and the Tourist Office. In the same building is the Maritime Museum, highly-regarded for the excellence of its collections, which are among the most comprehensive on the 19th century history of Swedish merchant shipping.
The Local History Museum in Mönsterås is comprised of no less than 13 buildings, laid out like a large leisure park. The size of the site, and the wide scope and originality of the collections distinguish this museum as one of the largest in Kalmar län.
In Pataholm stands the Hullgrens & Harbergska gården, an old merchants¥ residence / warehouse prominently situated on the market place. In this historic building the Local History Museum of Ölem maintains its Museum.
The collections of the Kalmar Maritime Museum are among the most interesting in the country. Established in a late 19th century town-house, the Museum is no more than a stone's throw from the harbourside in Kalmar. Adjacent is the Kalmar Läns Museum, housing the complementary displays of objects.
In Bergkvara , one of our oldest harbours and trading centres with origins in the prehistoric era, stands the Bergkvara Maritime Museum. At the end of the 19th century this haven was an important centre for merchant shipping, a distinction which is still honoured today.
South Öland's maritime collections are displayed in Degerhamn's Museum. They feature the history of alum manufacture, which originated there in 1723. Here you can follow the growth of a sizeable merchant fleet to meet the needs of lime and cement manufacture, a service which today's industry continues to require.
All this, and many more interesting diversions, are yours to experience when you visit Kalmar län's Sailor's Coast.