Nimis (Ladonia), Sweden

Nimis defies explanation. It is part art, part architecture and a lot of creative ingenuity wrapped up into one package; creative ingenuity not only in its construction but in how its creator outmaneuvered authorities’ attempts to tear it down. But perhaps I should start from the beginning…

In 1980, Swedish artist Lars Vilks began construction of a maze-like fortress on the isolated northern shores of the Kullaberg Peninsula. Using over 70 tons of driftwood, the structure includes numerous multi-story towers joined by a maze of interconnected labyrinths.

Because of its remote location, the structure was not discovered by Swedish authorities until 1982. As there are significant building restrictions within Kullaberg, local authorities demanded it be demolished. Vilks appealed this decision in a process which went all the way to the national government but lost each appeal.

Perhaps recognizing he would lose, Vilks sold the structure to German artist Joseph Beuys and upon his death, to the famous artist-couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude, known for their creative wrapping of Pont Neuf (Paris), the Reichstag (Berlin) and the Gates in Central Park (New York).  To further confound authorities, Vilks declared the area a micronation called Ladonia.

While unlikely to deter other western governments, these maneuvers were sufficient to stall demolition of Nimis and a neighbouring stone structure, Arx in consensus-minded, law-abiding Sweden. Meanwhile, as proceeding draged on, word of Nimis and Ladonia got out and it quietly became a significant tourist destination. Today, hundreds and even thousands of tourists visits Nimis daily, especially during the warmer summer months. The area is is also complimented by the picturesque Himmelstorps Hembygdsgärg, a quaint stud farm which has a café located at the trail head.

Entrance to Nimis, Ladonia

The chaotic structure of Nimis. There is also one separate tower located closer to the waters edge

A close-up of the chaos. Notice the size of some of the rocks…

The independent tower closer to the waters edge. We climbed this one…

A picturesque shot of the same tower with a sail-boat in the background. With all the boat traffic, I wonder why it took authorities two years to find out about it…

The less-impressive Arx, constructed from stone and concrete

A close-up of Arx. There were wild rose growing around it which were quite beautiful

A beautiful early evening shot of the Kullaberg costline from Nimis

Himmelstorps Hembygdsgärg stud farm in the warm glow of the late-day sun

Beautiful flowers in the inner court yard of Himmelstorps Hembygdsgärg

Directions to Nimis

Nimis is located approximately 3 kilometers east of the resort town of Mölle on the north shore of the Kullaberg Peninsula. As it is not sanctioned by the Swedish government, there are no official signs although there are occasional unofficial markings labelled Nimis or the orange letter “N” once you near the trail head.

Driving: To reach the trail head, take Route 111 east from Mölle (Kullabergsvägen). At the branch of R111 south (Krapperupsvägen), continue east on Bränneslyckevägen for approximately 500m to Himmelstorpsvägen (second road on your left). Follow this narrow road for approximately 750m, past several farms until you enter the forest. At the first parking lot,  turn left and wind your way up the hill. After approximately 350 meters, turn onto the second road on your right. The parking lot on the left serves as a trail head

Hiking: To reach Nimis, climb the path at the north end of the parking lot which leads to Himmelstorps Hembygdsgärg. Briefly, walk along the path next to the pasture. Upon reaching the farm, take the trail which bisects the farm and pasture and cross the animal corral. At this time, the path becomes a trail. Follow this path for 15-20 minutes; after approximately 5 minutes, you will begin a steep descent down to Nimis. The trail is well used so if in doubt, just follow the signs and your own instinct.

Disclaimer: After Himmelstorps Hembygdsgärg, the trail to Nimis becomes quite rugged and steep and requires good footware and a reasonable fitness level. Keep in mind that you have to hike out the same way you came in. Nimis itself is located on the edge of a rock slide and on a beach strewn with large boulders, so once again, it is wise to have solid footware. Finally, climbing the towers requires some degree of athleticism and is not for everyone.

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About Canadianindenmark

A Canadian expat working in the biotechnology industry in Copenhagen, Denmark
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