Those who know me know that I seem to have a specific love for old and weathered buildings. So it was most natural that I developed a deep affection for Fiholm Castle when I saw it. Well, the pink wing to be precise. Fiholm Castle consists of two identical wings which face each other, one in bright orange and one in pink. The organge one is inhabited by the owners Charlott and Göran Mörner who have bought the whole property in 1988 and have restarted the farm. The pink wing is sadly used as storage (I peeked through the windows at its back side). Both buildings show signs of decay, but the orange one it a bit better maintained. On the other hand, I have read that they were never changed since they were built in 1642. The pink one would make a beautiful atmospheric B&B, maybe the owners might get the idea one day. I loved the simpleness of the whole ensemble; I think it was mainly because of the strong colours, the simple and symmetric windows and the iron tie bar ends. The latter ones are very much photogenic (see photos). Haha, yes, I seem to have a strong liking for these, especially if the wall is a bit decaying.
The castle was built by Sweden’s Lord Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna who was one of the most powerful men of his time, had studied in Jena, Wittenberg and Rostock and was a diplomat and strategist during the 30 Years War. There is a cute story about the dispute between Axel and his son Johan regarding the castle, but I leave it to Simone to tell this story. The castle’s portals, by the way, are adorned with the Oxenstierna’s coat of arms – the ox horns are quite dominating. The importance of this family can also be seen in the nearby Jäder Kyrka (church), but that’s a story for another to-do tip.
Fiholm Castle is still a working farm, that’s why it is not possible to enter all of the ground. But I could walk past the pink building to get a rough idea of how big the premises are and take a glimpse of the barn and some of the other farm buildings. The building next to the orange wing and the parking space is the former barn and this is now converted into a café and art gallery. They serve tea and coffee and homemade cake. Very delicious cakes, by the way, my blackberry cake was very good. The prices are also very reasonable, for tea and coffee and two cakes we paid 80 SEK. The café is open daily except Monday from noon to 6 p.m. in the months of June to August and Saturday and Sunday only in May.
It is not possible to visit the castle, unfortunately. But on the other hand, this is understandable, you would’t want to have visitors trotting through your home all day long, would you? But there is one day in the year when the Mörner family opens the doors. It shall be announced on their website, though in Swedish only.
Fiholm Castle is located in Södermanland, at Mälaren Lake, north of E20 (between Eskilstuna and Strägnäs). Get off at exit 134 and drive north, direction Kjulaås and then direction Björsund. The brown sign to Fiholm Slott is tiny, but you can’t miss it because the alley leading to the castle is lined with huge trees.
Location of Fiholm Castle on Google Maps.
© Ingrid D., April 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)
The estate of Fiholm was inherited in 1617 by Axel Oxenstierna. In 1640 they started building a big castle. In 1642 the two wings were constructed, but no main building was ever raised. Reason to this, as the stories goes, is the dispute Axel Oxenstierna and his son Johan. When the son was asked about the coming building of the castle he answered that they were more like two barns than a castle. The angry father Axel answered:- If you think so than you have to build the cattle shed by yourself!-
Hahaha, I love this story. But I have to agree a bit with son Johan. Although the castle is nice to see, it does have some resembles of two huge barns. It would have been totally different if the main building was there to complete the picture, but unfortunately it was never build. All you see now are the two wings of the castle opposite each other.
It is possible to visit the castle, but it isn't open daily. It is possible to book an excursion for groups. The other option is to be here when there is an event going on (which is not very often, about twice a year). During those days it is possible to take a look inside as well.
I visited this Fiholm Castle during a bicycle tour from my home. It's not that far from where I live (about 10 - 15 kilometres), hahaha, if you don't mind the hills. Hmmm... they are not really hills I guess, hahaha, but it isn't flat either. But if you are from the Netherlands, like me, every bump in the road feels like a hill :-)
It's a beautiful bicycle ride though, when you get close to the castle you can ride along the picturesque long lanes belonging to the castle.
There are many runic stones to be seen in this part of Sweden, especially around Lake Mälaren. I know of about a dozen or so in my area. I think they are wonderful to see as they have survived so many centuries and bare so much history with them. Rune stones are standing stones with runic inscriptions dating mainly from 200 to the year 1100.
In total there are 448 of them in Södermanland. The county of Uppland tops the list though with an amazing 1392. In total there are 3430 of these inscriptions in Sverige. And two of them are right here; in front of the Jäder church.
You can see the Rördrommen" on the right site of the road. This is your main gateway to get into the little nature reserve at the lake. The name is very appropriate because "Rördrommen" is the name of a rare bird you can spot here: Rördrom or Botaurus stellaris.
Although..... actually seeing this bird will be a very difficult task as the bird is very shy. But hearing it, yes that's possible! It has a ver destinct sound you can miss hearing! it's deep booming song is often likened to the sound produced by blowing across the top of an empty milk bottle.
As I never saw the bird myself, but only heard it, I don't have any photos of it. So instead this pheasant that is also a regular visitor in these parts. And these are not the only birds you can spot here. Rördrommen and Lake Söderfjärden is an area very popular among many bird species.
The next stop we make is in a little village called Jäder. The church here is quite interesting. The church originates back to the year 1000 and started off as a wooden church. During 1100 the church was rebuild in stone. Around 1600 this whole area is owned by the family "Oxtenstierna", a well-known and rich family in Sweden. Their name pops up quite a bit when reading about Swedish history. They are also the owners of Fiholm Slott that I just talked about in the previous tips.
The family Oxtenstierna put a lot of money towards this church, to secure themselves a worthy burial place. And I think they made a good job of it :-) Since 1659 there have been no real changes made to the church, so this is what it looked like a few centuries ago. Just think... 1659! Amazing, isn't it!
It's spring here now and the golf season has just started. The trees are still bare and you can only see a slight glow of green over the plants. It's quiet, the sun is shining, the sky is wonderfully blue. I heard the birds singing their songs, they all seem so happy that spring has started. The flowers are shyly starting to show their faces. Not the first looks above the soil, but not nearly ready to start flowering yet. Except for one little cheerful flower: the Vitsippa! This flower for me just shouts "it's springgggg!" :-)) Hahaha, maybe that is why I love it so much! From about half of April you can see this flower bloom all over the place. It makes big carpets of flowers covering the bare ground under the trees and edges of the forest. A wonderful sunny sight to see!
Strand golf is a "Pay and Play" golf course, so you can come and play her whenever you like. You don't need a official handicap to be allowed on the course, so newcomers are more than welcome as well. It's an 18 hole golf course and a really good one for a "Pay and Play" club. So if you want to hit some golf balls and have a nice afternoon, don't hesitate to go here for a round of golf. And please say hi to Janne (the golf pro) from me when you go here :-))
While talking about flowers I just remember a beautiful flower that you can see in this area. It's not right at the lake, but a bit more to the west. The flower I am talking about is called "backsippa" or "Pasqueflower" and it flowers a bit later in the season: around the middle of May. The place to see the "backsippa" is the Sofiebergsåsens nature reserve (or also called Jäders kulle). It's on my agenda to visit this place this year! :-)) So keep tuned for more photos :-)
But this area is not only wonderful in the spring! I really love those long summer days here, being light from around 3 o'clock in the morning to 11 at night. Often nice temperatures but hardly ever too warm. The fun thing is that you can play a whole round of golf after work without worrying about the time :-))
In the autumn the days grow shorte but it does have something special of its own: mushrooms! You can see so many here popping up everywhere out of the ground. I never knew there were so many sorts and varieties of them. I just love to see them and I think they give this time of year something special.
Here is a photo I made quickly when the "guys" were looking for a lost golf ball in the woods. It must have been at hole 13, as this one is surrounded by forest on either side, THE perfect spot to lose some golf balls. I don't hit as far as they do, so I mostly land on the green while they do their "usual" walk in the woods again ;-)) Hahaha, but this gave me some time for me to make some photos :-))
That's it for now on this page. But as you know I am here almost weekly, so I'll try to add some more photos and info in the future. Some places I have in my mind to show you more of is:
And this is the reason why I come here so often: the golfcourse at Strand. I really like this place because it is located so beautifully beside Lake "Sörfjärden". It is so tranquil here. It's like making a wonderful walk in nature every time I play. Hahaha, and that compensates for a lot when I don't win, LOL :-)) I've only started playing just over a year ago and I enjoy playing the game enormously. And Strands has been a great place to start playing. I've made some great friends here and that is another reason why I love coming back here every time.
This is the road I normally take along the lake: from "Barva" towards "Strand". There are some nice stops to make on this little stretch of road and the main reason for that is because you are driving besides a nature reserve. First of all you can make a good stop at a little bridge at "Örsundet". There are no signs where you are, there are no houses here either, just a little bridge and some nice views.
I'll tell you some more about this little place in detail when I've been there with my camera. Hahaha, amazing isn't it! I pass it almost weekly, but not even 1 photo!!! ;-)