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#AdventCalendar: The micronation in a southern Swedish national park

Each day of December up until Christmas Eve, The Local is sharing the story behind a surprising fact about Sweden as part of our own Advent Calendar.

#AdventCalendar: The micronation in a southern Swedish national park
Part of the Nimis sculpture. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

On a rocky beach in a southern Swedish nature reserve, lies the micronation of Ladonia, born out of a bureaucratic battle.

Ladonia has its own time zone (three minutes behind Sweden's), Ministries of Folktales, Postcards and Procrastination, and two national anthems (one is the sound of a rock being thrown into water). Over 20,000 people have citizenship, which can be applied for online, while over 1,000 have paid to become members of its nobility.

It all started when artist Lars Vilks created a large sculpture made of driftwood, Nimis, within the Kullaberg Nature Reserve.

Nimis. Photo: Lars Vilks

The Latin name literally means 'too much' and local authorities certainly thought so. When they found out about its existence – which took two years due to the sculpture's remote location – they demanded Vilks to dismantle the piece since it had been illegally built in the nature reserve.

He did not, and created a second sculpture, Arx, while the court battle was ongoing. Then he sold both artworks to avoid being forced to destroy them, on the grounds he no longer owned them.


Despite Vilks being convicted and fined for building the sculptures, they still remain on the site today and in 1996 the artist declared the surrounding area to be the Republic of Ladonia.

He assigned himself the role of State Secretary and in 2011 the micronation's Queen was coronated.

Arx. Photo: Lars Vilks

A third sculpture, Omfalos, was built in 1999 but destroyed two years later following a court decision.

In the meantime, Ladonia has become a popular tourist attraction with an estimated 40,000 visitors each year. It can be hard to find, since you'll either need to take a boat or undertake a 45-minute hike, and it's not acknowledged by any Swedish signposts or maps. 

No one can actually live or work in the one-kilometre-squared micronation, and Vilks was forced to update the citizenship application to make this clear after around 3,000 people from Pakistan applied in the hopes of moving to the area.

Each day until Christmas Eve, The Local is looking at the story behind one surprising fact about Sweden, as agreed by our readers. Find the rest of our Advent Calendar HERE and sign up below to get an email notification when there's a new article.

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