Vadstena - a creative history
An intangible impression. Vadstena inhabits a peculiar, almost enchanted atmosphere. Perhaps it is the medieval buildings and ruins, the presence of Vättern, the beautiful plains, or yet, the pride the residents have for their town. This atmosphere has the ability to bring peace and quiet and create energy and movement at the same time. That this is a place for both recreation and inspiration, people have known for hundreds of years. Vadstena has always been a place to marvel at, visit, return to, enjoy and stay in.
There are also dedicated and creative people and companies that are inspired by history to create the future. And this is done by challenging the belief in how everything should be, turning the perspectives and daring to test new, unexpected things. Because the interesting arises in the encounter between history and the future, old and new. When we dare to combine a medieval castle with new technology and old stories with new, creative ideas.
Today we have art exhibitions, courageous entrepreneurs and opera at the castle. Tomorrow we may experience a historical festival in the "Old Town" or a town hall or a "Valley of Ideas" with creative inventors. Who knows.
What we know is that Vadstena does not only have One story - but many. And that we create them together.
Monastery area - with several layers of history
In 1346 King Magnus Eriksson and Queen Blanka testified Vadstena farm and their royal palace to a monastery foundation to build a royal tomb church with its monasteries. The donation included a larger area at Vättern, with income from several farms where the royal palace formed the starting point.
At the head of the project, Birgitta Birgersdotter former court lady of Queen Blanka. On a trip to Santiago de Compostela in 1341, she had received a first revelation where God gave her the task of establishing a new convent in Vadstena. In 1370 she received the monastery rule approved by the pope, three years later she died in Rome. Through the great commitment of both the kingdoms and the church, Birgitta's vision became reality and around the old royal palace, the new monastery area grew up.
The new monastery and monastery church was built according to Holy Birgitta's instructions and was opened in 1384 and 1430 and Vadstena became the mother's monastery for the “Order of the Savior” or “Birgittinorden”. In 1391 she was declared sacred and was named Saint Birgitta.
At the same time as Gustav Vasa's reform in 1527, all the monasteries in Sweden were closed, Vadstena Monastery remained the longest and was active until 1595.
The monastery buildings were left empty for more than 50 years before they were used in a variety of ways. The ancient nunnery was built in the 17th century into a home for war invalids and their families. In the 1840s one of the buildings was used as a general hospital. Only when the hospital business moves out and the building is being renovated in the 1950s, it is discovered that the building is the old royal palace.
Looking up in Klosterkyrkan, you can see these amazing starvals. Lime paintings in the ceiling are in the form of stylized clover leaves and other plant-like ornaments. As a fun detail, there's a little man painted somewhere among all the patterns. See if you can find him!