Small towns

Like living history but in the present.

Illustrator: Daniella Lubkowitz

From east to west, you will find the picturesque small towns of Östergötland, which have served as the backdrop to much of the area’s rich history and are now creating their own unique stories.

In the east we find Söderköping, once one of Sweden’s most important trading centres. Several kings were crowned here and it was also the site of many important meetings from Sweden’s history. Supposedly, one such meeting was convened here to discuss the formation of the Kalmar Union. Nowadays, if you walk around the Drothemskvarteren neighbourhood it feels like stepping into history. Here, the small-town epithet becomes a little more tangible. You don’t need to be very tall to occasionally be able to see over the roofs of the small cottages. Do the environments in Söderköping feel familiar? Could you have sworn that you saw Madicken and Lisabet on the street corner over there? You may find that you recognise the surroundings if you have seen the film adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s popular book, which was filmed right here in Söderköping.

To the west is Vadstena, another town rich in history that you can experience up close. In these surroundings, Vadstena Castle can be considered a relative newcomer, dating back to 1545. Just a few blocks away we find St Birgitta Church, which dates back to 1430, and the old convent, where the nunnery dates back to the 13th century. Next, we encounter Magnus Eriksson’s Kungsgård (demesne of the Crown), also known as Bjälboättens Palats (Bjälbo family’s palace). Wander through the picturesque cobbled streets of Vadstena and browse the small shops nestled in the historic neighbourhood.

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