In Scanian wetlands, five kilometres from the sea and Skillinge, Danish Privy Council Jens Holgersen Ulfstand ordered the construction of a five-story stone house in 1499. As he was enormously wealthy and powerful, he developed a kind of court life here. Tall “houses” like this had actually already gone out of style at that time. He most likely wanted to consolidate his power by using designs from the Middle Ages.
If the design of the building was old fashioned the building itself was filled with novelties, such as a hot air system for heating. There are also many clever inventions installed to protect the house; trap-doors, dead-end corridors and ducts for boiling tar to greet the enemy with. Its placement in open, rough terrain was of course also strategic - one could spot the enemy approaching from a great distance.
Out-dated after only a few years
Most historical evidence indicates that the castle only served its purpose for a couple of generations. The Scanian aristocracy no longer wanted to live like this. As early as the 16th century, Glimmingehus began to be used as a granary. During the Scanian war in the 17th century, the Swedes feared that the house would become a Danish fortress. Karl XI gave orders for it to be demolished, but the crew failed to demolish the walls, which were two metres thick, and the house got remain a granary throughout the centuries.
Nils Holgersson arrives at Glimmingehus
It still functioned as a granary when Selma Lagerlöf in the end of 19th century allowed Nils Holgersson to rescue the grains from its biggest enemy at the time -rats. The way it was used spared the house from wear and tear but many people argued that the building should serve a more worthy purpose. Did Nils Holgersson contribute to its massive popularity? At any rate Glimmingehus was taken over by the government in 1924 and in the spirit of national romanticism Glimmingehus was restored into a “national monument” with a museum, café and hostel.
Paradoxically, however, it is the fact that is was forgotten and that it lived a life separate from the needs of contemporary times that saved Glimmingehus and the primeness of so many other cultural settings. Today, the Swedish National Heritage Board has some parts of the old building on display. Glimmingehus has been managed by the National Property Board of Sweden since January 2015.
- Guided tours