In Scania there is a country that is not listed on any official map — Ladonia. The enormous driftwood complex ‘Nimis’, which sits on the steep northern slopes of Kullen Peninsula marks the centre of Ladonia. Already in 1980 the artist Lars Vilks, began building his work of art. Two years later his activities were discovered by the authorities and resulted in a bitter dispute over the legality of the construction – after all it is built in a nature reserve.
Nimis is unique and a proof of the fact that it is worth not to give up. Demolitions, arson, and court battles have not stopped Lars to build further and he keeps on fighting for the preservation of Nimis. In 1996, he declared the independence of the micro nation Ladonia and just recently we had the chance to visit this amazing and special country.
It’s weekend and the weather is nice, so we get up at 6:00 am, have a quick breakfast get on the way towards Mölle. We follow the signs to Himmelstorps Hembygdsgård, an old farm which located close to Ladonia. Our drive ends in a small forest car park. We take our backpacks with water, food and photography equipment, and off we go. Passing the idyllic red and white farm house of Himmelstorps Hembygdsgård, we follow the yellow “N” (for Nimis). We hike slightly uphill over the top of Kullaberg and after half a kilometer we enter a dense deciduous forest. The path leads steeply downhill over granite rubble overgrown with moss, tree roots, and slippery soil. Occasionally, we catch glimpses of the blue Kattegat which glistens in the morning sun. Sturdy shoes are required, and we are no longer surprised that it took two years before Nimis was discovered.
The slope is getting steeper and impassible – we support ourselves off of trees, to climb safely over boulders. Suddenly we discover a sort of portal in front of us — a doorway which marks the entrance to Nimis. Behind the portal starts a tunnel which steeply grows down the slope like a sore consisting of countless pieces of wood. First we just watch in awe and amazed.
After entering the tunnel, we climb, slowly further down, considering each single step. But the construction, which is held together by old rusty nails is amazingly stable and appears to be en-rooted with the uneven terrain. The tunnel seems to have no end, but after about a 10 m descent, we slowly begin grasp the extent of Nimis. After finding the exit of the wooden labyrinth we can see several driftwood towers and buildings before us. We decide to “conquer Nimis” and to climb to the top of the highest tower. The whole complex stretches almost to the waters of the Kattegat. Huge granite pebbles form the beach and we spend the next hours to explore Ladonia.
We open our senses to the wonders of this special place and take in the many impressions, the beautiful colour contrasts made from wood, pale green deciduous forest, grey rocks and the blue of the sea. Ladonia is really is a unique country and we are lucky to have for us. After a while more visitors arrive and we slowly get on the way back.
We are not sure about what is more strenuous, the climb or descent. One thing however is certain, all the effort, the hike through the forest and the exploration of Nimis is worth it in any case. Have fun in discovering.
Nimis is a proof for the human imagination and creativity, and that we all are able to make our dreams come true. Lars Vilks shows us that it is worthwhile to stick to our ideas. No matter what the difficulties, if we stay flexible and use our creativity to find solutions, we will always succeed.
Thanks Lars, for building Nimis as a reminder for us!