Kalmar Union

History of Sweden between 1397 - 1523

In 1388, at the request of the Swedes themselves, king Albert of Mecklenburg was driven out by Margaret I of Denmark and at a convention of the representatives of the three Scandinavian kingdoms (held at Kalmar in 1397), Margaret's great-nephew, Eric of Pomerania, was elected the common king, although the liberties of each of the three realms were expressly reserved and confirmed. The union was to be a personal, not a political union. Neither Margaret herself nor her successors observed the stipulation that in each of the three kingdoms only natives should hold land and high office, and the efforts first of Denmark (at that time by far the strongest member of the union) to impose her will on the Union's weaker kingdoms soon produced a rupture, or rather a series of semi-ruptures. The Swedes first broke away from it in 1434 under the popular leader Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, and after his murder they elected Karl Knutsson Bonde their king under the title of Charles VIII, 1436.

In 1441 Charles VIII had to abdicate in favour of Christopher of Bavaria, who was already king of Denmark and Norway; however, upon the death of Christopher in 1448, a state of confusion ensued in the course of which Charles VIII was twice reinstated and twice expelled again. Finally, on his death in 1470, the three kingdoms were reunited under Christian II of Denmark, the prelates and higher nobility of Sweden being favourable to the union.

After the briefly successful reconquest of Sweden by Christian II and the subsequent Stockholm bloodbath in 1520, the Swedes rose in yet another rebellion which ousted the Danish forces once again in 1521, though Stockholm did not surrender until the summer of 1523. While independence was being reclaimed, the election of King Gustav of the Vasa at Strängnäs on June 6, 1523, has been seen as a formal declaration of independence, and as the de facto end of a union that had lost all long-term support in Sweden. The day Gustav Vasa was hailed as King (he was not crowned until 1528 though) would become, in 1983, the National Day of Sweden.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1397 and 1523 in Sweden

Malmö Castle

Malmö Castle (Malmöhus) was founded in 1434 by King Eric of Pomerania. This structure was demolished in early 16th century. The castle acquired its present appearance following major reconstruction in the 1530’s, when King Christian III ordered the building of a modern fortress, splendid Renaissance castle and county governor´s residence, all on the one site. Historically, this fortress was one of th ...
Founded: 1434 | Location: Malmö, Sweden

Liden Old Church

Liden"s Old Church construction was started around 1483 by the Dominican monk Josephus and completed finally in 1510. It replaced an earlier church, probably from the 1200s (the crucifix and Madonna sculpture from the original church are survived and visible in the church). The interior was decorated with frescoes in 1561. The altar decorations and pulpit were made in 1755 by Jonas Granberg.
Founded: 1483-1510 | Location: Liden, Sweden

Arbrå Church

The late-medieval church of Arbrå was built probably around the year 1500. It was badly damaged by fire in 1635. The church was enlarged to north and south between 1753-1754 and the present sacristy was added also after that. The bell tower date from the year 1630. The mural paintings date from the 16th century. The pulpit was made in 1780s after the previous one was donated to Alfta Church.
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Arbrå, Sweden

Wik Castle

Wik Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Sweden. The first owner was Israel And in the end of 13th century. The current magnificent castle with seven floors was built in the late 15th century. The massive walls and moats made the stronghold impregnable. During the Middle Ages, the castle was one of the sturdiest strongholds in the Mälaren Valley, and Gustav Wasa once besieged Wik Castle for over a ...
Founded: ca. 1450 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Österbybruk

The Österbybruk was established by the King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. Int 1643 it was acquired by Louis de Geer and in his time Österbybruk became the center of weapon manufacturing in Sweden. Later it was owned by Grill and Tamm families. The manor house of Österbybruk was built in 1763-1780 by the design of Elias Kessler and Erik Palmstedt. There is also a Calvinist church with a mirror hall bui ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Österbybruk, Sweden

Kalix Church

Kalix Church is the northernmost medieval church in Sweden. It dates from the 15th century (first mentioned in 1472). Several items of medieval inventory are preserved including the font, altarpiece and two sculptures. The pulpit, a Baroque work, is from 1674, and is among the oldest to be found in the north of Sweden. The church has a separate wooden belfry, which was made in 1731. The church has been sacked by Russian t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kalix, Sweden

Red Tower

Rödtornet (Red Tower) is the only remaining part of the medieval St. Peter's Church built in the 12th century. The tower was erected in 1464. The church was replaced with a school in 1828.
Founded: 1464 | Location: Vadstena, Sweden

Älvkarleby Church

The nave of Älvkarleby Church was built between 1478-1490. It was enlarged in 1690-1702 and the post-medieval sacristy was also replaced with a new one. The spire was removed in 1829. The altar screen, from 1490, features an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church also has several extremely well preserved medieval frescoes, including some of angels, which are well worth seeing.
Founded: 1478-1490 | Location: Älvkarleby, Sweden

Ulricehamn Church

Ulricehamn Church originates from th 15th century, but it was built to the current appearance in 1688. The three candelabras in the church are very impressive, and the oldest was made in 1627. The altarpiece and pulpit are both carved in elaborate Baroque style and were made in the 18th century. The ceiling is adorned with paintings from the late 17th century. These were produced by Anders Falck.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ulricehamn, Sweden

Mofalla Church

The oldest wooden parts of Mofalla Church date from the 15th century, but it has been restored several times. There are some original mural paintings survived in ceilings (made in 1480s). The church has wooden sculptures from the 12th and 15th century. The belfry dates from the 16th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Hjo, Sweden

Lunda Church

There has been one or more earlier churches on the same site of current Lunda church. One evidence of this is a font, dating from the 1200s. The current church was built in the early 1400s. The pulpit is designed by C. W. Palmroth and donated to Lunda church in 1806.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sigtuna, Sweden

Fårö Church

The oldest parts of the Fårö church date from the 15th century, but it has been mainly rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries. Lightning struck the steeple in the 18th century, and the spire had to be rebuilt. Later the church became outgrown, so an extension was built towards the east in 1858, when the church doubled its size and took on its present day appearance. The votive ships made in 1620 and 1767 descr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Fårö, Sweden

Danderyd Church

The sacristy and the northeast side of the Danderyd Church were built around 1400. The current appearance dates mainly from the restoration made in 1600s. The church has a strong relation to Baner noble family, who owned the church lands and the near Djursholm Castle for centuries. There are two grave of Baner family in the church and the pulpit (1628) and altar (1707) are donated by them. Among other inventory there are ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Danderyd, Sweden

Båstad Church

The Church of Båstad, Saint Mary’s Church was constructed in the 15th century. The building started around the year 1450 and it was completed in the early 1500s. The inauguration was made in 1460. Båstad Church is a Romanesque church, and contains several wall paintings from various centuries; a madonna image; and a Danish altarpiece, among other things.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Båstad, Sweden

Koberg Castle

The first known owner of Koberg was knight Erik Nipertz in the 15th century. Later it has been owned for example by royal Vasa and Leijonhufvud (Lewenhaupt) families. The oldest eastern part of the castle dates from the mid-1400s, the middle part from 1620s and the western part from the late 1700s. The other estate buildings were built in Neo-Romantic style in 1900-1904. Today Koberg castle is the residence of Princess D& ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Trollhättan, Sweden

Husaby Castle Ruins

Husaby Bishop’s castle was built in the 1480s as a residence for Brynolf Gerlakson, bishop of Skara. It was confiscated by the state during the Reformation in the 1520s and destroyed shortly afterwards.
Founded: 1480s | Location: Götene, Sweden

Kronoberg Castle Ruins

Kronoberg Castle is a medieval ruin located on an island in lake Helgasjön. In 1444 Lars Mikaelson, the bishop of Växjö, built a stone building on the lakeshore. During the Dano-Swedish War of 1470-1471, Danish forces destroyed the house. It was reconstructed and fortified after peace was restored in 1472. During the Swedish Reformation the castle and its estate were confiscated by Gustav Vasa. In 1542, during the Dac ...
Founded: 1472 | Location: Växjö, Sweden

Torpa Stenhus

Torpa stenhus is a well preserved medieval castle near Åsunden. The first stone house was built around 1470 by Privy Council Arvid Knutsson as fortress against the Danes. Reconstruction and remodeling took during the 1500s and 1600s. In the late 1500s the castle was enlarged and modernized: the 4th floor was added, the tower was erected and halls were decorated with beautiful paintings. The castle has still today a well- ...
Founded: 1470 | Location: Länghem, Sweden

Värna Church

The present church in Värna was constructed in the 1500s of stone and brick. At first the church had a south entrance, but it has always had the same nave. The belfry was erected in 1860.The altarpiece with its wood sculptures was made in Germany in the mid-1400s. The pulpit is made of wood and its framework is most likely from the 1600s. Beautiful mural paintings were made in 1728 by Anders Wikström.
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Linköping, Sweden

Bollnäs Church

Bollnäs church was originally built in the 14th and 15th centuries. One opening is known to have taken place November 3, 1468, probably concerning the church tower. Later alterations include the addition of the north and south transepts, built in 1753-1755. The church holds a larger collection of wooden medieval sculptures than any other parish church in the Nordic countries. Three of the altarpieces are major works ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bollnäs, Sweden

Rimbo Church

Rimbo Church was built in the late 1400s. It is well-known for its finely mural paintings made around the year 1500. There is also a font (13th century) and crucifix (c. 1275) dating from the earlier church.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rimbo, Sweden

Backen Church

Backenkyrkan or Backen Church is the oldest church in Umeå. There was a wooden church probably already in the 13th century. In the late 1400s the archbishop of Uppsala ordered to replace it with a stone church. The current church was built between 1501-1508. Backenkyrkan was damaged badly by fire in 1893 and again in 1986, when the wooden interior was completely destroyed. The church was restored and reinaugurated in 199 ...
Founded: 1501-1508 | Location: Umeå, Sweden

Barsebäck Castle

Barsebäck Castle has existed in various versions at its present location since the 12th century. It received its current shape during a major renovation and rebuilding in 1889 and 1940. The current main structure is a three-story 19th-century reconstruction in Dutch Renaissance style, made to resemble the many original Renaissance castles still remaining in the Scanian landscape. After the Scanian War, Barsebäc ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Barsebäck, Sweden

Hedared Stave Church

Hedared Stave Church is Sweden's only preserved medieval stave church. For a long time it was assumed Hedared stave church dated to early medieval times because it was built as a stave church. Already at the beginning of the 20th century, the archaeologist and architectural historian Emil Ekhoff argued that the church was considerably later than the stave church in Hemse on Gotland, fragments of which he had found under t ...
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Borås, Sweden

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Castle de Haar

Castle de Haar is the largest and most fairytale-like castle in the Netherlands. The current buildings, all built upon the original castle, date from 1892 and are the work of Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers, in a Neo-Gothic restoration project funded by the Rothschild family.

The oldest historical record of a building at the location of the current castle dates to 1391. In that year, the family De Haar received the castle and the surrounding lands as fiefdom from Hendrik van Woerden. The castle remained in the ownership of the De Haar family until 1440, when the last male heir died childless. The castle then passed to the Van Zuylen family. In 1482, the castle was burned down and the walls were torn down, except for the parts that did not have a military function. These parts probably were incorporated into the castle when it was rebuilt during the early 16th century. The castle is mentioned in an inventory of the possessions of Steven van Zuylen from 1506, and again in a list of fiefdoms in the province Utrecht from 1536. The oldest image of the castle dates to 1554 and shows that the castle had been largely rebuilt by then. After 1641, when Johan van Zuylen van der Haar died childless, the castle seems to have gradually fallen into ruins. The castle escaped from total destruction by the French during the Rampjaar 1672.

In 1801 the last catholic van Zuylen in the Netherlands, the bachelor Anton-Martinus van Zuylen van Nijevelt (1708-1801) bequeathed the property to his cousin Jean-Jacques van Zuylen van Nyevelt (1752-1846) of the catholic branch in the Southern Netherlands. In 1890, De Haar was inherited by Jean-Jacques' grandson Etienne Gustave Frédéric Baron van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar (1860-1934), who married Baroness Hélène de Rothschild. They contracted architect Pierre Cuypers in 1892 to rebuild the ruinous castle, which took 15 years.

In 1887, the inheritor of the castle-ruins, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, married Hélène de Rothschild, of theRothschild family. Fully financed by Hélène's family, the Rothschilds, the couple set about rebuilding the castle from its ruins. For the restoration of the castle, the famous architect Pierre Cuypers was hired. He would be working on this project for 20 years (from 1892 to 1912). The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, of which only a small number on the ground floor have been opened to be viewed by the public. In the hall, Cuypers has placed a statue with his own image in a corner of the gallery on the first floor.

The castle was equipped by Cuypers with the most modern gadgets, such as electrical lighting with its own generator, and central heating by way of steam. This installation is internationally recognized as an industrial monument. The kitchen was for that period also very modern and still has a large collection of copper pots and pans and an enormous furnace of approximately 6 metres long, which is heated with peat or coals. The tiles in the kitchen are decorated with the coats of arms of the families De Haar and Van Zuylen, which were for this purpose especially baked in Franeker. Cuypers marked out the difference between the old walls and the new bricks, by using a different kind of brick for the new walls. For the interior Cuypers made a lot of use of cast iron.

In the castle one can see many details which reminds one of the family De Rothschild, such as the David stars on the balconies of the knight's hall, the motto of the family on the hearth in the knight's hall (A majoribus et virtute) and the coat of arms of the family right underneath on the hearth in the library.

The interior of the castle is decorated with richly ornamented woodcarving, which reminds one of the interior of a Roman Catholic church. This carving was made in the workshop of Cuypers in Roermond. The place where later also the interiors of many Roman Catholic churches were made, designed by Cuypers. Cuypers even designed the tableware. The interior is also furnished with many works of the Rothschild collections, including beautiful old porcelain from Japan and China, and several old Flemish tapestries and paintings with religious illustrations. A showpiece is a carrier coach of the woman of a Shogun from Japan. There is only one more left in the world, which stands in a museum in Tokyo. Many Japanese tourists come to De Haar to admire exactly this coach, which was donated from the Rothschilds collections.

Surrounding the castle there is a park, designed by Hendrik Copijn, for which Van Zuylen ordered 7000 fully grown trees. Because these could not be transported through the city of Utrecht, Van Zuylen bought a house and tore it down. The park contains many waterworks and a formal garden which reminds one of the French gardens of Versailles. During the Second World War many of the gardens were lost, because the wood was used to light fires, and the soil was used to grow vegetables upon. At this time, the gardens are restored in their old splendor.

For the decoration of the park, the village Haarzuilens, except for the town church, was broken down. The inhabitants were moved to a place a kilometer further up, where a new Haarzuilens arose, where they lived as tenants of the lord of the castle. This new village was also built in a pseudo-medieval style, including a rural village green. The buildings were for the most part designed by Cuypers and his son Joseph Cuypers.