Culture & history


Vättern units the areas around it 

Our landscape around Lake Vättern has so much to tell. Places, people who live and have lived characterize life around the lake to this day. Here we present a selection of our rich countryside. Vättern is surrounded by mystery and stories, let's tell some of them or experience them for ourselves.

Art & Crafts
Places and castles 
Historical persons


art & crafts

Many famous artists have lived, visited or lived near Lake Vättern. There's something about the light. Both over the lake and the landscape around. Prince Eugen built his house at Örberga, John Bauer walked and lived in the forests near Vättern and many Swedes refer to a forest as a Bauer-Forest with a sigh of longing, de depth of our souls.

Several active artists live here today and every year the well-attended art tours are arranged from north to south.

Norra Vätterns Konstrunda (April)
Konst Runt Omberg (Maj)
Hjo Konstrunda (Juni)
Visingsö Konstrunda (Augusti)
Mjölby Konstrunda (Augusti)
Södra Vätterbygdens konstrunda (september)
Vadstena Konstrunda (september)
Konstnatten Falköping-Tidaholm (september)

Historical places

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The world's longest runic text with its 800 runes is also Sweden's oldest longest writing and is carved on the strange runestone in Rök. The interpretation of the Rökstenen text is still current and puzzles researchers to this day.

In order to secure the supply of good timber for the Swedish navy, the Crown in the 1830s built a large oak plantation on Visingsö. By the mid-1800s, about 300,000 oak trees had been planted, many of which still exist today and occupy an area of about 360 ha.

Several castles around Lake Vättern are today ruins such as Näs and Visingsborg on Visingsö or Brahehus and Brahälla. But several are open for accommodation and viewings such as: Helliden Castle, with miles of views of Tidaholm. Stjärnsund Castle south of Askersund. Charlottenborg Castle in Motala. Vadstena Castle and Västanå Castle, Gränna.

If Stockholm falls, the reserve capital is located at Vättern. Karlsborg Fortress is one of northern Europe's largest buildings and is mainly built of limestone from Omberg. With room for, among other things, parliament, government, currency reserves and royal houses in case of war or other danger. 

The execution of the robber Jonas Falk took place at Svedmon in 1855, the place is still today marked with stones and an iron cross. The tomb is most often adorned with flowers. How the flowers get there, no one can say with certainty. Falk's tomb remains a mystery to this day.

historical persons

Today you can visit several places that offer guided tours or tours about the famous people who have lived and worked at Lake Vättern.

Ellen Key was one of those attracted to Lake Vättern and the plain. In 1910, she built her home Strand at the foot of Omberg. She was a pioneer with her books The Child's Century and Beauty for All. In the picture on the left, she is with the dog Wild.

Some further north we find Övralid, home to the national poet and Nobel Laureate Verner von Heidenstam. On his birthday, July 6, the Övralid prize will be awarded. The prize sum of SEK 300,000 means that the prize is today one of the highest and finest awarded to Swedish writers and literary scholars. Verner was born and raised at Olshammarsgården on the west side of Lake Vättern.

Throughout the Middle Ages, royal power was centralized around Visingsö, Alvastra, Skänninge and Vadstena. In Vadstena at Sancta Birgitta Monastery Museum we get to know more about the life of Saint Birgitta and at Vadstena Castle we tell about the Vasa family.

The countly Brahe family gained great influence in the later Middle Ages and several names today are reminiscent of Brahe. Perhaps best known is the ruin at the E4, Brahehus and Visingsborg Castle ruins on Visingsö.

In 2021, Gränna Museum received the cultural heritage prize for its exhibition about S.A André's polar expedition to the North Pole and at Jönköping County Museum you will meet John Bauer's magical fairytale world.

Strong women
There are many strong women around Lake Vättern, in Hjo you will meet one of the great design icons of the 1900s, Ester Ericsson who founded the firm Svenskt Tenn. Another famous Eriksson is Amalia, who baked the first candy cane, which is now one of Gränna's brands. Sweden's first "merchant woman" was in Ödeshög, Handelsman Johanna was one of the most significant people for the emergence of Ödeshög's society. Even today, the Johanna of the Year award is presented to an enterprising woman in Ödeshög.