Sweden still has relatively large areas of untainted nature, especially in the north. With its endless forests and milder climate, the southern landscape is much friendlier, sloping and fruitful. It is no wonder that 80% of the Swedish population live in the southern part of the country (Götaland), because it does not have the north-like rough landscape. The Götaland region consists of the sections Blekinge, Bohuslän, Dalsland, Gotland, Halland, Skåne, Småland, Öland, Östergotland and Västergotland.
The name Småland means ‘small lands’. However, in contrast to its name, this province is the largest southern segment of the Götaland region, covering the entire southern east coast and running deep into the inlands. Aside from the thousands of small islands, the southeast coastline also contain the two largest islands; Öland and, a little deeper into the Baltic sea, Gotland. This overwhelming coastline also harbours the most beautiful archipelago of the country, the Tjust Archipelago (Tjust Skärgård). Småland is a sloping landscape, rich of forests and lakes. The soil of Småland is not only profitable in agricultural ways; sometimes people still find gold in this area! Also typical for this part of Sweden are the many rocks, formed and polished by glaciers during the ice age. This landscape is best described as charming and rural, with its small farmlands surrounded by stones, flower fields and characteristically Swedish, Falu red coloured cabins. Faluröd is a typical Swedish colour, named after the extraordinary colour of the copper mines near the town Falun.
Comes spring, the landscape flourishes and reveals an abundance of flower fields, resulting in a great diversity in ecology and wildlife. Finding yourself standing on the road, facing an elk or a dear is an everyday situation in Småland. Småland and its forests also form the natural habitat of their enemy, the wolf. In this area many species of birds and fish, beavers, badgers and even sometimes a lynx can be found.
Because of the many rocks and stones, the land originally was less qualified for agriculture. Therefore the industry of Småland started developing differently than in most other parts of Sweden. The population was forced to find other ways of making money, such as glassblowing. During the second half of the former century, the so called ‘Glasriket’ (glassblowing industry) cultivated into the most important craft industry of this region. Nowadays many glassblowing companies can be found in Småland, Orrefors being the most famous of them all. Following the upcoming design industry in the south of Sweden, the glass industry these days also specializes in art, design, ceramic and even furniture and fashion. It is therefore no coincidence that the creative headquarters of the worldwide franchisor Ikea is situated in this region. The design industry blossoms in Småland. This is represented by prominent galleries in the city and charming design boutiques in the surrounding villages.
In Småland, nature and culture are closely related. Here all the well-known stories written by Astrid Lindgren (e.g. Pipi Longstocking) take place; every village described in the adventures of Astrid Lindgren really exists! In Lindgrens place of birth, Vimmerby, children can experience the fairy-like stories themselves in one of Sweden’s greatest attractions, Astrid Lindgren’s world (Astrid Lindgrens Värld).
Equally attractive for children and their parents is the largest animal-safari park (including dolphinarium) of the North of Europe; Kolmårdens Djurpark, situated just outside Småland in Norrköping.
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