photo Kerstin Jakobsson

The Landscape's Theatre - a living history

Life along water

From a rushing ice river to sleepy creeks.
Reminding, off what, at the end of the ice age was an enormous ice river through the Vombsänkan and is now but a docile creek. There is a Swedish saying goes, 'A beloved child has many names'. Where the creek meets the sea in the Öresund strait, it is called the Lödde creek, but as it goes further inland, it is called the Kävlingeån creek. The creek seems to end at lake Vombsjön, but in older maps one can clearly see that the water continued into the Klingavälsån creek. This tiny river, in many places not much more than a ditch, seems to be very modest to behold. But it is largely untouched by draining and has therefore through the millennia retained its meandering water-course. Today, Klingavälsån is one of Skåne's largest nature reserves with a very valuable ecosystems.

When the ice sheet shrank, people followed the reindeer tracks northwards. The oldest settlement remnents in Skåne is 14,000 years old but it was not until about 8000 years later as Scanians settled as farmers. Living near water was an obvious choice. Here there was fish to catch and later, a wealth of grass for grazing. Kävlingeån's import-ance to the people since the Stone Age can be seen even today. Here lies both the old villages and newer communities like beads along a blue ribbon.

Build for peace, prepare for war

Hammarlunda roundtower
It was not always safe to live in Vomsänkan and that can be seen on Hammarlunda church's defense tower from the 1100s. The same design was used on Bornholm where round churches were as much fortification as churches. Hammarlunda are some 6 km west along route 104.

Swedish - danish times of war
The 1600s meant hard times in Skåne. Ordinary people where very badly treated when Swedish and Danish kings contended for power over Skåne and the Öresund straits. Since the peace at Brömsebro 1645 Skåne is Swedish, but not until 1720 the final peace treaty between Sweden and Denmark that concerned Skåne was signed. An example from the troubled years can be found in Harlösa church. In the 1660s, there was painted both the Danish and Swedish king's royal cyphers over the pulpit.

The battle of Borst
The cruelties of war also hit Harlösa. By the Borstbäcken, a small creek a few kilometers to the east of Harlösa, 500 farmers tried to defend themselves against a seasoned Swedish cavalry unit. The battle ended bad for the defenders who were killed to the last man.

Hjularöds castle
Three kilometers north of Harlösa Church is Hjularöds goods. There has been castles at the site since medieval times. The existing castle building which was completed in 1897.

Harlösa - The Hamlet that disappeared

A social revolution reaches Harlösa
If you had been standing on Bligehöj in 1827, you would have been right in the middle of a substantial hamlet with 45 farms. In the hamlet, people would have lived on top of each other in large families with both grandparents, maids and farm hands. Life had been the same through many generations, but now big changes were afoot.

Who will get the best land in the shift?
On the southern slope outside the village the land was used in cooperation along the narrow patches, in much the same way all the way back to the Middle Ages. But in 1827, the government had decided for "a mandatory shift." All land in Sweden would finally be merged into larger plots. This meant that the farms in the hamlet were torn down, moved and rebuilt at new locations. Left in the former hamlet was often only the church, the occasional farm and artisans house in the old fringe. This was the case for Harlösa as well. One could wonder what the villagers thought and felt then in 1827 to the coming shift reform. Who would get the best land? Land reform meant an enorm-ous social change for 90% of the population. For most, this came to be the beginning
of what we call " modern society " .

Please visit Gamlegård on culture Östarp, 15 km in NW direction.
Below are the life of an enclosed courtyard at the middle of the 1800s. Search Östarp for hours.

Building a new community

Fast travels to the outer world
Within just a few decades after the land reform was implemented in Harlösa in the mid-1850s the landscape of Skåne had gone through another big change. As the railroads were built, entire new railway towns grew up. Often railway investments were made by the large estates. They focused on quick and efficient transportation for their products, often with the intent to export abroad.

Harlösa – the railway junction
During the first years of the 1900, the railway finally came to the area. Harlösa was reborn as a modern railway town, down the hill from the top where it used to be. In just a few years, Harlösa grew to an important railroad junction. Five tracks, a big and modern Art Noveau station building, hotel and a row of shops. Distillery and a dry milk factory was built, the South Skåne Infantry Regiment was next door and the society breathed optimism.

Sweden's most unprofitable railway
The glory as a railway junction was short lived though. The railway lines passing Harlösa was built to late and in the ruthless competition, they never reached profitability. As early as the 1950s, the new straight highway through Harlösa became more important than the trains and rail lines were shut down. As in other rural villages, shops and stores eventually disappeared one by one. By and large, Harlösa reflects the rural development in Skåne since the 1100s to the present day. Today Harlösa a small, but active country village. The proximity to both the city and nature is attractive to many families.

Places with history

Skånskt (scanian) word that describes that you can look out over the land from the top of the hill. A word by word translation would be more like: Gawk hill.

The name 'Harlösa' is likely that it describes the ground by Harlösa church. Up here the ground is a hard and rather rocky moraine, whilst further down into the valley is soft sand.

About the Harlösa Church
The first church was probably a wooden church, but already at the end of the 1100s it was replaced with a stone church. Since then, the church has been rebuilt many times, often also by financial support from the families on Hjularöds goods. The baptismal font is from the 1100s by Mårten Stone Master. The pulpit is another cultural treasure and was created by the famous Jacob Kremberg year 1641.

The Donation house
This unique building from 1824 next to the Harlösa church, was was funded by the Carl Gustav von Schwerin as a retirement home for employees on Hjularöds and Harlösa manors. Today the building is a museum in association management.

Övedsklosters castle
Many goods in Skåne changed hands after the war. Hans Ramel bought Övedskloster east of Vombsjön (9 km from Bligehöj). Here he built with Hans Hårleman as the architect, a modern rococo palace. 'To fine for a lowly mortal', grumbled the king Gustav III over the castle. Övedskloster is today a modern large farm with a beautiful castle setting.