In the far southwest corner of Sweden, in a nature preserve a few kilometers northwest of the town of Arild, on a rocky beach reachable only via boat or a strenuous 30- to 45-minute hike, is the nation of Ladonia. You will know when you are in the nation Ladonia, because it is marked by two monumental creative works: Nimis and Arx.
Created by artist Lars Vilks, Nimis (Latin for “too much”) is a maze-like wooden artwork made of 70 tons of driftwood and nails and culminating in a teetering, nine-story wooden tower. Arx (Latin for “fortress”) is a stone and concrete sculpture resembling a melting sand castle. Nimis, the first of the two sculptures was begun in 1980 and went unnoticed by authorities for 2 years until 1982, when they declared it would have to be destroyed.
As a means of outmaneuvering the Swedish authorities, even while Nimis was scheduled for destruction, Lars sold it to the artist Cristo. The legal document of the sale is a piece of driftwood, once a piece of the artwork itself, on display at the Swedish Museum of Sketches.
Another means of avoiding government interference (or perhaps tauntingly inviting it) was for Vilks to declare the area an independent nation. The nation of Ladonia, occupying essentially only the area around the sculptures, was declared in 1996 and has already had its share of national incidents. War was declared on Ladonia by the satirical “Armed Coalition Forces of the Internets.” Ladonia also claims a “population” of over 15,000, though no one resides on the site as “all of its citizens are nomads.”
Unfortunately, this was not entirely clear in the online application form, and some 3000 Pakistanis, confused by the micro-nation’s website, applied for immigrant status. They were granted it, as anyone who applies is given citizenship. However, as the Pakistanis began asking about Ladonia’s embassy and the details of how to get there, it became clear that actually moving to Ladonia was not a possibility.
Know Before You Go
Closest larger city is Höganäs, closest smaller town is Arild. From Arild, you can walk or drive to the Himmelstorp farmstead. From here, looking at the view, you turn right, and follow the painted yellow N's. The actual art work is about 1-2km away from here. Coordinates: 56°17?16? N, 12°32?22? E
Visitors should bring a good pair of shoes as the walking path can be slippery at times. To climb the Nimis fortresses, one should also wear good shoes.
Look out for rusty nails and damaged woodwork. Climbing the towers is an activity that is on your own risk.