A “snaps pine,” or “suptall” in Swedish, refers to a distinctive pine tree that was used as a natural landmark along a road. Traditionally, travelers would use these markers as a place to stop to rest, and, as the name suggests, have a drink of snaps under the tree.
It was usually an especially old and large pine tree, or possibly one standing alone, that became the marker, as it was important that everyone traveling along the road could separate the snaps tree from all the others. This cultural tradition is mentioned in writing as early as 1928 by the priest Petrus Læstadius. During his first year serving as a missionary in Swedish Lapland he defined it as “a notable pine where one, according to old customs, stops for a snaps.”
Only a few of these special trees remain today, including this snaps pine in Vittangi parish in northern Sweden. The old tree stands tall and proud next to the highway, where it serves as a resting place for people traveling along the road to this day. Due to its age, it has been stabilized to prevent the tree from falling, and a rest area with parking spots and restrooms have been built next to it—although the tradition of drinking snaps at this spot disappeared a long time ago.
Know Before You Go
The snaps pine is located along the E45 Highway in Vittangi, just outside Kiruna in northern Sweden.