The Dalecarlian horse is well known across the globe. Most visitors to Sweden purchase one of the small wooden horses as a souvenir, even though it’s traditionally a very regional object for the province of Dalarna. The province is full of Dala horses and is home to the world’s largest and smallest versions of the wooden figure.
The smallest Dala horse was crafted by Tomas Holst in 2001 and spans less than a tenth of an inch (2.2 millimeters). He decided to create the horse after a different Dala artist carved a half-centimeter horse, which was labeled as the smallest. Holst’s sculpture, however, followed traditional rules for designing a Dala horse. It was hand-carved, made of pine, and painted.
It took Holst nine hours to carve the horse, which was witnessed for the Guinness Book of World Records. Sadly, the first horse did not survive, as it was eaten by a cat. The second was destroyed by a vacuum cleaner. The third time was the charm, and the world’s smallest surviving Dala horse was born.
Today, the horse is part of the permanent exhibition at the Dalarna museum.
Know Before You Go
The museum is free admittance, check the website for hours.
As of July 2021, visits need to be pre-booked. Please see https://dalarnasmuseum.se/boka-besok/ for further details.