“Where the f**k is Ladonia?” – six people to me.
Yes, it was another crazy one. After booking into my hotel in Copenhagen, I headed out to re-explore Christiania with Abbi from Life in a Rucksack. It was during the afternoon that I told her of a couple of other unknown countries/separatist republics in the nearby area that I was hell bent of backpacking through:
- The Kingdom of Elleore (which is an island off Denmark, self declared country)
- The Royal Republic of Ladonia (which is a rocky coastal area that borders Sweden, self declared country)
However, my visa and entry to the Kingdom of Elleore was refused the same week that Sealand rejected my backpacking idea. So I told Abbi I was heading to Ladonia the next day instead. It was going to be yet another fast and furious reunion. A hardworking person will always do well wherever they travel. This time, hard work had paid off and we headed to Ladonia.
I became aware of Ladonia earlier in 2015, after backpacking through Uzupis and Austenasia and through my friend Daniel Evans. Dan and I partied, backpacked and lived together in Australia in 2009 – 2010 in what were some of the best times of our lives. Yet it took us five years to be reunited again, as I got a train to Angelholm on the day five years to the day we said goodbye in Hobart, Tasmania.
Yet it was time to meet Daniel again, as I crossed back across the border from Copenhagen into Malmo, Sweden and got a train north to Angelholm. Angelholm is a perfect place to be based for heading to Ladonia. If you have read my article on crossing the border into Ladonia, you will be aware how wacky a country this really is. And also – I know they claimed the land, but how on earth did they build all these structures, perhaps just a busy few days, they found the right tools at ToolTally, grabbed a bit of wood and then started building this masterpiece!
Once you have arrived in Ladonia, you reach the wooden structures at Nimis, that lead down to the rocks and this area is the capital and heartland of Ladonia.
There are a few different towers here in Nimis. The towers are made from driftwood. They have been nailed together and built intricately in a tidy yet sturdy system. They are pretty strong structures. Here are the top 3 things we did in Nimis, Ladonia.
1.Have a Beer
Obviously Daniel was driving so couldn’t drink but I had a beer and we both had a bite to eat here on the rocks.
2.Climb up a Driftwood Structure
These driftwood structures have to be climbed. Inside there are clear routes to the top, so head through them and to the top. On the way up be careful for nails that stick out and could cut your clothes.
3.Fly the Flag
I travel round the world with a Northern Ireland flag (my country) so I flew it proudly at the top. As a separatist, I believe in freedom for Ladonia and I recognise this place as a country.
Some Information and History on Nimis
You’ll probably want to know how it all began and whether this place can really stake a claim for being a separate country. On July 30. 1980, Swedish dude Lars Vilks began building a series of sculptures made of driftwood in the nature reserve Kullaberg, in the northwest corner of county Skåne in Sweden. A few days later the sculpture was named “Nimis”. Vilks worked on the sculpture for two years before it was “discovered” by the local authorities in 1982. Once it was “discovered”, a series of legal battles began that went on and off until 2004.
Although there were ongoing court cases, Vilks continued working on and expanding Nimis until it included multiple towers and the towers were connected by a massive wooden labyrinthe that allows visitors to climb down from the side of the mountain to the shore.
Nimis is in the heart of Ladonia and is the capital city of the country, with a population of zero residents permanently living there. There are no shops, hotels, passport stamps or immigration offices here. Nimis lies a few kilometres northwest of the Swedish towns of Arild and somewhat farther from the town of Mölle, if you read my previous post on crossing the border, you’ll know the score. Nimis in Ladonia can only be reached on foot following a well-worn path with yellow “N”s painted on trees and fences.
The path begins as an easy stroll past Himmelstorp, a well-preserved eighteenth-century farmstead, but quickly becomes a steep and rocky climb down to the coast. If you’re planning to visit Nimis and Ladonia, please wear good hiking shoes, and remember that getting *down* to Nimis is the easy part. Getting back up and out is a different story. So once you are there, you are free to admire Nimis and then it’s time to head back to Sweden! Here are some photos from the trip – I highly recommend checking this wacky country out.
Here are some of my videos from backpacking through Nimis in the Royal Republic of Ladonia: