Swedish Island Escapes: Gotland and Fårö with Kathrine Bjerregaard

Swedish Island Escapes: Gotland and Fårö with Kathrine Bjerregaard


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Roughly sixty miles off the coast of Sweden, in the middle of the Baltic Sea, sits Gotland and Fårö. Both islands are ringed by cragged shorelines, flat landscapes, and swathes of sandy beaches. This seminar, led by an author and expert on these islands, takes you on a journey to Gotland and Fårö with their mix of fascinating history, spectacular landscapes, and rich contemporary cultural life.

These two beautiful Swedish islands boast rugged limestone cliffs, tiny fishing villages, and impressive medieval churches. Together, they are home to only 50,000 people and more than 80,000 sheep. Gotlands main city, Visby, is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Sweden has over 200 islands, yet Gotland and Fårö stand out for any visitor or local alike.

Through the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Visby rose to the zenith of its power as the seat of the powerful Hanseatic merchants. We’ll discuss how during its heyday, twenty-two churches were built, high rising stone houses were erected, and the townspeople lived in wealth and luxury. Visby was eventually raided and ransacked by the Danes, and the entire island fell into decline and was forgotten by the rest of the world. We’ll discuss how it was only in the late nineteenth century when Visby was rediscovered by scholars, that it was recognized as a treasure house of medieval art and world history.

Our seminar will also discuss the island of Fårö, five miles north of Gotland. The famous Swedish film director, Ingmar Bergman, found his favorite landscape at Langhammars on the small island of Fårö. When he died in 2007, Bergman left behind three Academy Awards, a legacy as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and his large estate on Fårö.

This seminar is led by a context guide and expert on Gotland and Fårö’s history and culture, Kathrine G. Bjerregaard, who has written an extensive book on the subject, soon to be translated from Danish to English. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of Gotland and Fårö’s past and present, sights, and hidden gems.

Kathrine Bjerregaard holds a Masters degree in History and Philosophy. She began her career as an education officer at the Royal Collections before joining the academic staff at The National Museum of Denmark. For the past ten years, Kathrine has traveled throughout Scandinavia and Europe with Danish groups when not giving guided walks and visits to international visitors in Copenhagen or writing on her next book. Growing up in Luxembourg and Los Angeles with her Danish family and later in Copenhagen has given Kathrine a wide horizon and an American accent. Now living in Copenhagen with her family, she has a keen eye on the local scene and an acute understanding of Danish culture, mentality and history seen from the inside and outside. Kathrine can translate ‘hygge’ and tell tales from Danish history so you get it. Every tour is as individual as the group it is created for.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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