5 reasons why Skarhult Castle is a Must See

In 2014 the Skarhult Castle opened its doors to the public. For the first time in 500 years common folks could enter the gates and come inside. The gates are still open and offer you a unique opportunity to walk in the great halls and catch a glimpse of how life in a castle might be. And you might be surprised of what you find. At Skarhult you get the story of disguised power of Swedish women through history.

A White Spot in Swedish History

The Van outside Skarhult Castle

The Van outside Skarhult Castle

Women have for centuries formally been minors and without the right to own land or property. If there were no sons in a marriage ownership automatically went to the oldest daughter’s husband.

Since women’s names are rarely found in historical documents, such as contracts and certificates of ownership, today’s view of historical women has come to be characterized by a fundamental misconception: that women lacked power.

The historical document she could find soon answered her question: there is a white spot in Swedish historiography.

Alexandra von Schwerin is the present chatelaine at Skarhult. A few years ago she started to look for the history of the women who had lived at Skarhult before her. She asked herself: Where is the history of the women?

The historical document she could find soon answered her question: there is a white spot in Swedish historiography.

Women in History Truly had Power

Alexandra von Schwerin is the present chatelaine at Skarhult Castle

Alexandra von Schwerin is the present chatelaine at Skarhult. Photo: Malin Lauterbach.

Though not found in historical documents in reality women often exercised power – over farms, running lands and building monuments. The Skarhult Castle, located near Lund in Sweden, wants to spread understanding of how women in history truly exercised power.

Women were excluded from higher office, not allowed to study at universities and lacked the right to vote.

Back then women’s conditions were certainly not great. Women were excluded from higher office, not allowed to study at universities and lacked the right to vote.

Marriage was an economical project and a woman went from father to husband. Financial independence was not gained until the woman became a widow.

However a woman built the Skarhult Castle, a woman saved the economy of the place and a woman ran it for more than 50 years.
The Untold Story

The present day chatelaine Alexander von Schwerin has a strong passion for both sharing the history of Skarhult but also to let us know that there indeed are strong and powerful women in history.

“I have received a tsunami of support since we opened the exhibition about women at Skarhult. Young as well as old women come up to me and thank me. One young girl told me that she really had no idea that girls could be so important!”

Their story is just not told.  “I have received a tsunami of support since we opened the exhibition about women at Skarhult. Young as well as old women come up to me and thank me. One young girl told me that she really had no idea that girls could be so important!”, Alexandra von Schwerin told me.

More Nazis than Women

The beatiful park outside the castle

The castle is surrounded by a beautiful park. Photo the courtesy of Skarhult Castle.

That the exhibition on Skarhult is relevant becomes even more clear when you look into history books.

The majority of Swedish history books do not mention the British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks or Golda Meir.

Some books even have more named Nazis than women. No wonder so many of us today have the mistaken belief that women do not have a role in our history.

5 Reason Why You Should Visit Skarhult

  1. It is a reminder that women is an important part of our history
  2. It is a unique possibility to see a castle from the inside
  3. A beautiful garden is open for visitors. Your dog is welcome and the park also gives you a part of the history
  4. Skarhult is a reminder of the importance of private initiative. If this castle had not opened its doors you would not read this and knowing there is more named Nazis in Swedish history books than named women
  5. Lovers and Mistresses: This is another exhibition at the Skarhult. Also worth a visit


Links:

http://skarhult.se/en

http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/kvinnorna-saknas-i-skolans-historiebocker/

 

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