In the deep forests of Smaaland in Sweden, Pippi Longstocking as well as Emil and Ronja the robber-daughter come alive during the Swedish summer months.
The park in Vimmerby, southern Sweden, a Swedish version of Disneyland, was founded in 1981. Vimmerby is the native town of this popular award-winning authoress of children’s books and was therefore the natural choice for the world of Astrid Lindgren.
The theme park is placed just at the end of the road where she lived as a child and young adult and is today Sweden’s largest open-air theme park set on 180,000 square meters.
Vimmerby (population 15,000) is one of Sweden’s oldest towns, dating to the 12th century. It is about four hours’ drive south of Stockholm, or a short ferry trip from the Danish town of Helsingör.
Kids as well as adults love Astrid Lundgren’s books and characters, and in the park you can meet all of her characters in person.
According to the park’s charter, Astrid Lindgren’s World aims to encourage children to read and write. Astrid Lindgren’s World receives some 490,000 visitors every year, of whom around 30% come from abroad.
The park is open from 13 May to 30 August and on weekends in September, as well as certain weeks in October (week 43) and November (week 44). During the peak season Astrid Lindgren’s World has approximately 400 employees, just over 120 of whom work on the theatrical side.
The best time to travel to Smaaland is between June and September as all the attractions are open. However, we recommend traveling to Småland in the middle of May or early October as all the tourists will be gone and you have everything to yourself.
Lindgren began writing her children’s books in 1946 and continued until late in her life, during which she penned such classics as Emil of Maple Hill (“Emil i Lönneberga”), Madicken, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter and the series about the strongest girl in the world, Pippi Longstocking.
“With such an unusual name, she became an unusual girl,” noted the late Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, whose story about the freckle-faced, pigtailed 9-year-old has been loved by children for 70 years. Since Pippi Longstocking was first published in 1945 (in the U.S. in 1950), it has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and has been translated into some 70 languages.
The World of Astrid Lindgren, written by Tor Kjolberg