Discover Virserum on your own

Address: Storgatan, 570 82 Virserum Show map

Address: Storgatan, 570 82 Virserum

If you have a spare moment during your visit to Virserum we recommend you take a stroll around the town on your own. As you walk along, you’ll get a chance to see a bit of Virserum and pick up some of the local history.

Virserum is the municipality’s second biggest village. The week following mid-summer is Virserum’s Music Week. And the DackeStop area, containing the Virserum Art Exhibition, Sweden’s Telemuseum and Virserum’s Furniture Industry Museum is a tourist attraction of the highest calibre.

In 1278, Virserum was called Widisrum, which means “a clearing in the forest”. A church had been built as early as the 12th century on the site where the present one stands – built in 1881.

Gustaf Vasa – Sweden’s first monarch in modern times – put down the Småland farmers’ uprising led by Nils Dacke, in 1543. The last battle of the Dacke revolt took place on the ice of Lake Hjorten, outside Virserum.

Thanks to the Virserum River’s four waterfalls, industrial development took off in Virserum. Around 1880 there was a mill, a paper factory, a saw-mill, a spinning mill and a dye works alongside the river. In its heyday in the 1940s, Virserum was a furniture metropolis of about 40 furniture industry establishments. Ekelund’s carpentry- known locally as the “Company” – was the largest of these. If you see an old industrial building in Virserum, you can be almost certain that at one time furniture has been manufactured there.

Virserum received its rail link to Växjö in 1911. Eleven years later the Virserum- Hultsfred line was opened and with that, the Växjö-Västervik railway had been completed. The narrow gauge railway with its attendant buildings are heritage listed constructions.

The view from Dackestupet is fantastic. It's an alpine ski resort with slopes that cater for both the careful and the carefree.

1. Dackestop
This is where Oskar Edvind Ekelund’s Snickerfiabrik (Carpentry Factory) AB stood, or as it was locally known, the “Company”. It was Virserum’s largest furniture factory with at one time, as many as 240 employees. After the decline and fall of the furniture industry, the remaining buildings were restored to become a centre for tourism and culture.
There is much to see within the grounds. The Virserum Art Exhibition is famous nationally for its exhibitions of contemporary folk art in installation form. Sweden’s Telemuseum follows the development of telecommunications within the country. You will also find Stinsen (The Railway Guard), an association that sells handicrafts. The herb garden is a truly well-looked after oasis with a rich variety of plants. Above the herb garden is a beautiful building from the mid-1800s. It was built as a drying house for Strömsholm’s handmade paper mill, which stood down by the river.
Adjacent is Virserum’s Furniture Industry Museum, a copy of a furniture factory from the 1920s, an impressive waterwheel driving various shafts and other machinery. There is an exhibition of furniture made in Virserum on the upper level.

1. The Virserum Art Exhibition
The Virserum Art Exhibition is one of Sweden’s ten largest, and also one of the most talked about. The Exhibition encourages art to be used to question and provide speech and thereby power to the individual. The experiences of ordinary individuals get to be seen and are the basis for the displays. These and various other projects are part of a large tapestry about the human life.
Since Virserum is located in forest-rich Småland, the forest, timber and sustainability are key themes of the Exhibition’s triennial displays.
The huge “paper house” accommodating the exhibition area is an attraction in itself.

1. The Furniture Industry Museum
As late as the 1940s, Virserum had some forty furniture businesses. The Virserum Furniture Industry Museum is a living industrial museum and is a replica of a furniture factory of the 1920s. The oldest machine is from 1895 and several machines have been manufactured locally by Hjortöström’s Mekaniska Verkstad. The power source is the huge water wheel; shaft lines and transmissions in the ceiling convey the power on to the machines.
The Museum also yields an insight into how sculptors, upholsterers and polishers worked. There are also various professional craftsmen’s hand tools on display.
The entire upper level is one large exhibition of Virserum made furniture items in their contemporary environments.
Next door, you’ll find Gillman’s forge and a memorial exhibition of the Demanders tool factory. The functioning sawmill takes its power from of a hot bulb engine manufactured by a Målilla mechanical engineering firm. In the saw-mill there is also a wood-wool plane.

1. Sweden’s Telemuseum
The museum encompasses 650 sq.m of telecommunications history. Here you can follow 100 years or so of telecommunications development, from the old manual exchange to today’s satellite technology. The development of mobile telephony from 1956-1992 has a very special position in the museum. Much has happened over these years!
The exhibition also includes 300 fixed telephony handsets. In addition, switchboards, Televerket peripherals, measuring instruments, remote printers, fax machines, pagers, intercoms, calculators, typewriters and pirate radio stations typical to given time periods have been constructed.

2.The Pythagoras wooden bridge
The Pythagoras wooden bridge won the SRA's design competition in 2004 for a new wooden bridge over the Virserum River. The bridge is of the truss type. It was one of four proposals from architectural firms in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The contest was part of the Swedish Road Administration’s efforts to increase its experience of building wooden vehicular traffic bridges, dimensioned up to accommodate full traffic loads.

3. The Mill
The mill was built in the 18th century, but at that time was situated further upstream on the Virserum River. It was moved to its present location in 1866 and was powered by a water wheel. In 1926, new owners took over the falls and the mill and installed an electricity-generating turbine. The mill was in operation up to the end of the 1970s and today has been admirably restored.

4. The Old Firestation
The building dates from 1925 and has been given the name, the Spray Stall or the Fire Equipment House. At that time, it also had of course a high hose tower. When the fire engines made their appearance, the façade was changed. The hose tower is long gone, but has been reused at the summer residence Klippan, where it has been converted into a number of small cottages.

5. The Nils Dacke Statue
On the square in Virserum stands Arvid Källström’s statue of Nils Dacke, leader of the rebellion against King Gustav Vasa. This statue was erected in 1956 In memory of Nils Dacke and the events connected with the uprising bearing his name, the Dacke feud. The artist Arvid Källstrom formed the statue so that Nils Dacke would point with his axe in the direction of Stockholm and his royal succession enemy, Gustav Vasa.
The decisive battle of the Dacke feud took place on the ice covering Lake Hjorten, outside Virserum. The peasant army lost the battle, but over the centuries to come Sweden’s kings would continue to be wary of a new Dacke uprising. After the Dacke feud, Sweden’s kings were much more responsive to popular discontent and heavy-handed bailiffs would be reprimanded so as not to encourage any fresh rebellion amongst the peasants.

6. The Virserum Church
The Virserum Church was built between 1879 and 1881 after the old church had been demolished. It is neo-Gothic in style with a characteristic tall spire and the pointed arched windows and portals. The altarpiece is from 1736 and the pulpit is a provincial work from 1626. Two bells hang in the church tower, the larger carries a casting stamp, indicating that it must have been cast during the 1520s.

7.The Rectory
The oldest rectory burned down in 1811. A new one was built after the fire, and it got its present appearance as a result of some major restorations which took place in 1950. On the plot is an old storehouse from the 1700s. It is not certain when the present rectory was built.

8.Gunnarssonska gården (the Gunnarsson estate)
The grand farmhouse property shows how the main building might have looked on an affluent farming estate in Virserum at the turn of the 20th century. In the 1870s, the building on the estate housed the town’s first post office. It is probably the oldest preserved property in the village.

9. Virserum Railway Station
The station building and goods shed in Virserum, together with the Hultsfred-Virserum railway were declared heritage buildings in 2005. The two buildings date from 1911 when the Växjo–Klavreström–Åseda narrow gauge rail line was extended to Virserum and its name was changed to the Växjo–Virserum Railway.

The railway was a boost for Virserum, which now had improved opportunities of “exporting” its products, principally from the furniture industry. The goods-shed was extended in the 1930s and became the largest on the entire narrow gauge railway, between Växjö and Virserum.

The station looks basically the same as when it was built. On the ground floor are the offices, luggage reception, the waiting room and two smaller rooms, one of which was intended as a 2nd Class waiting room. During the first ten years or so, there were both 2nd and 3rd class waiting rooms. The large present waiting room is the former 3rd Class waiting room. The station master’s apartment is on the upper level.

The Växjö–Västervik Narrow Gauge Association bought the house from the Hultsfred Municipality in 2002 for a nominal sum in order to preserve and renovate it. The building had then been empty for a few years, but with support from the County Council and the County Museum and some sterling voluntary contributions from members of the Narrow Gauge Association, extensive refurbishments were carried out.

Often, railway carriages and wagons can be seen on the tracks beside the station, and in the summertime, draisines (rail bikes) can be hired for a ride south on the idyllic railway course.

10. Länsmansgårdsängen
Adjacent to the Virserum Lake is the nature reserve known as Länsmansgårdsängen (the Sherriff’s Farm Meadow). The reserve is home to some interesting vegetation. Among oaks and pollarded trees you will find, for example, wild strawberries (Fragaria viridis), Cardamine bulbifera (commonly known as “tooth root”), common Lungwort and blue cowsliips (Pulmonaria angustifolia). In the meadow, you will also find Småland’s only habitat of hybrid lungwort (Pulmonaria obscura) – a cross between the regular and narrow-leaf species. The lungwort blooms in April and May. There is also a hiking trail that runs along the lake.

11. Virserum’s Hembygdspark (local heritage park)
In the Hembygdspark you can become acquainted with the construction techniques and home furnishings from earlier times. All in all, there are some 15 buildings from the early 1600s to the 20th century and rich collections from the Stone Age to the present.
Fagerström cottage is a dovetail-style two-storey log house, probably from the late 18th or early 19th century. Until 1918, the main building stood on Emil Fagerström’s farm in Misterhult.
Kombergstugan is a small peat-covered log building displaying extremely old construction and housing techniques. According to tradition, it was built by the soldier Berg after having returned home from the Thirty Years War.
Ruben Nelson’s photographic studio is a beautiful little building in the Art Nouveau style. The old footings have been preserved intact.
Tilda's cabin has the décor and furnishings that the last lady owner left in 1940. It is a log house with a porch, kitchen and one room.

12. The Fröåsa handmade paper mill
Fröåsa is the only handmade paper mill still remaining in Sweden. It was built in 1802 about five kilometres outside Virserum and became the town’s first industry. In the beginning, it produced printing and writing paper, but in more recent years production was moved over into coarser grades of paper. In 1921, the mill was disassembled to be reconstructed and put on display at the Great Exhibition in Gothenburg. In time, it was taken home again and rebuilt in 1950 in Virserum’s Heritage Park. Every summer, the handmade paper mill is open for viewing.

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