Guest blogger: The queen of Ekenäs Castle

As I mentioned in my previous post, this summer I got the chance to show some of my dresses at Ekenäs Castle where a friend of mine work.

Next up I was planing to tell you all a little about the castle itself when it it me – whom better to do that then the warden, Maria herself.
Maria Reuterhagens profilfoto

So here’s now my first guest post, By Maria Reuterhagen, the warden of Ekenäs castle.

IMG_9993The present Ekenäs castle was built in the 1630s.
There used to be a village where the castle is situated today, but the village was moved to make way for a castle, probably in the late 1300s or early 1400s. The first castle was probably built in the early 1400s and it existed until the late 1500s. No paintings or descriptions exist of the old castle so the shape and size of the old castle is unknown, but some vaults remain in the basement floor and the cellars.



IMG_9977The present castle has served as the home of several noble families in Sweden including Nattochdag, Sture, Banér and Klingspor families. The present owner of the castle and the estate is Wilhelm Bergengren, who made sure the very worn down castle he had inherited from his grandfather was renovated and can receive visitors once more.

IMG_9984The matron of the castle is Hönsagumman, translated “the chicken lady”.
She was an employee at the castle who saved the castle from being burnt down by Russians in 1719. She still looks after the castle and is one of our most beloved ghosts.

IMG_9986The dining room has been renovated in 1870/1880s style. The Swedish kings from Gustav Vasa to Carl Johan XIV can be seen on the walls.

IMG_9994One of the owners of Ekenäs castle, Gustav Banér, got decapitated in “the Linköping bloodbath” in the year 1600. In a civil war in Sweden in the late 1500s, Gustav Banér supported the king on the losing side, Sigismund. The new king, Karl IX, made sure he and tree other noblemen (plus a bailiff) were convicted and killed for treason. His son, Peder Banér, was the builder of the present castle.

IMG_0007The royal family’s of 16th/17th Sweden

IMG_9995The only original pieces of furniture still existing in the castle can be found in the countess Klingspor’s parlor – also called the blue parlour.
The still bright colour in the wall paper is the result of presence of arsenic. The countess Klingspor comes back once every year on May 2nd to have a traditional Swedish fika – coffee and cookies. On that date, the bailiff has to make sure that the countess has real coffee and real cookies in her parlor. Otherwise she will be very angry and things will disappear from the parlour – which has happened if her fika has been forgotten or overlooked…

IMG_0003The yellow drawing room, renovated into Swedish equivalent to regency period-style.
With two paintings showing the castle with a lake next to it. The lake has existed but was removed around 1900 – according to one story as the result of a curse…

Library with walls renovated in rokoko style, floors are from the 1880s.

IMG_0028Guest rooms on the upper floor. Of course with arsenic in the wall paper.

IMG_0017(Not the room pictured)
The room of the white lady. The person who tries to sleep here never sleeps well. The white lady shows herself when somebody living at the castle is about to die.

IMG_0030Bed from the late 1600s.
If you pull out the sprints, it can be turned into a flat package and can be pulled up easily at another place or another castle. 1600s IKEA!

IMG_0033The basement where Nisse, the stable boy, was beaten and hidden behind a brick wall because he knew too much. He is supposed to be behind there still…

The kitchen was at first situated outside the castle since so many fires started in kitchens. This kitchen is from the later half of the 1800s. The iron stove made it possible to move the kitchen into the castle. There was a sink so you could get rid of used water, but the fresh water had to be carried inside. The castle still has very little electricity, no plumbing, no running water and no heating. It is possible to visit the castle from late April to mid-November.

IMG_9992 In action

The Castle is open for public guided tours during the summer season, the rest of the year, check website and/or contact the baili.

Exhibition of costumes at Ekenäs Castle

Back in April a friend of mine (who just happens to be the tenant at a 17th century castle close by) asked if I would like to put some of my costumes on display.

Would I?
Of course 🙂

We discussed back and forth for a while which ones to choose.
Then the planes got put on hold both due to our massive workload and due to the upcoming birth of my child.

In end of June we resumed the planing, and decided a date for her to come and collect the outfits.

So the day before, I went down in the basement and located all the bits and pieces for the 4 chosen costumes.
Then I got to work mending and ironing everything to get them all to look their best.

IMG_9953It’s hard work ironing 4 m of train.

IMG_9956Collected outfits – sorted, ironed and ready to ship.

IMG_9955I also lend her my dress-forms.

The castle Ekenäs is a museum with several different styles of interior decoration (from 17th century until early 20th century), and we wanted the costumes to represent a wide variety of times/people. Or at least as much of a variety you can get with only 4-5 shown pieces.

Here are the ones we choose:

1880s evening gownIMG_5660

Displayed in the dining hall next to the old piano and beautiful set dining room table.IMG_9990


1780s Flower Robe AnglaiseIMG_3585

Displayed in the living-roomIMG_0009


1790s Gentlemans wool outfitIMG_1115-ok

Also displayed in the living-roomIMG_0010

1913s Walking-dressIMG_0614

Displayed in one of the bedroomsIMG_0015


And 1880s underwearIMG_5851

Displayed in one of the master bedroomsIMG_0024

I went to visit the Castle the other day, and got to look at my costumes the way the other visitors did. It was quite fun to watch old ladies and children alike photograph and point at my dresses.
And I must say, they really added something to the room and their exhibitions.