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8 Oct 2013

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Lake Vänern in Sweden.


Geologically, the lake was formed after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago; when the ice melted, the entire width of Sweden was covered in water, creating a strait between Kattegat and the Gulf of Bothnia. Due to the ensuingisostatic rebound, lakes such as Vänern and Vättern became pursed off. As a result, there are still species remaining from the ice age not normally encountered in fresh water lakes, such as the amphipod Monoporeia affinis. AViking ship was found on the lake's bottom on May 6, 2009.

A story told by the 13th-century Icelandic mythographer Snorri Sturluson in hisProse Edda about the origin of Lake Mälaren was probably originally about Vänern: the Swedish king Gylfi promised a woman, Gefjun, as much land as four oxen could plough in a day and a night, but she used oxen from the land of the giants, and moreover uprooted the land and dragged it into the sea, where it became the island of Zealand. Snorra Edda says that 'the inlets in the lake correspond to the headlands in Zealand';[2] since this is much more true of Vänern, the myth was probably originally about Vänern, not Mälaren.[3]

The Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern was a 6th-century battle recorded in the Norse sagas and referred to in the Old English epic Beowulf. In Beowulf, Vänern is stated to be near the location of the Dragons mound at Earnanæs.


Vänern covers an area of 5,655 km2 (2,183 sq mi). Its surface is 44 m (144 ft) above sea level and it is on average 27 m (89 ft) deep. The maximum depth of the lake is 106 m (348 ft).[4]

Geographically, it is situated on the border between the Swedish regions of Götaland andSvealand, divided between several Swedish provinces: The western body of water is known as the Dalbosjön, with its main part belonging to Dalsland; the eastern body is known as Värmlandsjön, its northern part belonging to Värmland and the southern toVästergötland.

Its main tributary is Klarälven, which flows into the lake near the city of Karlstad, on the northern shore. Other tributaries include Gullspångsälven, Byälven and Norsälven. It is drained to the south-west by Göta älv, which forms part of the Göta Canal waterway, to Lake Viken into Lake Vättern, southeast across Sweden.

The economic opportunities Vänern offers are illustrated by the surrounding towns, which have supporting themselves for centuries by fishing and allowing easy transportation to other cities or west by Göta älv to the sea of Kattegat. This directly includes: Karlstad(chartered in 1584), Kristinehamn (1642), Mariestad (1583), Lidköping (1446) Vänersborg(1644), Åmål (1643), Säffle (1951), and indirectly Trollhättan (1916).

The Djurö archipelago surrounds the island of Djurö, in the middle of the lake, and has been given national park status as Djurö National Park.

The ridge (plateau mountain) Kinnekulle is a popular tourist attraction near the south-eastern shore of Vänern. It has the best view over the lake (about 270 metres (890 ft) above the lake level). Another nearby mountain is Halleberg.


Environmental monitoring studies are conducted annually. In a 2002 report, the data showed no marked decrease in overall water quality, but a slight decrease in visibility due to an increase of algae. An increasing level of nitrogen had been problematic during the 1970s through 1990s, but is now being regulated and is at a steady level.

Some bays also have problems with eutrophication and have become overgrown with algae and plant plankton.


Vänern has many different fish species. Locals and government officials try to enforce fishing preservation projects, due to various threats to the fish habitats. These threats include water cultivation in the tributaries, pollution and the M74 syndrome. Sport fishing in Vänern is still free and unregulated, both from the shores and from boats (with some restrictions, e.g. a maximum of three salmon or trout per person per day). Only commercial fishing requires permission.

In the open waters of Vänern, the most common fish is the smelt, dominating in the eastern Dalbosjön, where the average is 2,600 smelt per hectare. The second most common fish is the vendace (Coregonus albula), also most prominently in Dalbosjön, with 200–300 fish per hectare. The populations may vary greatly between years, though, depending on temperature and the water level and quality.

The fish in Vänern are important for the industry of the towns around it. In 2001, 165 tons (165,000 kg) of vendace, 100 tons of whitefish, and 25 tons of eel were caught.[citation needed]


Vänern has two sub-groups of lake salmon known as Vänern salmon. They are native to Vänern and spawn in the adjacent lakes. The first sub-group is named after the eastern tributary Gullspångsälven as the Gullspång salmon. The second is the Klarälv salmon, mainly spawning in the Klarälven. These sub-groups are related to Baltic Sea salmon, and they have developed in Vänern for over 9,000 years. They are notable in that they have never entered the ocean.

These large lake salmon are known to weigh some 18 kilograms (40 lb); the world's largest lake salmon, exceeding 20 kilograms (44 lb), was caught in Vänern. There are also three other species of salmon-like fishes in the connecting rivers.

Other fish[edit]

Basically all common fresh water fish[specify] are found in Vänern. The most important large fish are trout and zander. The most important small fish is the stickleback.

Vänern has five distinguished species of whitefish:


The most common birds near Vänern are terns and gulls of different kinds.

Cormorants vanished in the 19th century,[citation needed] but have since returned and are flourishing. This has contributed to the increase in the population of sea eagles, who feed on cormorants. However, fishermen are not so happy, as cormorants raid their nets.

Rarer species are the Black-throated diver and the Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), with hardly a dozen nests around Vänern; and the Caspian tern with hardly a dozen specimens.


Göta Canal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the canal in Sweden. For 1981 Swedish film, see Göta kanal eller Vem drog ur proppen?.

Coordinates: 58.49827°N 16.17332°E

Map showing the route of the Göta Canal in dark blue, including the Göta älv and Trollhätte kanal.

The Göta Canal (Swedish: Göta kanal) is a Swedish canal constructed in the early 19th century. It formed the backbone of a waterway stretching some 382 miles (614 km), linking a number of lakes and rivers to provide a route from Gothenburg (Swedish:Göteborg) on the west coast to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea via the river Göta älv and the Trollhätte kanal, through the large lakes Vänern and Vättern.

The canal itself is 118 miles (190 km) long, of which 54 miles (87 km) were dug or blasted, with a width varying between 23–46 ft (7–14 m) and a maximum depth of about 9 ft (3 m).[1] It has 58 locks and can accommodate vessels up to 105 ft (32 m) long, 21 ft (7 m) wide and 9 ft (2.8 m) in draft.[2]Göta Canal is a sister canal of Caledonian Canal in Scotland, which was also constructed by Thomas Telford. The canal is nicknamed the "divorce ditch." It earned this nickname from the troubles that couples have to endure while trying to navigate the many locks by themselves.




Locks at Berg, near Linköping, descending to Lake Roxen

The idea of a canal across southern Sweden was first put forward as early as 1516, by Hans Brask, the bishop of Linköping. However, it was not until the start of the 19th century that Brask's proposals were put into action by Baltzar von Platen, a German-born former officer in the Swedish Navy. He organised the project and obtained the necessary financial and political backing. His plans attracted the enthusiastic backing of the government and the new king, Charles XIII, who saw the canal as a way of kick-starting the modernisation of Sweden.[3] Von Platen himself extolled the modernising virtues of the canal in 1806, claiming that mining, agriculture and other industries would benefit from "a navigation way through the country."[4]

The project was inaugurated on 11 April 1810 with a budget of 24 millionSwedish riksdalers.[5] It was by far the greatest civil engineering project ever undertaken in Sweden up to that time, taking 22 years of effort by more than 58,000 workers. Much of the expertise and equipment had to be acquired from abroad, notably from Britain, whose canal system was the most advanced in the world at that time. The Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford developed the initial plans for the canal and travelled to Sweden in 1810 to oversee some of the early work on the route. Many other British engineers and craftsmen were imported to assist with the project, along with significant quantities of equipment - even apparently mundane items such as pickaxes, spades and wheelbarrows.[1]

The Göta Canal was officially opened on 26 September 1832 in an event commemorated by the painter Johan Christian Berger in his work The Opening of the Göta Canal on 26 September 1832. Von Platen himself did not live to see the completion of the canal, having died shortly before its opening. However, it was never an economic success. The arrival of the railways in 1855 quickly made it redundant, as trains could carry passengers and goods far more rapidly and did not have to shut down with the arrival of winter, which made the canal impassable for five months of the year.[6] By the 1870s, the canal's goods traffic had dwindled to just three major types of bulk goods - forest products, coal and ore, none of which required rapid transportation. Traffic volumes stagnated after that and never recovered.[1]

Lock at Lilla Edet, built in 1916, and the last lock on a westward journey. The original lock was opened in 1607 and was the first lock in Sweden.

Bishop Hans Brask's original justifications for the canal's construction were the onerous Sound Dues imposed by Denmark–Norway on all vessels passing through the narrow Øresund channel between Sweden and Denmark and the trouble with the Hanseatic League[citation needed]. The canal enabled vessels travelling to or from the Baltic Sea to bypass the Øresund and so evade the Danish toll.[7] In 1851, the tycoon André Oscar Wallenberg founded the Company for Swedish Canal Steamboat Transit Traffic to carry goods from England to Russia via the canal. However, it only ran two trips between St Petersburg and Hull via Motala before theCrimean War halted Anglo-Russian trade. After the war ended, the great powers pressured Denmark into ending the four hundred year-old tradition of the Sound Dues, thus eliminating at a stroke the canal's usefulness as an alternative to the Øresund.[8]

The canal had one major industrial legacy in the shape of Motala Verkstad - a factory established in Motala to produce the machines such as cranes and steam dredgers that were needed to build the canal. This facility has sometimes been referred to as the "cradle of the Swedish engineering industry". After the canal was opened, Motala Verkstad focused on producing equipment, locomotives and rolling stock for the newly constructed railways, beginning a tradition of railway engineering that continues to this day in the form of AB Svenska Järnvägsverkstädernas Aeroplanavdelning (ASJA) that was bought by the aeroplane manufacturer SAAB in Linköping.[1][9]

Trollhätte Canal[edit]

The Trollhaette Canal (Swedish: Trollhätte kanal) is a canal in Sweden that is now part of the Göta Canal. It connects theGöta älv river with Lake Vänern.

Trollhatte Canal, from an albumen print taken ca. 1865-1895

Ships classified as Vänermax are of the maximum dimensions that will fit through the canal. The maximum dimensions for a boat to traverse this canal are:

  • Length: 88 m
  • Width: 13.20 m
  • Mast height: 27 m
  • Depth: 5.40 m

Modern usage[edit]

Parts of the canal are still used to transport cargo, but it is now primarily used as a tourist and recreational attraction, dubbed Sveriges blå band ("Sweden's Blue Ribbon"). Around two million people visit the canal each year on pleasure cruises and related activities.[1]


From the east-coast of Sweden to Lake Vänern the locks are as follows: (with meters per locks)

Lake Vättern (88 m above sea level)

Lake Viken canal highest point

After Lake Vänern (44 m above sea level) Trollhätte kanal to Göteborg and the west-coast of Sweden.

See also[edit]


Läckö Castle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Läckö slott Wigulf.jpg
Läckö Slott från nordväst

Läckö Castle (in Swedish: Läckö Slott ) is a medieval castle in Sweden. Läckö Castle is best known as Magnus de la Gardie's magnificent castle on the shores of Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden.

Brynolf Algotsson, Bishop of Skara, laid the foundations for a fortified castle in 1298 originally as a fort that consisted of two or three houses surrounded by a wall. After a fire during the 1470s, the fort was expanded by bishop Brynolf Gerlachsson.

After the reformation in 1527, King Gustav Vasa took possession. Field Marshal Jacob Pontusson De la Gardie was granted the property in 1615. Field Marshal de la Gardie embarked on an extensive building spree, including the third floor of the keep. The portal to the main courtyard was added during his period, as were the frescos depicting people and winding plants found in niches, stairwells and the rooms on the third floor. In 1654, Count Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie initiated immense construction projects at Läckö. A fourth floor was built in the main building and a number of artists were hired to decorate the walls and ceilings of the castle.

Läckö Castle is a national monument and has been managed by the National Property Board since 1993. The National Property Board (Swedish: Statens fastighetsverk), the Foundation of Läckö Castle (Swedish: Stiftelsen Läckö Slott) and the National Museum of Fine Arts (Swedish: Nationalmuseum) work together to maintain and furnish the castle in the style of the Baroque period. Läckö Castle is located on the Kållandsö island. The Castle is situated 25 kilometers north of Lidköping in Västergötland.

Läckö Castle Opera puts on an annual opera production in the castle's inner courtyard, with performances for about three weeks beginning in the middle of July.


  • The Splendour of The Baroque. Läcko Castle, A Nobleman’s Home in Sweden’s Age of Greatness (Lars Sjöberg and Anneli Welin. Stockholm: National Museum of Fine Arts. Text in Swedish. 2001) ISBN 91-7100-643-5

Coordinates: 58°40′30″N 13°13′12″E

External links[edit]

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