Hovdala Castle

Hovdala Castle
Hovdala slott
Hässleholm Municipality

Hovdala Castle

Gate tower
Hovdala Castle
Coordinates 56°06′16″N 13°42′45″E / 56.104444°N 13.7125°E / 56.104444; 13.7125
Type Castle
Site information
Owner National Property Board of Sweden
Open to
the public
Site history
Built 16th century
Battles/wars Kalmar War
Scanian War

Hovdala Castle (Swedish: Hovdala slott) is a castle in Hässleholm Municipality, Scania, in southern Sweden. Its oldest parts date from the early 16th century.


Hovdala is mentioned for the first time in 1130, but the presently visible castle complex began to be constructed during the early 16th century.[1] The date 1511 can be read on one of the façades.[2] During this time, Scania was a part of Denmark.

The squire Magnus Rabek is mentioned in written sources as having owned the estate sometime before the Black Death. During the early 15th century, the estate belonged to a squire named Klement Skaldra. At the end of the century, the estate passed to the Laxmand family, who erected the oldest of the presently visible buildings. Through marriage it later passed to the Grubbe family. During the ownership of Sigvard Grubbe, an educated man who stood close to the king, Christian IV of Denmark, and who had studied in Wittenberg and Basel, the castle was besieged twice by Swedish troops during the Kalmar War. The castle withstood the sieges.[1][3]

After the death of Sigvard Grubbe, the castle passed between different owners until it became the property of Jens Mikkelsen, an officer in the Danish army, in 1651.[3] After the conquest of Scania by Sweden in 1658, he changed his allegiance and instead joined the Swedish army. When the two countries again were involved in fighting during the Scanian War, the castle was assaulted, pillaged and burnt by pro-Danish guerilla fighters on 7 August 1678.[1][3]

Mikkelsen however survived the ordeal and was later ennobled by the Swedish king, and took the name Ehrenborg. The castle thenceforth stayed in the Ehrenborg family until 1944, when it was expropriated by the Swedish state.[1] The last owners were however allowed to keep living in the castle and did not move out until 1981.[2][3]

From 1944, the former land of the estate was used as a military training field.[3] Today the land belongs to Hässleholm municipality.[4]

A renovation of the castle was initiated in 1993. In 2004, renovation project was awarded the Europa Nostra award for "sensitive and intelligent restoration work."[2]


A depiction of the castle from circa 1780

The castle complex consists of three buildings placed in a u-shape around a courtyard. These main buildings are surrounded by a former moat, which has today dried out. The oldest (northern) of the three buildings date from the early 16th century, possibly 1511 as is stated on its façade. The eastern building is somewhat later, dating from 1681-82. This was where the living quarters were located. It replaced an earlier building, destroyed during the Scanian War. The southern of the three buildings, by contrast, dates from 1805. Originally a fourth building existed, closing the courtyard, but of this building no traces remain. On the other side of the moat, once spanned by a now vanished drawbridge, lies a defensive tower, erected in the year 1600. The tower has withstood both battles the castle has been involved in.[1] A stone plaque on the tower, bearing the date 1633, commemorates the siege endured in 1612.[3] The main, representative rooms of the former living quarters have been restored, including the family library, and is open to the public via guided tours. The historical environment displayed represents that of the upper middle classes or lower aristocracy, rather than the higher echelons of Swedish aristocracy or the working class.[3]

In 2009, the municipal library of Hässleholm received a donation of about 3,500 books, mainly about the history of the district in which Hovdala Castle is located. They were donated by the former ambassador, minister without portfolio and Social democratic politician Sven-Eric Nilsson. The books are today housed in one of the annexes to Hovdala Castle.[5]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Nilsson, Staffan (1996). "Slottet i dälden" (PDF) (in Swedish). National Property Board of Sweden. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Hovdala castle". Hässleholm municipality. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Nilsson, Staffan (2002). "Hovdala slott i Västra Göinge - Ärans slott" (PDF) (in Swedish). National Property Board of Sweden. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  4. "Hovdala slott" (in Swedish). National Property Board of Sweden. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  5. "Sven-Eric Nilssons donation" (in Swedish). Hässleholm municipality. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
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