Nimis is truly something else. It’s hard to know where to start this story. In the end, this is a story about a really odd and wonderful place outside of Höganäs in Skane, Sweden. And this place might even be in a separate country?! Sounds awkward? Well, it was – here is our take on Nimis and the super nice Kullaberg Nature Reserve.
Table of Contents
Nimis is a piece of art by Lars Vilks
We have heard about Nimis and I have been wanting to go there for years. So what is it? It’s a huge piece of art, made out of driftwood, planks, and branches. The artist, Lars Vilks, started his project in 1980 when he went inside the nature reserve in Kullaberg, found his way to the cliffs, and started to create art.
It took the government two whole years until they found out about the project. By then, Nimis had grown into a huge pile with a labyrinth of driftwood where you could walk inside and climb. The government tried to stop Lars Vilks but he had his own agenda and he was ready to take the fight. In the end, he has gotten a lot of fines for his artwork. But – it’s still there and for you to admire! And no, I’m not wearing pajama pants – it’s a pair of Bangkok pants!
Nimis is located in Ladonia
When the sh*t hit the fan, Lars Vilks had his plan. He declared his own micronation and said that Nimis wasn’t located in Sweden. He stated that the piece of art belonged to a country called Ladonia. Now, I’m gonna be honest here and say that I have no idea what’s the truth is here. I have googled like crazy to find out if Ladonia is even close to being real and I have no answer for you.
The fact is that the government has not been able to destroy Nimis even if they tried it several times and that must mean something, right?! At the same time, we know that Ladonia is not a real country. But either way – it’s fun and there must be some truth to it!
Becoming a citizen of Ladonia
What’s super interesting is that you can apply for citizenship in Ladonia. On their website, you can read more about Nimis and Ladonia on their website. It’s also here that you can apply for citizenship. It’s free of charge but if you want a title it will set you back 30 USD. And after doing all the research I felt the urge to apply for citizenship in Ladonia. I applied and it only took a couple of days and then I got my certificate of citizenship.
As I’m writing this, there are 22 858 people that are citizens in Ladonia according to their website. When I got my citizenship, I was number 23 282 so that must mean that they don’t update their site very often. In your application, you have to give a Latin quote. That is so much fun! I chose one that I found interesting – “Cogito ergo doleo”. The meaning? You will have to google it!
The controversy surrounding Nimis
There have been fires. There have been lawsuits and there has been controversy surrounding Nimis from the start. It has been sold and sold again. And according to us, it’s all ends up making the artwork even more special. The last time it was on fire was in 2018 and we got upset. Upset because we didn’t know how damaged it was and we felt like we missed the chance to see it.
Now we are stoked that we have gotten the chance to see it. Because let’s face it – it might be destroyed within a couple of years. Lars Vilks had said himself, that he believes that it will be up until 2030. After that, he will be too old to maintain the sculpture and it might become dangerous to climb it.
Love and/or hate for Nimis
Like I mentioned before, the government has been trying to get rid of Nimis for years. However, the region is opposed to that due to the huge attraction that Nimis has for the community. There are lots of tourists visiting the driftwood sculpture each year so that’s great for the region. Even if Nimis is free of charge to visit, the visitors often end up visiting other places closeby too. And then maybe they end up having a meal in one of the local restaurants.
We loved Nimis. We finally got a grip on what it’s all about. Sure, it’s different and strange and just plain awesome. You can walk inside. Climb the sculpture or admire it from the outside. That’s totally up to you. However, in order to enjoy Nimis, you first have to get there! And that’s a pretty strenuous ordeal for everyone that is up for the challenge.
Getting here and seeing the crazy driftwood sculpture
When you arrive at the Kullaberg Nature Reserve there’s a large parking where you can leave your car (or motorhome). After that, you just start to walk. We weren’t sure if we were going the right way but we ended up following other visitors. After a while, the path changes into a hike inside the woods. Here and there you will see a yellow “N” painted on the trees. That means that you are on your right way to Nimis.
Let’s tell it like it is! This is a strenuous walk. It’s steep and there are a lot of roots that can become slippery. The walk is about 2,5 kilometers each way but you need to have in mind that it’s a tough walk. I was super surprised that no one is informing people how hard it actually is to get to Nimis. If you are not careful, you might really hurt yourself. You can also come here by boat and that’s a lot easier.
Arx the artwork besides Nimis
When we visited Nimis, we also checked out the other art-piece of Mr. Vilks. It’s called “Arx” and it’s made to be a book. No, it doesn’t look anything like a book. This house-looking artwork is made out of 150 tons of rocks and concrete. A lot of the rocks have numbers on them and that is the pages of the book.
It is a special piece of art and it is well worth seeing. It’s not as impressive as Nimis but, it’s worth climbing the rocks to get here and check it out from close. Before, there used to be a third piece of art. However, that’s gone since the government didn’t except it and took it away a couple of years ago.
The Kullaberg Nature Reserve
Nimis is located inside the Kullaberg Nature Reserve and even if the driftwood sculpture is one of the main highlights, there is a lot more to see inside the reserve. We ended up spending the whole day in several different parts of the park and they were all really nice. One idea is to have more than one day to spend here and just walk around at your own pace.
We saw a lot during our visit to the Kullaberg Nature Reserve and we will be back there to explore some more. You will walk among nice nature and have a chance of seeing some really cool animals. Of course, my favorite is the squirrels – my cute furry friends!
Visiting Kullens lighthouse and the caves
Just a short drive from Nimis, you will find Kullens lighthouse and “Naturum”. It’s said to be the best place in Sweden to get a chance to see porpoises in the water. We didn’t know that while being there but we were lucky enough to see some of them. But more on that later. When you come to the lighthouse, you have several different things to explore in the area.
Naturum is one place with a visitor center close to the lighthouse. Here you can see exhibitions and learn more about the flora and fauna in the area. There is a parking a couple of hundred meters from the lighthouse. If you are disabled, you can take the car all the way to the top (which is great).
Kullens lighthouse is Swedens strongest lighthouse
Not only is this the strongest lighthouse in the country, but it’s also the highest one (placed-wise). It’s said that more than 200 ships have crashed and sank here. Some of them are still at the bottom of the sea. If you book a tour of the lighthouse you will learn more about the lighthouse and get some stories of what happened here.
The price to enter the lighthouse is 30 Swedish crowns (about 3 euros). They are opened each Saturday and you can find all the information on their website. It takes about 40 minutes to visit here and you get to borrow a pair of binoculars too so that you can look for the porpoises. And of course, there’s also a café where you can grab a cup of coffee.
Lahibiagrottan – a small cave in the Kullaberg Nature Reserve
We ended up visiting Lahibiagrottan, almost by accident. We had read about the silver cave and wanted to visit that one. For some reason, we ended up walking down to the other cave first. Walking down to the cave is hard. It is a steep way down and you have a rope to hold on to. We would say that this only suits people that are pretty fit because it is hard to get down to the cave.
When we came down and found the cave we thought that it was nice but at the same time, not that impressive. The Lahibiacave is small and does not have that much to offer. However, during sunset, it’s nice to come here and sit down for a while and just relax.
Silvergrottan – The “Silver cave”
This cave is manmade and people were hoping to find silver here. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and today this is a cave that you can visit and walk inside. We thought it was quite hard finding the cave. It is marked out but not as good as one might want. We ended up walking around a bit, looking for the cave and it took us about ten minutes to find it.
It’s nice and clean but at the same time, we preferred the walk to the cave. When you reach the beachfront, there are lots of rocks that are perfectly round shaped. It is the water that shapes them and they were incredible. My favorite was the color of the rocks. A lot of them were pink. We ended up spending more time with the rocks than we did with the actual silver cave.
Seeing porpoises in the sea – the perfect ending
After spending the whole day walking, we ended up at a bird watching place. The only thing we wanted was to sit down for a couple of minutes since we were totally beaten and tired. Since a lot of the walks inside the Kullaberg Nature Reserve are strenuous and hard – we were really tired. However, sitting on a bench, relaxing, we ended up having the best ending to the perfect day… we saw porpoises in the water!
Apparently this is the best place to spot porpoises in all of Sweden and we were so lucky to see them from shore. There are boat trips that take people out whale watching and we got to see them, sitting on a bench. We did get a photo to prove that we saw them but otherwise we just ended up enjoying the moment.
Why you need to see Nimis and Kullaberg Nature Reserve
We spent the whole day here, visiting Nimis and other parts of the Kullaberg Nature Reserve. In a perfect world – we would have spent more days here but at the same time, we are glad that we got to see so much in one day. You need to start the day by visiting Nimis because that’s the main highlight. You will feel it the next day in your body but it’s totally worth it.
Make sure to wear the right hiking boots and enjoy the whole experience. Nimis is really special and an attraction that you want to see! Who knows how long it will be there so make sure to pencil a visit in. Have fun with it and please let us know what you thought of it!