Verket / Avesta Art is an interactive museum and art gallery that you need to visit while in Avesta, Sweden. It’s more than a museum. It’s more than an art gallery. Verket is where magic comes true and where you can feast your eyes for hours on the different exhibitions. Join us as we explore this special place in Avesta.
Table of Contents
Verket is part of “Museum of Work”
The “Museum of work” is a project by ArbetSam that collects and lists all the museums that are dedicated to the history of peoples working places and kinds of work. Verket was the first steelworks to be built in Avesta. It’s located in Koppardalen, which translates into Copper Walley. It tells an interesting story and shows an important era that used to be in Avesta. You can see that this was a special place, even before you enter. The building looks great and you want to enter.
For people that are interested in these types of museums, there is an app that you can download, and that lists them all. Just go to your app-searching place and, type in Museiguide. Download the app and then you can search for all the museums. Today there are 485 museums that are part of the organization. It’s free of charge so that’s good.
Verket – a part of Kulturresan in Dalarna
Kulturresan in Dalarna is a guide to nine different places in Dalarna that represent an important cultural- and, places that are really important in understanding the history of Dalarna. By visiting the different places that are included, you’ll get a unique insight into the history of Dalarna and Sweden. Here is the complete list of all the attractions that are part of Kulturresan:
- Verket/Avesta Art
- Carl Larsson-gården
- Dalarnas Museum
- Falu Gruva
- Nils Olssons Dalahästar
Read more about Kulturresan in our post about Hildasholm where you’ll learn more about Kulturresan and Kulturpasset.
Verket – a brief history
Verket was built in 1874 and steel ingots were made here and for more than 60 years. This place was a huge workplace for the locals. In the middle of 1900, the process became outdated and Verket became abandoned. It stayed that way until 1986 when Avesta county bought it and started the restoration. This place is surprisingly complete and here you can learn more about how the steelwork used to be done and how the process was made.
You can feel the “wings from the past” when you enter Verket. You can get all the history but also the modern days. This due to the different exhibitions that are shown here. It feels like going back in time and yet it feels so up to date. It’s impressive how they have recreated a blast from the past and make it feel modern and fresh.
The top floor at Verket
When you enter the building, you automatically end up in the gift shop. However, after getting your ticket, your visit starts at the top of Verket, on the fourth floor. Here you will get to learn more about the building itself and see some great art in their exhibition. One thing that strikes me straight away is whether the bird-sounds are real or whether they are sound effects. You can hear them tiptoe on the roof and you hear them chirp. Mini confirms that they are real birds and no added sound effects.
The birds actually help to create the perfect sound while walking around inside Verket. On the walls, you can read more about Verket and what used to go on here with the steel and how it was for the workers that had this as a job. Unfortunately, a lot of the signs are only in Swedish. At the same time, you will still get a lot of information by coming here even if you don’t read Swedish.
Permanent exhibitions at Verket
While we were walking around inside the building, we met a local couple that said that they come here every year. They informed us that some of the exhibitions are permanent and some of them are unique for the summer. They said that they are always just as impressed as they were the year before. That when they think that the exhibitions can’t get any better – it does!
I know what they are talking about. I am so glad that we got to experience Verket and Avesta Art in 2020 because it was fantastic! So, from what we gathered, there are several permanent exhibitions that popped out more to us than others. Sure, all of them are great but we had our favorites that we would like to share with you!
Kjell Engman creates miracles at Verket
Probably our favorite place. We stayed here super long and could not get enough, admiring Kjell Engmans glasswork. He is such a good artist that he works with the famous glass brand “Costa Boda”. In Verket, he has a piece that is permanent and then he switches things around (according to the local couple that we met). Inside the room where he has his exhibition, it’s dark. At times it feels too dark and you just want to turn the lights up so that you can admire the art.
But, there’s a point to the “darkness”. It creates mystic that makes the exhibition super special. My favorite pieces were the glass dresses that light up at times. No, wait – the shoes that are fish that are shoes are my favorites. Or maybe the men in hats?! You get my point – everything that Kjell Engman created is just plain awesome!
“Korridoren” by Sonja Nilsson
This is such a fun installation! You open a door and end up in a corridor. You take a few steps and then you need to make a turn. The corridor continues and you take yet another few steps just to make another turn. And then it goes on and on. You just walk in a neverending corridor with turns and illusions.
What makes this art installation so much fun are all the mirrors. You keep seeing yourself in a long corridor and after a while, you feel that there’s no end to the corridor. But no worries – there is! And once you are done, if you are anything like us, you’re ready to give it another go!
Bjorn Lovins gallery
This installation can be found above the gift shop and it stands out because of a huge toy car that’s carved out in wood. I believe that some people miss this part of the exhibition because they might skip the gift shop. Skipping the gift shop would be a pitty, but more on that later.
The huge car is made by artist Björn Lövin, a Swedish artist that passed away in 2009. In Moderna Museet in Stockholm, there are only three artists that have gotten their own exhibition rooms: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Björn Lövin. This shows how big of an artist he was and still is to this day!
Opera Tactil – so much fun
Mini’s favorite part when visiting a museum or an art gallery is to find something that’s interactive. Inside Verket, there are several different exhibitions that are interactive and where you can touch and play and have fun with the art. Opera Tactil is such a thing and it was totally awesome! This is a place where you get to create your own opera. Mini had so much fun here – banging on oil drums, rims, aluminum things, and a lot of other things.
My favorite part was the springs that made super cool sounds. The Opera Tactil is created by Torbjörn Grass and it was created in 2006. Like I mentioned before, there are other installations that are permanent but these were our favorites. The next time we are in Dalarna – I will make it my mission to come back here and explore some more!
Avesta Art 2020 Facts and Fantasies
This year (2020) the theme of Avesta Art is Facts and Fantasies. They have a new theme each year and we love that idea. This means that you can keep coming back and have something new to look at each year. Fact and Fantasies is a great theme and we can honestly say that it’s not easy to always figure out what parts of the exhibition was fact and what was fiction.
And if we are keeping it real, we didn’t know that the theme was Fact and Fantasies until we were well into the exhibition. And it was during the Aquanauts exhibition but more on that later. For us, we could keep coming back each year just to take part in the exhibitions that are temporary. Verket is a great and dramatic place for exhibitions since it’s dark and they can play with lighting. Here are our favorites from the temporary exhibition for this year (2020).
Folkhemmets design – How it used to be
On the top floor at Verket, there is an exhibition that shows stainless steel and aluminum utensils. It is a collection that belongs to Thomas Lindblad and Tove Torbjörn Lenskog. They have collected hundreds and hundreds of utensils and now they are nicely placed for the visitors to admire. We are born in the ’80s (Mini in 1979) and I could remember some of the coffee pots and saucepans that were on display.
And all the aluminum objects made me think of my childhood and when we were in Poland visiting family. I think that aluminum was a bigger thing in Poland than it was in Sweden. Or, maybe it stayed in Poland longer than it did in Sweden. I can remember that my aunt had different pots and pans that were bumped and bruised. It’s a good thing that the look of the pots don’t make the food taste different. A fun exhibition to see on the top floor at Verket.
Torbjorn Grass – Somewhat different
A “Grassofon” that creates sounds and music for the visitor to take part in. Things made out of metal, electromagnets, and wooden boxes create a 10-minute show. Now, I have no knowledge about how sending electronic impulses works but it sounded pretty cool. And after we have created our own music at the Opera Tactil – this is a fun continuation on the theme.
Since the artist is the same as for the Opera Tactil – this was fun to hear. Torbjörn Grass creates art from old things and brings them to the future. I am so impressed by people that can make art out of “nothing” and at the same time – I’m jealous and wish that I also had a creative streak.
Anna Linnea Liljeholm – an interesting artist
It is well known that all human beings and animals are way into nesting. There’s something special when (mostly women), start preparing for their life. Birds collect sticks and branches and build their home. In the old ages, all the girls got a trousseau. Here, they were collecting and nesting for when they move out of their home and start a new family.
Anna Linnea Liljeholm has created a really different and fun exhibition with her own interpretation of nesting and what it means to her. In Verket, her pieces hang from the ceiling, creating dramatic scenes. I love this kind of art because it doesn’t have to be explained. I saw something and Mini was looking at the same thing and he saw something else.
Aquanauts – About the last expedition to Siljansringen
Ok, so this was one of our absolute favorites. Ok, so we had a lot of favorites but this one really stood out. This is an exhibition that tells the story about two female researchers and their last trip to Siljansringen. They are out, exploring the area where a meteor hit. It turns out that they find some odd creatures, looking somewhat like people but covered in mussels, bark, and oyster-like scales.
The whole story is well made and you get to hear excerpts from their diary – read out through speakers (in Swedish only). It’s so nicely done that you feel like it’s all real. This is like entering a world that used to be. Where “people” covered in scales laid eggs in the water and waited for them to hatch. Informational signs that teach the visitor more about the people that were called Homo Aquatis.
Homo Aquatis had their own smell
Apparently, in the world around Siljansringen, there were five different spices, all so similar and yet so different and unique. The Testa Ostrea was a “human” that had oyster-scales around its body. Detractisque Corticubus, Concha Alba, Nigrum Folium and the Cochlea Brunneis – all had their unique look and smell. There are life-sized “replicas” of each and every one of the Homo Aquatis and there are even small boxes that allow you to smell them.
At first, we were both very surprised that there was a nice smell when we opened the lid. After smelling some of them, it all began to smell the same to me. And when we came to the gift shop I got the whole concept of a great idea. In the gift shop, they are selling perfumes from all of the Homo Aquatis. What a great idea! It made me want to buy perfume but when you live in a motorhome – you can only have a couple of perfumes and my stash is currently full. But the exhibition is awesome!
Ylva Ceder creates magic with fire
People like Ylva Ceder make me so impressed with how creative people make art in different ways. Ylva is using a blowtorch while creating some amazing artwork. The paintings are a reminder of forest fires and I can’t wrap my head around the artistic work.
My absolute favorite is the painting with the butterflies. It’s beautiful and if we could fit it into the motorhome (and if it was for sale of course) I would love to have that in our home. We had never heard of Ylva Ceder before but from now on – she’s on my radar.
Markus Kahre – Easy to miss if you don’t look
We walked by this exhibition, just taking a quick look and wrote it off as a restroom. However, thanks to Ann (a magical fairy working inside Verket) we went back and had a second look. It’s a small room with lockers but there’s something more in here. We looked for several minutes before Ann literary had to point it out to us. And there it was so clear. The next thought was to grasp why it took us so long to see it.
I’m pretty sure that most people miss the installation. That they do the same as us and just walk past it. But we urge you to take another look. The lighting inside the room is just perfect and there’s an illusion inside the room. The picture might make you see it but I will not spoil the surprise in writing.
Slaggratoriet – Where all the fun is happening
This was Mini’s favorite part because he was allowed to touch and play with the exhibition. Play a different kind of memory, make a track for a boll to roll, and lots of other fun things. There’s also an are where they are showing more optical illusions and one thing with a thermos and a photograph that is super awesome. It’s easy to just walk by and miss out on stuff. Take your time and really explore this place.
We lost track of time here and we played with everything they had. Playing, exploring, and just being like kids again. It’s a shame that we are shaped to grow up and stop playing. Slaggratoriet is proof that we are never too old to play.
Our visit to Verket & Avesta Art
We had such an amazing time at Verket and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone that is visiting Avesta. We ended up spending several hours here and I think that we could have stayed for the whole day. Since we were on a schedule, we couldn’t stay longer. Another fact is that due to Covid-19, they have slots for visitors so that there aren’t too many people in the building at once. There are many different exhibitions, both temporary and permanent that are worth seeing.
It’s the whole vibe of this place. That and the fact that the people working here are so helpful and friendly. Ann ended up turning up around the building and she gave us pointers and insights that we would have missed if it weren’t for her. If you don’t have Verket on your bucket list, make sure to write it down!
An amazing gift shop at Verket in Avesta
After traveling in Dalarna for a while, we have noticed that all of the gift shops that are part of “Kulturresan” are nice. Gift shops are often pretty boring and filled with junk and knickknacks. However, at Verket you can really do some serious shopping. And best of all, the prices are fair – except for the perfumes from Homo Aquatis, they were pretty expensive. How about new but old-looking chests for about 25 euros?!
Or how about “gifts in a tin” that are great toys for kids to assemble and to play with for about 15 euros. We don’t own a hammer but if we did – I would switch it out for one of the cute once that they are selling in the gift shop. Painted hammers and gardening tools that are so cute. This was one of my favorite gift shops but like I said – all of the gift shops that are connected to Kulturresan and Kulturpasset are good.
Information about Verket & Avesta Art
Address: Verket Kanalvägen 1, Koppardalen, Avesta.
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 17:00. Due to Covid-19, you need to make a reservation and visit during the three different timeslots that are offered. The time you are allowed to stay is 2 hours and 15 minutes and you can book a timeslot at 10:00, 12:15 and 15:30.
Entrance fee: 120 kronor (about 12 euros) per adult (2020).
The website of Verket.
Disclaimer: Our visit to Verket was part of a press trip that was arranged by Visit Dalarna. All the thoughts and opinions are our own!