Holy Mölle

We left the island of Møl after breakfast and drove north to Copenhagen, planning to cross over to Malmö, Sweden, before noon. Unfortunately, there was an horrific backup on the expressway and we ended up sitting in traffic for 2.5 hours – probably the longest I’ve ever been stuck in traffic anywhere.

At long last, we got to the head of the line where all traffic was directed off the expressway onto the arterial roads. I have a GPS program on my iPhone that helped route us to the combination tunnel/bridge over the Øresund to Malmö.

When we touched down on the Swedish side, we were stopped by customs (there’s no immigration control between Denmark and Sweden because they are both members of the European Union, but they can still stop you at customs to see what you’re bringing into the country).

Anyway, the very polite Swedish Customs agent asked what we were doing coming into Sweden and we said, “just to spend the day; do you know anywhere nice up the coast we should go?” Surprisingly, she said, “yes,” and then went to discuss the matter with a co-worker. Returning, she recommended the seaside town of Mölle, about a half-hour north of Helsinborg. So off we went.

On the approach to town, we passed this windmill:

It was apropos to our destination which, according to a placard in town, was named Mölle after a watermill (I’ve tried to find out whether mölle means “mill” in Swedish, to no avail; I do know that mühle is German for mill, which makes me think it is).

Here’s the view of the harbor from town.

And here’s another view from the jetty:

In the 1800s, Mölle was the playground of the Swedish and German “in” crowd and it was considered a very risqué resort area because it was the first place in Sweden that men and women sunbathed together – over on that beach, though it’s not much of a beach anymore, now it’s mostly rock.

Turning to my right after taking the photo, above, you can see the hotel that we stayed in, the Hotel Kullaberg; it’s the one with the light green roof directly under the Swedish flag.

There wasn’t much to do here in Mölle, but that was okay by us; we were tired after our frustrating journey to get here. So we had a nice dinner, following which we read and researched on the internet to see what the place was known for. Answer: besides what I’ve already written, not much.

Except for Ladonia. Or, as I should say, The Royal Republic of Ladonia. It’s a crazy story.

Back in the 1980s, a local doctor named Lars Vilks, who fancied himself to be an artist, started collecting driftwood in the adjacent Kullaberg (like our hotel) Nature Reserve. He nailed the driftwood together, ultimately creating a huge labyrinth structure that he dubbed art and called “Nimis.”

The local government, however, pointed out to Vilks that under their codes, Nimis was considered to be a building and he had failed to get a building permit. They also noted that even if he had applied for a building permit, it would have been denied because buildings cannot be permitted in a nature reserve. The government ordered Vilks to tear Nimis down. He refused and litigation ensued.

The litigation continued for over 20 years with the courts sometimes ruling for the local government and sometimes ruling for Vilks. But in the midst of the litigation, Vilks got the bright idea to assert that the land under and around Nimis was a free and sovereign nation, The Royal Republic of Ladonia, and, therefore, not subject to Swedish court jurisdiction.

There’s a word for this: Vilks had founded a “micro-nation.” Just like the folks in our Florida Keys did with the Conch Republic back in the 1980s, when the entire island chain seceded from the U.S.A., declared independence, and then requested foreign aid. Long live the Conch Republic!

This morning, before leaving Mölle, we had planned to hike across the Kullaberg Nature Reserve to see Nimis, but the rain prevented us from making the hour-and-a-half roundtrip trek.

So, instead, I became a citizen of Ladonia – and you can to, just sign on through the website: http://www.ladonia.org – you can even buy yourself a title of nobility or public office!

Attorney General Ulmer of the Royal Republic of Ladonia has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

4 thoughts on “Holy Mölle

  1. Too amusing. One of the most preeminent land use lawyers in America researching the antics of the local property owners taking on the government in Denmark. I love it!!
    I was very intrigued with the prospect of becoming a “Ladonian” but felt you were of course qualified but not I…until I personally set foot on the soil….brilliant stuff my friend….best, Allen

  2. “I’ve tried to find out whether mölle means “mill” in Swedish, to no avail; ”

    Well, I can tell you that mölle means mill alright. Same root for them all – mölle, mill, and mühle.

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