A spring winter day at Gammplatsen

Camilla Lindqvist
Camilla Lindqvist
Gammplatsen is a cultural area located in Lycksele, on a peninsula in the Ume River. A place that breathes culture and history, a place of community and recreation. This is a place where you can hike freely among historic buildings, have a nice cup of coffee, visit various museums, and even spend the night in one of the historical buildings. A night at the museum so to speak. Did you know that one of Sweden's oldest bowling alleys are preserved here?


Today I visited Gammplatsen and was fortunate to be escorted by a guide.

It's Monday and the spring winter has taken a hold on Lycksele. The sun casts its warm rays against the snow and modest chirps from newly awakened birds catch up with the cold breeze. Micke Jakobsson, the area's Sami curator, carefully sweeps away the traces from the winter slippery slope and welcomes me into the Forest- and Sami Museum, at the main entrance on Gammplatsen.

The museum is thematically divided and shows what it looked like in Swedish Lapland between 1850-1950. Most of the inventory is gifts and collections. There is a lot to look at, and I could stay here for hours!

Most of it comes from earlier collections, but sometimes people get in touch about other items curator Magnus tell me.

I peek into hut and hear a snoring sound.

"In here you can see how the forest workers lived, the sound you are hearing is from men sleeping in the hut" Magnus says.

We wander around in the museum and I am amazed at the amount of knowledge that both curators carry. Every place, every building has its own history and with every new information I get, I am even more impressed how people lived and worked this way – hat´s off to our ancestors!

Inside the museum there is also a children’s room. Among other things, a slide that is placed against a digital lake - with swimming fish. If I was a child again I would slide down like there were no tomorrow!

New projects

The museum recently changed its name from Skogsmuseet (The forest museum) to Skogs-och Samemuseét (The forest- and Sami museum) and now they are planning for an even larger Sami exhibition. Most of the current collection comes from the same person, a man named Birger Nordin. Over 2,500 objects are on display and more will be added. The museum highlights the stationary forest Sami, which will be completely unique for Sweden.

"We have received a great legacy from a foundation that includes both solid research, as well as Sami buildings. This will be a major development for the museum, and we have chosen to niche ourselves for the forest Sami, which we are completely alone doing," says Micke.

Outside the museum, there are plans for development. Among other things, an adventure course for children will be created, more flea markets, events and markets will be organized in the future.

-A lot will happen in the coming years, Magnus says, it´s really exciting!

Fika in a historical environment

The sun is bright when we walk towards the next building, Café Ruselegården. A café in a historic setting.

I sit down in one of the sofas and my eyes stick to a large organ that is placed in the room. The organ towers up like a rainbow. I see traces from the test of time in the fading colors and I gently press a tone on one of the keys.

- What a work of art, I say, smiling.

Magnus see my enthusiasm and adds - There were many talented organ manufacturers around the area. This one comes from a small village outside Lycksele. It's completely original.

Today the café is closed, but they are open both during summer and winter. In the summer, the café is filled with ice cream and lighter lunches and they can also host wedding parties. Imagine getting married in this historic setting!

With quick steps, we move on to another building, Karlbergsgården. The snow has fallen from the roof in front of the door, but that doesn't stop us from making a visit to the old house. The door opens and we are met by an environment where time has stood still. A beautiful bed with beautiful details stands in the center of the room. Colorful woven carpets run along the old wooden floor and underneath the ceiling hangs a chandelier. In the left corner there is a baby cot, neatly made in a contemporary style.

This room can be rented for those who want to spend the night in a historical setting," says Magnus.

Along gravel roads we continue our walk around the area. Building after building is displayed, each with its own unique history.

Welcome to the machine era's cinema, Micke suddenly says. In the middle of the Museum of Forestry Machinery and Agriculture, a small cinema is presented. Short videos from ancient times are played, most of it from the forestry of the time.

- A little popcorn would have been good," I say, smiling.

My stomach starts to act up and I realize that the clock has struck lunchtime. We make a quick visit to the newly opened little shop at the very beginning of the area. I can find both local produce and products. All presented in a historical environment.

I thanked them both for a fantastic tour and at the same time apologize for my lack of local knowledge. Gammplatsen has so much more to offer than I ever thought.

This is a place I would like to come back to.