Already two times now, I have visited a quite unusual artwork at the coast of southern Sweden. The artwork is called ‘Nimis’ and is situated in nature reserve ‘Kullaberg’. It is built out of 75 tons of driftwood and consists of sparsely connected nailed planks forming climbable passageways and towers. Hard to explain, but really impressive to see! Especially if you know that these gigantic construction works are difficult to reach and built by one man alone.
My first visit was with ESN (an international student association) and we were lucky enough to be able to meet the artist himself! His story was really impressive. The artist, Lars Vilks, began to build it in 1980 and for a long time no one really noticed or cared. But in 1982 the Swedish authorities learned about the existence of Nimis and demanded it to be dismantled and removed, since the construction was forbidden in the nature reserve. However, after a long (still ongoing) judicial process, Nimis is still here. I guess it became sort of an endless game, in which Vilks finally sold his artwork, so the authorities had to start the trials all over again with the new owners. Over the years, a lot of people have tried to molest it, tore it apart or burned parts down. Also have the weather and sea done great damage several times. But he never gave up. Therefore, I see Nimis as an reflection of endless determination (something a lot of Swedes are born with). It really shows what one man is capable of. In 1996, Vilks proclaimed Nimis and its surroundings to be the micronation ‘Ladonia’ as a result of the years-long court battle over the sculptures. Everyone can become inhibitant of Ladonia and it even has its own President, Queen and facebook page! Although the beach, where the building is located, is almost inaccessible, Nimis has become a tourist attraction because of the publicity gained through the trials and its own uniqueness. But, as Nimis's existence is not sanctioned by Sweden, it is difficult to get there. You will not find information about it in any of the brochures of the area nor is it marked on maps. Therefore, the path towards it is hard to find and it can only be reached by foot. But if you finally reach it, it is definitely worth it!
Even nowadays, the artwork is still ‘under construction’. Lars Vilks goes there very often to improve his artwork and make it even higher and bigger. He wants to ensure that it is stable and steady for its visitors (although it certainly doesn’t look that way). According to his own words, he is planning to keep on building for another 30 years, until his age will allow it.