Off the Beaten Track: Lövstabruk

If you have your own wheels and are looking for an interesting day trip, you might want to consider a visit to tiny Lövstabruk, 71km north of Uppsala, one of the prettiest historic Vallonbruk villages in the Northern Uppland area. Once a centre of industry, the region is now a lush green landscape dotted with picturesque industrial leftovers, mainly ironworks and mines. To learn more about the area's heritage, check out www.roslagen.se/sv/vallonbruken.

The word bruk, part of many local place names, means an industrial village that processed raw materials, such as iron ore. Most appeared in the 17th century and were owned, run and staffed by Dutch and Walloon (Belgian) immigrants – hence the local name for the forges, wallonbruk. The profits were used to build fine mansions, surrounded by humble workers’ homes.

In 1627, the Dutchman Louis de Geer came to Lövstabruk, and the mansion was built for his grandson, Charles de Geer, around 1700. The house and its factories were destroyed by a Russian attack in 1719, but everything was rebuilt and iron production continued until 1926.

The bruk buildings are open to visitors from 11am to 4pm or 5pm daily June to August. If you like what you see here, consider also visiting the nearby towns of Forsmark (visitforsmark.se) and Österbybruk (gammeltammen.se).

Pop in to Lövstabruks Turistinformation for brochures and local advice, and if you're peckish, you can't go past the nearby Lövstabruk Wärdshus restaurant. If you get here and decide that a day is just not enough, see if Gamla Brukshandeln B&B is your thing.