D is for Dalarna

D is for Dalarna, the most folkloristic of Sweden’s provinces.

Sometimes abroad it’s anglicized as Dalecarlia, but that’s just a reverse engineered form of Dalkarl, man of Dalarna.

The name itself means the Valleys, or to take the closest English word, the Dales. And in many ways the place is the heartland of Sweden. Located northwest of Stockholm, it was there in 1520 that Gustav Vasa, the first king of modern Sweden, started his revolt in the hills that drove out the occupying Danes.

Carl Larsson, the turn of the century artist well-known for capturing traditional Swedish family environments, settled down in Dalarna, and his home there is a well-visited museum. Dalarna is famous for old-fashioned handicrafts and art, including the famous carved wooden horses that are a local icon, and it’s a very popular place to celebrate Midsummer, with lots of traditional folk music.