Construction first began in the 12th century. Probably the most famous event in the castle’s history was the signing of the Kalmar Union Treaty there in 1397.
Under the agreement Denmark’s Queen Margaret took control of both Norway and Sweden under a single monarchy. The three countries remained united until 1523, when Gustav Vasa successfully led the battle for Swedish independence.
It was after that that he and successive Vasa kings rebuilt the castle in its current style as a Renaissance palace.
Probably the most famous Swede to grow up in Kalmar County was the children’s author Astrid Lindgren, who was born outside the small community of Vimmerby in 1907.
Best known for her books about Pippi Longstocking, her stories were often set in a traditional rural Swedish background based on her childhood in Vimmerby, like the adventures of the naughty Emil from Lönneberga.
The Astrid Lindgren's World themepark opened in Vimmerby in 1991.
Meanwhile, to the east of Kalmar in the Baltic Sea is the long narrow island of Öland, 137 kilometers long, 16 kilometers wide, and with a year round population of 25,000. Like the larger nearby island of Gotland, Öland is largely dependent on its tourist industry. During the season in July and August the population of the island increases by 10 times. And altogether 3 million people a year visit Öland.
Among the most prominent regular visitors to Öland are the Swedish royal family, whose summer residence, Solliden Palace, is near Borgholm in the middle of the island. One of the annual highpoints of the royal summer there is Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday on July 14th.
The island is linked to the mainland by the Öland Bridge. Inaugurated in 1972, at just over 6 kilometers, it is one of the longest bridges in Europe.