The Woodland Cemetery

Last weekend we went to Stockholm, to lounge in a great hotel, visit my sister-in-law and her husband at their new apartment (which is stunning), see a show (La Cage aux Folles), and generally just do whatever we wanted.

We slept in Saturday, had breakfast in bed, and watched a documentary about Skogs-kyrkog√•rden, the Woodland Cemetery. It was All Saint´s Day, and they were expecting about 70.000 visitors. We decided to add two to that number, since lighting candles at the cemetery is a tradition we have observed for many years. The Woodland Cemetery is on the Unesco World Heritage list, and I have been wanting to see it for many years. And now it just became the natural thing to do.

The cemetery is very large, and each part has it´s own style of burial.

One corner is for the Catholics. There is also a Jewish Cemetery.

The Chapel of Resurrection, that looks very much like what I imagine a Roman temple would have looked like.

At the other end of this long road, Seven Springs Way, is the hill where we finally lit our candles.

Inside the chapel, designed by Sigurd Lewerentz.

The same architect, Lewerentz, also designed these outhouses, consciously brutalizing the beauty of the chapel.

I couldn´t help wonder what my father-in-law, the mason, would have thought about this.

The tall forrest gives the whole place a cathedral-like atmosphere.

Towards the big Chapel of the Holy Cross and the Crematorium.

Looks like a hobbit´s house.

The Woodland Chapel.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross.

There was some kind of service going on, so we didn´t enter, but it´s always nice to have a reason to return.

The view from the big chapel towards the hill.

The Chapel of Hope. I love how the visiting family mirrors the family depicted on the altar painting.

The benches are angled, so the mourners can sit closer to one another. Talk about attention to detail!

The grave of the head architect, who died from exhaustion only a short time after the consecration ceremony.


It was a wonderful afternoon, even though the light was bad and there was a hailstorm. We really had this sense of community, and this is what it´s like on most cemeteries in Sweden on All Saint´s Day. We passed the grave of Greta Garbo without seeing it, so that´s one more reason to return. I´d also like to see the cemetery in summer, in full bloom.

Halloween has been a controversial, and commercial, import the last few years, but it´s mostly considered a masquerade party thing for the children. Still, some older folks think kids dressed up as ghouls and skeletons are offensive on a weekend traditionally reserved for stillness, meditation and rememberance. But I suppose times change, and traditions will, too.


  1. What a stunningly beautiful place! And photographs. My mother-in-law passed last "Halloween" and I think it was because the veil between the worlds is especially thin at that time of year and she just marched through to her next adventure.

    1. That´s a lovely thought. I must do a post on one of my favourite books, "The Brothers Lionheart" by Astrid Lindgren.