Exploring the Swedish culture of Lindsborg Kansas

Out in the middle of Kansas, the adorable community of Lindsborg allows visitors to immerse themselves in the Swedish culture that thrives nearly 150 years after the first Swedish immigrants found their way to Kansas.

They came in 1868 from the Swedish province of Vrārmland, and as much as anywhere in the U.S., the Swedish culture is alive in Lindsborg.

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The Swedish Dala Horse in Lindsborg, KS

The first thing you’ll notice about Lindsborg is the Dala horses found in abundance on the tree-lined streets of this little prairie town. A dala horse is an iconic symbol of Sweden, a wooden horse that came to life during the long cold Scandinavian nights. Wood workers would sculpt hundreds of these little creatures of all size and tell stories as they worked.

A dala horse is a symbol of welcome and hospitality as a pineapple is in other cultures. So you’ll see these hanging in doorways, sitting in front of homes and businesses and in all parts of the Swedish community. There’s now a “Hunt for the Wild Dala” game in the streets of Lindsborg as residents and visitors check off a list of more than 200 horses.

The dala moose is also a symbol of hospitality in Sweden and I rather like the moose more than the horse.


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Exploring the Swedish Community of Lindsborg Kansas

Spencer, a Jack Russel Terrier, greets guests in Lindsborg Kansas

Then wander north along Main Street, poking your head in and out of several shops and galleries. My favorite is the Small World Gallery, an initiative of National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson and his wife Kathy. In addition to a wonderful rescue dog named Spencer who will be delighted that you stopped by to see him, the shop includes some of Jim’s most magnificent photographs in cards and print form for your home.

a double chain necklace made of historic tokens in Lindsborg Kansas

I was intrigued by necklaces made from antique, historic trade tokens that had once been used in small communities in place of cash. Company stores in mining communities would issue tokens or chits instead of cash, then you really had to buy stuff from their store rather than going to a more competitive retailer. But are these lovely and interesting. Each one has its own unique story.

This is one of a dozen or more galleries that showcase the vastly talented work of residents, students and others in this little community of 3,200 people.

Where to Eat in Lindsborg Kansas

Swedish Crown Restaurant in Lindsborg Kansas

So you gotta have some Swedish meatballs while in Lindsborg. While several places serve a good platter of meatballs, my friends and I enjoyed an evening at the Swedish Crown Restaurant.

For some authentic Swedish cheeses and sausages on your sandwich, stop in at the Ȫl Stuga Bar.

Where to Sleep in Lindsborg Kansas

A welcome sign for Drum Sott inn in Lindsborg

Lindsborg has dozens of inns and vacation rental properties to choose from. However, we stayed a the Dröm Sött Inn. That means “sweet dreams” in Swedish.

Guest room in Drom Sott Inn in Lindsborg Kansas

The furnishings are all made from Swedish pine. While the rooms are all simply furnished, each room is adorably warm and cozy. They are the authentic definition of hygge.

What Else to Do in Lindsborg

The one thing I’ve not done in Lindsborg is attend the Easter week performance of The Messiah. At nearly 150 years, it’s the longest running performance of The Messiah anywhere in the U.S. I’m told it’s just lovely in this beautiful old chapel on the Bethany College campus.

So keep watch on this space. Hopefully next spring, I’ll be able to share with you the details of my experience. Or better yet, I’ll see you there in Lindsborg Kansas.

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For a Midwest road trip to the Norwegian culture, let’s visit Decorah Iowa.