Fäbod culture

A Fäbod can be described as a form of small-scale farms where the animals are sent to a pasture for summer grazing, consisting of a number of buildings with different functions in the outlying areas.

Location: Värmland, Dalarna, Gästrikland, Hälsingland, Härjedalen, Jämtland, Uppland , Medelpad, Ångermanland, Västerbotten and Norrbotten/Lappland with less presence in the last five regions.

Person på fyrhjuling med fäbod och fäbodlandskap i bakgrunden.

The Fäbod culture includes knowledge of animals and nature, forest grazing, buildings, food, stories, customs, tools and music. The use of Fäbods already existed in some form during the early Middle Ages in Sweden, and there is written evidence of this from the 1500s. Each farm had its form of Fäbod use, depending natural conditions and economic conditions. The daily work on the Fäbod included a variety of activities, and was primarily carried out by women aged between 15 and 25. The cultural heritage includes a very old form of working music with instruments such as horns and pipes, and the vocal technique of Kulning or herding calls was an important working tool.

In the 1800s there was a shift to crop rotation in agriculture which led to a decline in the importance of Fäbods. In recent years the interest in organic and locally produced food has led to an upturn. Today in central and northern Sweden several Fäbods are operational, and they largely follow the old traditions. Many act as places to visit with overnight accommodation and the sale of local products. There are a number of organisations and associations which work to keep active fäbod use alive, some state and local institutions are involved and some documentation is ongoing.

Kvinna sitter bredvid stor gryta på farstutrappen till en fäbod.

Photo: William Eriksson (Isof, ULMA 34715).