Dr. Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist who taught himself how to paint and sculpt. In a grand artistic maneuver in 1980, he sculpted a giant, tower-like sculpture made of 75 tons of driftwood, which he called Nimis (Latin for “too much”). As a companion, about a decade later he also built Arx (Latin for “fortress), a sculpture made of stone. Nimis lived in peace for two full years due to the inaccessible nature of the Kullaberg nature reserve in southern Sweden, where it was built. When local authorities finally found it, they ordered it to be removed, as it imposed upon the nature reserve. Once Arx was constructed, it received the same order of removal. After a lengthy court battle, Vilks did what any rational person would do in protest.
He declared independence from Sweden in 1996, calling the square kilometer that surrounds the sculptures the Royal Republic of Ladonia, or just Ladonia. Because Sweden has not recognized Ladonia’s independence, nor has any other country for that matter, it is classified as a micronation. A micronation claims to be a legitimate, independently functioning nation or state, but is not recognized as such by any other world government or official international organization. Some micronations attempt to bolster their legitimacy by creating their own flags, currency, and passports. They sustain that they are a sovereign body over some territory, despite the lack of official recognition.
Since its creation, Ladonia has gained over 17,000 citizens from over 100 countries, mainly due to its popularity on the internet. No one actually lives in Ladonia, of course, considering its size. Instead, all of its citizens are nomads, coming and going as they please (or maybe even not at all). Anyone who applies can become a citizen, but immigrants will find that it’s basically impossible to actually move there. Ladonia is a constitutional monarchy, currently ruled by Queen Carolyn I and President Christopher Matheoss. Dr. Lars Vilks, meanwhile, is the State Secretary.
It is unclear whether this is all done in jest, or in actual protest of the Swedish government, but it appears as though it’s a little bit of both. It has certainly become a pretty well-developed entity, holding serious presidential elections and releasing news through an online newspaper. It even has a capital city (Wotan City) and its own currency (Örtug)! Apparently it’s pretty easy to find your own micronation, because once the word gets out, thousands of people will be interested in participating. Next time you’re bored, why not declare independence from your home country? You’ll never know how far you’ll get!
So what ever happened to the court battle over Nimis and Arx? It turns out that, in 1998, the Swedish District Court ruled against the demolition after a tourist association pleaded that they stay because they had become great tourist attractions. Nimis and Arx still stand.
To get to Ladonia, travel to Skåne County in Southern Sweden and ask how to get to Nimis.
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