On the main square in the western Swedish town of Karlstad, there is a statue. A striking statue. A significant statue. A statue that was once voted the ugliest statue in the country.
The statue represents a strident woman holding a broken sword, with her left foot placed firmly on the decapitated head of a ghoulish soldier. It’s fairly gruesome. And it certainly has impact. But the message might surprise you.
Raised in 1955, the statue is actually a peace monument which commemorates the dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1905. Previously, the two countries were unified under the same monarch, and their separation could have led to bitter and bloody conflicts but it didn’t. It was carried out peacefully and paved the way for long-term cooperation between the two neighboring nations.
The statue has many nicknames amongst the town’s locals – ‘the old bitch with the wash paddle”, ”horror woman’ and ‘monument of horrors’.
Even if you find the statue unnerving, there’s no denying that it’s inscription is poignant. Using clever Swedish alliteration, the message reads:
”Feuds feed folk hatred, peace promotes people’s understanding”
If you’re ever in the area, the monument is worth a look. She is a powerful representation of a significant moment in the history of Sweden and of Scandinavia.