Car junkyard has become a tourist attraction

Car wrecks stacked up in piles deep in the wood, a graveyard or car junkyard are hidden in the border area between Norway and Sweden

Bilkirkegården i Båstnäs, Sverige.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Details from vintage cars at a car junkyard in Sweden.
Details from vintage cars at a car junkyard in Sweden.

I am slapping fat mosquitoes as I struggle with the camera and the tripod through the dense forest. Ugh, a new bite and a new one. I set up the tripod while I frantically try to keep away all the annoying mosquitoes. In the end I give up. The photo opportunities in these deep Swedish woods are far more important and exciting than some annoying mosquitoes.

Around the abandoned houses here in Båstnäs there are lush flower meadows and from a distance all the vintage car wrecks can be mistaken for big colorful flowers. Its midsummer and nature is at its most beautiful and colorful. You might think that an old car junkyard would arouse disgust, but in my opinion it’s beautiful and exciting. Car wrecks in all shapes and colors are slowly dissolving. Unbelievable things happen on their surface in this process. Colors and structures change gradually and if you look closely, you will find that this is a treasure of inspiration if you are the creative kind of person. I am not only a travel blogger, but also a textile artist. So for me a visit to this car junkyard is worth more than a 2 day visit to a famous museum in a European metropolis.

Per between the cars in the car junkyard in Sweden.
Per between the cars in the car junkyard in Sweden.

The pine trees behind the houses are tall and stand close together. You have to move into the wood in order to really experience the pictorial drama of this car junkyard. The car wrecks are piled up between the pine trees and some places a tree grows straight through the cars engine compartment. These vintage cars are fighting against the power of nature. At first the nature will take over the cars interior. Seats and other interior decompose rapidly and only small remnants remain to tell the story of the car. It is fascinating to see all this different degrees of decomposition.

Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.

Per gets nostalgic as we walk in the wood, crawling over broken branches and hews our way through the thicket. – Do you remember this Saab? And the little red one, on the top of the pile, what can that bee? Per has to climb on top of one car to get closer to the other red car. But the decomposition has come too far. It’s not possible any longer to decide the car type or the model. We amuse ourselves with many more old car stories while we wander in the woods and take picture of one pile of cars after another. It seems like it never ends.

The car junkyard is controversial. The local community has wanted to remove it for many years out of environmental reasons, but it has not been first priority and also it will be very, very expensive to clear this big area. There is no doubt that the junkyard has polluted the environment. Some argue that this pollution has already happened and the junkyard should stay. It is a cultural heritage, a lot of people argue. They are probably right because to this junkyard people come from all over Europe. Vintage car enthusiasts, photographers, photo clubs and schools, they all come here to the car junkyard and get excited and enchanted.

Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.

The car junkyard is Swedish and Norwegian cultural history. It tells the story about the time when Sweden was the prosperous country and Norway was poor. It also tell a story about early post WW2 times when car parts where impossible to get in Norway. Norwegians were the most important customers at the car junkyard and it was perfect situated near the Norwegian border. The oldest cars are from 1930 and the newest from 1970. Some years ago all the cars along the road leading to the farmhouses were transported elsewhere and today there are about 600-700 car wrecks left.

At least 2 books are written about this car junkyard. Per Hjort and Rolf Larsen: “Parkert” (English: Parked) in 2009 and the last book by Staffan Ekengran: Kärlek till en skrot”. This is translated to English and German, Cemetery Love, 2014. http://cemeterylove.se

I visited the junkyard for the first time more than 25 years ago. We came upon it by accident and unprepared, so I had no camera. Some years later we went back and I had my camera with me, but at that time it was an analog camera. For many years no I have wanted to go back and get some new digital pictures. But when we went off to the car junkyard last summer, we got lost and were unable to find it. These small gravel roads through the woods are going in all directions and there are no signs telling you where to go. Then suddenly you might see a sign telling you that the road is under video surveillance and you understand that you are getting close to the Swedish border. But at last, this year we found the right road and some new digital pictures were taken.

Do you know that you can actually see the cars on Google Earth? Happiness is a graveyard for vintage cars. Allow the car junkyard to stay!

How to get there:

GPS coordinates: 59° 21′ 43.14″ N 11° 50′ 20.29″ E

From Ørje in Norway you must drive towards Kasbo.

From Töcksfors in Sweden you drive towards Fågelvik.

Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
Car junkyard in the woods in Sweden.
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