Two Stories

Architect Carl August Österman received his education at the Academy of Art in Vienna. He graduated in 1886 and remained in Vienna for another two years before he moved back home to Stockholm. In 1912 he started furnishing the rooms on the second floor of his property in S:t Paulsgatan 12. Through systematic coverage of al the city’s auctions he acquired the thousands of objects in plaster, porcelain and cast iron which in due course would fill every inch of his flat. This precision work kept Österman busy for 26 years, and to the last day of his life.

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After inheriting it in 1906, Nils von Höpken let his childhood home slowly fall into decay. He himself had had his own address in central Stockholm since the 1890s. From 1914 the castle remained uninhabited and after 1916 von Höpken was never to visit it again.

Between 1917 and 1946 countless disputes about the management of the estate took place between the baron and the authorities. In his many writings to the authorities, von Höpken never cared to address them reverently, rather his tone was condescending and scornful.

Von Höpken, who lived a secluded life, only ever once gave a personal interview. On that occasion he expressed his vision of Bogesund as a future National Park (Vecko-Journalen, nr 22, 1931). He wanted to see the estate as a “living Skansen”– complete with staff representing the different geographical regions and dressed in the traditional folk costumes. Von Höpken himself, however, avoided visiting the land and kept up the management and the trials by proxy.

Towards the end of the 30s Gustaf Pettersson moved into one of the rooms on the ground floor of the south wing. Pettersson, who had been the baron’s forest warden since 1918, had a dog, a weapon, and an order not to let anybody in. By this time the decay had gone so far the ceiling had come down in some of the rooms.

Despite the presence of Pettersson, on the 15th October 1938 an antique dealer from Klara, accompanied with two other fellows, were arrested for having sold art and silver from Bogesund. The trio had burgled the castle several times during the autumn of 1937 and spring of 1938. Nonetheless, Von Höpken denied that anything had gone missing and the police was denied permission to enter the premises. The trio could only be persecuted and sentenced when von Höpken’s sister stepped in as the prosecutor.

Epilogue

After prolonged trials about the management of Bogesund the authorities’ final argument for intervening was that Bogesund did not produce enough food to be in the best interest of the provision for the people. Von Höpken’s view was that the holding had been maintained in the best way possible under the circumstances, and that the authorities were only interested in the land so that they could exploit it financially.

Lex Bogesund, the law of compulsive redemption of neglected agricultural property was established on 29th March 1946 (an extension of a law from 30th June 1942).

After a decision taken by the government the day after the implementation of the law, the Bogesund estate (approximately 8,278 acres of land, including a 55 km long stretch of beach, situated 29 km from Stockholm) was confiscated by the state. The purchase sum was set by the expropriating committee to 11 606 103 kronor.

On 11th December 1947 the Bogesund commission (appointed by the department of agriculture) presented a proposal with regard to the future use of the estate. For what was to remain farmland they proposed three different alternatives:

– The land to be let in small units to individual farmers, much like the conditions used to be prior to the state overtaking the land.

– The land to be let to farming cooperatives.

– The state to maintain the land, which would mean a greater opportunity to conduct trials and research.

In all of the three suggestions it was implicit the possibility of the land to be used for other purposes (settlement). The castle itself could be used for conferences and the like.

Vattenbyggnadsbyrån on their hand studied a proposal which involved a combination of leisure settlement and agriculture – ”Housewives, industrial workers, groups of school children, congress participants just to name a few, will be able to combine a trip to the capital with the possibility of enjoying the nature and the great outdoors within just a short distance”.

In 1951 the arable land of the northern parts of Bogesund was planted with a trial forest by the Institute of Forest Research. The castle was repaired tolerably in the beginning of the 50s to prevent further damage caused by wind and weather. Only in the 80s was the castle in good enough shape to be opened to the public during the summer season.

The plans to build on the land have so far led to nothing. The Lex Bogesund has never been applied apart from in this case.

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After his death in December 1938, Architect Österman’s home on S:t Paulsgatan was documented by a photographer from the magazine Svenska Hem. Shortly after the collection was dissolved and dispersed.

Pettersson by the gate.

Two Stories. 2006 Photo, 55 x 32 cm (accompanied with text)

The dining room, S:t Paulsgatan 12