Found in translation

I have only just got around to translating (with computer aids) the words on a memorial stone which I photographed at Vindeln, Sweden, last September.  

web plaque

The translation is (roughly): ‘In memory of local volunteers who actively contributed to the government’s announcement, on 1 April 1970, that it would not permit the development of the Vindelälven [the river which flows through Vindeln]’.

There was a battle to prevent a giant dam from being constructed across the Laisälven about seven miles from the border with Norway and 11 miles above its junction with Vindelälven.  The reservoir would have submerged the village of Adolfström.  The plan was to use the river for hydropower, in common with so many other rivers in Sweden.

There was a vigorous campaign against this, and on 1 April 1970 Prime Minister Olof Palme announced that dam would not be built.  The stone celebrates the campaigners’ achievement. (The story is told here.)

Vindeln is where we stopped for lunch on our field trip on the International Association for the Study of the Commons’ European conference.  The river rushes freely and unconstrained, thanks to the campaigners’ efforts.  This is a popular tourist spot (which it might not have been if the river had been dammed).

web Vindelalven

It was good to see people exercising their traditional freedom to roam, allemansrätten, in the autumn sun.

Allemansrätten by Vindelälven

Allemansrätten by Vindelälven

The battle to stop the dam was being fought at the same time as the Dartmoor campaign against the Swincombe reservoir, which was won eight months later, on 3 December 1970. Both schemes were rejected by parliament.




About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, campaigns, commons, Dartmoor, Sweden and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Found in translation

  1. kiviaho13 says:

    Kate, I am glad you have taken the time to look back on this trip to Sweden. I haven’t had much time to look at anything lately, I live at the arena these days playing ringette and watching my daughter play both hockey and ringette!

    • How lovely to hear from you. I think I have one more to write. Are you a member of IASC, if so could you please vote for me in council elections? Closing date is 30th Dec. Is it dark all day with you now? Do stay in touch xx

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