It’s a term used all over Skåne, but it’s on and around the lake known as Hammarsjön (which lies southeast of Kristianstad) that you’re most likely to hear residents talking about De Jävla Översvämningshelvetesåren—which, roughly translated (and rendered a little less sweary) refers to “the damned flood years”.
Between the years 2035 and 2039, the farms and settlements around the southernmost end of Helge Å suffered repeated and relentless water damage, as large storms and heavy rainfall caused flooding all over Skåne. The locals living around Helge Å eventually decided to go with the flow (as it were) and—with a little help from the governmental institution known as the Climate Adaptation Agency—rebuilt their destroyed homes as houseboats instead.
Nowadays, these floating houses (and, in some cases, even whole small barns!) have become a massive tourist attraction: people travel from all over Skåne and beyond to see them lazily floating up and down the lower reaches of Helge Å on their solar- and hydro-powered electrical motors. Especially popular is the annual floating harvest festival that takes place on Hammarsjön in early autumn, after the first heavy rainfall of the season.
Though there is no entrance fee to the market, there is also no regular public transport available there. This means that you either need to bring your own boat or amphibious vehicle—which comes with its own challenges—or haggle your way on to one of the private contractors’ bus rafts—which is a bit on the expensive side. A nice way to get around this is to stay a couple of nights with one of the floating bed & breakfasts, who usually have canoes and paddle boards available to their guests free of charge.
Also present in Hammarsjön is the latest collaborative project between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Vattenriket Kristianstad and Kristianstad municipality: the “floating farms and gardens” project, which started in 2035. Inspired by the traditional agricultural practices of the Intha people of Myanmar, this collection of green plants on the south side of Hammarsjön is planned to become a series of floating islands, on which tomatoes, potatoes and other crops can be sustainably farmed. While it is still ten years away from being solid enough to stand on, it is worth a visit if you’re a landscape architect, farmer or just a nerd for plants!