It’s not all watercolours and ceramics out here, you know. (Though it is a lot of that, if we’re honest.)

Tomelilla kommun is an odd, elongated shape, stretched out parallel to that of Simrishamn, or what is better known as the Slow Coast. In much the same way, much of Tomelilla kommun, particularly the more southerly and easterly part, is better known as Österlen, a name it acquired in the latter decades of the C20th as artists moved out of Malmö and Lund and into the villages hereabouts. It’s all about the light, you see… or you will, when you spend a bit of time out here.

But it’s not all watercolours and ceramics out here, you know. Tomelilla kommun has an international reputation for economic innovation that’s disproportionate to its size, thanks to its early adoption of the now well-know (but once controversial) “donut model” (or munkmodellen, as the locals would have it). This new way of thinking led to such profound transformations in the way people did things around here that some local farmers literally raised a monument to it, which they then preceded to live in. “Peak Tomelilla”, screamed the headlines at the time… but no one’s laughing now.

At the other end of the economic scale, those who don’t come to Tomelilla for the light or for donuts (literal or figurative) have probably come here to pay a visit to BoOhlsson’s Repair Mecca—a local business behemoth that managed to move with the times, albeit somewhat grudgingly.

At the kommun’s northernmost end lies Brösarp, the little town known as the gateway to the wildest parts of the Slow Coast… but a little south from there lies Skåne-Tranås, a village best known for its proximity to Marivall Abbey, home of the famous “dark dining” experience.

Tomelilla the town is pretty small and pretty quiet—something of a dormitory town for those seeking a more rural life without losing access to the railway network. If you want to kill an afternoon, ask a local about the local film industry of the 1960s and 1970s, whose quirky, Pythonesque comedies were known and loved throughout the whole of Sweden. The museum dedicated to it is, so they claim, one of the smallest museums in the world. It’s worth seeing, and not just for its size, but you’ll get probably more mileage—not to mention jokes—out of the conversation with a Tomelillan.

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