Storkriket (Vombsjösänken biosphere)

The Vombsjösänken area is more commonly referred to as Storkriket, because the comedy factor of hearing Anglophone tourists trying to pronounce “Vombsjösänken” wore off far faster than anyone expected.

Sweden’s eighth biosphere, the Vombsjösänken area—more commonly referred to as Storkriket, or “the Stork Kingdom”, not least because the comedy factor of hearing Anglophone tourists trying to pronounce “Vombsjösänken” wore off far faster than anyone expected—acknowledges, gathers and protects a particular part of Skåne’s unique geological heritage*. When the glaciers retreated after the last Ice Age, the melt deposited a long strip of sandy substrate across the landscape; while something of a weaker spot in Skåne’s otherwise magnificent agricultural land, the creatures of the region—humans very much included!—found alternative uses and values in it.

Stretching east-southeast from Södra Sandby (one of Lund’s eastern villages) to a point about halfway between Sjöbo and Tomelilla, this region ended up being rather more focussed on animal husbandry than crop-growing—but it also contains a delightful array of ecosystemic marvels. There are the lakes, of course, of which the titular Vombsjö is the largest, but also lots of wetlands. The storks, whose kingdom this has become once more, were nearly lost completely during the late C20th, but careful stewardship has seen them return, along with countless other weird and wonderful plants and animals. It’s often remarked that Skåne is fairly unique, ecosystemically speaking, in the context of Sweden as a whole; the same might very reasonably said of Vombsjösänken in the context of Skåne. The constant stream of tourists and researchers is testament to its novelty and beauty alike!

The biosphere area is also fairly complicated when considered as a political and legal entity: supported by a sometimes uneasy and fractious alliance between the three very different kommuns of Lund, Eslöv and Sjöbo, the “candidature” of the area prior to its endorsement and accession by the United Nations was an immense labour of love and struggle for people all across the region—and particularly for its artists. Indeed, the artists of the Vombsjösänken candidature should carry some of the kudos for causing the reformulation of the UN’s definition of sustainability to include culture as its fourth pillar principle.

* The Vombsjösänken area effectively traverses three of the five regions into which this guide has divided Skåne. Why, then, have we assigned it to the south-eastern region? Mostly because we felt that its focus on ecosystemic richness, and its comparative lack of big-city bustle, meant it has more of a “Slow Coast” sort of vibe.

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