Ladonia (micronation)

Ladonia (Swedish: Ladonien) is a micronation, proclaimed in 1996 as the result of a years-long court battle between artist Lars Vilks and local authorities over two sculptures. The claimed territory is part of the natural reserve of Kullaberg in southern Sweden.

In 1980, artist Lars Vilks began construction of two sculptures, Nimis (Latin for "too much", a structure made of 75 tonnes of driftwood) and Arx (Latin for "fortress", a structure made of stone), in the Kullaberg nature reserve in north-west Skåne, Sweden. The location of the sculptures is difficult to reach, and as a consequence they were not discovered for two years, at which point the local council declared the sculptures to be buildings, the construction of which was forbidden on the nature reserve, and demanded that they should be dismantled and removed. Despite the confrontations with the local council, a large percentage of the local community supports the sculptures, especially people working in the tourism industry.[1]

 Nimis Arx

Vilks appealed the decision of the council, but lost. He appealed repeatedly, and finally the case was settled, in the council's favour, by the Swedish government. However, in the meantime Nimis had been bought from Vilks by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude after the death of Joseph Beuys, who bought it in 1984. On 2 June 1996, in protest of the local council, Vilks declared the area surrounding Nimis an independent, sovereign country named Ladonia.[2]

In 1999, another sculpture, Omphalos (named after Omphalos, a small sculpture in the temple at Delphi, "marking the centre of the world"), was created. It was made of stone and concrete, 1.61 metres high and weighing a tonne. The Gyllenstiernska Krapperup Foundation, formed to promote art and culture, accused Vilks of building this sculpture and complained to the police, and in August 1999 the district court ordered its removal. The Foundation had also demanded the removal of Nimis and Arx, but the court ruled against it. The Foundation appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, who eventually ruled against it. The police were unable to positively identify Vilks as the sculptor, but the district court held that he was.

The removal of Omphalos was itself controversial. Vilks was ordered to find an acceptable way to remove the sculpture. He proposed blowing it up on 10 December 2001, Nobel Day and the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, and applied to the county council for permission to do so. The county council made a decision on 7 December, but kept it secret until 10 December. By that time, another artist, Ernst Billgren, had bought Omphalos from Vilks, and had requested that it not be damaged. In the early hours of 9 December, a crane boat was sent (by DYKMA, under contract from the Enforcement Administration) to the site and removed the sculpture (at a cost of SEK 92,500, billed to Vilks).[3] Despite the new owner's request, the sculpture was damaged by handling. In response to this, the Enforcement Administration was satirically declared[by whom?] to be "Performance Artist of the Year" in 2002.

Afterwards, Vilks applied to the county council again, this time for permission to erect a memorial in the place that Omphalos had stood. Permission was granted by the council to erect a monument no greater than 8 centimetres high. This was duly done, and the monument was inaugurated on 27 February 2002.

The ensemble Neurobash performed in Ladonia during the 10th Anniversary celebrations in 2006.[4]

In August 2022, it was announced that Ladonia would be hosting MicroCon 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.[5]

^ Paíno, Alba Cano; Pocasangre, Ana Vilma Henríquez; Suárez, Daniel Martínez. "European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Kullaberg Nature Reserve – Preliminary diagnosis" (PDF). Kullaberg Nature Reserve. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019. ^ "History of Ladonia". Ladonia. ^ Scherdin, Mikael (2011). Art Entrepreneurship. Zander, Ivo. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub. ISBN 9781849808507. OCLC 714568589. ^ Hallerton, Sheila; Hill, Matt (15 April 2019). "Soundtracking a Micronation: Neurobash's engagement with Ladonia" (PDF). Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. doi:10.21463/shima.13.1.11. ^ "MicroCon 2023". Encyclopedia Westarctica. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
Photographies by:
Erik Daugaard - CC BY 2.0
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