The history of Klubbensborg

People have lived and worked at Klubbensborg for at least 300 years. Mälaren was in the old days one of the most important transport routes of its time, especially with its thick ice during the winter. Mälaren had great significance for reaching destinations like Birka, Helgö, Old Uppsala, Sigtuna and areas around the Baltic. This transport route passed right by Klubben and one can imagine that a thousand years ago viking Dragonships made use of this passageway.

The oldest building is today called Fader Höks Krog (Father Höks Pub), this name was given to the house by the famous Swedish poet Carl Michel Bellman. Any pub owners by that name can not be traced to the area however one can be found in Fittja. Maybe it was there that Bellman found is his inspiration. We do know however what role the building played around the 1750s by help of an add that says the building is for sale.

The second oldest building is Värdshuset Klubben (The Tavern Klubben), built some time during the middle of the 18th century. Both buildings have been immortalized by Carl Michael Bellman. He wrote quite indepth about the area in Fredmans epistles nr 49 – Landstigning på Klubben. (Landing at Klubben)
In the middle of the 19th Century the three wooden buildings Sjövillan, Tvärvillan and Tornvillan were built. The latter was built by the butcher Andreas Wallin, who rented out the apartments to summerguests. According to an inscription on one of the beams in the ceiling it was built as early as 1869. The topfloor in Tornvillan was long rented by Pharmacist Lundberg, owner of the Stockholm-pharmacy called Morianen. The floor below was rented by his daughter and son in law, doctor Anton Bergh.

In the early 1880s the entire Klubbensborg area was owned by professor Gustaf Retzius and his wife Anna. They were looking for a secluded, scenic area with a beautiful view of Mälaren and within close distance of the capital, Stockholm. On the hights above Klubbviken they built Sagatun. The professors mother Emilie lived in Uddvillan straight across Klubbviken. Anna was a nature-entusiast and planted lots of rare flowers and trees in the area. Most of these are gone by now, but we still have some Rubias that were planted by her.

The Retzius couple did not have have any children and in their testament they donated the area to Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademin (the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) which inturn rented the houses out for summer activities. In the late 1930s the Academy sold Klubben to the City of Stockholm. The Klubbensborg association rented Klubbensborg from the city until 1997 when the association purchased the buildings from the city.

Association Klubbensborg yesterday and today

Operations on Klubbensborg have been conducted under the same management since 1938. A number of Christian youth groups in southern Stockholm, in 1937 formed a “summer home committee” and rented the farm Pettersberg in Mälarhöjden. Unfortunately, this lasted only one summer because the farm’s owner wanted to sell and the youth groups could not afford to buy it. The chairman of the committee however found out that there was an opportunity to rent houses on Klubbensborg. From 1938 the Association Fritidsgården Klubbensborg rented Klubbensborg from the Academy of Sciences and later from the City of Stockholm.

Over the years many hours of volunteer work have been spent on Klubbensborg to refurbish and make the houses usable. From the beginning only Uddvillan was rented  by the youth groups, but over the years an Association was formed and the operations extended into all the buildings on Klubbensborg. For a long time you could use the area only during summer, as the conditions were primitive. It involved a lot of practical work during the summer months to carry water, light a fire in the wood-burning stoves and manage latrines. Electricity was installed in 1953 and water a few years later.

An extensive renovation was made by the City in mid 1970s to save three of the houses, which were in very poor conditions, and make them usable even in winter. The houses renovated were Father Hök’s Pub, Sjövillan and the Klubben Tavern. A major milestone for the association was the purchase in 1998 of the houses on the peninsula and the signing of a long-term lease of the grounds.

Already in 1988 the association had bought Gålögården, a nice camp facility in the Stockholm archipelago. It is frequently used for camps, school excursions and conferences. An extensive program of refurbishment has been performed also at Gålö.

The latest addition to the operations of the Association Fritidsgården Klubbensborg is the houses on the island Lindholmen in Lake Mälaren. They were bought on 1 January 2000. There is much to do to preserve the unique environment on the island. Today, certain activities are conducted during summer, even if the conditions are primitive.

We can now offer great accommodation and suitable premises for various activities. The association is non-profit and does not get any subsidies. In addition to the employee’s work, voluntary efforts of the member congregations and individuals are important to operate and maintain Klubbensborg, Gålögården and Lindholmen.

One of the association’s objectives is to offer meeting places for recreation, reflection and consideration. Our three facilities are located in idyllic spots in or near the city of Stockholm and we believe that such breathing spaces are needed in a society with an ever faster pace.