THE STORY BEHIND BACKÅKRA

Dag Hammarskjöld was a citizen of the world and the second Secretary-General of the United Nations.
He was also a Swede with a strong love of the nature and landscapes in his native Sweden. He had planned to live in the old country farm of Backåkra. 

The dream of Backåkra
Dag Hammarskjöld loved Österlen in the south of Sweden, and spent what free time was available to him in a small fisherman’s cottage near the sea. In 1957 he bought Backåkra, a farm built around a central courtyard in the 1840s. His plan was to be able to live there after he ended his time as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Under the watchful eye of his good friend, the artist Bo Beskow, he had the farm renovated and decorated. Unfortunately, Dag Hammarskjöld never had the chance to retire to his beloved Österlen. He was killed in a plan crash while on mission for the United Nations in 1961 in Ndola, in today’s Zambia.

Final wishes
In his will, Dag Hammarskjöld gave Backåkra to the  Swedish Tourist Association, STF. STF transformed the farm into a museum where Dag Hammarskjöld's private possessions and gifts from around the world were exhibited together with furniture and art from his apartment in New York. Accordning to Dag Hammarskjöld’s will, STF was asked to create a gathering place for the preservation of nature and culture, and as a place for meetings on topics in the interest of the United Nations. Dag Hammarskjöld’s will also stipulated that the Southern wing of the house be set aside for use by the members of the Swedish Academy in the summer months. The Museum was closed in 2011 due to a pressing need for large-scale renovation.

Nature
Nature was an important part of Dag Hammarskjöld’s life. When he bought Backåkra, he also ensured that the surrounding land was protected as a nature reserve.

Today, Backåkra is visited by many people who want to enjoy the nature, bird life and the sea, just as Dag Hammarskjöld would have done as he walked on this land. The nature reserve is open to the public throughout the year. Thousands gather here every year for a traditional Midsummer celebration. The stone meditation ring also attracts many who want to enjoy a moment of silence and peace, as well as many couples who chose to hold their weddings in this open landscape. 

"Silence shatters to pieces
The mind's armour,
Leaving it naked before
Autumn's clear eye."

From Markings