Hovgårdsberg is a small village in the historical province of Uppland. Most people know it by the name of Vendel and these days it includes the church that was once the center of the Vendel Parish. The village has a population of around 50 inhabitants and is today a part of Tierp Municipality in Uppsala County. It is, however, most famous as the location that gave the name to the Swedish historical Vendel Period. The period in question predates the Viking Age.
A Short History of Hovgårdsberg
Hovgårdsberg has for centuries been at the center of Vendel Parish, a parish with origins in the Middle Ages. The Vendel Church here was the center of the parish and was built in the 13th century. The name Vendel is known to have been mentioned as early as 1291 when it was written as “Vendil” and comes from the nearby Vendel Lake. The first known mentioning of Hovgårdsberg was a bit later, first in 1536. The village was then a part of the domain of Örbyhus Castle, a castle belonging to the Swedish King Gustav Vasa.
Vendel changed the perception of Swedish prehistory. Several boat inhumation graves were discovered in Vendel Parish in 1881. These later resulted in Vendel giving its name to the later period of the Iron Age, the Vendel Period. The period is today defined as the time between the Migration Period and the Viking Age, the years 540 to 790 AD.
The Vendel Parish was in 1862 split between the civil Vendel Municipality and the church Vendel Congregation. The municipality would later in 1974 be incorporated into Tierp Municipality.
Things to Do and See
This is an important area for Swedish history. There might not be so many signs left today, but the stories and sagas still exist.
The 13th-century church is the most prominent building in the area and one of the historical sights here. It was once the center of the Vendel Parish but is today one of a few churches that makes up the Vendel-Tegelsmora Congregation. The church has seen several reconstructions and renovations during the centuries. The last major renovation took place in the 1930s and the restoration of the internal paintings is still ongoing.
Vendeltidsmuseet, or the Vendel Period Museum, is in a small red cabin right next to the church. It teaches the visitors about the Vendel Period and the findings that were made here in the area at the end of the 19th century. It was around the church that 14 boat inhumation graves were discovered.
On a small hill next to the road is an old windmill. It dates as far back as 1825. It served as a windmill until the turn of the century. The construction was in operation up until 1917 and the machinery has been preserved.
How to Get to Hovgårdsberg
Flights: The closest major airport is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, 72 kilometers away with both domestic and international flights.
Car: Hovgårdsberg is close to the E4, between Uppsala and Gävle.
Bus: Local and regional UL buses connect Hovgårdsberg with the surrounding region.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 109 kilometers (1 h 8 min) Gothenburg – 506 kilometers (6 h 4 min) Malmö – 722 kilometers (7 h 44 min) Linköping – 304 kilometers (3 h 15 min) Kiruna – 1135 kilometers (12 h 55 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden