Malung is a locality in the province of Dalarna with around 4.900 inhabitants. It was previously known as the world’s leather centre, but is today mostly famous for dancing. And we do not refer to just any kind of dancing. No, the music played in Malung is a typically Nordic kind, dansbandmusik (“dance band music”).
A Short History
The first known mentioning of Malung dates back to the 12th century and the sagas about King Sverre. Sverre was at the time only traveling through the land, but it was the first time that any place in the province of Dalarna was mentioned by name.
The inhabitants of Malung did for centuries use something called shielings. This is a hut or a collection of huts in the mountain region that are used when taking the cattle to their summer pasture. The earth around Malung did not provide enough for the whole year, so the people moved their cattle to new grounds for different seasons.
During the autumn and winter the inhabitants found additional income by millstone cutting and sewing of leather and furs. These works had continued for hundreds of years, but it escalated during the 19th century. Especially leather became important with the industrialization in the end of the 19th century and the demand for leather from Malung exploded in the years between the world wars. The peak was reached in the 1960’s when there were around 200 leather manufacturers in Malung. The glory days came to an end in the 1970’s with the introduction of imported cheap leather.
Things to Do and See
The ski resorts of Sälen is not far away and there are also plenty of local outdoor activities available. Here are a few of the cultural important sights and events that you might encounter in Malung.
Dansbandsveckan is the week of dancing in Malung and has since the start in 1986 attracted thousands of visitors each year. To get some perspective, the festival had over 50.000 visitors in 2012.
Dansband is a music genre common in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. People usually dance in pair and the music takes influences from different genres, including swing, schlager, country, jazz, and rock.
Kvarnstensbrottet Culture Reserve
In Utsjö, right outside of Malung, you will find a culture reserve preserving the local history of millstone cutting. The reserve includes one of the largest millstone queries in Sweden. Production here was already ongoing in the end of the 17th century. The query was in use until the end of the 19th century and had during its lifetime seen the production of at least 30.000 pairs of millstones.
The local heritage museum is an open-air museum showcasing the cultural history of the area. Here you will find preserved buildings dating back as far as the 16th century.
How to get to Malung
Flights: The closest airport is Mora–Siljan Airport (MXX) located 68 kilometers away. It connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Malung is located along the E45 between Mora and Torsby.
Train: Taking the train might mean waiting for quite some time.
Bus: There are regional buses connecting Orsa with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 351 kilometers (4 h 22 min) Gothenburg – 403 kilometers (5 h 2 min) Malmö – 671 kilometers (7 h 52 min) Linköping – 347 kilometers (4 h 37 min) Kiruna – 1186 kilometers (14 h 57 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden