Seffers Hembygdsgård is the local heritage museum on the island of Lövö in Vårdö Municipality. This is for the Åland Islands historical grounds, which played an important role in the peace negotiations between Sweden and Russia in 1718-1719 during the Great Northern War. The meetings that took place here at that time are known as the Congress of Åland.
It is a cozy place for a short stop and we were lucky to get a guided tour of the house during our recent visit. Lövö really has a fascinating history in Swedish eyes.
The building that houses the local Heritage Museum is known as Seffers and it dates back to the 19th century. It was donated to the local parish by Lövö-born Otto Andersson who wanted it to be used as a local heritage museum. Andersson was born in 1879 and became a music professor in Turku.
The museum displays an interior design that was typical for the 19th century, with tools and other artifacts in abundance. The building also houses a small café and flea market.
On Seffers’ grounds, there is also an old windmill and it is also a part of a hiking trail that takes you around a big portion of the island of Lövö.
The Congress of Åland
Lövö was in 1718-1719 home to the Congress of Åland, an attempt to peace negotiations between Sweden and Russia during the Great Northern War. Directly next to Seffers Hembygdsgård are the meadows where a temporary town once stood. Russia, which at the moment had occupied the Åland Islands, was responsible for buildings and supplies. They built two camps, one for each country. At its center, between the two camps, were the buildings for the negotiations.
There are different estimates on how many people stayed in the town during the negotiations. The numbers vary between 1200 and 2000 people, maybe even more. What is known is that the negotiations turned out to be fruitless and they ended in 1719. Instead, it would be the start of the Russian Pillage in 1719, that saw many towns and villages along the Swedish coast burned by Russian troops. Peace was agreed upon first in 1721 with the Treaty of Nystad. Sweden lost Estonia, Livonia, Ingria, and parts of Kexholm and Viborg to the Russian Empire.
Finding Your Way to Seffers Hembygdsgård
It is quite easy to miss Seffers Hembygdsgård when driving through the village of Lövö. There is a, however, quite large sign saying “Lövö Seffers” pointing to a small parking lot. It is on the left when coming from Mariehamn and driving on the road Lövövägen.
Looking for more sights on the Åland Islands?
Check out our Åland Islands Guide >>