Skillingaryd is a small locality next to the River Lagan in the province of Småland. It has a long and still active military presence. Today there are around 4.200 inhabitants and the area belongs to Vaggeryd Municipality in Jönköping County, which is located in the center of southern Sweden.
After centuries where farming and the military were the main occupations, Skillingaryd today focuses mainly on industrial production. The locality is well-connected with both the railway and the highway.
A Short History of Skillingaryd
The first known written mentioning of Skillingaryd dates back to the end of the 14th century and it was at the time spelled as “Scöfflingerydh”. It was initially a farmstead belonging to the crown.
In the 16th century, the farmstead ended up with the Gudmundsson family. Several family members eventually held military professions. With the construction of a road through the area, the military presence increased. One of the companies from the Jönköping regiment started using Skillingaryd more extensively at the end of the 17th-century. In fact, it moved its meeting point here in 1777.
The number of inhabitants increased from 58 in 1720 to almost 100 a hundred years later. In the early 20th century, the population counted to more than 700 people. Skillingaryd was at the time already connected with the railway network and the local production included wagons from Manus Thelin. The wagon factory survived until 1965.
Read more at Östbo Historiska Sällskap (Swedish) >>
Things to Do and See
Most sights in Skillingaryd center around its military presence and its woodcarver Gunnar. In addition, several hiking trails will take visitors out in the nature of Småland. Indeed, its location along the E4 makes excursions easy, especially to Jönköping and Värnamo.
Skillingaryd has a long history with military presence. Miliseum is a military history museum that tells the story about the life of the soldier and the tasks of the engineer troops. It is on the outskirt of the locality, right next to a firing range that is still in use.
Gunnar “Bissefällarn” Svensson
Gunnar Svensson, also known as Bissefällarn, was a local artist who originally came from the village of Bissefäll a short distance from Skillingaryd. He was born in 1925 and became famous for his work, which mostly consisted of woodcarvings. Gunnar died in 2009 and Vaggeryd municipality acquired several pieces of his work in the same year. The work mostly depicts the work and life of the people in the area a century ago. Today people can admire his pieces both along the streets of Skillingaryd as well as in an exhibition at the library.
Hiking: Fågelforsleden, 6 kilometers
The hiking trail Fågelforsleden starts at Miliseum and covers a distance of about six kilometers. It is marked by green poles and mostly follows the river Lagan. This is not a circular route, but you can either turn around or find an alternative route back.
Smålandsleden is actually a network of several hiking trails in the province of Småland. In total, all stages cover a distance of around 900 kilometers and two of these stages start in Skillingaryd. As a matter of fact, the actual connection is in Grönelund, right outside of the center. Stage 22 goes from Byarum to Grönelund and is 16.3 kilometers long. It is followed by Grönelund to Käringabacka, a stage that is 40 kilometers long.
How to Get to Skillingaryd
- Flights: The closest airport is Jönköping Airport (JKG) 46 kilometers away and offers a few seasonal flights. For more domestic and international routes, there is Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT) or Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN).
- Car: Skillingaryd is along road E4 between Helsingborg and Jönköping.
- Bus: Local and regional buses connect Skillingaryd with the surrounding region.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 360 kilometers (3h 57min)
- Gothenburg – 156 kilometers (1h 56min)
- Malmö – 251 kilometers (2h 44min)
- Linköping – 168 kilometers (1h 50min)
- Kiruna – 1594 kilometers (18h 3min)