Hammarö Skage

Lake Vanern, Sweden | C.1872

Photo Credit: Fabiane Wünsche

Among the nearly thirty lighthouses that dot the islands and inlets of Lake Vanern in Sweden, Hammarö Skage keeps watch over the southern tip of Hammarö municipality located at the northern end of the lake. Built in 1872, the lighthouse is now unmanned, but during its days of operation was manned by four lighthouse keepers.

Lake Vanern is the largest lake in Sweden and the third largest in Europe. In total, the massive body of water reaches an area of 3,448 sq miles (8,930 Sq KM) and makes up one third of all freshwater in Sweden. As such, both commercial ships and recreational boats have crossed its coasts through the centuries. Most of the lighthouses that remain today were built in the 19th century.

Hammarö Skage was constructed by Anders G. Andersson, a builder who actually became its first lighthouse keeper. The structure is unique as it resembles a residence with a lighthouse emerging from its roof, instead of a traditional conical-shaped lighthouse design. In the early 1900s, an extended porch and attic space were added.

After Andersson retired in 1905, three more men would man Hammarö Skage. Stina Andersoon kept the lighthouse for two years and was then followed by Johan Olsson who managed the lighthouse for 23 years until 1930. Lastly, Karl Rudin manned the lighthouse until 1932 when it was extinguished. During their tenure, the four light-keepers often relied on fishing and kept chickens, goats, and cows to sustain themselves.

The original optics of the lighthouse included a parabolic mirror 500 millimeters in diameter. In 1916, the mirror was replaced with a 6th order dioptric drum lens. Today Hammarö Skage remains out of commission, but in solid condition maintaining its watch over the waters of Lake Vanern.

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