Nimis means ‘too much‘ in latin. Yet, to reach this amazing series of wooden sculptures you may find that there are ‘too few‘ signposts. There are only subtle pointers that indicate your arrival in the micro nation of Ladonia, which is controversially situated in Skåne, Sweden. After getting lost in the forests of Kullaberg Nature Reserve for two hours, I eventually retraced my steps to the marker tree that you see above. As Nimis’s existence is not sanctioned by Sweden, it’s difficult to find – as there are no official signposts, nor is it marked on maps. It lies a few kilometres northwest of the town of Arild. But can only be reached on foot following a twisting path with yellow ‘Ns’ painted erratically on trees and boulders.
The path begins gently near an ancient farm called Himmelstorp, but quickly becomes a steep, challenging and rocky climb down to the coast and the stunningly located driftwood sculptures.
The hills of Kullen strike me as glacial remains of one of the tremendous scrapings that Scandinavia received in the first and second Ice Ages. One side sits smooth, pastoral and safe. With golden fields of pungent dill blooms, mediaeval fishing ports and limpid views of the coast of Denmark.
But the heavily forested north face becomes quickly jagged, unforgiving and extremely steep. Cascades of massive boulders and scree pour down the hillside; violently jettisoned as the great ice sheet retreated northwards. It was in this hidden place that artist Lars Vilks created this maze-like wooden artwork in the 1980s. Made of 70 tons of driftwood and long steel nails and topped by a teetering, nine-story wooden tower. Arx ‘fortress’ is a stone and concrete sculpture resembling a tide-and-time decayed sandcastle. Nimis, the first of the two sculptures went unnoticed by authorities for 2 years until 1982, when they declared it would have to be destroyed. It’s the secret feel of the location, and the decidedly dodgy signposts that adds to the edgy feel of the place and the wonderful sense of discovery when you, sweating profusely, reach the first drawbridge-like structure which challenges and unsettles you immediately.