Långvind – from ironworks to hamlet

Långvindsbruk, also spelled Långvinds bruk, is a small community in Enånger’s parish in the municipality of Hudiksvall in the province of Hälsingland. Långvind – Långvindsbruk, Långvinds fritidsområde and some small hamlets between Långvindsbruk and European highway 4 (E 4) – is the municipality’s southeastern outpost.

Långvindsbruk is located two kilometers north of the old Långvind’s village, where agriculture in the area formerly was concentrated. Six kilometers south of Långvindsbruk is Långvinds fritidsområde, northern Sweden’s largest village dominated by recreation houses.

Ironworks from 1687
Långvindsbruk, founded 1687 AD, was for two centuries an ironworks with high self-sufficiency. Today, it’s a peaceful hamlet, rich in traditions and remains from times passed.

In the old ironworks, you had smithy, mill, sawmill, planing mill, agriculture production, dairy, distillery, laundry, shipyards, harbor, chapel, school, fire station, jail, general store – and a very short railroad from the saw and planing mill to the harbor.

Långvindsbruk went – like the Sleeping Beauty – into a long sleep, when iron production ceased in 1890 and the blast furnace closed definitely 1902, after having been used by other ironworks building new  blast furnaces.

Långvindsbruk fell deeper into sleep after World War II, when the school closed in 1949, the steam sawmill ceased in 1952, agriculture was shut down in 1958, the grocery store closed in 1964  and the depopulation took off.

Waking up like the Sleeping Beauty
When the 1900s enters the new century, Långvindsbruk – we talk about the village as “Långvindsbruk” and the ironworks and forestry as “Långvinds bruk” – starts to wake up from its beauty sleep, like the Sleeping Beauty.

Of the former ironworks, forestry and agriculture, remains today the forestry, since 2018 owned by Holmen Skog AB, who took över from the families Tottie and Sténson. It has a successful forestry production from Norrala in the south, Boda in the west, Fjäle in the north and the Baltic Sea in the east. Today Långvinds bruk, as part of Holmen Skog AB, consists of 6,500 hetares, of which 5,600 hetare is productive forest land and 100 hectares is fields. Nine-tenths of the land of the old owners was located in the municipality of Hudiksvall and one tenth in Söderhamn.

Population trends illustrate a historical process. Earlier Långvindsbruk was a populous society, with over 100 students in the local school. Today there are less than 20 permanent residents in Långvindsbruk and the hamlets west of Långvindsbruk.

In summertime the population increases in Långvind as a whole, but especially in Långvinds fritidsområde, where you also have considerably more year-round residents than in Långvindsbruk.

Manor and chapel in the center
In the center of the industrial environment are, figuratively and literally, Långvind manor and Långvind chapel.

The manor was founded in 1799, and rebuilt in 1896, ie after the ironworks had ceased.

The chapel is a reminder of the spirituell life in Långvind

These two buildings and another ten houses in Långvindsbruk have been parceled off från Långvinds bruk and sold. The Långvind manor and Kungsgården were sold in 1975, Långvinds chapel in 1976.

The center of Långvindsbruk is the area of the manor, chapel, four older buildings with a destillery (Bränneriet) in the center – the buildings are partly built in slag stone – and the stable and barn buildings.

Outside of this center is an industrial environment, mainly in ruins. These include blast furnace, forges, quay and log-driving waterway.

Water and vegetation give beauty
Through Långvindsbruk runs Långvinds ström, as it is called in the royal charter. In modern times, the stream had no name, but in 2009 it got an official name on the initiative of Jörgen Bengtson. The NLS (in Swedish Lantmäteriverket) did not give the stream its old name, but named in “Långvindsån”.

Several ponds, waterways, and other remains are reminiscent of the log-driving and ironworks period.

In Långvindsbruk you find northern Sweden’s (Norrland’s) only lime-tree alley of any length. Broadleaf trees, like lime-tree, are very rare this far north in Sweden. In Långvindsbruk they multiply – even though they should not this far north.

Organizations take care of old buildings
Långvinds bruksmiljöförening, a voluntary organization, is responsible for central parts of the village.

Långvinds herrgårdsförening, another voluntary organization, is contributing to the development of Långvind manor.

Långvinds kapellförening owns and takes care of the chapel.

Långvinds byalag (village community) coordinates voluntary organizations, companies and individuals operating in Långvind, according to the statutes of the organization, to “maintain and develop the ironworks environment in Långvinds bruk and natural environment, cultural heritage and tourism in Långvind”.

Kungsgården Långvind offers accommodation and conference facilities the year around and a events in summer and fall.

The owners of Långvinds bruk, Långvind manor, Långvind chapel, Kungsgården Långvind and Långvind community association (Långvinds samfällighetsförening) contribute – along with the voluntary organizations – to the development of Långvind in general and Långvindsbruk in particular. Focal point is the annual Market (“Skördemarknad”) in September.

Renovations gives new life
Långvindsbruk has houses and environments that are relatively well preserved and have recently been refurbished.

The Chapel (“kapellet”) has regained its former, simple beauty.

The Coal House (“kolhuset”) has become a community center in summer, servering as temporary restaurant and bar, for conferences and seminars, for theater performances and concerts, for meetings and celebrations.

The Destillery (“bränneriet”) is on and off transformed into a temporary restaurant and café, Café Bränneriet.

The Dairy (“mejeriet”) in the mansion is a wine tasting room.

The Carpentry Workshop (“snickeriet”) from the 1700s houses a museum and two hostel rooms.

The Fire Station (“brandstationen”) has regained its former splendor and is summertime showroom for the history of Långvind.

The Granaries (“spannmålsmagasinen”) stand in red splendor towards the harbor.

King’s Mansion (“kungsgården”) has been refurnished and adapted to modern life as hotel and hostel (bed and breakfast) with conference facilities. Two buildings, Österhuset and a the small Telestation Långvind (Långvind’s telephone exchange hub), were added 2018 to the expanding business.

Updated infrastructure
A modern Service Building (“servicehuset”) caters for visitors. Here you’ll find WC‘s, showers, sauna, kitchen and laundry room. This building has brought modern infrastructure to the old buildings. Långvindsbruk also has a modern sewage plant. Both Långvindsbruk and Långvinds fritidsområde are connected by fiber optic broadband to the global world.

Långvindsbruk has a small marina for visitors, located at the old steamboat landning stage, and a larger marina for local boats.

Kungsgården Långvind caters for motorhomes.

The old buildings have been renovated with the help of public funding and private co-financing, under the supervision of museums and the provincial government.

The refurbishment projects have been backed by the voluntary organization Långvinds bruksmiljöförening and Carl Erik Tottie, prominent member of the former owner families of Långvinds bruk.

Growing tourism
Summertime, Långvindsbruk is full of activity, with flea market and activities in the old industrial buildings and the manor as well as many activities staged by Kungsgården Långvind: hikes in Långvindsbruk, archaeological walks, pilgrimages, mushroom excursions and church tours. Fall, winter and spring Kungsgården Långvind offers traditional Afternoon Tea. Kungsgården Långvind also rents bicycles, kayaks, SUP’s, snowshoes and kicksleds.

Långvinds herrgård provides guided tours and cultural activities of various kinds. Elina Mytnik stands behind the manor’s renovation and cultural profiling is; she wants to create “an arena for national and international meetings of culture, art and business”.

Långvindsbruk offers accommodation in several historic buildings. Altogether there are about 40 beds. Accommodation with high standards is available in Kungsgården Långvind with a total of about 23 beds and Långvinds herrgård with 8 beds,  Simple accommodation is available in a few buildings, with overall up to 8 beds.

Text and photo:
Jörgen Bengtson

Updated July 31, 2022