Ladonia in Sweden is a micronation built around Nimis, a driftwood sculpture by Lars Vilks

The Illegally Created Nation Where Taxes are Paid in Creativity

The Illegally Created Nation Where Taxes are Paid in Creativity

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Feb. 18 2014 8:35 AM

Ladonia: An Illegally Created Nation Where Creativity Rules

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On a rocky shore in Sweden's southwest sits a pile of sticks that created a nation. Nimis, a mountainous, multi-towered sculpture made of 70 tons of driftwood planks, is the work of artist Lars Vilks.

In 1980, Vilks began building Nimis in secret. Far from civilization and only fully visible from the water, it went unnoticed by Swedish authorities for two years. When they discovered it, they declared it would have to be destroyed. (The land is part of a nature reserve, where it is forbidden to build structures.) Goaded, Vilks ignored the announcement and decided to take control of the area and secede from Sweden. The micronation of Ladonia was born.


Today, Ladonia claims to have a citizenship of over 17,000 people, all of whom reside outside its borders in accordance with the nation's nomadic lifestyle policy. The Ladonian flag is green, with a faint white outline of the nordic cross — a design chosen because it is what the blue-and-yellow Swedish flag would look like if it were boiled. Taxes are payable, but money is not accepted. Instead, citizens must contribute some of their creativity.

The citizenship application process caused confusion among 3,000 Pakistanis who applied for immigrant status with the intent to live in Ladonia, only to be told it was not possible to move there.

Tourists are welcome to visit, however, and encouraged to participate in the local sport of stone racing. For this activity you simply choose a large stone by the shore, and then, in the words of Ladonia's Ministry of Art and Jump, "kick back and relax to wait and see if their stone makes a breakneck journey across the Ladonian shore down to the waterline." The winner is the person whose stone travels the farthest. The ministry describes the race as "fairly slow."

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View Nimis in a larger map

Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.