Fögur er hlíðin - Fair is the blooming meadow

image of Fögur er hlíðin - Fair is the blooming meadow

A study of traditional Scandinavian and Baltic rural landscapes and biotopes and their survival in modern times. The history behind the book-title “Fögur er hlíðin – Fair is the blooming meadow” extends back to the Viking hero Gunnar, who lived in southern Iceland in a beautiful flatland area under the influence of a large river, in a farm by a blooming hillside. In essence, Gunnar’s story is a description of good, well kept land and traditional farming methods. However, everything was disrupted because of a dispute between Gunnar’s wife and his friend’s wife. These strong-minded ladies had been killing each others’ slaves and Gunnar became involved and therefore he was doomed to leave his beloved country. On his way down to the ship, he looked back to his farm under the sunny hillside and proclaimed: “The hillside is so beautiful - I will not go, I will stay”. So he stayed, and was soon killed by his enemies because he was breaking the law by not leaving the country. This phrase has been used throughout the centuries to indicate love for the land, love for one’s roots, background and for the countryside in later years. But do we nowadays want to maintain or abandon our cultural heritage - the blooming meadows?




Based on the inventory work and farm questionnaires performed in the participating countries, it was possible to point out more widely the wishes and resources of the landowners of the areas as well as the achievements and problems related to management of the sites and management supports. Visits to individual farms also provided the project with important information about the site management history and values. In addition, advice on environmental supports could be given. Planning work was done in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Lithuania. Project contributed to ongoing work in Norway and the Swedish pilot area island of Öland served as a good example of successful measures and good inventory methods. The suitability of the Nordic Council of Ministers' vegetation type classifi cation was tested and it was compared with the classifi cation of the Natura 2000 habitat types and mapping.


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