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Astrid Lindgren – creator of Pippi Longstocking

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Some 120km east of Jönköping, and reachable on Routes 31 and 33, is Vimmerby, near where one of Sweden’s most popular children’s authors, Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002), was born. Her most endearing character, Pippi Longstocking (in Swedish, Pippi Långstrump), burst upon the world in 1945. Pippi had red hair and long thin legs on which she wore non-matching stockings. Wealthy and energetic, she could do as she pleased, and her adventures appealed hugely to children everywhere.

Lindgren’s face has appeared on a Swedish 6kr stamp; her eighty books have, in total, sold more than 80 million copies worldwide. Yet her writing hasn’t simply been about lighthearted adventures: her cleverly conceived tale, Bröderna Lejonhjärta (“The Lionheart Brothers”), tries to explain the concept of death to children.

In later years, she became a Swedish Brigitte Bardot figure, campaigning on animal-rights issues, and was also involved with children’s rights. Following her death in 2002 in Stockholm, she was buried in the family grave in Vimmerby cemetery, and today, Vimmerby is home to Astrid Lindgren’s Värld (June–Aug daily 10am–6pm; 335kr, children under 13 225kr; w alv.se/en), a theme park where actors take on the roles of her most famous characters. Trains to Vimmerby run from Kalmar, as does bus #325 from Jönköping.

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