Mölndal is a part of the Gothenburg urban area on the west-coast of Sweden. Whitstable signed a twinning agreement with Molndal in 2003. We decided to travel to Molndal with representatives of the WTA. We visited during the annual Cultural Festival in September 2010.
The festival was opened by the Mayor and held in Kvarnbyn, the oldest part of Molndal. The name of Mölndal comes from the word möllor, which originally meant mills, and dal, which is Swedish for valley. In this area there are many old industrial buildings which artists and designers have recently taken over and as a result have begun to regenerate the area.
We were given a tour of the Molndal Museum which houses a large collection of Swedish furniture, especially chairs named after the village of Lindome, which were made locally in the early 18th Century. The chairs were made by the local farmers who would work on them in the evenings after a day's working in the fields. At the weekends the farmers would take the furniture, on foot, to the market in Gothenburg.
We also visited a well-known heritage, handmade wallpaper factory called Lim & Handtryck. The factory is housed in one of the old industrial warehouses in Kvarnbyn. We attended a small evening reception and were given a talk about the process behind the conservation and designing of patterns and the traditional methods used for printing on the papers.
Molndal council was also playing host to a number of European town planners and we accompanied them on a bus tour of the town. The tour took us to a new social housing development which is under construction in near by Kallered, a district of Molndal. We drove past fields, agricultural land and forests to a couple of different estates where new communities are being housed.
We stayed in a house in an area just outside of Molndal in Kallered with our host Gunvor and her husband. Gunvor is a volunteer with the Red Cross charity in Kallered. She showed us around the area and informed us that the Swedish Migration Board is located in Kallered.
On the first evening we were invited to Gunnebo House. The house was built in the last two decades of the 18th century for a rich merchant, John Hall. He wanted a country residence to complement his home in Gothenburg. The people of Molndal are particularly proud of Gunnebo House as it is a unique example of neoclassical architecture on their doorstep. The architect Carl Wilhelm Carlberg designed the whole building and gardens. It is surrounded by forest and situated on the edge of a lake. The house and gardens are now open to the public.
We accompanied the group of international councillors and town planners on a tour of the house given by a guide dressed in period costume.
After the tour we had a formal dinner which was hosted by the Mayor of Molndal - representatives from Borken; Germany, Albertslund; Denmark & Whitstable UK.