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Båstnäs car junkyard: junk and the world

Arnoud De Weegh
Båstnäs car cemetery
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I n near the small Swedish town of Töcksfors is after a 20 Kilometer long, unpaved road to the tiny town of Båstnäs. It consists only of a few typical wooden houses, which were scattered in a wonderful nature of forests and lakes; shortly thereafter is the border with Norway.

Loophole clears the way for the car junkyard

The place is divided by a path that is called 'Sugar Road' because it is there Street was often used in the past to smuggle sugar, among other things. The whole area is rough and lonely and is therefore ideal for illegal border traffic.

In 1955 the Ivansson brothers set up a workshop here where they repaired all kinds of cars, especially Swedish, German and English ones Brands. In contrast, there were hardly any private cars in neighboring Norway at that time, and the import of cars was also prohibited. However, the brothers had discovered a loophole in the law: There was no ban on the import of individual parts, and it was not forbidden to put together a car after the border in Norway.

So the Ivanssons dismantled the vehicles in Sweden, put them back together in Norway and earned a lot of extra income. They also sold a lot of cars to people who wanted to restore them. It was a good deal, and so it happened that after a while there were many cars around the house and workshop that were either still being sold or serving as spare parts dispensers for other vehicles.

Last resting place for Ford Bathtub, Saab 99 & Co.

In those years there was a great need for cheap means of transport, and the brothers were able to offer just that. In addition, cars that were no longer drivable were brought to Båstnäs from the surrounding area. That wasn't a problem, because the place is 'in the middle of nowhere' and it didn't harm anyone. The Ivanssons had a permit for 500 cars, and they still have it today.

The number of vehicles grew to more than 1,000 in the years up to 1986 when the brothers closed down. Most of the cars are still there today. We tried to count them, but we couldn't. There are so many standing there and so confused that it is an impossible task.

Nature lets its creativity goplay

The special attraction of this resting place is that nature plays a decisive role: Again and again, either rust, natural growth or weather and storms change what you see. Bushes and trees grow in and through the cars - some vehicles are reminiscent of a large plant trough.

What you see is real, pure and without pretension. The picture was not made by people, but by nature alone. All you can hear is the rustling of the bushes and trees, the singing of the birds and the occasional creak of a bonnet that expands under the influence of the sun. The atmosphere here is not without influence, Båstnäs is really a final resting place for cars.

Resistance to the car junkyard is growing

However, it is not without controversy: Tomas Ivansson, the son of one of the owners, told us that there is growing opposition to this place. Authorities and environmental activists are trying to get this place cleared - actually strange, because the same authority advertises in one of their brochures with the beauty of this cemetery. For the environmental activists it might be advisable to ask how much the soil in the Swiss Kaufdorf was after the car cemetery was cleared in 2009.

We are of the opinion that the 'Billkirkengarden ved Ryn, Töcksfors Båstnäs' may not be evacuated. The square is an example of how Europe shyly turned itself into automobiles after the Second World War.

Above all, Båstnäs is a place where nature and technology embrace in an almost touching way - an opportunity to thinking about things and their impermanence. This unique resting place should definitely be preserved - for the sake of its beauty, its charisma and as proof of the renewing power of nature.

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