In actual fact, Monument Park is as important a place in the history of Lund as the cathedral.
In the northern part of the park lies an ancient mound, where newly crowned Danish kings were once received. This is also where one of the bloodiest battles in Swedish history took place, and here too stands the monument erected to commemorate the peace that had finally been achieved between the old arch-enemies – the Danes and the Swedes.
Monument Park today lies between the railway and the road Kävlingevägen. Many people pass by daily along the park cycle path, which connects the city centre with the residential areas to the north. Here you can meet the occasional jogger. However, the generous green spaces here are seldom used and many of those who pass by are unaware of the historical significance of this place.
The Union (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) Queen Margaret was here
In the far north of the park lies an ancient burial mound, probably dating from the Bronze Age. For a long time, this mound has been called Lerbäckshög, after the name of the stream that ran by it on its way to Norra Fäladen and out towards Värpinge. The Scanian Council, which was probably established during the reign of Sven Forkbeard, first met at Arendala, east of Lund. After a time, in the centre of Lund – Stortorget – and then sometime in the late 12th century, the “tingsplats” (the court assembly dating from the Viking period up to the Middle Ages) moved to Lerbäckshög, where it remained until around 1600.
The Danish kings were elected in Viborg on Jutland. However up until 1584, a newly elected Danish king had to attend the Scanian Council to pay tribute to Eastern Denmark, i.e. Scania (Skåne), in order to confirm their legitimacy. Even powerful monarchs like Queen Margaret had to come to Lerbäckshög to secure her position.
December 4, 1676
Part of the century-long struggle between Denmark and Sweden for domination of the Nordic countries was fought in Scania (the Scanian War 1675-79). However, the battle of Lund in 1676 was the turning point. The Swedes were victorious but at a high price – a total of between 9,000 and 10,000 men, Danes and Swedes, died in the battle. Several of the battle’s most important clashes took place around Lerbäckshög, i.e., in Monument Park. Both before and after the battle, Skåne and Lund were being harshly ravaged by militia from both sides. On 11 August 1678, much of Lund was set ablaze by the Danes: of the 304 farms, 163 were burnt down, mainly in the centre and northern part of the city. However, the cathedral escaped any damage.
Ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lund, the historian Martin Weibull, together with De Skånska Landskapens Historiska Förening, (The Scanian Council Historical Society) took the initiative to raise money to pay for a monument to commemorate the battle. In collaboration with both Danes and Swedes, the message to be conveyed by the monument should be one of reconciliation between Denmark and Sweden. The monument, which was inaugurated in 1883, was designed by Helgo Zettervall in the shape of an obelisk and adorned with cannons and cannonballs. This, however, is unfortunate, as these ornaments of war could be perceived as making it a monument to commemorate the Swedish victory and not a symbol of reconciliation as was the intention.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a mill was built at Sliparebacken, diagonally behind the monument. It remained until 1901, when it was demolished and replaced by a smaller mill just a few metres to the west. This too was demolished in 1911 and the land became a green belt area north of the monument. From the beginning, there was also a small plantation around the monument.
A granite replica of the monument was made and erected in 1930 as the original, which was made of cement, was showing signs of severe weathering. At the same time, the park was extended southwards, largely following its current configuration.
Text: Ingrid André, photo: Gunnar Menander