d stands for dalahäst

Day 4 – and D stands for “Dalahästen”

The “Dalecarlian horse”

“There is something about the outside of a horse,
that is good for the inside of a man. “
Winston Churchill

The trademark of Sweden !!!! We sell more horses –  than Paris sells towers.

The horse is hand carved and it has reference back nearly 380years to 1623.

It was in county Dalarna (Dala) – where is the small horse was born – in front of the log fires during the long winter nights. Using simple tools, generally only knife – woodcarvers made toys for their children. Only natural that many of theses toys where houses, because the horse was invaluable – a trusted friend and a hard worker pulling great loads of timber during winter – for farming in spring and summer.

1922, 26 years old started Grannas Anders Olsson of business in the family bakery. Anders was the eldest of nine siblings, and Nils and Janne Olsson was at the business start – 9 and 7 years old. It happened that at the end of the day helping his older brother. 1928they founded Nils Olsson Handicrafts – and they still do them – now called Grannas A. Ohlssson Hemslöjd AB.

The biggest “Dalahästa” you find outside Alvesta,  Sweden – 16 meters (15.5 ft) high and the smallest ever  made is 3,4 mm (0.1339inch) high x 2,2 mm (0.0866inch) long. There is also big horse in Cloquet, Minnesota.

The “Dalahäst” has been on tour too – World’s Expo in Paris 1937 and World’s Fair in New York 1939 – and after that the production of the horse started to take off and became our countries trademark.

Today, Nusnäs is the centre of Dala horse production with the most famous being the Nils Olsson and Grannas Olsson workshops. Grannas A. Olssons Hemslöjd AB, founded in 1922, is the oldest company which still makes Dalecarlian horses. Nils Olssons Hemslöjd is almost as old. The horses made at these workshops share the same familiar pattern which most people associate to Dala horses.

Apart from these, in limited editions also old-style horses are hand-carved and painted to replicate the style of the antique horses found in Swedish museums or held in private family collections. These are numbered and signed, so that they cannot be confused with an original early Dala horse. 


Today there is more animals added to the “family”; pigs and rosters – made in the same traditional way and hand painted – also the color combinations has become wider, but the pattern is the same.  The traditional color is red and the most popular still.

‘Photo’s provided by; stillbild.nu/fotosida.se/en.wikipedia.org/trolltyg.se/nohemslojd.se

20 thoughts on “d stands for dalahäst

    • Yes, it’s a massive Scandinavian settlement. Where most Swedes ended up. Have decided to give you Sweden during my challenge – ended of track yesterday with the Caesar and tomorrow is of the track too, can be bother finding an Swedish subject that starts with E – but really easy – we have Ericsson, so egg will do.

    • Skickade ett mail och berättade lite om mig. Flyttade hem till Sverige 2009 efter totalt 23 år utomlands.
      Spännade att se om vi kommer att använda oss av samma “object” igen. Tack igen.

    • Still I came across any other blog today with the same – subject – Dala Hästen. The world is small. We learn everyday something new … fantastic world this with blog’s.

      • ‘small world’ I guess it is just the same concept, in Kenya (where I originally come from), they make carvings of the big five animals found there, lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and Rhino and these sell like crazy.

      • I think carving in wood – to make toys happen more or less in every country and it takes off from there. How interesting Kenya – have been at 44 countries around the world, but not one in Africa. A bit sad, really.

  1. Well Viveka, this is much more interesting than writing about ducks. I love those horses, I had never heard of them before, I wish I had one. Never been to your country although I have visited both Norway and Denmark – I have a troll from Norway and some china from Denmark. The Dalecarlian horses are so colourful. Enjoyed your blog today. See you have a Versatile Blogger award. I had one but ran out of space on my blog.

    • Hi there, Jo … I thought I will base it on food ingredients , as a chef to the profession – got a good start with my Swedish apple – and I should had stayed with the Swedish theme instead of going after food – lost a bit today again, but after that .. I am back on track. Thank you so much for your kind words – To get a horse is easy … Happy Easter.

    • I did that post … last year during the A-Z challenge and .. we hadn’t found each other than. Glad you like it … love the little video.

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