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Located in Southern Sweden, outside a town called Ryd, sits Bilkyrkogården Kyrkö Mosse. This translates to Car Cemetery or, as the locals refer to it, Ake’s Car Scrap.
The story goes that a man named Åke Danielsson moved to the edge of the bog to become a peat miner. He worked to harvest the natural fuel and fertilizer by hand, and did so much business that he had to build himself a peat shredder using old car engines.
Fortunately, during this time, the demand for cars was growing and people began to abandon older, wrecked models just outside of Ryd—littering the once pristine forest that surrounded the town. Though he had no formal training in automobile repair, Danielsson began using these discarded vehicles to educate himself. Eventually he started a side business selling spare parts. The business caught on quickly, becoming known as Åkes bilskrot—or Ake’s Car Scrap.
His collection of cars grew until 1974. The business closed in the 80s and, in 1991, Danielsson moved into a retirement home leaving the cars exactly as they were. Time went on and the cars began to attract unexpected attention from tourists passing through.
Ryd City Hall, however, was not a fan of this attraction. They feared the cars would have a negative impact on the surrounding environment. They demanded the cars be moved to an authorized recycling site and threatened a hefty fine.
Nevertheless, Danielsson did not remove the automobiles. Always aware of this risk of contamination, he had removed any gas, oil and batteries from the vehicles to prevent harm to the peat bog. Lobbyists fought on Danielsson’s behalf, to keep the scrap yard intact. Eventually they won over the council and, in November 1998, a permit was granted through 2047.
Today, there are an estimated 150 car wrecks parked in this “car cemetery,” all in various stages of disassembly and decay. They are scattered all throughout the dense forest. Many have sunken into the muddy forest ground, while others are covered in moss or overgrown plants.
Danielsson passed away in 2000, but not before seeing his scrap yard preserved for many years to come.
About the Writer: Madison Stuerman
Madison is currently a student at Southeast Missouri State University. She plans to graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism. Madison is very passionate about travel, photography, history and writing.
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