Klas Fåhraeus Högberga Gård


Things started out well for Klas Fåhraeus, the man who would go on to build Högberga Gård. He was born in 1863 with a proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a merchant with a penchant for porcelain. At the time of his death, he left behind the country's most precious collection of tableware.

Klas Fåhraeus studied humanities at Uppsala, but his studies came to an untimely end when he had a falling out with his professor, former member of parliament Sigurd Ribbing. Ribbing had a habit of failing to show up to scheduled exams, a foible that also affected the young Fåhraeus. Ribbing promised to hold the exam that sealed Klas' fate as a student on the appointed date: "As long as I'm alive, I'll be there." When he failed to appear once again, Fåhraeus sent a funeral wreath to Ribbing's wife. The joke, to put it mildly, was not well received, and Fåhraeus was forced to leave Uppsala without a degree.

The young scion then travelled to the French town of Grez-sur-Loing, which at the time was a hotbed of big names in Scandinavian culture, like Carl Larsson and August Strindberg. Fåhraeus was happy to oblige when Strindberg needed to borrow money. He was flush – so far. It would take 20 years for Strindberg to repay the loan – at no interest.

Grez-sur-Loing was where Fåhraeus met Olga Björkegren, an opera singer and famous actress. She was six years his senior and very beautiful to boot. They married, moved back to Sweden and had four children. Their oldest son Robin grew up to become a successful scientist, and had a part in the discovery of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test used by hospitals all over the world. Like other distinguished men of his time, Klas Fåhraeus wanted to build a memorial to himself.

With the help of Carl Westman, the architect responsible for Röhsska Museum and the Stockholm Court House, in 1909 he commissioned the construction of Högberga Gård, a sumptuous residence that he wanted to be the the delight and envy of the world. The building soon became known as Sweden's most beautiful home, and served as a temple for Fåhraeus' massive collection of sculptures and paintings. Fåhraeus enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the Swedish cultural elite of that era, and counted personalities like publisher Karl Otto Bonnier, the author Ellen Key and artists Georg Pauli and Richard Bergh among his friends.

Fåhraeus' assets were mostly tied up in equities. In the severe recession of the 1920s, his finances were eroded to the point where, in 1926, he was forced to sell off Högberga Gård at the age of 63. The art collection was sold at auction, with the exception of a few works, including "Frieri" (Proposal) by Gottfrid Kallstenius, which is still on display at Högberga Gård. Together with his wife, Fåhraeus spent his last years living in seclusion in Uppsala.

Högberga Gård was purchased by Director Helge Norlander, and was later owned by counsellor of legation Harry Ax:son Johnson, and then by Stiftelsen Håkanssons Minne. In 1964, the Swedish Federation of County Councils took over the property. It was owned jointly by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and Apoteket AB until the summer of 2013. The hotel establishment Högberga Gård has been owned and operated by its CEO, Johan Hjort, since 15 August 2013. Over the years the property has seen several new buildings spring up, along with several major renovations. Sweden's first Tuscan winery was opened here in 2010. Högberga Gård was declared a notable historical building in 1985.

Experience Högberga Gård in images. Have a closer look at: the Gallery, the China Room, the Winery, the polo ground, the terrace, our view, the hotel rooms and our lovely meeting venues.