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Trip to Swedish Herpeto Symposium Norrköping 2006
November 10th to November 14th.
The symposium: the lecturers and their speakings
Mattias Sterner:

Threatened Amphibians of Scania (southern Sweden) - PDF

Mattias Sterner:

The Herpetofauna of Costa Rican lowland wet forest - PDF

Peter C.H. Pritchard:

Galapagos tortoises: current status - PDF


Peter C.H. Pritchard:

The Chelonian Research Institute - PDF


Stefan Andersson:

The Aquaterrarium - PDF


Stefan Andersson:

Successful breeding in captivity - PDF


Friedrich Wilhelm Henkel:

Expedition to Borneo - PDF


Mario Schweiger:

On the Herpetofauna of the eastern Adriatic coastal region [Kvarner area, Dalmatia (Croatia) and Montenegro] - PDF

Due to the foggy weather and the sun, not raising very high at this time of the year, the outside pictures don´t have good contrast.
Departure from Munic at friday, November 10th, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.
Arrival at Sweden at about 3:15 p.m. Down to Arlanda. In the front right the island Ekerö, where Patrik Blomsten and Malin Forssell are living.
Arrival at Sweden at about 3:15 p.m. In the front some houses of Stockholm. Normally it is said, Suomi is the land of the thousend lakes. But in Sweden there are many more. "We don´t so much pretend on it" Swedish people say.
After Symposium dinner and talking at saturday night. Peter C. H. Pritchard (right side) and Christoffer Sjöholm
Mattias Sterner (right side) and Mikael Oskarsson
Friedrich Wilhelm Henkel (left side) and Anders Wahlström
Peter C. H. Pritchard and Stefan Andersson
After 11:00 p.m. we changed to the "Highlander". A famous pub, where normally symposium evenings are ending. Friedrich Wilhelm Henkel enjoyd it very much
At the Highlander: From left: Per Sterlinger, Frans Olofson, Stefan Andersson
Mattias Sterner short before 1:00 a.m. Closing time at the "Highlander"
At the Highlander. From left: ?, Mattias Kärvemo, ?
As usual at nearly every herpeto-meeting: Some never will find the end. Private party together with the Finnland people at the hotel room. It lasts till nearly 5:00 in the morning. From left to right: Asta Apilainen, Aino Tuomola (blond), Suvi-Tuulia Kestilä (red hair), Jarmo Perälä, Sami Heikkinen (Peace), Janne Valkonen und Martti Niskanen.
The speakers at the symposium together with the organisators. From left side: Anders Wahlström, Stefan Andersson, Mario Schweiger, Friedrich Wilhelm Henkel, Peter C. H. Pritchard, Mattias Sterner and Bengt Ydebäck.
At sunday afternoon, after the symposium I had a look to the rock-carvings in Norrköping. These is the largest area of those in Europe. They have been painted red, so you will have a better look on them. These are at least 3.000 years old.
Mostly there are boats, .......
......... but also game-scenes
or bear footprints
a view to a part of the rock carvings
.... and another one
Sunday evening Anders Wahlström drove me to Stockholm, where I stayed in Patrik Blomsten and his girlfriend Malin Forssell´s house for the next two days. Patrik showed me a lot of interesting things in and around the capital of Sweden.
The castle Drottningholm. Living place of the Swedish king and his family. View from the front.
The castle Drottningholm. Living place of the Swedish king and his family. View from the back.
Rune stone from Uppland in the park Skansen in Stockholm. On it it is written: "Kylving and Stenfried and Sigfast erected this stone in memory of Östen, son of Gunnar .... May God preserve his soul". Most of these 2.500 stones in Sweden are from the 11th century and have been erected in memorials to close relatives
Park Skansen is situated on a hill in Stockholm. It is the first and therefore the oldest open-air museum in the world. Founded 1891 by Artur Hazelius.
Here you may see and visit rebuilt old houses from Sweden. This is a partial view to the farm "Älvros Gärden".
Street in Skansen
In the park there is also an aquarium, terrarium and a rainforest greenhouse. View to the terrariums. Peter C. H. Pritchard is watching the Green Anacondas (Eunectes murinus).
Terrariums: A very interesting thing: They own an about 1.5 meter long, mice eating King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah).
Corallus caninus in one of the terrariums
Milkfrogs (Phrynohyas resinifectrix) share the terrarium with Corallus caninus
Marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea)
Rainforest Greenhouse
Saguinus sp. are living free in the rainforest house
Dendrobates tinctorius
Dendrobates bicolor
Old houses in Skansen park

A partial view to the farm "Älvros Gärden".

Room in "Älvros Gärden"
In the farm "Färbodvallen" they show old cattle species
Also they have enclosures for nordic animals, like bears, rendeers, elks, wisents and others.
Here European Otters (Lutra lutra)
European lynx: Lynx lynx
Close to Skansen there is the "biological museum", where they show mostly stuffed animals in diaramas.
The entry of the biological museum is rich on wood carvings.
The "Nordic museum" is situated between Skansen and the Vasa museum
Vasa museum. A must when visiting Sweden and Stockholm.

Complete English text for the Vasa from Wikipedia:

During 1621-1625, the work at the Stockholm shipyard was led by Antonius Monier, with Dutch-born Henrik Hybertsson (alternative spellings are Henrijk Hybertson or Hendrijk Hybertszoon) as hired shipbuilder. On the 16th of January, 1625, Henrik and his brother Arendt Hybertsson de Groote took over the shipyard and soon signed a contract to build four ships, two larger of around 135 feet and two smaller of 108 feet.

After a few years, the shipyard ran into economic problems, delaying the construction of the contracted ships. At the same time, the Swedish navy lost 10 ships in a single storm and the king worriedly sent a letter to Admiral Klas Fleming, asking him to make sure that Henrik hurried with the construction of the two smaller ships. Along with the letter were measurements for the ship the King intended, with a 120 foot keel. That gave Henrik Hybertsson new problems, because the measurements given by the king were between the planned larger and smaller vessels and the timber had already been cut. In a new letter, on February 22, 1626, the king yet again demanded his measurements for the new ship be followed. In the end, it seems likely that Henrik extended one of his started designs for a smaller 108 foot ship by adding another section to it, creating the 135 foot ship that would become the Vasa.

Henrik Hybertssson never had the chance to see the Vasa completed; he fell ill in late 1625 and died in the spring of 1627. The supervision for the shipbuilding was given to Henrik's assistant, Hein Jaconsson, another Dutch immigrant. In practice, while Henrik was ill, the responsibility was shared between him and his assistant Hein, leading to confusion and a lack of leadership.

While the ship was being equipped, Admiral Fleming ordered the stability of the Vasa to be tested. The standard stability test of the day was thirty sailors running from side to side, assessing the tendency of the boat to rock. When this was attempted on Vasa, the ship started tilting significantly after only three runs and the admiral ordered the test aborted, allegedly stating "had they run any more times, she would have went over". Surprisingly enough, neither Hein Jacobsson nor Johan Isbrandsson, the two ship builders in charge at the time, were present for the stability test. Boatswain Matsson, is said to have uttered "God hope it will stay on its keel" in response to the test.

Shortly after the disaster, Arendt Hybertsson left Sweden and returned to Holland.

On August 10, 1628, Captain Söfring Hansson ordered the Vasa to set sail on her maiden voyage to the harbor of Stockholm. The day was calm, and the only wind was a light breeze from the southwest. Her sails were not set until the southern outskirts of the harbor, but the Vasa sailed for less than a nautical mile before capsizing, once they had been rigged. In the harbor a gust of wind forced the ship onto her port side, after which water started flowing in through her open gun ports. Vasa sank to a depth of 100 feet, around 100 yards from the shore. Despite the short distance to the land, between 30 and 50 people were trapped in the ship and perished. The exact number of casualties is still unknown, as the only reports from the accident are lacking in substance and are incomplete.

When the King heard of Vasa's fate, he was incensed. 'Imprudence and negligence' must have been the cause, he wrote angrily in a letter, demanding in no uncertain terms that the guilty parties be punished. Captain Söfring Hansson who survived the disaster was immediately put in prison, awaiting trial.

At the following interrogation, Captain Söfring Hansson simply stated "a gust came". It is known from other reports that there was almost no wind at the time, so it did not take much to sink the ship. It has been calculated that if the Vasa's center of gravity had been a mere 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) lower, she would not have capsized in the harbor.

In the end, no guilty party could be found. The person responsible for the design, Henrik Hybertsson, was long dead and buried. The ship was built according to the specifications laid out by the King and one couldn't very well punish the King. In the end, no one was punished or found guilty for negligence.

The sinking of the Vasa was also a major economic disaster; the cost of the ship was more than 200 000 riksdaler, which was about 5% of Sweden's GNP at the time.

During this period, the design requirements and calculations for building a ship only existed in the head of the shipwright. Scientific theories on vessel design or stability had not yet been developed, so important factors like the ship's center of gravity had to be estimated from the builder's experience.

  • The Vasa was a very advanced ship for her time, and much of the design was changed while the ship was being built. The build was delayed and at the end, marked by great hurry to get the ship finished.
  • The original plans only called for one closed gundeck, but the Vasa was finished with two, at the king's request.
  • The Vasa carried insufficient ballast to counter her height. The ship's compliment of 300 soldiers was expected to increase her weight in the water, but at the time of the ship's sinking, they were not yet aboard. The result was increased instability in an already problematic ship.

After its sinking, most of the ship's valuable bronze cannons were soon recovered with the use of a diving bell. Access to the cannons required removing the decking at several levels.

In 1956, Anders Franzén thought of the possibility of recovering wrecks from the Baltic waters, because he figured that these waters were free from the shipworm Teredo navalis. He started looking for the Vasa and found her, in an upright position, at a depth of 32 meters. The wreck was lifted in a relatively straightforward way, by digging six tunnels under the hull, through which steel cables were attached to a pair of lifting pontoons. The ship was lifted and brought to shallower water, where she was to be made watertight for the final lift. Her gun ports were closed by means of temporary lids and all the holes from the iron bolts, which had rusted away, were plugged. The final lift took place on April 24, 1961, after which she was put in a dry dock. Among the items recovered from the ship was a small statue of the Finnish olympic gold-medalist Paavo Nurmi. The finding initially caused a major stir among Swedish marine archeologists as to the origin of the item, and later received significant press attention once it was revealed that a day before the recovery, a team of Finnish students had dived down to the wreck and placed the item on the deck among other artifacts.

Bridge to Stockholm downtown (Gamla Stan)
House of nobility
Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan: Kings palace. The towncastle is used for official purposes.
Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan: Runestone in the basement of a middleage house. At these times nobody cares for historic things. Important was, the stone was large and flat.