After the dramatic – and for some even traumatic – ending of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1905, most people were rather grateful that it had all gone down peacefully.
At the Nordic Peace Congress in Stockholm 1910, it was decided to raise funds to build a Peace Monument on the border in order to celebrate the 100 years of peace between the two countries in 1914. The spot was chosen carefully – the monument can be seen both from the road as well as from the railroad.
The expenses for the project could be held down as many of the people involved worked for free or for a small payment. The Architect Lars Johan Lehming, designed the Monument without any compensation and was later cut from his work for his involvement in the project. The monument is 18 meters high and consists of a Swede and a Norwegian at the top, standing on each side of the border but on a mutual foundation, holding each others hands. On the back of the Monument is written: “Henceforth shall war between Scandinavian brothers be impossible”.
On August 16th 1914 arrived the trains with participants from Sweden and Norway, altogether some 12 000 people gathered around the Monument under a brilliant sky. The Norwegian Prime Minister was deeply moved and declared that “this is
indeed one of the most wonderful moments any of us here present have ever experienced”.
During the Second World War the Monument square was absolutely respected by the German soldiers. It was the only place a Norwegian and a Swede could be married. After the war ended in 1945, a peace meeting gathered some 13 000 participants to hear about the exchange of war prisoners by Folke Bernadotte.
In 1959 the Monument square was used to set up a radio show called “across all borders”. It was a joint Swedish/Norwegian production and both Prime Ministers were present at the opening broadcast. The Monument square was presented as a kingdom of Peace, and a contest gave the kingdom a name: Morokulien. The name is a word game; moro-kul-i-en whereas moro means fun in Norwegian and kul means fun in Swedish, i.e. fun-fun-into-one.
In the radio show money was raised to be able to buy a house where refugees could stay within the kingdom. In 1964 a refugee family from Hungary came and moved in, and a gas station was built for job and income. Later on a coffee bar and an amphitheatre was also built in the area.
In connection to the radio show, a post office was opened and still today it is the only place on earth from where you can send mail with two countries post stamps on the letter. One can also become a member of the Morokulien state and receive a “passport” at the Information Centre.
Within this Kingdom of Peace is also situated an amateur Radio Station which is famous all over the radio world as it is the only one with two call signals -one Swedish and one Norwegian. Here stands also the old ”Brennastuan” a building from the 16th century with much cultural history in itself. It has been a horse stop, an inn, a tourist office and it was also the place where the Eidskog Community held its first council after 1905. It is now undergoing some restoration before it can be used again.
The area surrounding the Peace Monument is under the guard of ”Friends of the Peace Area” or Fredsplatsens Vänner. It consists of members from both Sweden and Norway and they supervise the maintenance and administration of the area together with the Communities of Eda and Eidskog to grant the intensions from the Nordic Peace Congress and the Peace Organizations.
In 2004 it was decided to establish a special area of trees planted by Swedish and Norwegian Ministers, between the railroad, the camping site and the Brennastuan. First out was the former Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg. Later plantations has been made by Berit Andnor; Nordisk samarbets-och socialminister, Knut Arild Hareide; miljøvernminister, Esbjörn Hagberg; Bishop in Karlstad, Rosemarie Köhn; Bishop in Hamar, Björn von Sydow; Swedish Talman, Jørgen Kosmo; Norwegian President as well as Cristina Husmark Persson and Heidi Grande Røys, Nordic Ministers. The honourable Al Gore was invited in 2007 as he received the Nobel Prize, but he could not come.
The small Kingdom of Peace is annually visited by some 100 000 visitors from all over the world. About 70 000 finds their way into the Information Centre which was built right on the border in 1996. The border is easily seen in the building, both on the floor as well as in the ceiling. The Information Centre provides information to tourists about Sweden, Norway and Morokulien and can also bestow visitors with two conference rooms. Grensetjänsten in the same building helps people in both countries to find employment and in addition help with any problem that might occur regarding regulations where the authorities in Sweden or Norway act in different ways.
This broschure was published by Fredsplatsens Vänner, in 2007.