www.per-olof.dk | Splint baskets and how they arrived in Denmark
Overview gallery 1-2-3 | Splint basket gallery1 | Splint basket gallery2 | Splint basket gallery3

A Personal History of Splint Basketry
in Denmark and Sweden

by Per-Olof Johansson 1994

The kind of basket I am talking about, in English is called a splint basket, in Danish spånkurv, and in Swedish spånkorg and Finnish pärekori or pärtkorg. A splint-basket is made of 4-10 cm broad splints of pine which are plaited and collected by some kind of nails with two rims, inside and outside, and provided with a handle.

This page:
History starts with Adam and Eve.....
Air view of Lillerød Spånkurvefabrik 1950
This story on paper
Links to baskets

Next page:
How to make a splint basket.

Other pages:
Overview gallery 1-2-3
Splint basket gallery1
Splint basket gallery2
Splint basket gallery3
Tour to the land of splint baskets 2007

Three poems with splintbasket, read by per-olof in Danish and a kind of Swedish!

In Danish but many pictures:
Definition af en spånkurv
Julekurve og andre dekorerede spånkurve pdf fil 2,34 MB
I Danmark er jeg født - hvor har jeg hjemme
Ulla Danielsen: Den perfekte købmandskurv
Fra min blog: Er en kasse med hank en kurv?

Lilleroed Spaankurvefarbik (Splintbasket factory) Google Earth 55°52'21.51"N 12°21'24.38"E
Google Earth
Search 'Lillerød' images in Google

This HTML-version 1995
dedicated to Magnus
and since 2000 to
his brother Zakarias as well.

On paper:

In Danish by POJ: something like it in 'ASK, Tidsskrift for Dansk Folkekultur 1, 1984, s. s. 16-19: Kender du en spånkurv?
same in 'Drømmen om Allerød', 1991, s.24-27.

Another version in Swedish in cooperation with Kjell Arnoldsson: Örkeneds Hembygdsförening, Verksamhetsåret 2003: Korgmakeri i Lilleröd, Danmark s. 8-15 (Spånkorg).

With permission from the author this articles from www exist printed in The Basketmakers` Associaciation Newsletter, Number 80, February 1997. Thanks to Denise Scott Fears.
Join the
UK Basketmakers Association.

En tid med spånkurve 134 sider
Endelig er den her! En beretning om spånkurvens oprindelse, fremstilling og menneskene bag!

[An Era with Splint Baskets], 134 pages Finally its here! A report on the splint basket's origin, production and people behind!
With an English summary and lots of pictures.
A page in English
An era with splint baskets

Svenska Vävstolsmuseum 2012

Swedish Loom Museum. Glimåkra, Sweden
Exhibition based on
Per-Olof Johansson's book about splint /chip baskets

Splint / Chip Baskets once an important industry in Göinge, Sweden and Denmark
press to enlarge

10th June - 9th september 2012
Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.,
Tuesdays 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Link to Catalog afterwards

Go to [Baskets in Denmark] 'Kurve i Danmark' on facebook....

Kurve i Danmark

If you want more about baskets after this, then drop in on Baskets, Etc. which have lots of links.

Many links too at Pileforeningen, Denmark

At the homepage of Vissingaard, Denmark, you can see pictures from earlier exibitions.

You can find links to Swedish splint baskets at the homepage of Jonas Hasselrot - and to his own baskets of course.

Danish broadcast DR P4 august 15, 2008, 15.24 Vi besøger kurvemuseet i Lönsboda.
Both Danish and Swedish speak.Ups! The picture is Lisbeth and NOT 'Birthe'!!

Looking for chair seats repair? Try Thomas Bruun Olsen, Denmark

Lot of pages on this subject... Factory-Made Machine-Cut Veneer Splint Baskets
Baskets in the USA near to splint baskets.

Wooden baskets "Made in China"



Per-Olof Johansson:

Other baskets in Picasa Albums

Visit Værløse Museum

Basket faces

Baskets 2009 from per-olof.dk

Kurvesommer_09 [Basket summer 2009]

Flet til alle tider - Kurveudstilling Moesgaard 2007 [Exebition 2007]

Pilefestival Sjælland 2011

Afrikanske kurve 2011

Per-Olof Johansson:

Other baskets in Flickr

A flickr collection: Baskets of all kinds

Pilefestival Sjælland 2010 [Willow Festival]

Baskets from per-olof.dk

A basket each day / Den daglige kurv

Baskets ect. from China or elsewhere...

Basket souveniers from Sweden 2011

Special splint basket 1520 -2010

- Landskrona Museum, Sweden 2012



Ella Fitzgerald: Looking for a little yellow basket

"Which of them is it Ella?'

Awards to this site....!




Basket Making
Your website http://per-olof.dk/cdt/splint.htm has been selected as one of the best educational resources on the Web by StudySphere. StudySphere is one of the Internet's fastest growing sites of educational resources for students, teachers and parents. StudySphere has scoured the Internet to select only the finest sites to be included within its listing of educational links.


The history of baskets starts, I usually say, with Adam and Eve: In Paradise Eve learned to plait her hair, and in the same way she made a basket so she could transport fruit to the place where Adam and she usually slept. Perhaps the basket was the only thing they took with them out of Paradise. In any case, they took the idea with them, and so culture was born. Since then, baskets have existed in many shapes, made of many kinds of materials. I live in Denmark, but my ancestors came from southern Sweden, from whence they brought a special kind of basket to Denmark. My family settled here and, contrary to custom, made the baskets here instead of importing them from Sweden. The kind of basket I am talking about, in English is called a splint-basket, and in Danish spånkurv. A splint-basket is made of 4-10 cm broad splints of pine which are plaited and collected by some kind of nails with two rims, inside and outside, and provided with a handle. Before 1960 it was the cheapest basket to use in the house and in the garden. Nowadays in Europe that kind of splint basket is produced in large quantities in Poland, and you can buy them both in Sweden and Denmark. They are made to be sold cheaply, so the handle is poorly made, but the ground material, the pine-splints, is often very strong. There is no one in Denmark who produces this kind of basket today, or does so only as a hobby, I presume. But, in Sweden you find basket-makers who are still going strong. Not in the old fashion way, however, because today we expect these baskets to be handicraft. So they use much more care, and these baskets are not cheap! 

In the Dalarne region in Sweden, 200 km north of Stockholm, they started in about 1830 to make splint baskets, perhaps inspired by the Finnish baskets. I have recently discovered a fresco dating from about 1520 in the curch of Rasbokil in Uppland, Sweden, where you can see 12 splint baskets of the Finnish type which illustrate Matthew Chapter 14 v 19-21. So far as I know, this is the earliest evidence of the existence of splint baskets. 

The parish Våmhus is the main place for the production in Dalarne. The baskets were made at home and sold around Sweden, especially in Stockholm. Often makers brought the raw materials with them. Several people would work together, but only one person made the whole basket. In about 1845 this inspired a person in the southern part of Sweden, and production started there. In contrast to Dalarne, the production in Skåne was rationalized. The main place for this production was a parish called Örkened, maintown Lönsboda, today a part of Osby District. This will also explain the difference between the handicraft of the north and the industry of the south:  1. In Skåne they made the splints with a plane, where in Dalarne they used a knife and split the wood along the grain. 2. In Skåne they used a nailing machine to fasten the inner and outer rims and the handle, whereas in Dalarne they tied it up with a narrow splint, or fastened it by hammering in nails.Handles were made by starting at one end of the wood to make three or four splints, which you do not split free at the other end. This will allow you to bow the handle and place first the one end in the side of the basket and nail it, and then the other end in the opposite side and nail this. 3. 1 and 2 gave the division of labour which made mass production possible.

Even the basket makers of Skåne wandered around northern Europe selling the baskets in Denmark, Norway, Germany,and England. 
In England in the 1880s there were perhabs 12 to 14 Swedish splint basket salesmen, who competed with each other, but in 1903 they decided to co-operate by making a firm called the Swedish Basket Company. Four af the salesmen lived in Hull: Olof Myrberg, Olof Olsson and the Nilsson brothers. The fifth, Bengt Nilsson, was from Grimsby. The firm was dissolved in 1911. 
Many settled down in Germany after 1880 and made factories. 
A few also made factories in the USA, as did two brothers in Minneapolis, James S. Sandberg and his brother Bengt. A third brother, Martin, joined the brother James in 1890, and moved later on to Duluth, Minnesota. In 1904 he ended up in Los Angeles, where he called his firm the Pacific Coast Basket Factory. Martin closed the production of baskets in 1920 and started up with furniture. 
In Denmark the government tried to stop the Swedish basket-sellers, and did so in 1890 with a statutory instrument which forbade them to go around selling splint-baskets. The consequence of this was that the Swedes settled down in Denmark as wholesale dealers of splint-baskets! Carl Johansson did so in 1891 at a place called Kvistgård, and his brother, who is my grand-father, came to Denmark in the year 1900 to join him. Before this, my grandfather had been the manager of a splint-basket factory in
Wolgast, Germany for 11 years. In the year 1902 the brothers moved the factory to Lillerød, approx. 30 km north of Copenhagen, a place today called Allerød. Carl Johansson was the dealer and my grandfather Per Martin Johansson was the manufacturer. This system was carriet on by their children until 1956, when my father Arvid Johansson, until then manufacturer, also became the dealer! Carl changed his surname to Johansen, which is the Danish spelling, and thus he could advertise: The only Danish splint basket factory! 

The days of glory for the splint-baskets was the period 1890-1950, when millions of splint- baskets were produced and sold. From 1902-1970 the main part of the Danish-produced splint baskets were produced in Lillerød. Many splint-baskets were imported from Skåne, without the handle. The handle was then obtained in Denmark through a dealer. The custom-duties were less on the baskets as semi-manufactured, and the transportation was easier. In this way we had three competitors, Persson in Copenhagen, Elmose and later his son-in-law Gertsen in Aarhus, Jutland, and the son of Elmose in Odense, Fuen. In about 1950 we and they together provided the Danish market with at least one million splint baskets a year, and at that time the population of Denmark was about 4 million. It was not handicraft, but a blind alley in the industrial evolution. It is therefore an amusing fact, that in Sweden you call a plastic bag kasse, which was the usual word to describe a splint basket. In my childhood I thought it was a dialect word from Örkened, but in fact its origin is Finnish. A plastic bag is just the carry tool which replaced the splint basket in this region of the world. Today a splint basket is more often used as an icon for something nice, old fashioned, ease & peace, peacefully gardening etc., than seen in the real world. 

Next page: How to make a splint basket.


  • 1. In april 1981 the former Algonkin-chief Wiiliam Commanda from the River Desert reservation in Canada came to Denmark with his wife to demonstrate the art of building a traditional algonkin-huntcanoe wabanaki tciman. The ribs were made of Northern White Cedar by splitting it along the grain. Unfortunately I was not there to see it (but 10.000 others were there!), but I saw the film afterwards, and it was an odd feeling to hear that well known sound from my childhood, when I saw a Native American split the wood in the same way as my father did when he made the rims for the splint baskets. If Longfellow had seen this himself he could not have said in this way, as he did in Hiawatha:
  • "Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
    Of your strong and pliant branches," -or perhaps is the splitting of the cedar a new tradition? No one believes in Longfellow! Or maybe the splitting is hidden in the words:  Down he hewed the boughs of Cedar
    Shaped them strightway to a framework ... ?

    This must bee a good long footnote! 

    2. In John Rice Irwin: Baskets and Basket Makers in Southern Appalachia p. 177, I found a remark about "my" basket. He calls it The factory-made "market" basket, and says (1982), "This basket is still in common use." But until now I have not managed to find any more US- literature about this kind of basket. 


    Lillerød Spånkurvefabrik 1950



    Next page:Splintbasket2 How to make a splint basket.


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    Per-Olof Johansson, DK