Open today at 11—16
Close this search box.

The Grey Village

In the olden days, the people of the Ostrobothnian countryside were roughly divided into two groups: the haves, and the have-nots; that is, those who owned land, and those who owned more or less nothing.  Directly translated, the Swedish for the second group would be “loose people”, probably because they weren’t bound to the land as the landowners were. These could become milkmaids or farmhands, or struggle to make a living as day labourers, often in a farmer’s potato fields. The women could do laundry for others, or pick lingonberries or make brooms to sell at the town market. The men could gather moss and birch bark to sell to house builders. This social class was allowed to build small cottages for themselves on the village commons, just like the cottages around you. Families of as many as nine people sometimes lived in these – in just the one room. Imagine what this place might have looked like 150 years ago: bustling with life, with small children crying, old men chopping wood, goats grazing around the corners, and laundry lines zigzagging between the houses… Life was often very hard, but  Ostrobothnians have always been hard-working and skilled with their hands. Many became craftsmen, wood workers, or seafarers. Here in the Grey Village, you can see the smithy, pottery and copper smithy, as well as the shoemaker’s and carpenter’s cottages. The brass founder was in fact a jack-of-all trades; he was also a clockmaker and a furniture painter.