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In 1913, Nils and Hanna Berg donate part of Marholmen and a sum of money to the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) to give working wives and working women the opportunity to rest. The following year, the first women come to rest. Grosshandlarvillan became a rest home and in 1915 the newly built Holiday Home for men and their families, now known as Villa Berg, was opened.

The donation is a major event for the labour movement and Hjalmar Branting attends the inauguration in 1914. In the donation documents, the Bergs write about 'the suffering and hardship' that unemployment 'causes to the average worker', his wife and children. The donation is their contribution to 'redress the grievances'.

There is no statutory holiday. Marholmen's guests are free from their jobs through agreements between unions and employers. A couple of summer weeks free or at low cost makes stays at Marholmen popular. The business grew, and as early as 1920, LO provided money to keep it going. Towards the end of the 1930s, LO began renting out Marholmen for trade union courses when the guesthouses were closed.



In 1926, popular education enters Marholmen when the Folkbildningshemmet (now Grosshandlargården) opens. Two years earlier, Nils Berg had donated the rest of Marholmen and his fortune to Birkagården's folk high school to promote popular education and especially "the educational needs of women working in factories". The lectures at the folk high school are also open to guests of the LO homes.

The folk high school (now the Strandpavilion) organizes play and dance evenings every Wednesday. They become very popular and attract playful people, mainly men, who come by foot, bicycle or sea and eventually by car.



The guesthouses had the most visitors in the 1940s after the parliament decided in 1937 to allow two weeks of vacation. During the 1960s, interest in vacationing at Marholmen declines. People can afford their own cottages and travel. Charter tourism takes off.

In 1967, LO closes its guesthouses, but the Folkbildningshemmet is in full swing. People come here from all over the country and even from other countries to learn how to paint, make music, play theater and build musical instruments.



In 1983 Kommunal buys Marholmen to build a leisure facility for its members. Holidays abroad have become too expensive for most of them. Own summer resorts are the exception.

In 1988, Marholmen's leisure and conference facility was inaugurated, and in 2006 Kommunal bought Birkagården's part of Marholmen, and in 2015 the hotel was built.

Today, Marholmen is still owned and developed by the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union.

Text: Karl-Ola Nilsson