A Danish Romeo and July

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One of the most famous love stories in Denmark is the story of Elvira Madigan who fell in love with Sixten Sparre and ran away with him and lived with him for a while.

Church at Landet village

Elvira was a slack rope dancer, artistic rider, juggler and dancer in her step father’s circus and they were travelling around Sweden. It was on this trip she met a Swedish noble man and officer in the Swedish army called Sixten Sparre. The two started to write to each other – this was a bit of scandalous behavior since Sixten was already married and had children with his wife.

Church at Landet

Despite the hopeless prospect for the couple they kept writing to each other and finally Elvira decided to run away from the circus and Sixten left his family. The two escaped to Svendborg and lived together at a hotel in the city for a month. They were probably very happy until the hotel director thought he should get paid and presented the couple with a bill for the month long stay. They had insufficient funds and ran away from the bill. They went to the small town of Troense on the island of Tåsinge where they rented a house for a couple of days.

Grave of Elvira Madigan and Sixten Sparre

By now Sixten Sparre was heavily indebted and it was very unlikely he would ever be able to get a divorce from his wife. His career in the Swedish army was clearly finished considering the scandal of him living with another woman. There was clearly no happy future for the couple and they decided to go for the woods called Nørreskov. Sixten shot Elvira and then himself. Their bodies were not found for three days.

Tombstone of Elvira Madigan and Sixten Sparre

The couple is now buried at the cemetery behind the church in the small town of Landet on Tåsinge. The funeral and the hotel bill was paid for by Sixtens brother but nobody from the family made it in time for the funeral and the couple was buried without the families presence.

Tomb stone of British flyers

You can go into the cemetery at Landet and go and see the tombstone for the couple. The grave is fairly famous but there are only a limited number of tourists making it to the church so you are likely to be the only one visiting the final resting place of Sixten and Elvira when you go.

Behind the grave of Sixten and Elvira you find a grave for a group of English flyers who were shot down during World War II. They are buried at the church and there are some remains from the plane left on top of the grave.

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