The history of Villa Aske

The history of Villa Aske

The architect responsible for Aske, an Italian villa in Florentine renaissance style, was the Italian Carlo Bassi. He later became a prominent city architect in Turku, Finland, and Aske was the only building he designed in Sweden.

The Aske estate was founded in the Middle Ages, and became a tax-exempt manor in 1677. Influenced by the French Revolution, Sweden established new laws that enabled ironmaster Gustav Sehmann to buy the Aske estate in 1799, despite the fact that he was not of noble birth. In 1802 Sehmann commissioned Carlo Bassi to design a stately manor house. Bassi gave Aske a neo-classical style inspired by Florentine renaissance villas. After seven years of work, Aske was completed in 1809. In the meantime, Bassi had left Stockholm for Turku, so he never got to see his one and only commission in Sweden in its finished state.

Being the only one of its kind in Sweden, this structure is regarded as unique, and is therefore a listed building.

In 1872, Aske was purchased by the Lewenhaupt family. Lewenhaupt was an agriculturalist, and had 64 families living and working on the estate. At harvest time his steamboat went into Stockholm to sell the produce from the estate. The two cannons that stood down by Fiskarstugan would then be fired in salute so that everyone on the estate knew that it was time to celebrate. Today, these same cannons stand in front of the villa. Count Lewenhaupt travelled the world and enjoyed hunting. He brought back stuffed animals, as well as flowers and plants, which he planted all around Aske. He also planted the unique double avenue. The outer avenue was used by farmers and estate employees, while the middle was reserved for the gentry. The Lewenhaupt family lived at Aske for two generations, selling the property in 1946.

For several years there was an agricultural college at Aske, and the building was converted to make the premises more suitable for a college. The conversion work included tearing down one of the staircases in the entrance hall and removing stoves and fireplaces. In 1971, the Swedish Public Employment Service opened a residential study centre at Aske. It added the three red wings that are now used for accommodation.

In 2008, Aske Residential Study Centre was purchased by private owners Michael Hallbeck and Lennart Holm. Its name was changed to Villa Aske Konferenser. Villa Aske Konferenser forms part of the same group as Friibergh Herrgård.