RoadTrip #32.3: The quest for our very own Dala Horse – Visiting two dala horse factories in Nusnäs, Sweden

After roaming around the city of Mora, we fastened our seatbelts and drove on to a nearby town called Nusnäs, famous for its Dala horse manufacturing industry. Two of the major producers are Nils Olsson Dalahäster, manufacturing since 1928, and Grannas A. Olssons Hemlöjd AB, since 1922. Both Olssons are apparently related. We figured that since we were in Mora, we might as well get our own original Dala Horse. The horse was a sacred animal to the Viking religion, and wooden horses have become a symbol for Sweden for hundreds of years.

Approaching the factories early was a good thing – fewer people, for one. In the yard was an old ship to welcome the visitors.

The wooden toy industry has evolved and manufacturers produce not only horses but other wooden animals as well.

The traditional floral painting has also changed from bright red to pink, blue, white and black. I even saw horses covered in glitters. We first stopped by Nils Olsson’s, going through the working area first and then, the painting or finishing area. If you’re lucky, there would be skilled and talented painters showing their work real-time. I’m skipping pictures of the factory, for privacy purposes, and showing right through the painting area.

As mentioned, Nils’ was established in 1928 by brothers Nils and Jannes, who were then only teenagers. More about the factory and their webshop here:

The photo above shows some of the big personalities getting their very own Dala Horse, like the Pope, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Aside from toys, they also make traditional shoes or clogs, Mora knives, table decorations, clothes and other accessories.

Now, if you’re wondering how much a Dala Horse costs.. Well, the smallest classic red one, at 3 cms, is currently at 145 SEK or ca 13 euros. The biggest classic red one, 60 cms in height, costs 10.055 SEK or ca 920 euros. Prices in the other store (Grannas) are quite different from Nils’. A 3cm classic red costs 149 SEK, but their 50cms costs 6.112 SEK, compared to 6.125 at Nils’.

Grannas’ is a bit older than Nils’, but then, it’s the oldest operating Dala Horse company in Sweden, being passed on from family generations to generation. According to its history, Grannas was the oldest of 9 children, and started the business in 1922, when he was 24. I was wondering if the two or three store owners were related, and voila. They’re actually brothers. But I don’t know why Grannas had his own, and the two younger brother Nils and Jannes had to build their own. Grannas’ official webshop:

Anyway, here it is, our very own classic red Dala Horse, original from Grannas’. It’s 20 cm and precious. XD

We left Nusnäs past noon, and headed further up north to visit a predator park! How exciting. When in Mora, it’s also recommended to try the traditional plankstek. I’m actually craving for it right now, but I cannot have anything fatty right now. Oh well. 🙂 This one we had in Vasakällaren Restaurang & Pub in Orsa, Sweden – which was our next destination. #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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