Winter fun and flirtation in Scandinavia (1896)

When I saw the carte-de-visite above, I wondered if it was a real scene or an elaborate joke.  Could they really have sailed on ice?  It turns out they could have!  The sport is called ice yachting, and that’s all I know about it.

winter frolic 4

The guys to the left of the boat are skating and trying to catch some wind.  They could probably go faster without the sails:

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At far right is a town with a steamboat:

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The photo came to me from Finland, but it has writing on the back in Swedish, along with a date of January 1896.  Finland was part of the Russian Empire at that time.  There were–and still are–many Swedish speakers in Finland, so it’s hard to know if the photo originated there or in Sweden.

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A transcription:

Januari 1896                         January 1896
Kapten Ström                      Captain Ström
Löjtn. Osterman                 Lieut. Osterman
Löjtn. Duse                           Lieut. Duse
Fröken Hammarström     Miss Hammarström
Fröken Anna Myrén [?]          Miss Anna Myrén [?]
Hr. Nordenskiöld               Mr. Nordenskiöld
Löjtn. Swedenborg            Lieut. Swedenborg
Löjtn. Floderus                   Lieut. Floderus
                              Taget av Löjtn. Fick [?]           Taken by Lieut. Fick [?]


The carte was sold together with this larger cabinet card photo containing four of the same people, taken two months later (March 1896):

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Mars 1896                                         March 1896
Löjtn. Osterman                             Lieut. Osterman
Löjtn. Duse                                       Lieut. Duse
Fröken Hammarström                 Miss Hammarström
Taget av Fröken Anna Myrén [?]    Taken by Miss Anna Myrén [?]

Miss Anna’s last name is hard to read.  Helpful readers in Sweden have suggested Myrin and Myrén.  I’d really like to know, since she took the second photo!

So, dear readers, who wants to go ice yachting?

winter frolic 2



60 thoughts on “Winter fun and flirtation in Scandinavia (1896)

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    1. The outdoor setting probably helped them to relax. It must not have been very cold in the second photo, because their clothing doesn’t look very warm. I’m not sure why the men brought their swords for a hike in the woods. Maybe they just wanted to impress the ladies. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “They could probably go faster without the sails” 😆
    I’ve never tried something like this, I’m not good at skating too, so probably I won’t try it 🙂
    Surname looks more like Myrür or Myrün.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating photos!! So nice looking people in such an extraordinary setting. If I had such a beautiful coat like a woman on the second picture I would go ice yachting 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Those two couples look like they’ve been up to no good, or hope to be up to no good. I love the puckish expressions on their faces! It looks as though the fellow in the front has a scabbard across his lap — they no doubt took out their swords so the ladies could hold them for the photo. I found myself wondering if they were involved in some sort of ceremonial occasion, rather than just being out playing in the snow. They’re too well dressed for “just a walk.” Or so it seems.

    As for ice yachting, you betcha! An acquaintance who lived in the northwest territories used to use a similar means of getting from her frozen-in houseboat to shore during the winter. It’s quite a sport in the lower parts of Canada, too, as this video shows. No ice boating here, of course, since we never have solid ice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great video, thank you! I had assumed the man was holding a scabbard, and then a commenter suggested it might be a riding crop, based on the fact that he’s wearing spurs. A scabbard does seem more likely for the photo. They’re remarkably well dressed for their excursion to the woods!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love both of these!

    Ice yachting…I did not know that was a thing! I’m intrigued for such an adventure. Yet, that particular yacht seems especially Full! I’m afraid there would be the tiniest crack in the ice and one part of the boat would tip and there I’d be in the icy cold water 🙃. Still, I would probably give it a go at least once.

    The second photo is delightful. The man in the back has quite a playful expression on his face. I’m wondering what he has just said to give it to him and to cause the beautiful lady sitting nearby to turn and smile at his efforts….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As always, Suzanne, your comments make me smile! You’re right that the boat is quite full. In fact, I doubt they were able to sail very fast with such a large crew. Perhaps that was just as well. In the second photo, the two in the back do seem to be enjoying themselves. The fellow in front looks slightly uncomfortable, but that adds to the charm of the scene, I think.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Brad! 😊 It’s quite mutual! I wonder how windy it would need to be to sail and is there a way to move if there is no wind. I so agree about the charm of the second photo, quite a foursome.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That group of 4 – the 2 couples – look like a lot of fun.

    The ice yachting is something I would never try because I bet you’d get to the middle of the lake and the wind would die down. After that, it would be pure misery.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I suppose I was a bit of a wild child. After I became an adult, my mother actually told me that she’d felt intimidated by my brother and me because she could never anticipate what crazy schemes and mischief we would come up with next. The wheels in our little heads just turned way too fast!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jadi! This post was a lot of fun to put together. It’s also one of the more popular posts on the blog, currently ranked #8 in views (290).

      I look forward to your next project, whatever it may be!


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