Falu red

Swedish heritage

The Swedish landscape is dotted with buildings painted a distinctive shade of crimson. Now a timeless symbol of rural life across the world, the colour known as Falu red has centuries-old Swedish origins that continues to speak to us.

According to legend, after losing his prize goat, a shepherd boy was shocked to see it return home with its horns changed to the colour of blood. At first scared, he later discovered that the goat had stained them on iron-rich rocks nearby. This same spot would become the ancient copper and iron mines of Falun. Using by products from the mining process there, falu red paint is still mixed using iron oxides (which gives it its colour), copper, rye flour and linseed oil.

Traditional Swedish songs reference the shade: ‘den röda lilla stugan invid grinden’ meaning ‘the little red cottage by the wicket fence’, speaks to a simpler way of life surrounded by and living within nature. A bearer of collective memory, the colour is both nostalgic and prescient. Inspired by the power of falu red this Sunday, we are reminded of what’s important.

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