100-year anniversary of Ingrid Bergman | Posted: 09 April 2015
Self guided walking holidays in Sweden
Self guided walking holidays in Sweden
Self guided walking holidays in Sweden

Reflecting on her career in later life from her idyllic island retreat off Sweden’s spectacular west coast, Hollywood legend, Ingrid Bergman admitted she’d had a wonderful life.

Born in Stockholm on 29 August 1915, she began acting at an early age, though her big break came when she was invited to America by director David O. Selznick in 1936. The rest, they say, is history and she went on to star in over 50 films, including ‘For whom the bell tolls’, ‘Joan of Arc’, ‘Notorious’, and the unforgettable ‘Casablanca’. Among her awards were three Oscars.

She was married three times: to Petter Lindstrom; Roberto Rossellini, and finally, between 1957 and 1976, to Lars Schmidt, a Swedish film producer. Getting away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it was with Schmidt that Bergman visited the small island of Dannholmen off the town of Fjällbacka on West Sweden’s Bohuslän coast in the spring of 1958 and they immediately fell in love with the peace and tranquillity they found. From that year until her death in 1982, the family spent their summers here and the house is still there. Her ashes were scattered in the sea off the island.

In the tightly controlled environs of Hollywood’s film studios, Bergman was seen as a breath of fresh air – she refused to change her name (or pluck her eyebrows) and was often seen without makeup.

Related Holidays & Further Information

Sweden's West Coast

Spend a week exploring traffic-free islands, following quiet tracks and winding paths that lead across heathland and rocky outcrops to secluded coves and colourful fishing villages.

More about our journeys in Sweden >

Celebrating the life of Ingrid Bergman

Visit West Sweden this summer to see exhibitions dedicated to Ingrid Bergman, take a boat trip to her island home, and savour her favourite cakes in the artisan bakery in Fjällbacka.

More about West Sweden's Bergman celebrations >

It was this natural unaffected beauty that brought her great popularity and acclaim, though her image suffered a huge blow when she embarked upon her affair and eventual marriage to Roberto Rossellini.

However, none of this seemed to affect her popularity at home. Her down-to-earth attitude and natural charm endeared her to the townspeople of Fjällbacka, where she was seen shopping in the town, or relaxing over lunch or dinner in the cafés and restaurants.

To mark the centenary of her birth, the West Sweden Tourist Board are hosting a number of events, centred on Bergman Square in Fjällbacka, home to a bust of the actress (donated by Schmidt), gazing out to sea and her beloved Dannholmen. Throughout the summer, you can take boat trips out to the island to learn more about Bergman’s life; see an exhibition of photographs taken during her time in Fjällbacka which will be on show in the square; and join an organised town walk that will explore the Fjällbacka she knew (including the bakery she frequented, where you can buy the same cakes she enjoyed – now named after her).

Further south, on the island of Marstrand, there will be an exhibition at the Strandverket Art Museum, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ingrid Bergman. And Rise’, which runs from 6 June (Sweden’s National Day) to 27 September, comprising historical images, film clips, photographs by Lennart Nilsson and portraits by pop artist Andy Warhol.

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