Nordens Ark History

Åby manor has a long and fascinating history. Letters preserved from 1307 show that Norway’s King Håkon Magnusson stayed here at that time. During the 1500s, the manor was owned by the Galde family. It may have been during that period that the castle-like building seen on a map from 1697 was built. Read more about the knight's of Galde.

Åby was bought by Margareta Hvitfeldt in 1661, and the deal included about 90 farms and cottages scattered over the whole of northern Bohus county. From Margareta’s death in 1683 until 1975, Åby was managed by Hvitfeldtska scholarship institution in accordance with her will. Read more about Margareta.

Åby manor was bought by the Swedish Rural Economy and Agricultural Society, which in 1996 sold the manor to Nordens Ark Foundation.

Åby manor comprises a total of 383 hectares (almost 1,000 acres) including pasture, woodland and animal facilities. The manor’s barn is the largest timbered building in Bohus county. The barn is 60m (200ft) long and parts of it are thought to date from the 1600s or earlier. The yellow manor house was built in 1729.

The Nycander family were tenants at Åby manor. Read more about them here. 

Åby manor is of national interest and the buildings are listed.

Nordens Ark landmarks

1988 – Bohus Breeding Centre Foundation created on March 8 by 49 private individuals.
1989 – On June 14, Nordens Ark is formally inaugurated by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria is appointed Nordens Ark’s principal patron.
1992 – Nordens Ark becomes a member of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
1993 – WWF trustees visit Nordens Ark.
1994 – Nordens Ark becomes a member of IUDZG, which would later become WAZA, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
1996 – The foundation purchases Åby manor from Gothenburg and Bohus County Agricultural Society and becomes the owner of 383 hectares of land.
1997 – The foundation changes its name to Nordens Ark Foundation.
1999 – The Farm is inaugurated and opens to visitors.
2003 – Nordens Ark Hotel opens and a collaboration begins with the University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, with Nordens Ark serving as a field and research station. Research college launched in association with Formas and the University of Gothenburg.
2005 – Nordens Ark gets a professorship in conservation biology.
2006 – The Amur Tiger Project gets under way with the construction of a 7,000 square metre enclosure.
2008 – Wetlands Project initiated in response to the worldwide amphibian crisis.
2009 – Twentieth anniversary celebrated with an international seminar entitled Back to Nature. HRH Crown Princess Victoria and Dr Jane Goodall participate.
2010 – Nordens Ark becomes a member of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Start of a long-term conversion of Åby’s lands from managed forests to Ecopark. The Foundation gains a 90-account, which guarantees that gifts and donations reach their intended purpose.
2014 – Nordens Ark celebrates 25 years of conservation work. On June 14, HRH Crown Princess Victoria joins the festivities and inaugurates the park’s new enclosure for Persian leopards.
2016 - Project Clouded Apollo starts.
2019 - Nordens Ark celebrates 30 years of conservation work. The INTERREG project Supporting Nordic Brown Bees starts.
2021 - European ground squirrels and Northern bald ibises are released into the wild for the first time
2022 - Nordens Ark's own podcast "A wilder planet" is launched.
2022 - Redevelopment work in the southern part of the park begins.
2023 - The Turtle Ark is ready and HRH Crown Princess Victoria attends the inauguration.