Nimis targeted by arsonists, Tower of the Winds destroyed

DESTROYED BY FIRE: Nimis, Ladonia, in happier times. Arson destroyed the Tower of the Winds (above left) on November 24.

Nimis, Ladonia, Nov 30 · Cas 15 – Ladonia’s iconic towers of Nimis were partly damaged by fire last week in what authorities have called an arson attack.

A report from the Ladonian Herald says that the Tower of the Winds, accounting for one quarter of Nimis’ buildings, was destroyed in the blaze on Thursday, November 24 (Castle 9), which could be seen from neighbouring Sweden.

The tower, the closest construction to the waterline, was reduced to charred nails, with no traces of burnt wood remaining.

No injuries were reported.

Swedish police and firefighters attended the blaze, however as Nimis cannot be accessed by road, efforts to stop the fire relied on the use of fire extinguishers and sea water.

There were initial concerns that the fire would spread to other parts of Nimis and into a neighbouring nature reserve, however the fire burned itself out by morning.

Inspections found that 75% of the city was unaffected by fire and is safe for visitors.

Ladonia’s Queen Carolyn had planned a visit to Ladonia in December, and will inspect the damage during her trip.

In a statement published on Friday, the queen said “Nimis will be repaired, and grow to be even larger than before… rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.”

“The outpouring of support and offers for assistance have been overwhelming. We are grateful that no one was injured by the fire, and we are appreciative of the support from the Ladonian diaspora and from the surrounding communities.”

Vilks said that those responsible for the attack would have been skilled, as the design of the tower makes it hard to catch alight.

The front page of Ladonia’s website reassured visitors that Ladonia itself had not been destroyed.

“We stand with our more than 18.000 citizens from 100+ countries around the world, in support of free expression and art,” read the statement. “Ladonia prospers and develops, and cannot be defeated by fire.”

The Ladonian Herald reported that reconstruction of the tower will begin as soon as weather permits.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who designed and constructed the sculptures of Nimis, suggested that the attack was a form of criticism of his art. Vilks is known internationally for depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in a 2007 cartoon.

Swedish authorities have not commented on this, however Fredrik Bratt of police control told SVT News Helsingborg (link in Swedish) that there had been no explicit threats made against the structure.

The attack on Nimis is the fourth in the last 15 years, and the most damaging. Nimis was first targeted by arsonists in 1985, when two-thirds of the structure was destroyed.

Nimis had also been damaged during Hurricane Sven in December 2014, which caused more damage to the Tower of the Winds than Thursday’s fire. Reconstruction of the tower commenced in 2015.

Nimis, constructed in stages since July 30, 1980 (Trinity 15, 35 AE), is a 75-ton sculpture built entirely out of driftwood that was the subject of a series of legal battles between 1982 and 2004. Around 160,000 nails were used in its construction, and it receives around 30,000 visitors each year. It is located in Scania, Sweden.

Photo courtesy Ladonia.org

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