A millstone-shaped alliance unites São Brás de Alportel and Sweden

The Qvarnstensgruvan Museum is housed in an old quarry (mine) for extracting limestone to manufacture grinding wheels for mills.

These are two museums that «live a lot on people» and that, almost as if it were an alliance, now have two grinding wheels uniting them. The Qvarnstensgruvan Museum, from Sweden, installed in an old quarry (mine) for extracting limestone, headed for the Algarve, was in São Brás de Alportel and from there, in addition to the many souvenirs, two millstones that «will greatly help» its mission .

There were five different days, from the 15th to the 19th of October, at the Museu do Traje, in São Brás de Alportel.

The relationship with the Qvarnstensgruvan Museum, in Lugnås (Sweden), is not new, but the arrival of four members of the management of this Swedish museum to the Algarve was important for the growth of both museum spaces.

From Lugnås to São Brás de Alportel it is about 3500 kilometers, but the distance does not prevent these two museums from having much in common.

“There is a very special connection here. We found, in this museum, a series of common interests: education, the involvement of young people, the stimulation of people's self-confidence", he explained to the Sul Informação Emanuel Sancho, director of the Costume Museum.



Like São Brás de Alportel, Lugnås is in the «inland of Sweden» and has «difficulty keeping young people in the land».

Both museums also participated in the “SOMUS – Society at the Museum” project, which ran from 2014 to 2019, and sealed their friendship in a symbolic way during their visit last October.

The Qvarnstensgruvan Museum is housed in an old quarry (mine) for extracting limestone to manufacture grinding wheels for mills.

Thus, stone and its extractive activity are common points that the Museu do Traje São Brás de Alportel wanted to highlight, offering two millstones, made in the Algarve, to its Swedish counterpart.

“The millstones will help us a lot in our work because the ones we have, to show visitors, are very large and weigh almost two tons”, Pia Aakesson, the director of the Swedish museum, told our newspaper.

«Whoever visits us, will have an even better experience!», he added.


Aakesson sink


At the Qvarnstensgruvan Museum, only one of the mines is currently open to visitors. It is, as Pia explained, a «small museum», but one that «everyone in the surroundings knows about».

«We are part of a Geopark and it is difficult for people to find us, because we are “lost” in the middle of nature. But the truth is that we have and fulfill our role in the community”, he added.

As in São Brás de Alportel, where the museum has a strong weight in the community – in addition to having a group of Friends, it hosts activities from dozens of associations.

«We are social museums, dedicated to sociomuseology, which do not take the tourist as an absolute priority and are not neutral. We want to be, above all, useful to the community», concluded Emanuel Sancho.