Published: 21-05-2024 15:05 | Updated: 02-06-2024 11:05

Christina Larsdotter returned to Malå

A reinterment ceremony for Christina Larsdotter, the famous Sami woman whose remains were rediscovered in KI’s anatomical collection in 2022, was held in Malå on Saturday, 25 May. KI’s request to repatriate Larsdotter’s remains to Malå’s Sami Association and Malå Sami village was granted by the government last September.

Illustration of Christina Larsdotter.
Photo: Nordiska museet, unknown artist, 1837, from Åke Lundgren's collections.

During her lifetime, Christina Larsdotter was something of a celebrity in Sweden and abroad on account of her remarkable height. Standing over two metres tall, Larsdotter was examined by doctors at the Swedish Society of Medicine and Karolinska Institutet, where the then professor of anatomy, Anders Retzius, took an interest in her for her unusual stature. 

After Larsdotter’s death, Retzius had her remains transferred to KI, where her skeleton was put on display in the university’s anatomical museum. The lecture hall on the Solna campus formerly known as the Gustaf Retzius hall has now be renamed after Christina Larsdotter.

Larsdotter was reinterred at Malå cemetery by the church that she and other local homeowners decided to build before she passed away on 25 May 1854.

The ceremony was attended by staff from KI’s Medical History and Heritage.

“It’s a special feeling to be part of this, and nice that she’ll finally be going home,” says Ann Gustavsson, osteologist and archivist at MHK who discovered and identified Larsdotter’s remains.