Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen was an author and an adventurer who rode her horse, Castor, a total of 12,751 kilometres along the roads of Europe.
Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen was the daughter of Baron Axel Klinckowström and his wife, Thyra. She grew up at the Stafsund estate on Ekerö, just outside of Stockholm. Her father, who had gained a PhD and was a lecturer in zoology, left responsibility for the estate garden entirely to Thyra, his independent wife, whilst he focused on bacteriology, research trips, and writing. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen, along with her siblings Harald and Thora, were all home-educated by a governess.
When Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen was 16 years old she was sent to the Hindå boarding school for girls and domestic sciences school in Bohuslän. She never settled at the school and after the first year she wrote to her mother asking to be released from the school. Once she had returned to Stafsund she spent most of her time riding and became close friends with Carl-Axel Stackelberg, the son of the family at the next door farm, Rastaborg. One day while they were out riding together they passed a field in which a cream-coloured horse galloped up towards them. This was Castor, who became the young Carl-Axel’s cavalry service horse. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen’s first meeting with the horse was a defining moment: to her Castor was a fairy-tale horse.
Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen was artistically talented and spent 1921 and 1922 at art schools in Münich and Dresden. She also improved her riding skills and purchased her first show-jumping horse, a mare called Regina. However, an export ban was slapped on the horse as a result of a shortage in breeding mares in Germany following the First World War. Regina was then quickly sold locally and Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen travelled home and purchased Castor.
Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen began her horse-competition career with Castor in the spring of 1924 and in the ensuing two years they were one of the few civilian teams, particularly with a female rider, to excell in events. Riding gave Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen a sensation of freedom and harmony and she began to plan longer riding trips. Her elder sister Thora had travelled to Paris to study art and subsequently married another artist there named Nils Dardel. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen decided to ride the approximately 200 Swedish mile distance to visit her sister. Given that Europe was still recovering from the chaos and destruction wrought by the First World War this was a risky undertaking and entailed complicated administrative preparations before she could set out. Nevertheless, on 20 September 1926 the horse and rider team set off with a change of clothes, maps, a map-measuring gauge, a diary, a passport, and travellers’ cheques stuffed into her four saddle-bags. They travelled a distance of 60 kilometres every day and were mostly received with open arms wherever they went. They reached Paris after 28 days’ travel.
Thora Dardel was a sculptor, an author, and a journalist who, along with her husband, led the life of a Bohemian artist in Paris during the 1920s, socialising with several of the world-famous artists of their time. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen remained in the French capital for five months.
Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen then returned to Sweden but she had barely been home for a year when she once again felt the urge to travel. She initially planned to ride her horse to Vienna for her second trip but, following the advice of a friend who pointed out that the roads to Rome were both longer and more beautiful, she then changed her destination to Rome. By this time Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen and her horse Castor had become well-known figures. They had been written up in not just the Swedish newspapers but also internationally. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen had also written her own travelogues which had been published in Sweden. Following a journey of 71 days on European roads Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen and Castor rode into Rome on 21 November 1928 and they remained there for a period of four months. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen was drawn into an active social circle, meeting Russian emigrants who had fled the 1917 Russian Revolution. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen and Castor left Rome in March 1929. She published her book, entitled På långritt med Castor, which described her first long journey on horseback, that same year. If the three weeks spent in Civita Castellana are included her journey on horseback from Stockholm to Rome took 121 days and spanned 70 different stages. The following year, in 1930, Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen and Eva Dickson, the rally-driver and adventurer, spent two months driving around Europe together. The pair returned to many of the places and friends Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen had first visited on her previous trips.
Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen signed up for a riding course with Hans von Rosen at the Swartling riding school. Hans von Rosen was a newly divorced man who performed operettas when he needed money to provide for his horses. He had also won two Olympic gold medals as part of the Swedish show-jumping team as well as an individual bronze medal in dressage. Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen married Hans von Rosen on 26 November 1933 at Ekerö church where the condition that Castor could also be present was met. The couple settled on Lindö. For a long time Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen longed for and missed the open roads. Despite this she dedicated herself to life on the farm at Lindö with Hans and their two daughters where, amongst other things, she bred horses and went on hunts.
Castor died on 27 January 1947, aged 28, and was buried on the south side of Lindö in the middle of a rose garden, wrapped in the Swedish flag and lowered into a spruce-spray bed. Hans von Rosen died five years later from cancer. During the 1960s Linde Klinckowström-von Rosen published another two travelogues dating from her youthful travels through Europe and later, during the 1990s, another two books were released. She stayed on, alone, at Lindö until she turned 93 at which point she moved back to Stafsund. There she lived in a small house with a view across to her childhood home. She died on 26 March, 2000, aged 98. She is buried at the Runtuna cemetery.