In the heart of Malmö, at Snapperupsgatan 10, is a tiny house with a well-preserved interior from the 1910s. Inside, the home looks exactly as it did when Ebba Olsson and her family moved in at the beginning of the 20th century.
In the 1960s, when the other nearby buildings were torn down and replaced with new ones, Ebba refused to leave her home. The house now belongs to Malmö Museer and is open Wednesdays from 12.00 to 17.00.
In 1911, Olof Olsson, his wife Anna and their children Ebba and Thure moved into the tiny yellow house on Snapperupsgatan. Olof had taken over the century-old house from his father, Jöns Olsson, after the latter´s death. Anna Olsson was not very happy about the move. The nearby taverns and bordellos had given the district around Caroli Church a bad reputation. Behind a high fence across the road from the family´s home was the Asylum, at that time called “the home for simpletons".
As his father had done, Olof worked for the city as an official measurer. He operated the city weigh scales at the harbour, checking the weight of goods unloaded from ships. The Olsson family was relatively well off. Olof installed both electricity and running water in his house — at that time considered modern luxuries. A complete new set of furniture was purchased for the small room facing the road. The family also had two pets, a canary and a dog named Jutta.
Ebba had left home when she was 15 to train as a milliner but moved back to her childhood home when her father fell ill. She lived there and cared for him until his death. Ebba and her mother worked from home making lace and trimmings. After her mother´s death in 1961, Ebba lived alone in the house.
In the 1960s, the politicians decided that the old houses nearby Caroli Church should be demolished to make way for new, modern buildings. But Ebba was very determined not to leave her home. She watched as the other small neighbouring houses were torn down and replaced with new buildings. She stayed living where she was — with an outdoor lavatory in her courtyard and a cold water supply.
In 1984, Ebba decided it was time to move to a modern flat. She and her sister-in-law donated the house to the City of Malmö. The two women wanted the house to be used for educational purposes to show children how people used to live. The house was carefully restored to preserve the interiors from the beginning of the 20th century. After Ebba´s death in 1989 the Olsson family´s old furniture was returned to where it originally stood.
In 1991, Malmö´s smallest museum, Ebbas hus, was opened to the public. The aim is that a visit to Ebba´s house should feel exactly like paying a visit to the Olsson family. The home´s intimate atmosphere, small-scale format and many interior objects function as keys to help people recognise and understand how many families used to live.