GWCVB Press Release Header Lyn Lewis
Twitter: @LynLewisGWCVB
100 West 10th Street, Suite 20
Wilmington, DE 19801
P: 302-295-2212
F: 302-652-4726

October 2, 2012

Subject: Wilmington Is a Prime Choice for Swedish Heritage Tours

Anyone interested in exploring Swedish heritage, is sure to find Wilmington, Delaware a choice location and now is an ideal time to visit because 2013 marks the 375 anniversary of the founding of the New Sweden Colony right here in what is Delaware's largest city.

The city boasts the Kalmar Nyckel, a seaworthy, full-size recreation of the ship that carried the first Swedish settlers and a few Finns to Wilmington in 1638.  When the Kalmar Nyckel is in port, it is available for tours and day sails.  The New Sweden Centre, currently located in the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard, provides fascinating insights into the lifestyles of these early colonists.

Less than a block away, are Old Swedes or Trinity Church and Hendrickson House.  Originally built in 1698, the church has the distinction of being the country's oldest religious institution still in use for its original purpose.  Hendrickson House is located on the church property.  This Swedish farm house was originally built in Pennsylvania on property that now belongs to Lockheed Martin.  Moved to its current site in Wilmington during the 1950's, Hendrickson House is filled with original colonial artifacts.

Rebecca Wilson, Executive Director of the Old Swedes Foundation which includes both Old Swedes Church and Hendrickson House, explains that the Swedes purchased land from the Lenni-Lenape Indians and set up a thriving community based on fur trading and farming.  Wilson says visitors from all over the world seek out Old Swedes Church to see the only surviving structure from the Swedish settlement.  Some come to view the church building; others come to explore the burial grounds and early church records searching for ancestors.  Others  want to learn about Reverend Dr. Ericus Bjork, whose sheer will power and determination insured the construction of Old Swedes in an eleven month period.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington.  Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attraction, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.