Valdemar, Duke of Finland

Valdemar, Duke of Finland
Seal of Duke Waldemar of Finland

Valdemar Magnusson (1280s - 1318) was a Swedish prince, heir to the throne of Sweden and Duke of Finland.



Valdemar was the third son of King Magnus III of Sweden and his queen Helvig of Holstein. At the coronation of his older brother King Birger of Sweden, Valdemar became the duke of Finland. At the same time, Valdemar married to Kristina, the daughter of Torgils Knutsson, constable and virtual ruler of Sweden during the early reign of King Birger.

Political career

In December 1305, Torgils was arrested and in February 1306, he was executed. Valdemar subsequently divorced his wife claiming that they were spiritually related (baptism siblings), Torgils having been his godfather. In the fall of 1312 in a double wedding in Oslo, Valdemar married Ingeborg Eriksdottir of Norway, the daughter of Eirik II of Norway and his second wife, queen Isabella Bruce. Maternally, Ingeborg was a niece of Robert the Bruce. At the same time, his brother Eric, Duke of Södermanland married Ingeborg of Norway, daughter of King Haakon V of Norway. In 1316, Valdemar and Ingeborg had a son who probably died young.

In 1306, in an event known as the Håtuna games (Håtunaleken), King Birger was taken captive by his brothers on the Håtuna royal estate in Uppland and taken as prisoner to Nyköping Castle (Nyköpingshus). In 1308, Valdemar and Eric were forced by King Eric VI of Denmark to release King Birger, but they did so under humiliating conditions. When King Birger was free, he sought aid in Denmark and the strife began anew.

By 1315, Valdemar and his elder brother Eric managed to wrest large parts of the Swedish kingdom from their brother. Valdemar gained Turku and Häme castles with a lion's share of Finland, the castle of Stockholm, most of Uppland, and Borgholm castle with the island of Öland. Eric was in possession of Kungahälla, which he had been given during his exile by the Norwegian king, and northern Halland which he had been given by King Eric VI of Denmark.

The careers and their lives of the two brothers were ended by the treachery of their brother King Birger. During an event known as the Nyköping Banquet (Nyköpings gästabud), Valdemar and his brother Eric Magnusson were arrested and chained, the night between the 10th and 11th of December 1317. No one knows for certain how the two brothers died. They either starved to death or were murdered.

At the imprisonment of their husbands, their wives became the leaders of their spouses followers. On 16 April 1318, the two duchesses entered into a treaty in Kalmar with Esger Juul, Archbishop of Lund and Christopher, brother of Eric VI of Denmark and Duke of Halland-Samsö, to free their husbands. Later the same year their husbands were confirmed to have died.

The dower of Valdemar's widow Ingeborg had included the island of Öland. Ingeborg was styled Duchess of Öland from at least 1340, surviving her late husband long after his death and staying in Sweden until her own death.



  • Lindqvist, Herman Historien om Sverige. Från islossning till kungarike (Norstedts: 1997)
  • Harrison, Dick Jarlens sekel: en berättelse om 1200-talets Sverige (Ordfront. 2002)
  • Bergman, Mats Nyköpingshus. En rundvandring i historia och nutid (Almqvist & Wiksell. 1992)
  • Mannervik, Cyrus Sagor och sägner - Från Nordens forntid och medeltid (AV Carlsons. 1958)

Logo för Nordisk familjeboks uggleupplaga.png This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904 and 1926, now in the public domain.

Preceded by
Benedict I, Duke of Finland
(Duke of Finland)
Duke of Osterlandia
(Duke of Finland)
1300 - 1318
Succeeded by
Benedict, Duke of Halland
(Duke of Finland)

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