To anyone who's a fan of Ikea, visiting the town of Älmhult, Sweden is every bit as magical as a trip to Disneyland. The sleepy Scandinavian town is where founder Ingvar Kamprad opened the first Ikea store in 1958 at age 23. The rest, as they say, is flat-pack history.
Aside from serving as the home base for the company's design headquarters, Älmhult has also been developed into an "Ikea town", featuring a hotel and museum dedicated to the brand. A two-hour train ride from Copenhagen, it's a great stopover if you want to dive into the history of Ikea, pick up limited-edition furniture, and feast on locally-sourced Swedish meatballs.
As card-carrying members of the Ikea fan club, we were thrilled when the team invited us for a stay in Älmhult, to celebrate the release of Life At Home — its annual consumer insights report — and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the furniture label comes up with new product design. We've put together the best bits of our eye-opening visit.