Gustaf Näsström can be described in many different ways: journalist, writer, author, editor, popular-educator, historian of art and culture, TV-personality, narrator, guide, entertaining speaker, Doctor of Philosophy, husband, father - it's a long list. Basically he was a scholarly jack-of-all-trades in the spirit of the Renaissance, knowledgeable in so many different fields, and having a way of presenting things that - even if it was formed in a time which had a very different spirit than our own - even today has the power to captivate, and sometimes even to surprise us on the level of pure knowledge.
The 15 filmes in his series about Swedish social history Liv och Leverne i Gamla Sverige - en kuturhistorisk rhapsodi, 1957-59, are certified as TV:s first series of arts and culture documentaries, by Lennart Ehrenborg, who was head of the Swedish broadcasting authority's film department from when it was established in 1956.
One particular aspect of the significance of Gustaf Näsström today is concerned with his connection to the fabulously beautiful Old Church of Ytterlännäs i Ångermanland (the Fjordman's Land) in northern Sweden. Gustaf Näsström's grandfather Nils Näsström was one of those who acted to save the church from being demolished (to re-use the stones to build the new church) in 1850, and Gustaf Näsström's own involvement with the Old Church was so great that he twice initiated major subscriptions to the benefit of the church, the first time in 1937 for the first restoration and to remove the 18thC. white-wash and reveal the 15thC. wall-paintings, the second in 1950 to return the 15thC. St. Mary bell should again take up her place of honour in the Old Church, having been used a the minor bell in the new church.
In 1964 he wrote and narrated the story of the church in the soundtrack to the first colour film that was made of a Swedish mediæval church, by the brothers Gösta and Torsten Melin.
In 1975 his voice was recorded again, this time for a cassette tape which visitors could turn on to listen to in the days before the Roadside Church came into being staffed with 'live' guides every day during the summer. The soundtrack has recently been given new life with a slide-show, you can see a 10-minute YouTube version here, you can download the complete 13-minute version optimised for iPhone and iPod here, and for a TV or a computer it's on the Old Church's new DVD: www.ytterlennes.ne
We are still building this web-site archive and monument: so to anyone who has material of their own about Gustaf Näsström - do get in touch!
Gustaf Näsström's life
Gustaf Näsström's father's