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Stay Free on This Private Swedish Island to Work on Your Magnum Opus

The best movies, memoirs, and prescription drug jingles don’t write themselves. They take time, focus, and creativity. One tiny Swedish island is helping artists and creatives find all three in the hope that they create something great. The best part? It’s all part of a free, non-profit project.

Ideas Island/Facebook

Located offshore from the coast of Stockholm, Ideas Island (known locally as Ideas Island Vifärnaholme) is an idyllic getaway, the textbook definition of a “digital detox.” Although it’s surprisingly close to the city, guests are guaranteed to see nothing but water in almost every direction. It’s private, intimate, and disconnected — all the ingredients for bringing your boldest creative work to life. Swedish author and keynote speaker Fredrik Härén knows this. Every summer, he opens the island to select guests for one week at a time. His goal is to share the space with other creatives who need the right atmosphere to finish their autobiography, screenplay, or magnum opus.

According to the website, “Ideas Island has been created as a safe haven for creatives. A place made to inspire and motivate people with great ideas to make those ideas happen … We all know that truly great ideas come when we are in solitude, when we are relaxed, when we are close to nature and when we feel in tune with the universe.”

Ideas Island/Facebook

Guests will need to make their own way to Sweden and, of course, buy food for the duration of their stay. Other than a voluntary donation to guests’ charity of choice (the website indicates most give about $1,000 per week), stays on the island are completely free. While it sounds too good to be true, there really is no catch. Each guest can bring up to five friends, all of whom are granted access to the entire island for the week. Longer stays are possible for guests who can convince Härén their project is particularly unique. The 1.7-acre island provides plenty of room with a private beach to spread out. The website is quick to point out that the four-bedroom house is not fancy, although it does have heat, electricity, running water, and a toilet. If things go all The Shining inside the week, the mainland is only 650 feet away by rowboat.

Ideas Island: A place to do nothing. (

Ideas Island is only open to applicants from May to September each year. The 2019 season is now closed, but Härén is already accepting applications for next summer. To apply, head to the official application form to share why you think your creative idea is worth a free private island stay. The winning submissions are announced sometime in February or March.

Not the creative type? Book a paid island getaway and leave the hard work to the jingle writers at Activia and Wayfair.

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