The history behind Billingehus

The idea of Billingehus was actually part of a bigger dream; the dream of an outdoor paradise on Billingen Hill. Entrepreneur Arne Sandberg and his wife Maja had a vision of creating a place for recreation where exercise and relaxation went hand in hand. A place to meet, not only for the locals in Skövde but for tourists too, where the purpose was to take care of all aspects of each individual, the whole person. A place to combat stress and a place "for one's heart and soul".

From textiles to petroleum

Engineer Arne Sandberg got his very first job at Saab before he started textile company 'Stålnylon' (Eng. translation: Steel Nylon), which specialised in overalls and . After a few years at that firm, it was actually a late payment of an invoice that first introduced Arne to what later became his life's work: petrol. Instead of getting paid, Sandberg was offered the chance to set up a Swedish branch of a small Norwegian petroleum company.

So, that is the story of why Arne founded Uno-X in Sweden in 1960 and set out to compete with the Swedish petrol monopoly. The established petrol companies later accused Arne of having poor-quality petrol, but the motorists loved him, and with very clever marketing, his two petrol stations quickly multiplied to 300.


Let's do something fun instead!

In 1967, when Arne turned 50, he sold petrol company Burmah Castrol for 30 million SEK. According to Arne's wife Maja, he supposedly blurted out: "Let's do something fun instead of buying shares", and that bit of fun turned into their project Billingen Hill.

An open-air leisure paradise emerges

Arne and Maja both come from the Vastgota region, and this project was their gift to their homeland. Maja was particularly interested in sports and very committed and involved in the leisure ventures undertaken on the hill.

By the time the inauguration approached in 1970, they had managed to build a conference facility, a hotel, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a football pitch, a ski slope with a lift as well as several exercise trails for running and cross-country skiing. With the aim of looking after each human being as a whole, they also built the Church of St Lucas, a place for one's soul. 

Photo below: Sankt Lukas church.

A unique gift

Skövde Municipality granted Mr and Mrs Sandberg access to the land for them to build upon, and when everything was finalised, Arne and Maja let the municipality buy Billingen Hill recreational area for the nominal sum of 1 SEK. Billingehus, Billingebadet (open-air swimming baths) and The Blue Hall meeting facility were sold to the state-owned hotel corporation called SARA.  

In 1992, the SARA corporation merged with Reso, but when they declared bankruptcy no more than a year later, the premises were sold to First Hotels.

In 2017, First Hotels sold Billingebadet and The Blue Hall to Skövde Municipality, but Billingehus remained under the management of First Hotels until 2022. 

Since 2022, the LOTUS HOTEL GROUP has owned and managed the hotel.