Anneka Anderson was the first university-educated woman agronomist in Sweden.
Anneka Anderson was born in Stockholm, and grew up in Djursholm and Hälleforsnäs. Her parents were Margareta (Greta), née Fock and Sten Rudberg, a captain and works manager. She had two sisters and two brothers.
Anneka Anderson matriculated at Djursholms samskola in 1939. During her childhood, she spent summers with the family on the Baltic island of Öland. It was there that her great interest in agriculture was awakened. After her matriculation, she became an agricultural student at Hagbyberga in Sörmland and later at Ultuna Lantbruksskola.
In 1941, Anneka Anderson became the first woman student at the then Ultuna lantbrukshögskola (now Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, SLU). Many of the male students were negative to the acceptance of a woman, which contributed to her future lifelong political engagement in women’s rights.
In 1945, Anneka Anderson and her husband Carl-Vilhelm Anderson, also an agronomist, moved to a farm of their own, Barrö outside Flen. She qualified as a university-educated agronomist in 1947, and with her husband came to be a pioneer in many aspects of farming. The Aberdeen Angus cows, imported the same year, are one example as are the experimental cultivation of maize, lupins, rape and other crops that were unusual in the 1940s. She drove a tractor and worked in the forest, fished and was active in local associations.
Anneka Anderson had five children and with them she became involved in pony sports and the breeding of ponies. Two young Gotland pony mares were the start in 1951, then she bought a Gotland pony stallion and a Welsh pony stallion. Anneka Anderson also imported Welsh ponies from England, their country of origin. She collaborated in the first pony exhibition in Sweden at Malmköping in 1955, and was the breeder of several successful competition ponies, among them the twice-winner of the Swedish championship in pony jumping, Isidor. She was active on the board of the association Svenska Ponnyföreningen for many years, finally as vice chairperson (the association was founded in 1954).
In 1954, Anneka Anderson and her family moved to Säby outside Strängnäs. There she was involved in municipal and national politics as a member of the city council and the municipal board, as chairperson of the school board and as proxy in parliament. She was critical to many decisions being taken in settings in which women were not welcome. Anneka Anderson was positive to the European Union and active in the right-wing women’s EU association.
Anneka Anderson had strong self-confidence and saw nothing as impossible. That applied to their own farm, fishing, forestry and water management, spinning, dyeing and weaving her own wool, preventing school closures (or sometime collaborating in them) or with the five children travelling around Sweden to participate in pony competitions and exhibitions. She was an early computer user and borrowed a PC (ABC 80) as early as the summer of 1980 so that she and her grandchildren would have the opportunity to learn more.
During her long and fulfilling life, Anneka Anderson was active as a farmer, pony breeder, conservationist, hunter, ornithologist, amateur archaeologist and politician, partly in Sörmland and partly on Öland. In the 2000s, Anneka Anderson was recognised for her contributions. As an honorary doctor she held a celebratory lecture at Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SLU), Ultuna on experiences from her varied farming life. It was a pinnacle in her life. She also recounted then what it had been like to be a lone woman student and about the small anti-Nazi group that was her support at a dark time. She propagated for more women in agriculture. Another mark of recognition was the diploma for landowners/conservation in 2010 from Föreningen SydOstEntomologerna for her management of “heathlands”, some sandy steppes in Glömminge, typical for Öland. Anneka Anderson had actively opposed the forestry authority’s demands to promote coniferous forest in the region and at last she was acknowledged to be right in her understanding of the unique environment constituted by the sandy steppes.
During the last period of her life, Anneka Anderson lived at Barrö. She died in 2012 after a brief stay in hospital. Her grave is in Aspö Cemetery.