Earliest export

In the 1950s, Sweden has placed fewer restrictions on toy imports than Norway. The LEGO Group therefore chooses to appoint a distributor to handle sales of LEGO® products in the Swedish market rather than to enter into a license agreement with a local plastic manufacturer – as is necessary in Norway.

AB Lundby Leksaksfabrik

In 1952‑53 Godtfred Kirk Christiansen tours the Nordic countries to investigate the possibility of exporting LEGO products. On his journey, he meets Axel Thomsen and his wife Grethe, who own AB Lundby Leksaksfabrik, a toy factory in Lerum outside Gothenburg, Sweden. AB Lundby Leksaksfabrik produces doll’s houses and doll’s furniture, and in 1955, the LEGO Group signs an agreement with the company to sell and distribute LEGO products in the Swedish toy market.

Inside a Swedish department store

Store display introducing the new System i Lek (System in Play) and LEGO® Mosaik sets at a Meeths Department store in Gothenburg, Sweden, 1955

Exporting to Sweden

In the 1950s the Swedish toy market – unlike its Norwegian neighbour – is not affected by import restrictions. At the same time, the LEGO Group’s factory in Billund, Denmark, does not have enough spare capacity to manufacture the products needed by its growing foreign markets. Therefore, in 1955 the LEGO Group expands its business arrangement with Norske LEGIO A/S, which has been manufacturing and selling LEGO products in Norway since 1953. Norske LEGIO A/S begins exporting Norwegian‑made LEGO products to Sweden – while the LEGO Group supplements with LEGO products from the Danish factory.

LEGO product sold in Sweden

In 1954, Norske LEGIO A/S produces a Swedish version of product no. 700, in preparation for entering the Swedish market. © Niels Åge Skovbo/Fokus Foto

Own sales company

In 1959, the LEGO Group decides to set up its own sales company in Sweden, Svenska LEGO AB, under the leadership of Bror Åsberg. The LEGO Group knows Bror Åsberg well. He was general manager of Lundby Leksaksfabrik in 1955 and signed the business agreement on its behalf between the LEGO Group and the Lundby toy factory.

Introducing the LEGO DUPLO® brick

In 1967, the LEGO Group patents the LEGO DUPLO brick – big bricks for small hands, designed for pre‑school children. The philosophy behind the product is that all dimensions of the LEGO DUPLO brick are exactly twice those of the standard LEGO brick. Hence, the name: DUPLO, which refers to “double”.

In 1968, the LEGO DUPLO brick is tested in Sweden. During the test launch, the interlocking quality of the LEGO DUPLO brick in its interaction with the LEGO brick was refined before being launched on the global market in 1969.

Early LEGO DUPLO sets

Set numbers 510 and 511 are the first two LEGO® DUPLO® sets launched globally in 1969