With archipelagos, wide seas, glittering lakes and endless forests, the 100,000 inhabitants of Norrköping are surrounded by typically Swedish landscape. The Motala current, called ”Strömmen” by the locals for short, cuts through the center of the city.
The ”Industrial Landscape” lines the Strömmen, with factory buildings from the 19th Century which have been converted in the modern era into flats, offices, schools, hotels, restaurants and museums. The Norrköping Symphony Orchestra puts on performances in the former paper mill, and the one-time weaving mill is now home to the Arbetets Museum (Museum of Work). The City Hall, built in 1910, flanks one side of the Tyska Torget, also called the ”German Square”, which is also where the Hedvig Church, the Grand Hotel and the former ”enskilda bank” can be found. Just opposite, in the Carl Johans Park, is Norrköping’s world-famous cactus collection. In June of each year, 25,000 cacti are planted in a pattern which refers to an event taking place in that particular year. Gamla Torget is the name of the central square which is bordered by structures from the 18th and 19th centuries. The railway station dating from 1866 is located on Drottningsgatan, the city’s main shopping street which has seen trams running through it since 1904.
Archaeological finds point to the area having been inhabited since pre-history. The rock carvings in the Himmelstalund park are between 5,000 and 10,000 years old. In the 12th century, Norrköping was a fishing village. Once mills were built on the banks of the Strömmen during the Middle Ages, the village soon developed into an important trade hub. Norrköping further grew in stature due to factories of the Belgian industrialist Louis de Geer at the start of the 17th century. Patronized by King Gustav Adolf, the iron industry in the area improved, bringing workers to Norrköping and boosting the country’s economy. The first railway was inaugurated in 1866.
Education and culture
Since 1996, the neighbouring city of Linköping has based a branch of its university in Norrköping, attended by around 6,000 students. Part of the university is accommodated in a former wool factory in the Industrielandskapet.
Several museums, theatres and the city’s own symphony orchestra form the bedrock of the city’s cultural life. The Art Museum contains one of the best collections of Swedish art, and the City Museum portrays the history of the development of industry and trade in the city. The carnival spreads a flavour of Latin America in August when the whole city center moves to a samba rhythm. The Medieval Market likewise takes place in August, featuring a parade, music and food from that time period. The traditional Culture Night (Kulturnacht) in September is a night of displays, music, poetry and theatre.
Economy and tourism
Norrköping, once a grey industrial city, has developed into a beautiful city with a dynamic business life. Right up to the 1950s, the city was an important center of textile production. Nowadays, the economic focus is on electronics, computer technology and the paper industry. Many companies in the transport and logistics sectors have put down roots in Norrköping because of its good transport connections. Exports constitute an important component of the city’s economic activity. Ericsson mobile telephones are available in every continent on earth. The paper for a number of newspapers is manufactured in Norrköping. Civil aviation and maritime authorities as well as the Meteorological Institute are all based in the city. Norrköping possesses a large sea port and a small state-run airfield.
Kolmaden Zoo, located very close to Norrköping and a familiar name to all Swedes, attracts a great many tourists. The Himmelstalund Park is also frequented by guests from far and wide.