Town square, Alderholmen, old town, the high-rise "Fullriggaren" at Gävle Strand, the town hall, buildings alongside the river of Gavleån
|• City||42.45 km2 (16.39 sq mi)|
|• Metro||1,615.07 km2 (623.58 sq mi)|
|Elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|Population (31 December 2010)|
|• Density||1,673/km2 (4,330/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Area code(s)||(+46) 26|
Gävle [ˈjɛːvlə] is a city in Sweden, the seat of Gävle Municipality and the capital of Gävleborg County. It had 71,033 inhabitants in December 2010, which makes it the 13th most populated city in Sweden. It is the oldest city in the historical Norrland (Sweden's Northern Lands), having received its charter in 1446 from Christopher of Bavaria. In recent years, the city has received a lot of international attention due to its large Yule Goat figure made of straw - the Gävle Goat. The goat is erected in December each year and is subsequently, more often than not, subject to vandalisation by someone setting it on fire. The goat has now become a symbol for the city and is being used for various marketing purposes.
It is believed that the name Gävle derives from the word gavel, meaning river banks in Old Swedish and referring to the Gavleån (Gävle River). The oldest settlement was called Gävle-ägarna, which means "Gavel-owners". This name was shortened to Gävle, then Gefle, and finally Gävle.
Gävle is first mentioned as a town in official history books in the year 1413 but only received its official town charters in the year 1446.
For a long time Gävle consisted solely of small, low, turf or shingle roofed wooden buildings. Boat-houses lined the banks of Gavleån, Lillån, and Islandsån. Until the 18th century the town was built, as was the practice then, around the three most important buildings: the church, the regional palace, and the town hall. Over the last 300 years Gävle has been ablaze on three different occasions. After the fire of 1776 the town was rebuilt with straight streets and rectangular city blocks. The number of stone and brick houses also started to increase. The biggest town fire occurred 1869, when out of a population of around 10,000 approximately 8,000 inhabitants lost their homes, and about 350 farms were destroyed. Almost the whole town north of Gavleån was burnt down. All the buildings south of Gavleån were saved. An area of the old town between the museum and the library has been preserved to this day as a historic reserve, Gamla Gefle.
After the catastrophe of the fire Gävle developed its characteristic grid plan with large esplanades and green areas. It is now a green town with wide avenues. Stopping the spread of future town fires was the main idea behind this development.
An extensive redevelopment of the central town area was started during the 1950s. Around 1970 Gävle became a large urban district when it was united with the nearby municipalities of Valbo, Hamrånge, Hedesunda, and Hille. New suburbs like Stigslund, Sätra, Andersberg, and Bomhus have grown up around the central city.
Gävle is situated by the Baltic Sea near the mouth of the river Dalälven. At 60 degrees north and 17 degrees east, Gävle has the same latitude as Helsinki and the same longitude as Vienna and Cape Town. Bordering municipalities are Söderhamn, Ockelbo, Sandviken, Heby, Tierp and Älvkarleby. Twenty kilometers west of Gävle lies Sandviken.
Trade from the port of Gävle increased markedly during the 15th century when copper and iron began to be exported from the port. In order to ensure that all trade was via Stockholm, sailing to foreign ports from Gävle and a few other ports was forbidden.
During the 16th century, Gävle was one of the most important port and merchant towns with many shipping companies and shipyards.
In 1787 Gävle was awarded "free and unrestricted sailing rights" to and from foreign ports. This led to an increase in trade, which in turn lead to an increase in buildings, industrial developments, trade and shipping.
- Korsnäs (company) (forest industry)
- Stora Cell Industri (forest industry)
- Kraft General Foods Scandinavia (Gevalia coffee and spices)
- Leaf AB (sweets and confectionery, carrying brands such as Läkerol and Ahlgrens)
- Gävle Galvan (galvanization)
- Gävle Stål (pre-fabricated steel construction)
- Gävle Varv (pressure tanks)
- Cale Industri (parking meters)
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Gävle has, considering its size, a large and well nourished cultural life, being a cradle for many musicians such as The Deer Tracks and The Sound of Arrows. The city applied for becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2014.
The prison museum of Sweden, the country museum of Gävleborg, and the national railway museum are the three largest museums in the city.The prison museum is located near Gävle castle and depicts the history of crime and punishment in Sweden. The country museum (located downtown) hosts an art collection spanning from the 1600s to present time and well as a section dedicated to cultural history. Finally, the national railway museum (Rälsgatan 1), hosts a collection that began to accumulate in 1906 in Stockholm and which was moved to Gävle in 1970.
Gävle has a theater dating back to the 1800s. It is still used for performances today, including classic theater, opera, variety and stand-up.
Arbetarbladet and Gävle Dagblad are the two leading media outlets covering Gävle in the papers. Both have a long history dating back to the early 1900s and the late 1800s, respectively. Aside from this, the Swedish national public TV broadcaster, SVT, has an editorial office in the city and the national public radio Sveriges radio broadcasts from the city.
The University College of Gävle currently enrolls 14,500 students. It offers over 800 courses and 45 degree programs in technology, social- and natural sciences and the humanities. Its research profiles are "Built Environment" ("Byggd miljö") and "Health in working life" ("Hälsofrämjande arbetsliv"). Some courses are offered in English and are taught to both international and Swedish students.
Gävle is known for being the birthplace of the Gevalia coffee brand, which is produced by Kraft General Foods Scandinavia and exported around the globe. Gevalia is particularly popular in the Americas and produces dozens of unique flavored coffees for the United States that are not available to its customers in Europe. However, visitors who come to the factory in Gävle can sample many of the premium blends. (Gevalia is the Latin name for Gävle).
Gävle preserves the memory of the Swedish-American labor activist and martyr Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, better known as Joe Hill, who was born there in 1879. The Hägglund family home still stands in Gävle at the address Nedre Bergsgatan 28, in Gamla Stan, the Old Town. As of 2011[update] it houses a museum and the Joe Hill-gården, which hosts cultural events.
The history of the Gävle goat began in 1966. Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of placing a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat of straw in Slottstorget (Castle Square) in central Gävle. On 1 December the 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat was erected on the square. At midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames. The goat has since had a history of being burnt almost every year, 2005 being the 22nd time it was burnt. Burning the goat is an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, but undoubtedly this is what has made the goat famous. In 2006 the goat was covered in a flame-resistant coating to prevent arson, enabling the goat to remain standing throughout that winter. On December 21, 2013, the goat was burnt for the 27th time.
- Erik Wickberg, former General of The Salvation Army and former Chief of the Staff of The Salvation Army
- Andreas Rudman (1668–1708) Pioneer Swedish American Lutheran minister
- Nils Norén (chef)
- Alexandra Dahlström (actress)
- Christian Edstrom (professional rally co-driver)
- Anders Eklund (boxer)
- Joe Hill (labour activist)
- Cat Stevens (musician) - his mother Ingrid Wickman was from Gävle, and he also lived here for some time during his childhood.
- Joakim Sundström, Swedish sound editor, sound designer and musician
- Ewa Mataya Laurance (professional pool player)
- Jacob Markström (player for the Vancouver Canucks NHL team)
- Rolf Lassgård (actor)
- Åke Fridell (actor)
- Thomas Di Leva (musician)
- Nicklas Bäckström (player for the Washington Capitals NHL team)
- Yat Malmgren (dance teacher at the Drama Centre London)
- Anders Lindbäck (goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team)
- Jakob Silfverberg NHL player for the Anaheim Ducks.
- Elias Lindholm (professional ice hockey player for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team)
- Siri Andersson-Palmestav – writer
Twin towns – Sister cities
Gävle is twinned with 5 cities:
- "Localities 2010, area, population and density in localities 2005 and 2010 and change in area and population". Statistics Sweden. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 17 December 2012.
- "Gävle stads privilegier - Gefle från A till Ö" (in Swedish). www.gd.se. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- About the University of Gävle
- Om Högskolan (Swedish)
- Andreas Rudman and his Family (by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig. Swedish Colonial News, Volume 2, Number 1. Winter 2000) 
- Gävle sjukhus at jobblanken.se, part of Internetmedicin. Updated 2012
- Centre for Clinical Research – Gävleborg (CFUG) from Uppsala University homepage > Medicine and Pharmacy > Centres. Updated: 11/29/2011.
- "Vänorter, partnerskap och nätverk". gavle.se. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "Sadraudzības pilsētas". jurmala.lv. Retrieved 26 April 2014. (Latvian) (English)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gävle.|
Gävle travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Gävle - Official site
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gefle". Encyclopædia Britannica 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 550.