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Luleå, 2014
Luleå, 2014
Luleå is located in Sweden
Coordinates: 65°35′4″N 22°9′14″E / 65.58444°N 22.15389°E / 65.58444; 22.15389Coordinates: 65°35′4″N 22°9′14″E / 65.58444°N 22.15389°E / 65.58444; 22.15389
Country Sweden
Province Norrbotten
County Norrbotten County
Municipality Luleå Municipality
Charter 17th century
 • City 29.09 km2 (11.23 sq mi)
Elevation 6 m (20 ft)
Population (31 December 2014)[2]
 • Metro 75,966
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 971 00 - 978 20
Area code(s) (+46) 920

Luleå (Swedish: [ˈlʉːlɛo], Lule Sami Luleju) is a city on the coast of northern Sweden, and the capital of Norrbotten County, the northernmost county in Sweden. Luleå has about 47,000 inhabitants and is the seat of Luleå Municipality (with a total population of 75,921).

panorama of Luleå
Luleå panorama summer of 2014

Luleå has the seventh biggest harbor in Sweden for shipping goods. It has a large steel industry and is a center for extensive research. Luleå University of Technology is Sweden’s first technology university and the northernmost university in Sweden.


Luleå New Town from same book. The most prominent buildings are the church and the town hall.

The town's Royal charter was granted in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The original town was situated where Gammelstad (Old Town) is situated today. The town had to be moved in 1649 to the current site, due to the post-glacial rebound that had made the bay too shallow for ships to enter.

The Gammelstad Church Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Gammelstad church

In 1805 Luleå only had 947 inhabitants, but in 1865 Luleå succeeded Piteå as the county town in Norrbotten county and now had around 1400 residents. In the 1860s the industries also started taking root in the city.

The town has been plagued by fires in 1653, 1657 and in 1887, and the fire in 1887 was a devastating fire that destroyed most of the town, sparing only a few buildings. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral (originally the Oscar Fredrik church), dedicated in 1893, standing at 67 meters (220 ft), is the tallest building in town.

Modern city[edit]

Luleå stepped into the modern world with the arrival of Malmbanan, thanks to that Luleå became the shipping port for iron ore coming from Malmberget, this also made the city grow with suburbs. Alongside the increasing port business Luleå was becoming an industrial city and in 1943 Norrbottens Järnverk AB: s steelworks opened (nowadays known as SSAB).

During the period 1940-1980 Luleå was one of the fastest growing cities in Sweden and in 1971 Luleå University of technology was founded.


Industrial district of Luleå

Luleå's commerce and industry are a mix of industry, research, education, trade, and services. The university's educational programmes have attracted new businesses as well as local offices for multinational corporations.[citation needed]

Major employers in the city are the SSAB steelworks and Luleå University of Technology. A Swedish Air Force wing, F 21 (or Norrbotten Air Force Wing), is stationed near Luleå at the neighbouring Luleå Airport. Other major employers include Ferruform (a subsidiary of Scania AB) and Gestamp HardTech (acquired from SSAB 2005-01-01).

IT industry[edit]

The information technology industry in Luleå has about 2000 employees (2008).

Luleå is the home of several major innovations and technological milestones.[3]

  • Broadcast radio: RDS, DAB,[4] DARC (1992–1997)
  • The Luleå algorithm for routing (1997)
  • Living Labs: leading European service testbed with 6000 users (2001–)
  • HDTV transport layer for telephony cabling (1996)[citation needed]
  • Software GPS in mobile phones (2005–)[citation needed]
  • Marratech: pioneers in Internet-based E-meetings (1998–) – acquired by Google, releasing in November 2008 video-chat support in Gmail
  • Arena project, IT in Sports: sensors, handheld wireless video (1999–2002)
  • Estreet project: First large-scale mobile marketing experiment (2000)
  • On 27 October 2011 Facebook announced it would locate its first data center outside of the United States in Luleå. The whole facility, a set of three 28,000 m2 (300,000 ft2) buildings is scheduled to be operational by 2014. The first building was to be operational in 2012.[5] The establishment will help turn the Luleå region into a major node for European data traffic. The town's northern location and that it will become a hub for data traffic in Europe has generated a new epithet for the Luleå region – The Node Pole.[6] The Node Pole region provides stable, low-cost electricity that is 100-percent derived from renewable sources. In addition, they cite the benefits of low cooling expenses, given that the region is one of the coolest in Sweden. Sweden's long political stability is cited as another long-term benefit of the Node Pole's location.[7]

Facebook expands into Luleå

American ambassadors at the ice thumb outside the Facebook's server in Luleå

The new European computer center in Luleå is Facebooks first investment outside of the US. One of the reasons that Facebook choose Luleå was because of the natural cooling thanks to the climate, reliable electricity networks, cheap electricity and the clean energy. The computer center is the largest one in Europe, with 84 m2 which is comparable with 11 soccer fields.

The computer center will process large amounts of data through thousands of computers working as one. The establishment of Facebook in Luleå has also lead to other companies realizing the potential of establishing in Luleå. The positive effect has also been noticeable at the university where the applications rate has risen with 18 percent- Luleå Science Park has also had an increase with 25 percent of new established companies.


Luleå has a subarctic climate (Köppen: Dfc), which borders on a continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) with short, mild to warm summers and long, cold, snowy winters. But due to the Gulf Stream Luleå has a warmer climate than other[specify] cities on the same latitude and even some that are further south. During the summer in June and July the temperature in Luleå can some days rise to around +30 degrees Celsius.

Climate data for Luleå, Sweden, 2002-2014
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.3
Average high °C (°F) −5.1
Average low °C (°F) −12.9
Record low °C (°F) −42.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 34
Mean monthly sunshine hours 23 79 172 221 283 296 309 243 152 91 37 3 1,909
Source #1: SMHI[8]
Source #2: SMHI[8]




Local buses are run by Luleå LLT.

Luleå Airport

Passenger train service is available from Luleå Central Station on Sweden's national SJ railway service northbound to Narvik on the Norwegian coast, and southbound to Stockholm. See Rail transport in Sweden.

Luleå Airport has the longest runway in Sweden and serves about one million passengers annually.[9]


The world’s first indoor mall was built in Luleå and was named Shopping; there are two other malls in Luleå: Strand and Smedjan. The main shopping streets in Luleå are Storgatan and Kungsgatan. A couple kilometers outside Luleå is a shopping center called Storheden.

Shopping, the worlds first indoor mall


Luleå has a variety of cultural institutions, among them Norrbottensteatern; Norrbottens museum; and Norrbotten Big Band, led by Tim Hagans. In January 2007 the Cultural House (Kulturens Hus) was opened. A library, concerts, and art exhibitions are all hosted here. Luleå is also home to hardcore punk band Raised Fist, melodic death metal band The Duskfall, power metal band Machinae Supremacy and death 'n' roll band Helltrain.

The Theatre of Norrbotten

One of the largest winter festivals in Luleå is an indoor festival called Minus 30-festivalen, held at At Kulturens hus (the House of Culture) annually on a Saturday in mid-March.

Luleå Hamnfestival (Luleå harbor festival) is a big summer event in the center of Luleå, mostly centered around the north harbor. The festival has been a recurring event each summer since 2013. Held in July, it is a free event not targeting a specific group. The festival is the new version of Luleåkalaset which was held each summer from 2002-2012, which itself replaced sjöslaget, the summer festival from 1988-2002.

Musikens makt (The power of music) is a smaller music festival that is each summer in August at Gültzauudden since 2010. This is a free concert.

Ice music is a new art form where professional musicians play on instruments made out of ice. The concerts are performed in a huge igloo and the instruments are pulsating in all the colors of the rainbow.


Luleå has many teams competing in a variety of sports.

Three teams in Luleå compete in the highest Swedish leagues: Northland Basket (female basketball team); LF Basket Norrbotten (male basketball team, previously named Plannja Basket); and Luleå Hockey (male ice hockey team).

Players in Luleå Hockey

Northland Basket has won two Swedish championships (2014 and 2015), while LF Basket Norrland has won seven Swedish championships (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007). Luleå Hockey has won one Swedish Championship, in 1996, and the European Champion Hockey League 2015.


Ice hockey[edit]


American football[edit]

In Luleå there is also an American football team, the Luleå Eskimos.


The Swedish Championship in Yukigassen is held in Luleå annually.


Cricket Association of Luleå consists of few graduates from Luleå University of Technology. The association conducts occasional indoor and outdoor cricket matches in Luleå.

UNESCO World Heritage[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2005 och 2010" (in Swedish). Statistics Sweden. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Folkmängd 31 december 2014. Statistiska Centralbyrån. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  3. ^ World-class Innovations in ICT, Luleå university of Technology, 2007,[dead link]
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Facebook on Ice: New Data Center to Be Built Near Arctic Circle". Fox News. 27 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Orange, Richard; Lass, Julian (January 2013). "Node Pole". Geographical Magazine. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Janssen, Cory. "What is the Node Pole? – Definition from". Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Statistik från väder och vatten - Månads och årsstatistik (Swedish)". Svenska Metereologiska och Hydrologiska Institutet. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ [1][dead link]

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External links[edit]