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Skellefteå in images
Skellefteå in images
Coat of arms of Skellefteå
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Schtaan, Guldstaden (Goldtown), Skellhell[1]
Skellefteå is located in Sweden
Coordinates: 64°45′N 20°57′E / 64.750°N 20.950°E / 64.750; 20.950Coordinates: 64°45′N 20°57′E / 64.750°N 20.950°E / 64.750; 20.950
Country Sweden
Province Västerbotten
County Västerbotten County
Municipality Skellefteå Municipality
 • City 21.74 km2 (8.39 sq mi)
Population (31 December 2010)[2]
 • City 32,775
 • Density 1,507/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
 • Urban 72 025
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) +46 0910

Skellefteå is a city and the seat of Skellefteå Municipality in Västerbotten County, Sweden, with 32,775 inhabitants in 2010.[2] The municipality had approximately 72,000 inhabitants at the end of 2013 .[2]

The city is a historically industrial city with mining being a large industry, especially for gold – hence the nickname "Gold Town". Politically it is a Social Democratic stronghold. The city is a well-known ice hockey town, with the biggest team Skellefteå AIK playing in the Swedish top division, the SHL.

The city was incorporated in 1845 and grew to its current population size mostly in the 1950s and 60s, growing only slowly since.


Historians believe the Skellefteå area has been continuously inhabited since at least circa 1000 AD, inland regions by the Sami people and northern areas by Finnish people who in this part of Fennoscandia were referred to as Kvens in various medieval accounts whereas germanic peoples also started populating the Westrobothnian coast from Umeå northwards around the same time. The Westrobothnian language is native to at least the southern regions and historians see the area north of Skellefteå as a part of the primeval land called Kvenland, which is discussed in several historical accounts.[3][4][5]

For instance, in 1157, in his geographical chronicle Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan, the Icelandic Abbot Níkulás Bergsson (Nikolaos) provides descriptions of the lands near Norway in this way:

"Closest to Denmark is little Sweden (Svíþjóð), there is Öland (Eyland); then is Gotland; then Hälsingland (Helsingaland); then Värmland (Vermaland); then two Kvenlands (Kvenlönd), and they extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmalandi)." [6]

The Skellefteå river area (Helettijoki in Finnish) was up to the end of the Middle Ages a linguistic border territory, north of where was inhabited by those who spoke the Finno-Ugric Finnish and Sami languages, whereas to the south lived the Helsinglanders who spoke Swedish.[3]

The name Skellefteå is recorded to having been spelled as Skelepht in 1327.[citation needed] The origin of the name remains unknown.

From the 14th century on, attempts were made to Christianize Skellefteå. However, – for the most part – the entire large Northern Swedish territory of Norrland was not Christianized until several hundred years after the rest of Sweden, and many northern areas such as Skellefteå remained unexplored well past the Middle Ages.

Not before the very end of the 17th century did the indigenous Sami people of Northern Sweden begin turning into Christianity, much due to the efforts by the Northern Swedish superintendent Mathias Steuchius, who worked hard to accomplish this.

Eventually, the reason for the sudden awakened interest towards Skelleftån and the surrounding areas were the great northern fishing grounds of salmon. The increased demand for fish was sparked by a stricter enforcement of the annual month-long fasting by the Catholic Church, whereby meat was substituted by fish.[citation needed]

The actual city of Skellefteå is one of the youngest cities of Norrland. It was founded in 1845 by the vicar Nils Nordlander.


In the 20th century, Skellefteå evolved to an industrial and mining city and many wooden houses were demolished to give room for brick buildings.[citation needed] The largest private employer in Skellefteå is the mining company Boliden AB, with about 1'200 employees. The mining is primarily done for copper, but with the ore particles of gold, silver and platinum also follow. However, Skellefteå is still referred to as the "Goldtown". During the 1990s, the computer industry flourished, causing subsidiaries of Ericsson and Tieto Enator to become important employers.

If things go according to plan, Skellefteå will be the site of the hind legs of the world's largest moose – Stoorn –, a tourist attraction planned to be built, spanning from Skellefteå into Arvidsjaur in Norrbotten.



Notable natives[edit]





Skellefteå has subarctic climate with mild summers and cold and snowy winters.

Climate data for Skellefteå, Sweden
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −6
Average low °C (°F) −14
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42
Average precipitation days 18 14 13 11 11 11 12 14 15 15 17 17 168
Source: [8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Skellhell inte så illa som du tror". March 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "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. 
  3. ^ a b Kustaa Vilkuna: Kansatieteilijän työpöydältä: Kainuu-Kvenland.
  4. ^ Kyösti Julku: Kvenland – Kainuunmaa. Oulu, 1986.
  5. ^ Ohthere's story in Old English Orosius.
  6. ^ Rafn, C.C. Antiquités Russes II, pages 404–405.
  7. ^ Christoffersson, Malin (June 19, 2009). "Soo Shim ska bli Sveriges bästa klubb". Norran (in Swedish). Retrieved July 10, 2010. [...]Soo Shim vuxit till att bli Sveriges mest framgångsrika taekwondoklubb på tävlingsnivå. 
  8. ^ (English) "Institute of Meteorology and Water Management". 

External links[edit]

Media related to Skellefteå at Wikimedia Commons