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Skrapan in Västerås City
Skrapan in Västerås City

Nickname(s): Mälarstaden,

Gurkstaden (Cucumber City)
Västerås is located in Sweden
Coordinates: 59°36′58″N 16°33′10″E / 59.61611°N 16.55278°E / 59.61611; 16.55278Coordinates: 59°36′58″N 16°33′10″E / 59.61611°N 16.55278°E / 59.61611; 16.55278
Country Sweden
Province Västmanland
County Västmanland County
Municipality Västerås Municipality
 • City 52.94 km2 (20.44 sq mi)
 • Metro 962.78 km2 (371.73 sq mi)
Elevation 17 m (56 ft)
Population (31 December 2010 (Metro, 31 December 2013))[1][2]
 • City 110,877
 • Density 2,094/km2 (5,420/sq mi)
 • Metro 142,131 (Västerås Municipality)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 721 00 - 728 20
Area code(s) (+46) 21
Website www.vasteras.se

Västerås [vɛstərˈoːs] is a city in central Sweden, located on the shore of Lake Mälaren in the province Västmanland, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Stockholm. The city had a population of 110,877 inhabitants in 2010,[1] out of the municipal total of 137,207 (2010) (though calculating not the whole municipality but all Västerås' suburbs, the number becomes 128,840 (2010).[3]

Västerås is the seat of Västerås Municipality, the capital of Västmanland County and an episcopal see.


For people interested in aviation, Västerås Flight museum is well worth a visit. It is only open on Sundays and if you're keen to try one of their four real flight simulators contact the museum in advance. Sport interested can find an indoor bandy stadium, and the club Västerås SK is indeed a classic Swedish Bandy team. However, ice hockey is equally popular when Västerås IK play at home. The town has also had clubs in the highest Swedish Football League, Allsvenskan, but so far without any success. Also the town was represented in the top Swedish handball league during many years.

When the surface of lake Mälaren freezes over, many people dare to use the ice. The climate usually, but not every year, allows a few weeks of ice-skating. Good winters make most of the lake available for skating. Since the ice takes some weeks in order to reach a safe thickness and both December and January have short days, the optimal time for skating is from February to March, as the weather allows.

For visitors from more southern latitudes, who want to try ice skating on Lake Mälaren, the following advice is an absolute minimum: pay good attention to local residents who know their lake and ice much better. Ask for help regarding danger zones. And the minimum standard equipment, apart from the skates, is ice-dubbs (well attached to each hand) and a mandatory set of spare dry clothes (use a backpack). Never skate on your own or in darkness. If you should fall into an ice hole, always move in the direction you came from and use the ice dubbs to work yourself back onto safer ice. Helpers must "lay down on the ice" (spreading the body weight optimally) when throwing a life line. Don't use skis or bikes on the ice. Thin ice breaks, which makes the distance back to safe ice far longer.

The grave of controversial and tragic King Eric XIV is shown in the city's cathedral.


Västerås circa 1700, in Suecia antiqua et hodierna.
Gustav I of Sweden in Västerås, 1527. Watercolor reproduction from 1722.

Västerås is one of the oldest cities in Sweden and Northern Europe. The name originates from Västra Aros, which refers to the river mouth of Svartån. The area has been populated since the Nordic Viking Age, before 1000 AD. In the beginning of the 11th century it was the second largest city in Sweden, and by the 12th century had become the seat of the bishop.

Anundshög is located just outside the City of Västerås. Anundshög is Sweden's largest burial mound. "Hög" is derived from the Old Norse word haugr meaning mound or barrow. It was built about 500 AD and is over 74 yards wide and is almost 10 yards high.

In the ensuing centuries a cathedral and a monastery were built. The first City Arms date from the end of the 13th century.

King Gustav I of Sweden called together the riksdag in Västerås. During the riksdag assembly the decision was made to convert Sweden into a Protestant state and to remove the power of the Catholic Church.

Rudbeckianska gymnasiet, the oldest gymnasium (secondary school) in Sweden, was built in Västerås by Johannes Rudbeckius in 1623.

In the 18th and 19th centuries the growing of cucumber became popular, and Västerås received the nickname Gurkstaden (the Cucumber City), which it still retains today.


Östermälarstrand residential area in Västerås harbour.

Västerås is predominantly known as an industrial city, but also a retailing and logistics city. The city wants to distinguish itself as Västerås - Mälarstaden, meaning "Västerås—the city by Lake Mälaren", in order to attract tourists and new inhabitants, as well as students to the local university college, Mälardalen University (approximately 16,000 enrolled students in Västerås and in the nearby Eskilstuna). To this effect, the city has started using a designed logo as branding in some official contexts, partially replacing the coat of arms, as well as rebuilding several old harbor areas to make them more attractive to live in. Västerås has the largest lakeside commercial and recreational port in Scandinavia on Lake Mälaren.

The city also has a skyscraper cordially nicknamed "Skrapan" (English: The Scraper) which has Sweden's highest-located cocktail bar, called Sky Bar, on the 24th floor of the building. Västerås hosts Power Big Meet, an annual event where owners of high-powered American cars can meet.


According to the Köppen climate classification, Västerås experiences a humid continental climate with cold winters and warm summers.

Summers tend to be quite unpredictable with sunny spells but with a risk of sudden showers. The sunniest weather usually occurs when high pressure systems are blocking the low pressure systems that usually moves in from the Atlantic Ocean. Daytime temperatures in July mostly hover around 22 °C (72 °F), but may sometimes exceed 25 °C (77 °F) and occasionally even 30 °C (86 °F).

Winters are usually cold with a snow cover that lasts for several months. Some winters can be mild with longer spells without snow on the ground. The weather differs a lot whether the air masses are coming from the Atlantic Ocean or from the Eurasian continent. In the first case, temperatures over 5 °C (41 °F) might be expected. In the second case, the temperature may not rise above −15 °C (5 °F) in the middle of the day. Lake Mälaren is usually frozen from December until the end of March.

Aerial photo of a wintry Västerås.

The highest official temperature reading of 36.0 °C (96.8 °F) was recorded on July 9, 1966. The lowest temperature of −36.5 °C (−33.7 °F) was recorded on January 24, 1875.[4]

Climate data for Västerås (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 40.0
[citation needed]




The Turbine House

In 1891, the Turbine House, a small hydroelectric dam was built on Svartån, in central Västerås. This early electrification encouraged ASEA, a large electricity equipment manufacturer, to concentrate its operations in Västerås, shifting focus away from Arboga. After the 1988 merger with the power systems company Brown, Boveri & Cie, ASEA became ABB. As a result, Västerås was home to its Swedish headquarters.

ASEA headquarters

Since the Westinghouse takeover of ABB's nuclear business it is owned by Westinghouse Electric. It is situated mainly at the Mimer Complex in the city centre. Production facilities are in Finnslätten and Saltängen. Westinghouse Sweden produces nuclear fuel and offers nuclear services for the Boiling Water Reactor. As of 2014, Westinghouse Sweden had more than 1000 employees.[5] The plant has provided fuel for Ukraine since 2005. On 11 April 2014, after the Russian annexation of Crimea, the contract with Energoatom for the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant was extended through 2020.[6]

Other major industries include transportation like Bombardier with several distribution centres, coppersmiths Outokumpu Copper and IT.

Retailing and trade[edit]

One of the historical reasons that made Västerås a city is its trading-friendly location by the river Svartån and lake Mälaren. The city remains one of the main logistical centers in Sweden due to its central location in the densely populated region Mälardalen and favourable infrastructure connections with railways, waterways and highways. Amongst others, ICA AB has one of its main distribution centres located in Västerås.

Västerås is the birthplace of multinational clothing retailer H&M. Their first store was opened in the town centre in 1947.[7]

Erikslund Shopping Center, on the outskirts of Västerås, is Sweden's biggest mall until Mall of Scandinavia is scheduled to open in 2015, and the retail park is the third biggest in sales after Kungens Kurva and Barkarby.[8][9]

In August 2015 the Västerås IKEA store made worldwide headlines after a knife attack by asylum seekers left two dead and one seriously wounded. Officers were called to the store and found three people with knife injuries in the kitchenware section. The suspects, aged 23 and 35 from Eritrea, were staying in government-provided accommodation in the area, according to local media reports. [10] [11]


ABB Arena Syd, the largest permanent indoor arena for bandy in Sweden
Västerås SK, Swedish champions again in 2015
  • De grönvita (The Green and White), Västerås SK - Founded on January 29, 1904, "The Green and White" is the most successful bandy team in Sweden, with 19 Swedish Championships won. They have the largest permanent indoor arena for bandy in Sweden, ABB Arena Syd. The Bandy World Championship have been played in Västerås several times.
  • VIK Västerås HK, known as VIK Västerås Hockey Klubb. The club had its greatest moment in 1992/1993 when the club won the regular series in the Swedish Elitleague (VIK reached quarter finals in the playoff). In 2000 the club was degraded from the league and faced a financial crisis. The club was declared bankrupt. During the fall of 2000 the club restarted in the lowest division which the team won. Today (2010) they are playing in Hockeyallsvenskan. Among hockey players from Västerås you find: Nicklas Lidström, Tommy Salo, Patrik Berglund, Mikael Backlund and many more.
  • Västerås SK, currently plays in the third tier of Swedish football, Division 1 Norra. Having mostly been playing in the higher divisions of Swedish football. The last time the club was in the premier division was in 1997.
  • IFK Västerås FK, football club in Division 5 Västmanland
  • IK Franke, football club in Division 3 Västra Svealand
  • Juventus IF, football club in Division 3
  • Skiljebo SK, football club in Division 2 Norra Svealand
  • Västerås IK, football club in Division 2 Norra Svealand

Notable natives[edit]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]