Norrköping is a fairly large city for Sweden on the Mutala River. Historically, industry has been actively developing here, but over the past 40-50 years there has been a sharp change in course: the city has become cultural, student and creative. Or at least strives for it. In any case, Norrköping is worth a trip for a day and even more: this is a great example of how obsolete industrial quarters can be turned into an art object and a major city attraction.
You can fish here right in the middle of the city; and it happens that trout and salmon weighing 10 kg are fished here. Fishing permits can be bought at the Tourist Office.
How to get to Norrköping
According to Wholevehicles, Norrköping Airport receives flights from Copenhagen, Helsinki and Munich. In addition, the city is only 60 km from Stockholm Airport. High-speed train X2000 from Stockholm to Malmö makes a stop in Norrköpping. Well, the last option is to get by regular bus, for example, Swebus Express.
Norrköping originally had three tram routes, but the first of these was abolished, so today trams No. 2 and No. 3 run in the city.
The history of the city began with a medieval settlement, and today it is impossible to say exactly when. But the first written mention of the city church, consecrated in honor of St. Olaf, dates back to the 12th century. The river became a source of vitality for Norrköping: dams were built on it, from which mills worked; besides, there were many fish in Mutala. Norrköping officially received city status in the 14th century. And by the 19th century, the city became one of the major industrial centers, where mainly fabrics were made. And today, it is the industrial past of those times that serves as the basis for the heritage of Norrköping: the old buildings were restored and many museums, cultural centers and art venues were placed in them.
The name, which ends with “-köping” (there are many of them in Sweden), shows that the city was historically a trading city.
Entertainment and attractions in Norrköping
The center of Norrköping is so big. It is essentially enclosed in a square between three main roads, which are called promenades – “promenaderna” in Swedish. Actually, walking along them, you can get an impression of the city as a whole and see all the most basic things in Norrköping. So that later, with a clear conscience, go for a walk in the old industrial quarter with picturesque stone factory buildings: although it sounds a little unusual, the place is really atmospheric, even beautiful, and it’s nice to be here.
One of the main attractions of the city is the Labor Museum. It is worth a visit, especially since admission is free. In itself, the contrasting yellow building with vertical stripes is of particular interest: it occupies the entire small island of Laxholmen in the course of the river and, therefore, repeats the outlines of its coastline. Therefore, the building has seven corners, and the people call it “iron”. In addition, the industrial quarter surrounding the museum is also worth seeing: here, in a limited area, a science park, a tourist center, a church, an art school, a university campus and a pretty waterfall are collected. Also nearby are several smaller museums: for example, the mill. Before entering it, you can see a large stone millstone, which was used to grind flour until the very middle of the 20th century.
In the middle of the 20th century, there were more than fifty working factories in the city. True, after only 20 years, more than forty of them closed, and Norrköping began to build up instead of industrial educational potential.
The Kunstmuseum on Christianplatzen owns an extensive collection of exhibits from the 20th century. The most modern art is also widely represented here. The museum is open for free visits. Another interesting museum is the stone carvings, where you can see the products of prehistoric times or buy more modern handmade gizmos. And the entrance to this museum is also free.
The cactus garden is a fun and somewhat unexpected attraction in these latitudes. Nevertheless, in the park named after King Charles XIV Johan (near the railway station) you can see more than 25,000 assorted cacti. In summer, cacti are planted directly in open flower beds and form bizarre patterns with inscriptions; the appearance of the flower beds changes every year. Here, in the open air, defying all the laws of logic, palm trees and agaves grow.
5 things to do in Norrköping:
- Riding the fast and quiet yellow tram is one of the best ways to get around the city. A ticket bought in the tram itself will cost twice as much as a ticket purchased in advance at a kiosk or supermarket.
- Take a day trip to Linköping: the train goes here in less than half an hour and leaves every 15 minutes. Admire the beautiful cathedral and look into museums – aviation, railway or chocolate, who cares.
- Climb the tower of the City Hall to admire the city from an observation deck at a height of fifty meters – if you can get there.
- Take a picture of a sculpted man with a chair at the entrance to the city. It makes sense, since a person does not sit on a chair, but holds it above his head by one leg.
- You can also see a small interesting monument on Skvallertorget Square: it reminds of the history of “grandmother for grandfather”, only the role of a turnip is played by a golden calf.
Tourists who come to Norrköping not for the sake of museums and exhibitions can be advised to take a walk along Strömmen (in translation, this means “stream”). Strömmen is a pleasant walk along the river, which is automatically combined with a tour of dams and industrial facilities. Here you can see old wooden houses built right on top of the canal, and some fragments of the route are even “built into” old structures that were not dismantled. The looping route starts in the main city park (Stadsparken) and ends at the entrance to the old industrial area. True, it is still better not to walk here at night: part of the route is not illuminated.
Norrköping has always been considered a very safe city, but in recent years it has seen a surge in crime. It is still quite safe to walk around the city at night, but it is better not to go into the parks out of harm’s way.
Another activity that you can devote a lot of time to in Norrköping is fishing. You can fish here right in the middle of the city; and it happens that trout and salmon weighing 10 kg are fished here. The city authorities annually release the young into the river. Fishing permits can be bought at the Tourist Office or at the Refvens Hus Fishing Center and the necessary equipment can be rented there. Sport fishing is allowed from 15 February to 31 October.
Those who are interested in modern and creative ideas can be advised to pay a visit to the cultural quarter of Hallarn. This is the center of urban contemporary art, where the Ostgetteatren theater, the Dynamo conference center and concert hall, the Briadgatan 34 theater, and the Palace of Culture are located. The entire block is lavishly decorated with street art, metal design structures, sculptures and installations. The quarter is located between the streets of Kunigsgaten, Slottsgaten and Tunnbindaregaten.
The Egges Theater in Norrköping was the first in Scandinavia to stage Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in 1776.
The Goethe Canal can also be called a peculiar attraction of Norrköping, which originates in the town of Mem just outside the city limits and ends in Sjörtorp. There are 58 locks on the canal and its length is 190 km; it flows through many cities in Sweden and is considered one of the most famous tourist attractions.
30 km northeast of the city is Kolmardens, the largest zoo in the country, which annually welcomes about half a million visitors. The main attraction of the park is the dolphinarium, the only one in Scandinavia where daily shows with dolphins take place. In addition, there is a safari park on the territory of Kolmardens, where you can come by your own car and ride surrounded by animals. True, his visit is paid separately.
About 40 km north of the city is the Reijmyre glassware factory. Here you can see products, the oldest of which were produced in 1810, as well as watch the modern process of making elegant glassware and buy something beautiful.
To the south of the city is the well-preserved Löfstad Palace. The previous owner died in the first half of the 20th century, and since then there have been organized tours of the castle. Regular buses deliver tourists to Löfstad several times a day. There is a restaurant on site.
Also south of Norrköping is the old town of Söderköping. It is worth a visit for several reasons. Firstly, there is a lovely medieval antiquity that caresses the eye here: churches, cobbled streets, St. Lawrence Cathedral of the 13th century and the Town Hall of the 18th century. And secondly, here on the banks of the Goethe Canal, a very peculiar restaurant is open, famous throughout the country. This is Smultronstalet, an ice cream restaurant that specializes exclusively in this delicacy – sweet, salty, hot, black, and so on. It is believed that its taste is unique, and there is no doubt about the grandeur of serving even before the sample: the portions are huge and intricately decorated.