Västerås [vɛstər'oːs] is a city in central Sweden, located on the shore of Lake Mälaren in the province Västmanland, some 100 km west of Stockholm. The city has a population of 107,005 inhabitants (2005) out of the municipal total of 133,623 (2007).
Västerås is the seat of Västerås Municipality, the capital of Västmanland County and an episcopal see.
Västerås is one of the oldest cities in Sweden and Northern Europe. The name originates from Västra Aros, which refers to the estuary of the river Svartån. The area has been populated since the Nordic Viking Age, before 1000 AD. At 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 Sweden's biggest burial mounds located just outside the City of Västerås. 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.
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 cucumbers was frequent, and Västerås received the nickname Gurkstaden (Cucumber City), which is still occasionally heard today, also Bikecity.
Västerås is predominantly known as an industrial city, but is also a retailing and logistics city. Västerås wants to distinguish itself as Västerås - Mälarstaden
, which means "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, they are using a designed logo as a branding in some official contexts, replacing the coat of arms
Västerås has the largest lakeside port in Scandinavia on Lake Mälaren.
Västerås also has a skyscraper
cordially nicknamed "Skrapan
: The Scraper
) which has Sweden's highest cocktail bar
, the Sky Bar on the 24th floor. Västerås hosts Power Big Meet
, an annual event where owners of typically high powered American cars can meet.
, 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
. Later, after a merger with BBC Brown Boveri
. As a result, Västerås became its de facto Swedish capital. There, it is situated mainly at the Mimer Complex in the city centre with production facilities in Finnslätten and Saltängen.
Other major industries include transportation like Bombardier with several distribution centers, copper smiths Outokumpu Copper and IT.
Retailing and trade
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 birth place of multinational clothing retailer H&M, their first store was opened in the town centre in 1947.
- The "Grönvita" Västerås SK - The Green and White is Swedens most successful team in bandy of all time with 17 Swedish Championships. The Club was founded on the 29th of January 1904.
- In Women's Football Västerås is mostly known for the team Gideonsbergs IF damlag. The team is currently playing in the first division (Not the highest). The team won the Swedish Championships in 1992 and the Nordic Chamionships in 1993.
- Västerås Hockey, known as VIK Västerås Hockey Klubb. The club had its greatest moment in 1990 when the club won the Swedish Elitleague. In 2000 the club was degregaded from the league and faced a financial crisis. The club was declared bancrupt. During the fall of 2000 the club restarted in the lowest division which the team won. Among hockeyplayers from Västerås you find: Nicklas Lidström, Tommy Salo, Patrick Juhlin, Peter Popovic and many more.
- Västerås SK Fotboll currently plays in the Swedish Division 1 North. Have mostly been playing in the higher divisions of Swedish football. The last time the club was in the premier division was in 1997.
- Västerås Friidrottsklubb , Track and field club in Västerås, hosting the 2008 Swedish Championships.
- Dansklubben Marionetterna, members of the Swedish Dancesport Federation. Founded in 1985. Several Swedish- European- Nordic- and World Champions come from the club. Today the club is going through a period of transition, the elder and more experinced dancers have either left the club or stopped competing and young and new dancers are taking their places. The Club focuses on dances such as; Bugg, Dubbelbugg, Lindy Hop, Boogie Woogie and Rock N Roll. Though they also provides classes for dances like Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Street and linedance.
- Esbjörn Svensson, jazz pianist
- Bobo Stenson, jazz pianist
- Embee, hip hop deejay and producer
- Fronda, rapper
- Gary Sundgren, football player
- Linda Rosing, singer, politician, model
- Mai Zetterling, actress
- Maria Bonnevie, actress
- Nicklas Lidström, Ice hockey player
- Pandora, singer
- Patrik Isaksson, swimmer
- Promoe, rapper (member of Looptroop)
- Pugh Rogefeldt, musician
- Pontus Kåmark, football player
- Stefan Pettersson, football player
- Tomas Tranströmer, poet
- Tommy Salo, icehockey player