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Västerås
Nickname(s): Mälarstaden,
Gurkstaden (Cucumber City)
Västerås is located in Sweden
Västerås
Coordinates: 59°37′N 16°32′E / 59.617°N 16.533°E / 59.617; 16.533Coordinates: 59°37′N 16°32′E / 59.617°N 16.533°E / 59.617; 16.533
Country Sweden
Province Västmanland
County Västmanland County
Municipality Västerås Municipality
Area [1]
 - Total 51.73 km2 (20 sq mi)
Population (2005-12-31)[1]
 - Total 107,005
 Density 2,068/km2 (5,356.1/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Website vasteras.se

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.

Contents

History

Västerås circa 1700, in Suecia antiqua et hodierna.

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 located just outside the City of Västerås. Anundshög is Sweden's largest burial mounds. 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.

Gustav I of Sweden in Västerås, 1527 (watercolor reproduction of a lost painting made later in this king's reign.)

King Gustav I of Sweden called together the riksdag in Västerås. During the riksdag Sweden the decision was made to transform Sweden into a Protestant state and removing 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 cucumbers was frequent, and Västerås received the nickname Gurkstaden (Cucumber City), which is still occasionally heard today.

Today

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.

Industry

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. Later, after a merger with Brown, Boveri & Cie, ASEA became ABB. 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, coppersmiths 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.

Sports

  • The "Grönvita" Västerås SK - Founded on January 29, 1904, "The Green and White" is the most successful bandy team in Sweden, with 18 Swedish Championships won.
  • In Women's Football Västerås is mostly known for the team Gideonsbergs IF Dam, currently playing in the third division (Div 2 Västra Svealand). The team won the Swedish Championships in 1992 and the Nordic Championships in 1993.
  • 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 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 currently plays in the Swedish Division 1 North. Have mostly been playing in the higher divisions of Swedish soccer team. 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.[citation needed]
  • Dansklubben Marionetterna, members of the Swedish Dancesport Federation. Founded in 1985. Several Swedish- European- Nordic- and World Champions come from the club.

Västerås Roedeers - an American football team, founded 1989

Image gallery

Notable natives

Travel

See also

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Västerås is twinned with:

References

Notes

External links

Murkrona.svg Västerås is one of 133 places with the historical city status in Sweden.


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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Västerås [1] (pronounced roughly Vester-ohs) is in the southern part of central Sweden.

Understand

Västerås is by Swedish standards a quite large city, with 107,000 inhabitants in the city proper, which makes it Sweden's fifth largest, and a total of about 134,000 inhabitants in the municipality as a whole. Västerås is also one of Sweden's oldest cities, being officially established in the year 990.

The city name is derived from Västra (west) Aros (old Swedish name for river mouth), which relates to the estuary of the small river (creek) "Svartån" (Black River) crossing the city towards Lake Mälaren.

Bishop Johannes Rudbeckius founded Sweden's first high school (gymnasium) here in 1623.

Västerås has preserved a selection of older buildings, both by the creek and around (and north of) the city's small Cathedral. They all give the town a bit of a small town atmosphere. Unfortunately hundreds of old houses were demolished, roughly between 1950 and 1975, during one of the country's most thorough city modernization projects. There are however several modern buildings of some architectural interest. The downtown area is generally considered to be of an "urban" feel, mainly because of the skyscraper (cordially nicknamed "Skrapan") with surrounding business, commerce and residential buildings.

Västerås is known for the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) electrical industries (formerly ASEA).

  • By Västerås airport [2] (just 4 miles/6km from the centre) using Ryanair [3] from London Luton or using SAS [4] from their hub at Copenhagen. A town bus (941) [5] connects with Ryanair flights.
  • By Stockholm Arlanda airport, then by bus (501) [6] to Västerås.
  • By Skavsta airport using Ryanair [7].
  • By train. Train station in city centre. The rail operator is SJ [8].
  • By bus. Bus station in city centre, next to train station. The main bus operator is Swebus Express [9].
  • By car. Main road E18 from Stockholm.
  • Västerås city is really small. Walk.
  • The suburbs by bus or car.
  • Taxi for 100 SEK you cover the town. (Taxi Exact +46 21 170000)
  • By bicycle. Västerås is famous for its cycle paths, 340 km of asphalt only for bicycling.

See

Once in Västerås, almost every attraction is well within walking distance or can be reached in no time by public transportation. The city is not very touristy, which could be considered a good thing. This is one of the larger industrial cities in provincial Sweden, situated 110km to the west of the capital.

If you are spending a day in Västerås we recommend that you start at the train station, and then walk through the Vasa Park, to the Museum of Art [10]. Then continue to the Turbine House, which is one of Sweden's first power plants, constructed in 1890 by ASEA. From here you can view the castle [11], famous for the Parliamentary decision of 1527 when King Gustav Wasa abolished Catholicism in Sweden, making Sweden a protestant country. The Västerås castle was originally erected around 1200, but what is seen of the castle today was built by Gustav Vasa mid 1500. The castle is a rather ugly building clearly meant for defence and not to impress by look. Nowadays it is a museum.

Later on you may want to follow Svartån creek northwards to the older parts of Västerås (Stora Torget and the surrounding streets are especially nice), where you also find the old Cathedral dating back to the 13th century. The cathedral is definitely worth a visit. The oldest parts of the cathedral was built around 1200. The oldest son of Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV, is buried in the church. Erik XIV is mostly famous because he was killed by poisoned pea soup. Summertime appointments for guided tours can be made between 11 am and 1 pm at the tourist office. A stone's throw from the Cathedral lies Church Hill (Kyrkbacken), which is the only major part of central Västerås not destroyed by the building programs of the 1960s. Really nice surroundings, where you can walk on the small and winding lanes and look at some of the oldest buildings in Västerås and, if you like, visit local arts and crafts shops.

Anundshög, which lies a few kilometers west of Västerås, is a nice place for a picnic during the summer. Anundshög is an ancient burial mound, 14 metres high and 60 metres across, making it the largest in Sweden. Next to the mound there is two big stone-ships. Take bus 40 towards Tortuna or go by car.

Do

If you like music you should try the jazz club Village [12] or the new concert hall [13] (tickets at Västerås tourist office housed in the same building, just a short walk from the railway station). Sadly the Village jazz club has recently closed due to financial problems, hopefully it will resurrect itself, but almost certainly not in its old building.

ArosFortet [14] is an indoor adventure facility challenging creativity and cooperation in group exercises. From city centre follow Kopparbergsvägen to the north, cross E18, then on the righthand side (about 2 km walking distance from city centre).

There is a quite new bowling facility with a restaurant on Torgatan 1 in the city centre. Book in advance especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Kristiansborgsbadet is a bathing facility with a traditional 25 m pool and a separate section with moist and dry sauna, and cold bath (Romerskt bad). Recommended.

Djäkneberget close to the Cathedral has a nice park featuring hundreds of stones with inscriptions (quotes and names of people) from the enigmatic Sam Lidman that founded the park in the 19th century.

If you have kids try Lögarängsbadet west of Västerås (a couple of kilometers).

If you have half a day or so and transportation is arranged, you can visit the silver mine in Sala about 32km to the north on 67. Just follow the signs to Sala and the "Silvergruvan" is on the left. They give tours each day down into the mine. It's quite an experience both for adults and kids.

Buy

If you're interested in crafts, there's a beautiful pottery along Black River called "Krukmakeriet". It's open on Fridays and Saturdays and you will probably buy from the potter herself. She makes everything by hand and uses techniques like stoneware and raku. It's located close to the cathedral just next to Black River. Take a walk from Stora Torget, head north on the left hand side of Elite Stadshotell, cross the road after 100 meters, turn left til you get to the river and then turn right. You will see the "Krukmakeriet" on the right hand side after a couple of hundred meters. You will find everything from small candleholders to pieces of art.

Eat

If you have a tight travel budget and also want to avoid famous hamburger chains, try to grab a Kebab on a plate at either Hemdals or Sippan. Otherwise choose the vegetarian lasagna at Cafe Gränden, Sturegatan in the city centre.

Some of the city's most classic and oldest restaurants are restaurant Stadskällaren, Stora Torget, and Piazza di Spagna on Vasagatan. The latter is worth a visit just to meet the always friendly staff.

  • Sjökrogen is easy to find if you follow the river all the way down to the lake. It's a nice place to sit outside, right next to the water. Enjoy a good meal or have a drink, just sit in the sun, relax to the view and watch the sailing boats or the small Mälaren ferries come and go.
  • Bill & Bob's Krog, [15] at Stora Torget is another good restaurant. Mains 99-246 SEK.
  • If you're in the mood for a beer then Bishops Arms Pub (between the city centre and the cathedral) is your choice. They have numerous draft beers and 100s different whiskeys.
  • If you want to contemplate life, watch the sunset over Västerås and lake Mälaren, and drink a glass of wine then pick the Skybar, at the top of the Skrapan building (Västerås' only skyscraper).
  • O'Leary's, also located in the centre, close to Stora Torget, has a good selection of draft beers, bar food and a lot of sports on big screen TV.
  • Just around the corner from O'Leary's you'll find Pitcher's - another nice pub.
  • Å, located right on the other side of Svartån from Stora Torget, close to the big glass building of VLT, is a nice cosy place to eat, drink and enjoy music.

Sleep

If you are planning on staying the night and want to experience something slightly different, one of the special hotels by the artist Mikael Genberg is recommended: The Hotel Woodpecker is a single room tree house in the middle of the Wasa Park. The cost per night is around 1000 SEK. The same artist is also responsible for a unique one-room hotel in the lake! The bedroom is underwater.

  • Hotell Arkad, Östermalmsgatan 25, [16].
  • Elite Stadshotellet, Stora Torget, [17].

Get out

If you walk along the river down to the lake you will find a little ferry port on your left side. Boats take you to some of the islands in the lake such as Elba or Ridö. It's a nice way to spend a day or a half.

Björnö is the city's main island. It's easy to find, as there are signs everywhere. It's connected to the main land with a little bridge. There is a nice beach, walking tracks and the possibility to hire kayaks and other boats at Björnögården. In the winter you can rent skies and skates.

Another really nice island is Ängsö just 15 km out of town. Take E18 West, towards Stockholm till the Airport Exit, from the roundabout just follow the signs saying "Ängsö". It's a beautiful island with a little castle, a church, a small cafe where you sit right by the water, and lots of hiking and bike tracks through the beautiful landscape. There's tons of space to relax on the cliffs by the water all by yourself, have a barbecue or swim. A must, when you're in town!

Routes through Västerås
KarlstadArboga  W noframe E  Stockholm
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Swedish

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Swedish Wikipedia has an article on:
Västerås

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Proper noun

Västerås

Västerås
  1. Västerås, a city on Lake Mälaren in the province of Västmanland. The fifth-largest city in Sweden.







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