Västerås (/ˌvɛstərˈs/ VEST-ər-OHSS, US also /-ˈɔːs/ -⁠AWSS,[4][5][6][7] Swedish: [vɛstɛrˈoːs] ) is a city in central Sweden on the shore of Lake Mälaren in the province of Västmanland, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Stockholm. The city had a population of 127,799 at the end of 2019,[2] out of the municipal total of 158,653.[8][9] Västerås is the seat of Västerås Municipality, the capital of Västmanland County and an episcopal see.

Clockwise from top left: Skrapan, Västerås City Hall, half-timbered buildings alongside Svartån river, Västerås Cathedral and Ottarkontoret
Clockwise from top left: Skrapan, Västerås City Hall, half-timbered buildings alongside Svartån river, Västerås Cathedral and Ottarkontoret
Mälarstaden (The City of Mälaren), Gurkstaden (The Cucumber City)
Västerås is located in Västmanland
Västerås is located in Sweden
Coordinates: 59°36′58″N 16°33′10″E / 59.61611°N 16.55278°E / 59.61611; 16.55278
CountyVästmanland County
MunicipalityVästerås Municipality
 • City52.94 km2 (20.44 sq mi)
 • Metro
962.78 km2 (371.73 sq mi)
17 m (56 ft)
 • City127,799
 • Density2,094/km2 (5,420/sq mi)
 • Metro
154,049 (Västerås Municipality)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
721 00 – 728 20
Area code(+46) 021

History edit

Västerås c. 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 (West Aros), which refers to the river mouth of Svartån. The area has been populated since the Nordic Viking Age, before 1000 CE. 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 CE and is over 68 m (74 yards) wide and is almost 9 m (10 yd) high.

In the ensuing centuries, a cathedral and a monastery were built; the Gothic cathedral, rebuilt by Birger Jarl on an earlier site, and consecrated in 1271, was restored in the 19th century.[10] The first City Arms date from the end of the 13th century. A castle commands the town from an eminence; it was captured by King Gustav I and rebuilt by him, and Eric XIV was confined there from 1573 to 1575.[10] Gustav also 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.

Today edit

Öster mälarstrand 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 lake has many islands, and there are tourist boats that go out to them daily in the summer. The city also has a skyscraper colloquially nicknamed "Skrapan" (English: The Scraper) which has Sweden's highest-located cocktail bar, called Sky Bar, on the 24th floor of the building. Until 2017, Västerås hosted Power Big Meet, an annual event for owners and enthusiasts of classic American cars. The event moved to Lidköping in 2017, with arrangers citing having outgrown the available facilities in Västerås.[11] Long-time Power Big meet collaborator Klas Brink instead arranged the competing Västerås Summer Meet at the same location as Power Big Meet had been arranged for years.[12]

Climate edit

According to the Köppen climate classification, Västerås experiences a humid continental climate bordering, according to the original −3 °C (27 °F) isotherm, an oceanic climate (Dfb/Cfb) 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 move 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.[13]

The Åkesta observatory stands 4km to the north of the town, in Åkesta.[14]

Climate data for Västerås (2003–2018 averages & extremes since 1901)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.2
Mean maximum °C (°F) 6.1
Average high °C (°F) −0.3
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.8
Average low °C (°F) −5.2
Mean minimum °C (°F) −15.8
Record low °C (°F) −31.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 45.2
Source: SMHI Open Data [15][16]

Demographics edit

Economy edit

Industry edit

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 Group. As a result, Västerås is home to its ABB AB Swedish subsidiary headquarters. ABB in Västerås produces e.g. robots and drive systems for the industry, high-voltage direct current transmission and power grids.

ASEA headquarters

A number of business units have been spun out of ABB. Principal among them is Hitachi Energy (Hitachi). Since the Westinghouse takeover of ABB's nuclear business it is owned by Westinghouse Electric Company. It is situated mainly in Finnslätten, an industrial area in the northern part of Västerås. Westinghouse Sweden produces nuclear fuel and offers nuclear services for Boiling Water Reactors and Pressurized water reactors. As of 2014, Westinghouse Sweden had more than 1000 employees.[17] 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.[18]

Mälarenergi AB is a city-owned district heating and electric power provider for Västerås and surrounding area. Mälarenergi owns and operates a number of plants of which the biggest one is the heat and power plant in Västerås. It is Sweden's largest combined heat and power plant, and the latest unit (number 6) uses waste as fuel. Other major industries include Bombardier Transportation, which is active in railway business with production of propulsion systems for trains with worldwide customers, GE Power Sweden, Enics , Quintus Technologies AB (high pressure metal working and material densification equipment for the manufacturing industry) and Northvolt AB which designs, develops and manufactures lithium-ion battery cells and complete battery systems for electric vehicles, heavy transport, mining, and energy industries, as well as portable devices.

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.[19]Erikslund Shopping Center, on the outskirts of Västerås, was Sweden's biggest mall until Mall of Scandinavia opened in 2015, and the retail park is the third biggest in sales after Kungens Kurva and Barkarby.[20][21]

Sports edit

ABB Arena Syd, the largest permanent indoor arena for bandy in Sweden
Västerås SK, Swedish champions again in 2015

Notable natives edit

Travel edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Localities 2010, area, population and density in localities 2005 and 2010 and change in area and population". Statistics Sweden. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Population in localities increased by 120 000". Statistics Sweden. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Population in the country, counties and municipalities by sex and age 31/12/2013". Statistics Sweden. 31 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Västerås". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Västerås". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Västerås" (US) and "Västerås". Oxford Dictionaries UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Västerås". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Kommunfakta". Västerås (in Swedish). 31 December 2022. Archived from the original on 19 August 2023. Retrieved 19 August 2023.
  9. ^ "Kommuner i siffror". kommunsiffror.scb.se. Archived from the original on 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vesterås". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 1056.
  11. ^ Jonsson, Juila (30 October 2015). "Bekräftat: Power Big Meet flyttar från Västerås - "Johannisberg är för litet"" [Confirmed: Power Big Meet moves from Västerås – "Johannisberg is too small"]. Vestmanlands Läns Tidning (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 1 September 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  12. ^ Brischetto, Lucas; Nygren, Frida (2 November 2016). "Klart: Så ska "nya Power meet" heta" [Done: that's how the "new Power meet" should be called]. Vestmanlands Läns Tidning (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 1 September 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Västmanlands klimat" [Climate of Västmanland]. SMHI. Archived from the original on 15 November 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  14. ^ "VARF - Västerås Astronomi och Rymdforskarförening". www.varf.se. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  15. ^ "SMHI Open Data Precipitation for Västerås" (in Swedish). Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  16. ^ "SMHI Open Data Max Min Temperatures for Västerås" (in Swedish). Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Westinghouse Electric Sweden". Company website. Westinghouse. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  18. ^ "More Westinghouse fuel for Ukraine". website. World Nuclear News. 11 April 2014. Archived from the original on 17 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  19. ^ "H&M: Our-History". Archived from the original on 19 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Ikano och Ikea: 136 000 kvm handel vid Globen" [Ikano and Ikea: 136,000 m2 of retail at the Globe] (in Swedish). Fastighetsvärlden. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  21. ^ Östin, Magnus (7 December 2014). "Erikslund behåller sin tredje plats" [Erikslund retains its third place]. Vestmanlands Läns Tidning (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.

External links edit

  Media related to Västerås at Wikimedia Commons   Västerås travel guide from Wikivoyage

KML is from Wikidata