Västerås, Sweden, skyline.

Sweden - Vasteras

This centrally located city in Sweden is about 100km west of Stockholm. It is situated on the banks of the Mälaren Lake and is recognized as one of the oldest cities in the country. Västra Aros has reference to the river mouth of Svartån and is the base of how the city derived its name. Its location supported the city’s growth, as its lake and river were supportive in order to do trading.

It is the capital of Västmanland County. The nickname of the city is Gurkstaden (the Cucumber City) as it was common to grow cucumbers in the 18th and 19th century.

During the Nordic Viking Age, which was before 1000AD, this area was even populated. By the beginning of the 11th century it was the second biggest Swedish city. Current population statistics show it to be the 6th largest city in the country, while records show Västerås having been officially established in 990.

There are surrounding islands and the city’s main island is Björnö, and it is connected to the main land by a small bridge. There is a ferry port at the lake where people can be taken by boat to surrounding islands in the lake. The islands are great for outdoor activities and for anyone to be in natural settings.

Mälardalen University is the city’s university college with about 16000 enrolled students.

Västerås, Sweden, skyline.

The largest burial mound in the country is Anundshög (a diameter of 60 meters and 9 meters high, with other sources stating 14 meters high), which is located outside the city of Västerås. There are large erected rune stones at the site and two large ‘stone ships’. Stone ships are erected stones, placed around a burial site, in the shape of a ship which has been a burial custom in Germany, Baltic States and Scandinavia.

The castle in Västerås was built in about 1200 and then in the mid-1500s Gustav Vava made a significant modification to the building, which today is a museum.

This city can also proudly proclaim to have the Rudbeckianska Gymnasiet which is the oldest gymnasium (secondary school) in the country, built in 1623.

Church Hill (Kyrkbacken) is a lovely site that allows a person to walk along winding lanes and have a great view of some old buildings. This site is precious as many of the city’s old buildings were demolished during the modernization building programs of the 1960s. There are art and craft shops along the routes.

H &M Hennes &Mauritz AB (H&M), which is a multinational clothing retailer, began in the city of Västerås and the first store of this business began selling in 1974. H&M has grown to have stores in 43 countries and has its headquarters in Stockholm. H&M has been rated as the second biggest global clothing retailer. Their clothing is based on the latest fashion and designed for men, women and children.

As the city is small it is convenient to walk anywhere or cycle along the 340km of designated paths. There are of course buses, taxis and cars for local transport when walking or cycling is not chosen.