Birches

Facts about Umeå

Umeå is situated on the inlet of the Gulf of Bothnia at the mouth of the Ume River, in the south of Västerbotten. Umeå is about 600 km north of Stockholm and about 400 km south of the Arctic Circle. It is the largest city north of the Stockholm-Uppsala region. The climate of Umeå is subarctic, with short and fairly warm summers. Winters are lengthy and freezing.

In 1622, the city was founded by King Gustav II Adolf. On 25 June 1888, a fire devastated Umeå and at least 2,300 of the 3,000 inhabitants became homeless. In the restoration following the fire, birch trees were planted along wide avenues to prevent future fires from spreading. For this reason Umeå is sometimes known as the “City of Birches” and the name of the Umeå ice-hockey team, Björklöven, means “The Birch Leaves”.

The establishment of the university in the mid 1960s led to a population expansion which still continues, with about 1000 new inhabitants every year. The university hospital serves the entire region of northern Sweden.

Some key years

3000 B.C.  Norrfors rock carvings

1622  Umeå founded by King Gustav II Adolf

1809  Battle of Sävar, the last battle fought on Swedish soil

1864  Umeå Music Association is formed

1888  The Great Fire makes almost all of the population homeless

1896  The railway comes to Umeå

1962  Umeå Airport opens

1965  Umeå University opens

1968  Umeå Jazz festival has its premier

1974  Norrlandsoperan opens

1992  Umeå becomes Norrland’s most populous municipality

2009  Umeå designated European Capital of Culture 2014

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