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Luleå ( ; Lule sami: Luleju, Finnish: Luulaja) is a city on the coast of northern Swedenmarker with 45,467 inhabitants in 2005. It is the seat of Luleå Municipalitymarker and the capital of Norrbotten Countymarker.


The town of Luleå is situated on a peninsula where Lule Bay meets the Gulf of Bothniamarker; the bay stretches northwest and becomes the Lule Rivermarker, allowing sea-based transportation across the county. The town's location on the peninsula of Svartöstaden required expansion, and therefor much of its ground area of 2110 square kilometres is human-made. Luleå also has urban areas built on the island of Hertsönmarker which, thanks to Luleå's location, is Sweden's 7th most populated.

The harbour of Luleå — Swedenmarker's fifth-largest transporting over 7 million tons of cargo each year — is of particular significance for iron ore from LKAB's mining in Kirunamarker and Gällivaremarker/Malmbergetmarker. During the winter, sea traffic continues at a virtually unchanged rate with the assistance of icebreakers; Luleå is the home port of the Swedish icebreaker armada.


Luleå archipelago contains over 700 islands, and stretches so far that it reaches the county limit of Norrbottenmarker/Västerbottenmarker and the Finlandmarker border. Archaeological exhibitions have discovered several mazes which were probably used for fertility and agricultural rituals. Of the 300 mazes worldwide which share this distinct pattern, 100 are found on the islands of Luleå.


Luleå New Town from same book.
The most prominent buildings are the church and the town hall.

Luleå was already an important harbour in the 13-15th centuries.

The Royal charter was granted in 1621 by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The original town was situated where Gammelstad (Old Town) is situated today. The town had to be moved in 1649 to the current site, due to the land elevation that had made the bay too shallow for ships to enter.

The Gammelstad Church Townmarker is a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site.

In 1887, a devastating fire destroyed most of the town, sparing only a few buildings. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral (originally the Oscar Fredrik church), dedicated in 1893, is at 67 meters (220 ft) the tallest building in town.


Luleå's commerce and industry is a mix of industry, research, education, trade, and services. The university's educational programmes have attracted new businesses as well as local offices for multinational corporations.

Major employers in the city are the SSAB steelworks and Luleå University of Technologymarker. A Swedish Air Force wing, F 21 (or Norrbotten Air Force Wing), are stationed near Luleå at the neighbouring Luleå Airportmarker. Other major employers include Ferruform (a subsidiary of Scania ABmarker) and Gestamp HardTech (overtaken from SSAB 2005-01-01).

IT industry

The information technology industry in Luleå has about 2000 employees (2008).

Luleå is the home of several major innovations and technological milestones.
  • The First GSM Call (1989)
  • The VDSL standard (2000-2007)
  • Broadcast Radio – RDS, DAB, DARC (1992-1997)
  • The Luleå Algorithm for routing (1997)
  • Mobile Header Compression (1999-2001)
  • Internet Protocols for Smart Objects (2000-)
  • Living Labs – leading European service testbed with 6000 users (2001-)
  • HDTV transport layer for telephony cabling (1996)
  • Software GPS in mobile phones (2005-)
  • OFDM – the basis for 4G (1990-2006)
  • Marratech - pioneers in Internet-based E-meetings (1998-) - acquired by Google, releasing in November 2008 video-chat support in Gmail
  • Arena project, IT in Sports – sensors, handheld wireless video (1999-2002)
  • Estreet project - First large-scale mobile marketing experiment (2000)


Luleå has subarctic climate with short cool summers and long cold and snowy winters. Despite its extremely northern latitude, the climate is relatively mild compared to other places at similar latitude because of the Gulf Stream.




Luleå has a variety of cultural institutions, amongst them Norrbottensteatern, Norrbottens museum, and Norrbotten big band led by Tim Hagans. In January 2007 the Cultural house (Kulturens Hus) was opened. A library, concerts, and art exhibitions are all hosted here.


Luleå has many teams competing in a variety of sports including association football (Lira Luleå BK and IFK Luleå), ice hockey (Luleå HF, who play in the Elitserien) and basketball (Plannja Basket for men and Luleå Basket for women; Plannja has won Basketligan 7 times, which is a record). In Luleå there is also an American football team, the Luleå Eskimos.


The number of stores and malls has grown in recent years. Beyond the fact that the city is housing one of the world's first indoor malls, Shopping, there are also the malls Strand, Smedjan, Folksamhuset and the first "youth-galleria" of Sweden, Storgatan 61, located in the city center. There are two main shopping streets in the city centre: Storgatan and Kungsgatan.

A new shopping area in the industrial area of Storheden outside the city was recently built.

UNESCO World heritage

Notable people (alphabetical)

See also


External links

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