Luleå (Swedish: [ˈlʉːlɛo] (About this sound listen), Westrobothnian: Lul, Leul, or Leol; Lule Sami: Luleju) is a city on the coast of northern Sweden, and the capital of Norrbotten County, the northernmost county in Sweden. Luleå has about 75,000 inhabitants and is the seat of Luleå Municipality (with a total population of 76,770).

Luleå has the seventh biggest harbor in Sweden for shipping goods.[3] It has a large steel industry and is a center for extensive research. Luleå University of Technology is one of Sweden’s three technology universities (the other two are KTH and Chalmers) and the northernmost university in Sweden.


An engraving of Luleå New Town from Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna. The most prominent buildings are the church and the town hall.

The town's 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 post-glacial rebound that had made the bay too shallow for ships to enter.

The Gammelstad Church Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Gammelstad church

In 1805, Luleå only had 947 inhabitants, but in 1865 Luleå succeeded Piteå as the county town in Norrbotten county and now had around 1400 residents. In the 1860s the industries also started taking root in the city.

The town has been plagued by fires in 1653, 1657 and in 1887, and the fire in 1887 was a devastating fire that destroyed most of the town, sparing only a few buildings. The Neo-Gothic Cathedral (originally the Oscar Fredrik church), dedicated in 1893, standing at 67 meters (220 ft), is the tallest building in town.


Industrial district of Luleå

Luleå's commerce and industry are a mix of industry, research, education, trade, and services.

Major employers in the city are the SSAB steelworks and Luleå University of Technology. A Swedish Air Force wing, F 21 (or Norrbotten Air Force Wing), is stationed near Luleå at the neighbouring Luleå Airport. Other major employers include Ferruform (a subsidiary of Scania AB) and Gestamp HardTech (acquired 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.[4]

  • Broadcast radio: RDS, DAB,[5] DARC (1992–1997)
  • The Luleå algorithm for routing (1997)
  • Living Labs: leading European service testbed with 6000 users (2001–)
  • 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)[citation needed]
  • Estreet project: First large-scale mobile marketing experiment (2000)[citation needed]
  • On 27 October 2011, Facebook announced it would locate its first data center outside of the United States in Luleå. The whole facility is made up by a set of three 28,000 m2 (300,000 ft2) buildings. The first building was to be operational in 2012.[6] The establishment will help turn the Luleå region into a major node for European data traffic. The town's northern location and that it will become a hub for data traffic in Europe has generated a new epithet for the Luleå region – The Node Pole.[7] The Node Pole region provides stable, low-cost electricity that is 100-percent derived from renewable sources. In addition, they cite the benefits of low cooling expenses, given that the region is one of the coolest in Sweden. Sweden's long political stability is cited as another long-term benefit of the Node Pole's location.[8]

Facebook expands into Luleå

One of the Facebook datacenter buildings
American ambassadors at the ice thumb outside Facebook's datacenter in Luleå

The new European computer center in Luleå is Facebook's first investment outside of the US. Some of the reasons that Facebook choose Luleå were because of natural cooling due to the climate, cheap electricity, reliable electrical networks, and clean energy. The computer center is the largest in Europe, with 84,000 m2 (900,000 sq ft) which is comparable to 11 football fields.

The computer center will process large amounts of data through thousands of computers working as one. The establishment of Facebook in Luleå has also led to other companies realizing the potential of establishing in Luleå. The positive effect has also been noticeable at the university where the applications rate has risen with 18 percent- Luleå Science Park has also had an increase with 25 percent of new established companies.


Luleå has a subarctic climate (Köppen: Dfc), which borders on a continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) with short, mild to warm summers and long, cold, snowy winters.

Due to the Gulf Stream, Luleå has a warmer climate than other cities on the same latitude and even some that are further south in Canada, Alaska, Northeast China, and Siberia. During the summer in June and July the temperature in Luleå can some days rise to around +30 degrees Celsius. Summers are very bright, with marginal twillight being the only exception during the summer solstice.

Climate data for Luleå, Sweden, 2002–2014
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.3
Average high °C (°F) −5.1
Average low °C (°F) −12.9
Record low °C (°F) −42.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 34
Mean monthly sunshine hours 23 79 172 221 283 296 309 243 152 91 37 3 1,909
Source #1: SMHI[9]
Source #2: SMHI[10]


Newspapers include:


Public transport

Public transport in Luleå is operated by Luleå Lokaltrafik and consists of five main bus lines, an additional five bus lines, and direct connection bus traffic and night bus service. From Luleå Bus station, Länstrafiken i Norrbotten operates several regional bus lines within Norrbotten County.


Luleå Airport

Luleå Airport (IATA: LLA, ICAO: ESPA), located 7 km (5 mi) south of the city centre, is the fifth largest airport in Sweden, with about 1.2 million yearly passengers.[11] It is the largest airport in Norrland. The domestic route to Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the third busiest domestic route in Sweden with over 1 million passengers per year. Luleå Lokaltrafik operates connections to and from Luleå Airport via Line 4 and 104.

In total, there are seven scheduled destinations and about 15 additional charter destinations. The Stockholm Arlanda Airport route is operated by Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle and serves the vast majority of passengers at the airport with about 16 daily connections each way. Scandinavian Airlines also operates a direct connection to Göteborg Landvetter Airport.

Nextjet operates connections to and from Göteborg Landvetter Airport via Höga Kusten Airport, and their Tromsø Airport - Oulu Airport route lands at Luleå airport on some departures. Jonair offers connections to Pajala Airport.


SJ AB operates Intercity train services to and from Narvik, as well as night train services northbound for Kiruna and Narvik, and southbound for Stockholm and Gothenburg. Norrtåg operates train service from Luleå to Umeå and Kiruna.


The world's first indoor mall [12] was opened in Luleå in 1955 (architect: Ralph Erskine) and was named Shopping. There are two other malls in Luleå: Strand and Smedjan. The main shopping streets in Luleå are Storgatan and Kungsgatan. A few kilometres outside Luleå there is a shopping centre called Storheden.

Shopping, the world's first indoor mall


Luleå has a variety of cultural institutions, among them Norrbottensteatern; Norrbotten 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 is also home to hardcore punk band Raised Fist, melodic death metal band The Duskfall, power metal band Machinae Supremacy and death 'n' roll band Helltrain.

The Theatre of Norrbotten

One of the largest winter festivals in Luleå is the indoor Minus 30-festivalen, held at At Kulturens hus (the House of Culture) annually on a Saturday in mid-March.

Luleå Hamnfestival (Luleå harbor festival) is a big summer event in the center of Luleå, mostly centered around the north harbor. The festival has been a recurring event each summer since 2013. Held in July, it is a free event not targeting a specific group. The festival is the new version of Luleåkalaset which was held each summer from 2002 to 2012, which itself replaced sjöslaget, the summer festival from 1988 to 2002.

Musikens makt (The power of music) is a smaller, free music festival that is held each summer in August at Gültzauudden since 2010.

Ice music is a new art form where professional musicians play on instruments made out of ice. The concerts are performed in a huge igloo and the instruments pulsate in all the colors of the rainbow.


Luleå has many teams competing in a variety of sports.

Three teams in Luleå compete in the highest Swedish leagues: Luleå Basket (female basketball team, previously called Northland Basket); BC Luleå (male basketball team, previously named Plannja Basket and LF Basket Norrland); and Luleå Hockey/MSSK (Munksund-Skuthamns Sportklubb) (female ice hockey team) and Luleå Hockey (male ice hockey team).

Players in Luleå Hockey

Luleå Basket has won two Swedish championships (2014 and 2015), while BC Luleå has won eight Swedish championships (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2017). Luleå Hockey/MSSK female team won their first Swedish Championship in 2016 while the male Luleå Hockey team has won one Swedish Championship in 1996, the European Trophy in 2012 and the Champions Hockey League in 2015.


Ice hockey



The Swedish Championship in Yukigassen is held in Luleå annually.

UNESCO World Heritage

Notable people


panorama of Lulea
Luleå panorama, summer of 2014


See also


  1. ^ "Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2005 och 2010" (in Swedish). Statistics Sweden. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Luleå harbor, "Luleå harbor", 20/10-15
  4. ^ World-class Innovations in ICT, Luleå university of Technology, 2007, http://www.cdt.ltu.se/main.php/LTU237%206-sid%20Folder%20ICT_lo.pdf?fileitem=2365519 Archived 15 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Digital radio requires high data rate". Luleå tekniska universitet. 
  6. ^ "Facebook on Ice: New Data Center to Be Built Near Arctic Circle". Fox News. 27 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Orange, Richard; Lass, Julian (January 2013). "Node Pole". Geographical Magazine. Archived from the original on 15 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Janssen, Cory. "What is the Node Pole? – Definition from". Techopedia.com. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Statistik från väder och vatten – Månads och årsstatistik (Swedish)". Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Hur var vädret? Rekord för Luleå 1945–2011". Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  11. ^ "About the airport". www.swedavia.com. Retrieved 2018-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Basic facts - NCSC". NCSC. Retrieved 2017-09-17. 

External links