Stories from my travels around the world


 

Around Lake Mälaren, Sweden

Eskilstuna

view over the river EskilstunaŚn
view over the river EskilstunaŚn

Eskilstuna is a very old place. The area around Eskilstuna was already well known during the Vikings. One famous landmark left from that time is the Sigurdsristningen, which dates from 1040. I live just around the corner of these carvings and they are very interesting to see. There is quite a story to tell about them, so I'll do this later on on this page.

On this page I will tell you a bit more about the history of Eskilstuna, and also give tips about sights to see in the city. On the photo you can see a picturesque part of Eskilstuna, it's a view over the river EskilstunaŚn from the Fors Kyrka.

How Eskilstuna got its name

The river EskilstunaŚn from the Fors Kyrka
The river EskilstunaŚn from the Fors Kyrka

Eskilstuna itself was the result of a merger in the Middle-ages of two trades places called Tuna and Fors, which were located on opposite sides of the Eskilstuna River. When the two places became one the city was called Tunafors.

But in 1739 Tunafors changed it's name to Eskilstuna. The city was now called after Saint Eskil. Eskil was a saint who was stoned to death outside Stršngnšs (a neighbouring city) in 1080 on a pagan blotfest. This probably will not be the only time I'll mention Saint Eskil in my pages, as it has had quite an influence on the region. Not only the city of Eskilstuna was named after the saint, also the river got his name. Before this time the river was called the Nšrjan.

Fors Kyrka

Time to take a look a look around in Eskilstuna. Let me start with my favourite spot, the Fors Kyrka (Fors Church). This church in Eskilstuna is really worth a visit. The Fors Church was built in the 11th century on same place as a wooden church used by bishop Eskil from England.

As I have quite a bit to show and tell about the Fors Kyrka, I made a seperate page about it.

Click here (opens in a new window) to see and read much more about the church interior, the story about bishop Eskil and his relation with the Fors Kyrka.

Fors Kyrka
Fors Kyrka

Kloster Church

Kloster Church
Kloster Church

This is the main church in Eskilstuna and it is hard to miss seeing it when you visit this town. It is on the other side of the EskilstunaŚn river from the downtown area. The church is surprisingly new, it was built from 1925 to 1929. I have to admit I always thought it was much older than that.

They were able to build this church because of the foundation of Widow Jeanette Zetterberg from 1867. She was richest woman ever in Eskilstuna and donated a lot for charity, for example money for a new hospital.

Her donation at 1867 of 50.000 riksdaler had grown to 600.000 kronor at the time of the building of the church. The church was designed by architect Otar HŲkerberg and build from 1925 to 1929.

The church is called Kloster church as in the same area was the Johanniter (order of St.John) monastery (=kloster in swedish) was situated. The order of the Johanniter had a great influence on the life in Eskilstuna from 12th to the end of the 16th century.

Inside the Kloster Church

Kloster Church
Kloster Church

I really liked the inside of this church. As it is very 'new' I was afraid of what to see on the inside. But I was pleasantly surprised. There isn't much decoration inside the church, but the architecture made it look wonderful. The high roof, the elegant lights and the use of the bricks make it look really great.

The altarpiece in the Kloster Church

Altarpiece
Altarpiece in the Kloster Church

Because the church is so simple decorated the altarpiece draws all the attention as soon as you step into the church. This altarpiece "The Worship of the Shepherds" is made of Flemish master Martin de Vos, signed 1900 and donated to the church by Elise Ňkerhielm.

"Hand of God", Sculpture by Carl Milles

Hand of God
"Hand of God" by Carl Milles

A sculpture in Eskilstuna that I love is this one by Carl Milles. It is located in the city park Stadsparken and it is called "Hand of God". When you are at the Kloster Church (see previous) follow the river a little bit, and you can see this sculpture towering high above you close to the river bank.

This sculpture "Hand of God" is from 1954 and is one of Milles' most well-known sculptures. It can be found in different parts of the world, in the USA, in Japan, Australia and Indonesia. The original, however, is in Sweden, right here in Eskilstuna.

Stadshuset / City Hall

Stadshuset
Stadshuset

The City Hall of Eskilstuna dates back to 1897 and is designed by Emil Befwe. The City Hall (or "stadshuset" in Swedish) dominates the main square in the city centre called "Fristadstorget". The building looks nice, but isn't that spectacular to see... In my opinion anyway ;-)

The inside though was a surprise for me! It is normally not open for tourists, but I was here to attend some meetings and that gave me the unique opportunity to look around in some of the main halls in the City Hall. Many of the rooms are now transformed into conference rooms, but they did this in style! These conference rooms still have their old looks and breathe the atmosphere of times gone by. You can even see old pieces of furniture placed in strategic places to give the rooms a bit of historical authenticity.

Smederna

Smederna
"Smederna" on the main square 'Fristadstorget'

On the other side of the main square, opposite from the City Hall, you can see this sculpture called "Smederna". It is one of my favourites in the city and it is made by Allan Eberling. The statue is made out of cast iron and was placed on this square in 1959. These two strong men represent the long history of Eskilstuna as a blacksmith town. And this is not the only place where you can see references to that. There are many more of these symbols all over town. And I'll you show you some of them later on in this page.

Relief SEB banken

Relief
The complete relief at the SEB bank

Fristadstorget (this is the main square in the city centre), in the corner, right hand of the City Hall, at the entrance of the SEB bank.

The city fountain

The city fountain
The city fountain

Old industrial buildings

J.O. ÷berg & Son
J.O. ÷berg & Son

Eskilstuna is an old industrial town and that shows clearly in the architecture of many buildings. In the city centre you can still see some of these industrial buildings. Most of them have gotten another use, but their past is still visible. Just pay some attention to the details and you might learn a lot about their past.

This is the old factory of J.O. ÷berg & Son, which started in 1845. They were the biggest and most famous producers of playing cards. They also produced office supplies.

The architect was Emil Befwe. The building dates back to 1907.

The Factori Museet

Door handle
Creative door handle, Faktori museum in Eskilstuna

Welcome to the Faktori museum! I would like to show you around a little bit in this nice little museum in Eskilstuna. The museum is worth the visit when you are in town, and the great part is that it is for free! So don't hesitate to drop in and have a look around for yourself.

And isn't this a great start to enter a museum!? On the entrance door of the museum you will find this great and creative door handle. Hahaha, and as I love doorknockers and door handles, I had (of course) take a picture of it!

The museum is located in the city centre on a little island in the river EskilstunaŚn. It is open from Tuesday till Sunday, from 11 o'clock in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

Steam engines at the Faktori Museum

Steam engines
Steam engines at the Faktori Museum

The museum is divided into several parts, and one of them tells you all about the steam engine. It's quite logical to have this section in the museum as Eskilstuna has a rich industrial history.

There are quite a few of these steam engines on display, and when you're lucky you can see them at work as well. They were not working on the few ocassions I was here, but I mostly visit off-season. I actually don't mind, I just find it is nice and quiet during those times :-)

The steamengines are working every first Sunday of the month from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock (except for months of December and January).

A great place for your camera :-)

Faktori Museum
Faktori Museum

The Faktori Museum is actually a great place to 'freak' around a little bit with your camera. It is not that often that you can get so close to those old industrial machines and be able to take pictures of them. The machines at the Faktori Museum are (often) not fenced off, so you can get as close to them as you like. Now lucky me had the task to do exactly that for my jobb! A great excuse to go back here another time and now look at all the machinery, but now with different eyes. I had the museum almost to myself, which was absolutely great. Enough time just to walk around and take my time taking some photos.

There are quite a few of these steam engines on display, and when you're lucky you can see them at work as well. They were not working on the few ocassions I was here, but I mostly visit off-season. I actually don't mind, I just find it is nice and quiet during those times :-)

The steamengines are working every first Sunday of the month from 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock (except for months of December and January).

Upstairs

from the Johanniter monastery
from the Johanniter monastery

If you walk up the stairs in the Faktori Museum, you will leave the steam engine and industrial part of the museum behind you and now will end up in an area devoted to Eskilstuna's past. One of the things you can read, see and learn all about is the presence of the vikings in this area. A great example of that are the many rune stones still to be found in and around Eskilstuna, of which the Sigurdsristningen is the most famous.

About metal, forging and coffee habbits

Typical products from Eskilstuna
Typical products from Eskilstuna

In this upper part of the museum you can see items that are typical for Eskilstuna. Eskilstuna has always been an industrial city and during its history has focused on a few areas. The main one has been metal and metal forging. And that shows in the products that come from this town. Weapons, instruments, nails, knives, but also cutlery.

A fun detail in Eskilstuna and Sweden's history: did you know that coffee was forbidden to drink for a while in the 17th century? This was a heavy blow for the Swedes as they are true lovers of this drink. And they still are! Swedes are one of the countries that drink the most coffee per capita in the world.

Views over the EskilstunaŚn

Views over the EskilstunaŚn
Views over the EskilstunaŚn

It's time to get outside again for some fresh air. And what a better place to be than actually right here, outside the Faktori Museum. This is one of my favourite spots in Eskilstuna as the views over the EskilstunaŚn are so beautiful on a quiet sunny day like this. You can see a tiny bit of the museum on the left side of the picture.

I crossed the little green bridge on the right to get to the other side of the river and from here you have the best views. The weather in this part of Sweden is often very calm and a perfect 'reflection photo day' like this are quite common. So if you like industrial past in combination with reflections: this is your place to be!

Parken Zoo

Parken Zoo
Parken Zoo

Click here (opens in a new window) to see a photo impression of Parken Zoo.

Skjulsta recreation area

Skjulsta recreation area
Skjulsta recreation area, south of Eskilstuna

This picture is taken from a fornborg, which is a fortification used by the people living in the area. A fornborg was used 200 BC - 1000 AC. They were often situated on high areas like hilltops. There are many fornborg in the area of Eskilstuna and they were 'connected' to each other visually. They are all high up and they could signal the others with fire or smoke.

Nowadays the Skjusta area is used as a recreation area: sunbathing, swimming, rowing, fishing and also hiking. There are many trails in the Skjulsta forest, like this one to the fornborg. But you have to walk a lot uphill though, hahaha, those fornborg were all located on the highest spots in the area. The Skjusta recreation area is located 2 kilometres south of Eskilstuna.

More about Eskilstuna

Skjulsta recreation area
Faktori museum

Click on links below if you are interested in reading/seeing more of Eskilstuna

Around Lake Mšlaren
Faktori Museum  
Fors Kyrka  
Parken Zoo