Umea : The City of Birches

Umea : The City of Birches


Umea, popularly known as the city of birches, is the capital of Northern Sweden. The city, founded in 1622 by King Gustav II Adolf, is the biggest in Norrland and is twelfth largest in Sweden, having a huge population. In 1888, an enormous fire devastated the complete city and hence, was rebuilt with birches planted along the wide avenues to prevent fires from spreading. Umea is a center of education, technical and medical research in Sweden, with two famous universities training over 37000 students. The city has also been elected as European Capital of Culture, 2014.

Geography of the place

 Umea is located on the bay of the Gulf of Bothnia at the mouth of the Umea River, in the south of Vasterbotten and is spread about 600 km, the north of Stockholm and about 400 km, south of the Arctic Circle. It makes the city largest in north of the Stockholm-Uppsala region, and is sometimes referred to as the regional center of northern Sweden. A community of Holmsund situated near the city, servers as its port and from here, and a ferry line goes to the adjoining city of Vaasa in Finland. Because of the near connections to Finland, several Sweden Finns live in Umea too. Umea has a subarctic weather, with short and warm summers. The climate of Umea is subarctic, with short and fairly warm summers. The beach life and boat trips are quite splendid and can drive you crazy and cool. The rafting trips along Sweden’s national rivers, Vindelalven are mind boggling too. Not only in the summers but also in winters, one can enjoy a lot at the place. An ecstatic winter pleasure can be enjoyed by ice fishing on the frozen sea or a lake. Also, the place has many beautiful and pleasant snowmobile routes to explore. One can experience winters to be very lengthy and freezing over here, but it is due to the influence of Gulf Stream.

Education and research at the place


Umea has been a center of education and training for Sweden. As it have some of the leading comprehensive universities of the nation having over 37000 international and multicultural students and over 4200 teachers and researchers from all over the world. The establishment of Umea university in 1965 has largely affected the population of the city making it 75,645 from 50000 inhabitants and is increasing further every year. The university is Sweden’s fifth oldest university. There are two campuses in Umea university, the main campus is located near the University hospital and where most courses and programs are held and where you can find the University library, administration, restaurants and Europe’s largest sports and fitness training center. The Arts campus is located on the east side of town by the banks of Umea River, hosting the Umea Institute of Design, Umea Academy of Fine Arts and School of Architecture.

Other attractions in Umea

Umea features many entertaining spots with beautiful architectures where one can enjoy a lot.

Umedalen Sculpture Park


It is one of the Europe’s foremost sculpture parks, architecture by over 150 great Swedish and International artists.  The design of this beautiful park focuses on the contemporary art and demonstrates an antique collection of modern sculptures. One can enjoy with the eight exhibitions held here from September and May having massive outdoor art displays including the finest sculptures and a wide range of graphic prints.

The Tavelsjoleden trail

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This adventurous trail is spread along 39 kilometers and having breathtaking geological treasures: caves, heath with pine trees, valleys, lakes and bogs and then to have a glamorous view of the Tavelsjo community, one can climb one of the highest mountains in the Umea area.

The Elk House


The Elk House is located to the west of Umea giving a complete educational experience for the kids and adults. The museum is having attractive displays which include the pictures of giant antlers, elks, rock carvings and other interesting finds. Here one can explore things about the elk habitat, what they like to eat. And the best things that can be enjoyed with are the gentle giants and their young in a comfortable enclosed environment.

Holmon Nature Reserve


The Holmon Nature Reserve comprises of a stoical set of islands off the coasts of Umea. One can entertain himself with the sandy beaches, spruce and birch forests and bird watching on bicycles rented locally.

Some more facts about its culture and tradition

 Umea is famous for many beautiful things, one of them is the Norrland Opera and the other one is the Umea Jazz Festival, which is one of the largest Scandinavian festivals for modern jazz. These festivals are fabulously celebrated at the place with great joy and happiness.

One can also explore eternal art and beauty in the museums of Umea, Bildmuseet-Museum of Contemporary Art and Visual culture, museum of the country of Vasterbotten with Gammlia outdoor museum and Swedish Ski Museum. Umea is the center for cultural activities with films and music festivals. Also, the city is the center for television in Northern Sweden with SVT Nord and TV4’s northern region office situated in the city and the main newspapers of the country named, Vasterbotten are also based in Umea.

Umea is also referred to as the home of heavy metal band Meshuggah, quoted as one of the ten most important hard and heavy bands by the Rolling Stone. There are other precious metal bands in Umea too, which includes, Cult of Luna, Hollow, Persuader and  Nocturnal Rites. In 1990s, Umea’s hardcore scene grew due to the influence of Umea hardcore punk bands such as Final Exit, Step Forward, Refused, Abhinanda and Doughnuts and the local labels like Desperate Fight records and Busted Heads records.

The city is also famous for Ny Vag, and independent record label for releasing internationally known artists like AC4, Masshysteri and Invasionen.

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