Östergötland is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden in the south of Sweden. It borders Småland, Västergötland, Närke, Södermanland and the Baltic Sea.
A small city reasonably close to Stockholm and twinned with Norrkopping a short 20 minute train ride away, Lindköping is a surprisingly English spot. There are several English style pubs as well as a traditional chippy.
The city has expanded to the west from the river, making it somwhat unusual in that case. There is a large steel arch over river, though little information as to why.
Sights & Culture
In true understated Swedish style, the hotel I was staying at was where ABBA founders Bjorn and Benny met. There is little to celebrate this event other than a small information board on one wall with a signed menu.
The Cathedral of Linköping is impressive and a single spire variety, which is unusual in smaller Swedish towns, who seem to prefer the twin spired variety. Originally a much smaller Romanesque basilica in the 12th Century, it has been expanded and rebuilt several times over the centuries, though in keeping with Linköping' somewhat English tone, there area various English architectural features to the Church such as blind arcades.
With one side facing the square next to the cathedral and the cathedral museum, the City Hall is a large and dominant building with an entertaining guidepost telling distances to various international cities.
Dansbanan i Gamla Linköping
Far back in Old Linköping Outdoor museum, an old fashioned dance hall can be found. Closed during the winters, it is open for summer events.
Towards the edge of town, the Old Watertower has been converted to a residential building of apartments. Visible and a key part of the skyline of the city.
Folke Filbyter statue
The main attraction in Stora Torget, the Folke Filbyter statue is smaller than you'd expect given that description and lined up on one edge of the square near the bus stops rather than being central. A historic pagan figure, and the progenitor of Clan Bjelbo, who gave Scandinavia numerous famous figures, he is captured in the statue searching for his grand child.
Sankt Lars Kyrka
A surprisingly new church from the 19th century, it does not feature an alter by rather a marble wall.
Museums & Galleries
In a decision that can only have been made by an artist, the Östergötlands Museum is closed closed for exactly 1000 days for refurbishment.
Linköpings Slotts & Domkyrkomuseum
In a building in front of the cathedral, the Middle ages museum leans hard into the period, with its limited space. The receptionist wears a long black cloak and one of the first exhibits is a pair of mummified black rats which carried the plague.
The ground floor has sets of coins and pottery as well as a family tree showing the coat of arms of various leaders. Upstairs has more precious items as well as weaponry and some costumes for children to wear.
The footings are part of the earliest building, from 1300. Because Medieval Östergötland had a lot of quarries, there were more than the average number of stone churches built.
Further out of town, the free Military Aircraft Museum has a lot of floor space to showcase the assorted planes of Swedish history. The top floor has a series of Interactive exhibits including an overview of all aircraft in Swedish airspace, a tiny wind-tunnel to explore the aerodynamics of wing shape and a fully featured simulator (separate ticket required)
The ground floor is split into two wings. The first has a number of different historic aircraft from Swedish history, including a few from the earliest aviator in Sweden Carl Cederström, (74th certified pilot in the world who died in a plane crash in 1918. There is also aircraft from Sweden's first female aviator, Elsa Andersson. Who died in her third parachute jump in Askersund in 1922.
The second wing, is dedicated to the Cold War and its impact on Sweden as a neurtral power sat between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Because of this, in the 1950s Sweden was one of most powerful air force in the word.
Finally, in the basement lies the remains of a 1952 plane shot down by the Soviets (in Soviet airspace having been caught in a spying run). It took sixty years of searching to find the remains.
Friluftsmuseet Gamla Linköping
Sweden loves its outdoor museums and Linköping is no exception. A short bus-ride outside of town, Gamle Linköping is a large space, backing onto a forest with a number of example houses and shops, some local businesses and a few additional museums.
There is a historic Girls school, a fire station from 1709 and a bank who's gold lettering really stand out in the somewhat drab surroundings. A large barons house can be seen at one edge of the space and a Factory Museum, set with 1920's music helps explain the history of the workers of Linköping. there are several design workshops, in silver, wood and other materials run by local artisans that can be explored.
Based in the Vallaskogen park, the tram museum closes for winter.
One of the most interesting museums in Gamle Linköping, the Grafiska Museum contains examples of various manual and semi automated print machines and methods of paper manufacture. In many ways it is a better experience than the Gutenberg Print Museum in Fribourg.
Entrance is free but they encourage you to buy from the shop or donate (Swish is accepted) . The shop sells items produced by the museum, they are still a print shop as well as a museum.
A further museum in Gamle Linköping, the Fenomenmagasinet is an exhibition of historic Linköping from 1694. Set over two floors, it is not a very large space, but gives an interesting outline of the lives of the locals.
Parks & Gardens
A large forest with some traditional buildings set in its acreage, there is also a working farm on one edge along with the Tram Museum. The farm is primarily old buildings with the occasional modern glass structure breaking it up. Live horses are the primary animal you can see and they come up close to visitors.
The forest itself has good well maintained trails and typical Swedish trees and undergrowth.
Set in the southern end of the city, the Botanical garden is a good size and has a restaurant and a garden centre. The central point is a musical fountain, shooting water in time to the broadcast songs.
Restaurants & Bars
A large Italian restaurant in the center of town right off of Stora Torget, 1854 offers good pizza and good service.
Sports & Activities
Near to the Tram Museum, a miniature golf course can be found.
Norrköping is industrial. It's a city built around industry and that still shows, the river runs through the center and was clearly for canal transport, factory buildings still dot the skyline. Even so, many places are closed for weekend so it can, in certain areas, feel quite lifeless.
Norrköping is trying in a way many other Swedish cities don't. Its a deprived city with a high unemployment running through its history.
Sights & Culture
The castle was originally started in 1614. There is not much left standing, a single gateway tower on a hill, with a wide open field around it. Set in an industrial park about fifteen minutes walk from the train station it is worth a look, but it is not the attraction that it implies when googled.
An events venue on the river, the Värmekyrkan is a popular spot and interesting building.
The building was the home of Holmen paper for a very long time, built in 1705. This use ended almost fourty years ago. The building itself remains in good condition, and is a city wide landmark.
Louis de Geer konsert & kongress
A large concert hall, with a strikingly modern appearance on the riverbank.
Norrköping's prior home for the symphony, its not used more by younger musician. Its in a fairly central location with a square out front offering some artistic statues.
An impressive school near to the art museum.
Facing the Kungsgårdsgymnasiet, the city library is a strong impressive brutalist structure.
Right by the bend in the river the city hall's spire can be seen from all around the city.
Inaugurated in 1673, it is known as the German Church, a small but attractive building sharing a square with the City Hall.
Sankt Olai kyrka
A large church with separate clock-tower in the centre of town.
Museums & Galleries
The city museum is on the bank of the river, just before the Museum of Work.
The temp exhibition was closed for refurbishment. The first floor has a lot of shop examples with info on how they were once used. Glove makers, chimney sweeps. Coopers, bakers can all be seen with their tools and explanations, such as why the benches for coopers have a curve.
On the top floor there are small examples of pre-history of the region as well as some machinery from Norrköpings past.
Likely the largest museum in Norrköping, it consists of seven floors with an espresso house as its cafe. Only four of the floors have exhibitions, the others have different purposes.
The top floor houses a photography exhibition. Focused on the Swedish coal miners. It outlines that part of the reason for a major strike in Swedish coal mining was the book published documenting the conditions and the photographs displayed in this museum. Stark black and white, with powerful contrast.
The sixth floor houses VY restaurant.
On the fifth floor is the "Dare to love Norrköping" exhibit. Once called Sweden's Manchester, it was more prescient than it knew. Originally Swedens primary textile city, the opening of a new channel allowed new larger ships to call into Norrköping and increased its industry, There was already airport and train link, and it had access to Kolmarden, one of Europe's largest zoos. Much like Manchester, the increasing contest from the east drove down pricing and in the 1970s the last textile factory closed, with little to replace it, Norrköping became known as one of Sweden's more deprived areas. In fact, in 1971 only Orebro has higher social security costs than Norrköping. In a further blow to the industry of the town in the 1990s Ericsson's ceased work in Norrköping. Rebranding itself as "The big little city" and a centre for culture, Norrköping attempts to bring tourists in to counter its decline, but still low education levels and major health issues remain. Now, it has fewer industrial workers than nearby Linköping but still seems more of an industrial city in its heart.
The fifth floor also has the "Hey Robot" Exhibit on the growth of in home robotics. Interesting, but feels quite focused on children.
The fourth floor is the museums's office space.
The third is the EEK museum. A Swedish political illustrator. It gives a good insight into the challenge of context. It is tough as a foreigner to follow the satire of those you don't know.
The second floor has the entrance, shop and espresso house.
and the basement, below water level has the "Sound of changes" What did washing once sound like. how about Sewing. Toilets etc. A chance for younger generations to hear what their parents and grandparents grew up knowing.
The Visualisation Centre is a a modern museum based around 3D modelling and a cinema. The fourth floor offers "Decode the code" Featuring interactive examples of computer graphics. For example using gestures to change a tentacle length on a large screen.
On the third floor you can experience VR and information overlays. Outlining how tech lets us see things better, whether that is arial views or x-ray scanning.
The Norrköping Art Museum is surprisingly large. In the basement there are several rooms, primarily charcoal and oils, but in the rearmost room there is a series of mixed media items, a series of vibrant acrylics by Maria Friberg.
The ground floor has Stefan Teleman's work, done as print on textile. Millennial pink background walls with the print being closeups of body parts. The room then opens out to a huge space of his work, coloured in vibrant strokes and giving a strong early 80s pop funk style.
Also on the ground floor, in a single empty room, Katrina Anderson's work is peaceful and light. Featuring ultra pastel square shapes. The room is lit with a sharp white light like a Mediterranean day.
The top floor's two rooms are the permanent collection, Room 2 is Modern with a Swedish focus. Its an interesting collection with a reasonable amount of sculpture. Some very big works dominating certain walls. Room 1 has the traditional paintings from the last few hundred years, It is fine but somewhat bland, reflecting many other collections.
Parks & Gardens
Carl Johans park
A good sized city park right by the train station, you'll often find a number of children there on their bikes doing basic tricks.
Covered for the winter, the Cactus Plant is a staple of Norrköping.
Set around the back of the Art Museum, the Sculpture park has a small handful of sculptures to review. Worth walking around the pathway when visiting the museum, but more an additional exhibit than a location of its own.
Restaurants & Bars
An excellent restaurant in the Museum of Work, it is extremely vegetarian friendly as the lunch of the day was remade for me as a vegetarian option. Upmarket and relaxed, its a good location for a good lunch.
A large Italian restaurant, the garlic bread was served as a stick tower and the pizza was extra thin and crispy. Like many Swedish restaurants service was good until it was time to pay and then it was hard to find a server.
In 2019, I plan to see 12 new counties in Sweden that I've not previously visited.
2019 - Seeing Sweden
Starting in November 2017 and finishing in October 2018 I spent a long weekend, each month, seeing a new city in a foreign country. Calling it my 12 Cities in 12 Months challenge, I ended up seeing eight totally new countries out of the twelve. I also spent a few weeks driving through the alps as an Alpine Adventure adding Austria and Lichtenstein to my new countries visited in 2018 and then ended the year seeing Jordan, Israel and Palestine.
Having done all this, and bringing my total countries visited to 58, I realised I'd not seen nearly as much of my new home country of Sweden, despite being here almost three years. I've visited a reasonable number of the snowboarding locations near to Gothenburg (Åre, Branäs, Romme Alpine, Ulricehamn and Isaberg) and the big cities of Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö) but I've not seen much else that Sweden has to offer.
In 2019, I plan to see 12 new counties in Sweden that I've not previously visited. I've been to seven, and so by the end of 2019 there should be only two counties in Sweden I've not visited.
After my first trip, to Halland south of Gothenburg, I have already noticed a few differences to my international travel. The chains I've come to recognise in Gothenburg are also in these new cities, making it too easy to slip into comfortable locations. The lack of air travel means no restriction on wearing contact lenses and going to less cosmopolitan places should give me more chances to improve my Swedish.