Home to 130,000 people, Norrkoping is a small city 170 km south of Stockholm with a well-preserved city environment of buildings, squares and parks with an aesthetic shape and style, a wide range of culture in all forms, proximity to nature, and increased international travel possibilities via air, sea, rail and highway.
During my four days in the city, I found these reasons for a visit.
The Museum of Art
Norrkoping Museum of Art on Kristinaplatsen at the end of Drottninggatan shows Swedish art from the 16th century and has one of the country’s finest collections of 20th century art as well as a large graphical collection. Artists include Carl Larsson, GAN, Isaac Grünewald, Max Book, Johan Krouthén and Cecilia Edefalk. Also 21st century video art and photography.
The sculpture park with some 15 sculptures behind the museum also serves as the outdoor café of eko och vego art café in the summer. Mahtab Fattah and her mother keep an organic focus with light lunches, home-baked bread and delicious cakes. The museum shop sells art literature, post cards, gifts and handicraft.
For more art, see the legal Graffiti Wall in Strömparken by the river.
Louis De Geer Concert & Congress
Holmen’s Paper mill on the island of Kvarnholmen was transformed into a concert hall in 1994 and is now Norrkoping’s cultural institution. The De Geer Hall’s concerts average a public of 1,000. During the concert season, Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra – well-known far beyond Scandinavia – holds weekly concerts focused on romantic masters.
The Museum of Work & Norrkoping City Museum
In the middle of the 19th century, Norrkoping was Sweden’s second largest industrial city with many textile mills along the banks of the river. Named one of the country’s most beautiful industrial buildings, the Iron (Strykjärnet) is housed in an old cotton factory and stands on the island Laxholmen in Motala Ström. Inside, the Museum of Work depicts working life and working conditions in an engaging and entertaining way through exhibitions and seminars.
The museum also holds yearly photographic exhibitions with both international and Swedish photographers. The new EWK Museum is the center for political illustration art with a permanent exhibition of work by political cartoonist Ewert Karlsson. Also restaurant, café and museum shop.
Situated at Holmbrogränd in the industrial landscape next to The Museum of Work, Norrkoping City Museum tells the history of Norrkoping hundred years ago when the city was called Sweden’s Manchester. Learn about the life of the artisan workers, see more than 50 handicrafts in the country’s largest exhibition of arts and crafts, and stroll the grounds of green oases, a garden and a summer house.
Visualization Center C
Another place located in the industrial area is Kopparhammaren block’s Visualization Center C, the outcome of a partnership between Linkoping University, the Municipality of Norrkoping, and Norrkoping Science Park and Interactive Institute.
All exhibitions focus on the latest visualization research. Experience the inside of a human body in the exhibition areas, listen to science lectures or watch 3D shows on the cupola-shaped screen of the dome theater, the most modern and technically advanced installation in northern Europe. End your visit in the center’s outdoor café and restaurant by the river.
With 15 individual businesses, small-scale trade and a personal atmosphere, Knäppingsborg at the thoroughfare between campus and downtown is a popular neighborhood for good reasons.
View interior design and decoration, shop for unique clothes, eat freshly baked bread or fika in Bagarstugan Bageri & Brasseri (Knäppingborgsgatan 3), purchase organic, locally produced food in Mimmis Visthus, and enjoy live music at a Wednesday gig night.
The Food Scene
Norrkoping has no shortage of restaurants. Highlights? Italian food and gelato at Pappa Grappa Bar, the city’s only quarter bistro Trattoria & Pizzeria (Gamla Rådstugugatan 26-28), Middle Eastern cuisine in Meze Bar Kök , Spanish gourmet food at Sangria (Olai Kyrkogata 18), or relaxing on the leafy outdoor restaurant of Trädgår´n (The Garden) (Gamla Torget 4) in the heart of the city.
If you come during the summer when the trees are in full bloom, the pedestrian- and cyclist-only promenade Södra Promenaden that begins by the city library is reason enough to visit Norrkoping. Look up at the canopy of tall, green trees on both side of the path and you’ll know what I mean. If not, head to the paths of Strömparken by the river that flows through the city, or The Cactus Display (Kaktusgruppen) of 25,000 cactus plants in Carl Johans Park opposite the railway station.