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Eskilstuna
Rothoffsvillan, Tullgatan 4 - 08 508 285 00
birgitta.berg7@eskilstuna.se

Eskilstuna's history dates back to medieval times when English monk Saint Eskil made "Tuna" his base and diocese of the South coast of Lake Mälaren. Saint Eskil was stoned to death by the pagan vikings of neighbouring town Strängnäs, 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of Eskilstuna, trying to convert them to Christianity. Saint Eskil was buried in his monastery church in Tuna. Later the pagan city of Strängnäs was Christianised and was given the privilege of becoming diocese of South Lake Mälaren. Later "Eskil" was added in to the word "Tuna". However, the town of Eskilstuna did not receive municipal privileges due to its proximity to the medieval city of Torshälla. The monastery of Saint Eskil was completely destroyed by Swedish king Gustav Vasa during the Protestant Reformation and was replaced with the royal castle of Eskilstuna House. The city's first city privileges were granted in 1659, and its boundaries included Tunafors and the newly founded town of Karl Gustavs Stad ("City of Karl Gustav"), located on the west side of the river. Karl Gustavs Stad was built around the iron forges of master smith Reinhold Rademacher, encouraged by King Karl X Gustav. The first products of the forges were small arms and artillery.

Karl Gustavs Stad was a free town from 1771, where manufacturers and craftsmen were allowed to establish tax-free workshops and factories. The town was merged with the rest of Eskilstuna in 1879.

The city grew enormously during the Industrial Revolution and became one of the most important industrial cities of Sweden, earning the nickname "Stålstaden" ("The City of Steel"). Aside from firearms, the city also produced cutlery, scissors, keys, machine tools and precision instruments. As a tribute to the steel industry, the figure of a steel worker is included in the city's coat of arms. Eskilstuna is sometimes called The Sheffield of Sweden, Sheffield being a (much larger) industrial city famous for the quality (and quantity) of the steel produced there. Both cities at their peak were home to numerous different companies involved in steel production.

Eskilstuna remains an important industrial city with internationally known companies such as Volvo Wheel loaders, main site for the heavy construction equipment division of Volvo, Assa (locks, keys), and Stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu, Thin Strip Nyby in Torshälla.

The modern co-establishment of the Mälardalen University together with the twice as large neighbouring city of Västerås, has also given Eskilstuna an academic touch. The city also has a combined zoo and amusement park - Parken Zoo.


Leon Edgar Books