Almost half students
Umeå, commonly called the City of Birches, has experienced one of Sweden’s largest increases in population since the mid 1960s. This was when the city university was founded, which today leaves it mark across the whole city. Not so surprising considering that 40 per cent of all Umeå residents are students. The latest addition to the university is the School of Architecture, which together with the Institute of Design and Academy of Fine Arts form a creative and artistic campus.
When Umeå was founded at the start of the seventeenth century, the city was located by the sea. Today you must travel some twenty kilometres from the river mouth and Umeå’s outport Holmsund in order to reach the city centre. The reason is 400 years of continual land elevation.
Indoor festivals, jazz and opera
In 2014, Umeå will be the European Capital of Culture. But even today those interested in culture can enjoy festivals, concerts and lectures. The music scene spans everything from folk and jazz evenings to large rock concerts and classical music.
Did you know that Umeå holds the country’s largest indoor festival with pop, rock and club music – Umeå Open? The city also takes great pride in holding Europe’s oldest jazz festival. The appreciation of Umeå residents of their cultural offer is not least apparant in the Kulturnatta festival, which makes a third of Umeå residents leave the comfort of their sofas.
Norrlandsoperan is another cultural hub in the region, and creates new and exciting expressions within dance, opera, music and art. The opera has its own symphony orchestra with an admired repertoire.
The Umeåälven and Vindeälven rivers converge northwest of Umeå. Whilst Umeåälven river contributes to Sweden’s electricity supply, Vindelälven river remains one of the most untouched rivers in the country. Here you can try out white-water rafting, paddling and other wilderness adventures.
Meet the king of the forest
If you appreciate unusual animals, at Umeå you can meet the king of the forest – the moose. Everyone is welcome to meet the animals at the Moose House, and a guided tour adds to the excitement. With over 25,000 visitors per year, the Moose House has become one of the municipality’s largest companies within tourism.