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Northern Sweden

The nature in northern Sweden is special, with many lakes and waterways as well as numerous forests. Tourism is one of the most important industries here, and the number of international visitors is on the rise.

Northern Sweden is known for its nature and climate, its light and darkness. There is also something special about the water in these parts of Sweden. The water along the coast meets land and sandy beaches, which allows for swimming. The water in the inland lakes and rivers is perfect for fishing, while the water up in the mountains is at times clean enough to drink.

Umeå, Luleå and Östersund are among the cities where international companies have their headquarters, but tourism is one of the most important industries here.


Many of Sweden’s basic industries are located in the northern parts of the country. Forests are widespread in the region, and the area is rich in natural resources; for instance, mines in northern Sweden account for the majority of the EU’s ore production. A large number of people work with the extraction and processing of natural resources, but since tourism and the experience industry are also large and growing in these regions, many people are also employed in the service sector.

Education in the region has expanded considerably. Both Umeå and Luleå have large universities while Luleå University of Technology is largely focused on technology, with a number of engineering degree programmes and cutting-edge research.

Business activity

Companies such as Volvo, SCA, ABB, LKAB, SSAB, Komatsu and Bosch have large operations in the region; they have many offices outside Sweden and a number of trading partners around the world. It is interesting to note that Facebook built its first computer centre outside the US in Luleå, largely due to its somewhat colder climate.

Östersund is growing not just through tourism. Companies that manufacture goods connected to the area’s biggest tourist attractions such as Woolpower (wool clothing), Lundhags (wilderness clothing), Hilleberg (tents) and Trangia (cooking equipment for outdoor living), are increasing in both number and size.


The whole of northern Sweden is a strong attraction in both the winter and summer. The largest numbers of visitors come from the other Nordic countries or Sweden’s closest continental neighbours – Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Russia. International tourism is growing throughout the region and has done so for the past few years.

Popular destinations attracting visitors to the region are the ski town of Åre, the NorrlandsOperan performance centre in Umeå (75,000) and the Icehotel in Norrbotten (50,000).  

Swedavia’s airports in Northern Sweden 2015

Umeå Airport

  • The leading airport in the province of Västerbotten with the easiest way to get to Stockholm and the rest of the world 
  • 1,05 million passengers (75,000 of which were international)
  • 11 international destinations
  • About 500 employees in some 15 companies

Åre Östersund Airport

  • The province of Jämtland’s gateway to the world and the world’s gateway to the mountains of northern Sweden
  • 465,000 passengers (21,000 of which were international)
  • Over 11 destinations
  • Just over 100 employees in some 10 companies

Luleå Airport

  • Northern Sweden’s largest airport with good access to Stockholm and the world
  • 1,2 million passengers (108,000 of which were international)
  • 15 internationel destinations
  • About 200 employees in some 25 companies

Kiruna Airport

  • The main airport in the region, the gateway to the world and the world’s gateway to the Scandinavian Arctic
  • 260,000 passengers (8,000 of which were international)
  • 3 international destinations
  • Just over 100 employees in some 40 companies