Alfred Nobel's Karlskoga
|o Mayor||Tony Ring (M)|
|o Total||27.33 km2 (10.55 sq mi)|
|o Density||991/km2 (2,570/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
Karlskoga (Swedish pronunciation: [ka?'skû:?a]) is a locality and the seat of Karlskoga Municipality in Örebro County, Sweden with 27,562 inhabitants in 2018. Karlskoga is the second-largest city in Örebro County. It is located at the northern shore of lake Möckeln, and the small settlement was initially called Möckelns bodar.
Alfred Nobel lived at the Björkborn Manor house, on the property of the Bofors works, which he owned. His residency there is why his will was adjudicated in Karlskoga, establishing the Nobel Prizes.
The name "Karlskoga" is derived from Charles (Karl) IX, with skog meaning woods.
The parish of Karlskoga was established in 1586 and a wooden church was soon built. In the 17th century fourteen small iron works and eight waterdriven hammers for bar iron were established. Most of these were still operating in the 1860s, but the dominating ironworks was the one in nearby Bofors. In 1871, Bofors produced 6,124 metric tons of iron, more than any other plant in Sweden. In 1882, Karlskoga parish (socken) had 11,184 inhabitants.
The town of Karlskoga has evolved around Bofors, which in late 19th century transformed from iron works to a manufacturer of cannon and in the 20th century a more diversified defense industry. Bofors was incorporated in 1873 and has since the 1880s been specializing in the lucrative manufacture of cannon.
The most famous owner of Bofors was Alfred Nobel who owned the company from 1894 until his death in December 1896. He had the key role in reshaping the iron manufacturer to a modern cannon manufacturer and chemical industry. During the summers of 1894-1896 he also lived in the manor house Björkborn. Even though he died in his villa in Sanremo, Italy and had a home in Paris, France it was decided that his residence was at Björkborn in Karlskoga. Because of that it was here his famous testament that was written in Paris 1895 was legally registered, which eventually made it possible to establish the Nobel Prize.
In 1940 the town of Karlskoga and the surrounding area (the same territory as today's Karlskoga Municipality) got the formal title of a city (stad). Since 1971 this term has no legal meaning and only the built-up area is considered a de facto town. Karlskoga spent most of the 20th century as a growing company town to this cannon manufacturer. Only with the demilitarization in the most recent decades has this started to be a problem for the town. There were 8,500 workers in Bofors in 1980, but the number had decreased to 2,600 in 1998.
Such areas have traditionally been financially poor. This led to a significant Swedish emigration to North America from the district in the latter half of the 19th century. Stockholm, Wisconsin was for instance founded in 1854 by immigrants from Karlskoga.
Karlskoga's population grew steadily from the time when arms manufacturer Bofors had started to expand, until the 1970s. Thereafter, it underwent a sharp decline (down by almost 10,000 inhabitants over a 30-year period), with signs of recovery only in the very last few years. Nevertheless, with 27,386 inhabitants, Karlskoga is the second most populous place in Örebro County following Örebro (126,009).
The presence of foreign residents in Karlskoga accounts for 16.5 % of inhabitants. This compares with 19.1 % in the town Örebro.
Karlskoga is twinned with:
The following sports clubs are located in Karlskoga:
Media related to Karlskoga at Wikimedia Commons