Enköping is a town along the shores of Lake Mälaren. It is today a part of Uppsala County but belongs historically to the province of Uppland. The town has today around 25.000 inhabitants and was once known as Pepparrotsstaden, the Horseradish Town.
A Short History of Enköping
The first known mention of Enköping dates back to the second half of the 12th century and is one of the oldest written sources in Sweden. It is uncertain how long Enköping has been a town. There are town privileges dating back to 1413, but it is believed that the town is a lot older.
A Three Centuries Long Hardship
Enköping struggled during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The Plague, or Black Death, hit hard during the 16th century and one source even suggests that it left the town empty. The Plague was followed by several devastating town fires and a decline in the important iron trade from the iron mines in Bergslagen. Trade moved to other larger centers of trade during this period as Enköping saw further hits to its reputation. The three centuries ended with the town fire of 1799 that destroyed large parts of the town and resulted in a re-thinking about the street layout.
Industrialization and Horseradish
Enköping re-emerged in the 19th century with handicraft, trade, and the farming of root crops. The town became especially famous for horseradish. The population once more started to grow after the earlier stagnation. The number of inhabitants more than doubled in 100 years from 1100 inhabitants at the beginning of the 19th century. However, Enköping was still a small town at the beginning of the 20th century, even though the railway had arrived in 1876 and meant a big lift for the town.
The farming of horseradish started in the 1860s and it made up two-thirds of the farming in Enköping. The production, however, started to decline in the 20th century.
Industrial production also began in the 19th century, with several companies that would grow during the 20th century. One of these was Enköpoings Mekaniska Verkstad that later became a part of Bahco. A few ownership changes later, the production was moved to Spain in 2008. Other industrial producers have been ABB Fläkt Produkt and Nordströms Linbanor.
Things to Do and See in Enköping
Enköping is a town with many parks and areas perfect for walking. In addition, the town is surrounded by history and possible excursions. The stone carvings are many and there are plenty of old churches and farms in the vicinity.
Located in the old town hall from 1783 is Enköping Museum. The museum tells of the local history from the Stone Age up until today. In addition to the history, this is also where visitors can learn about the local culture and the area’s people.
Vårfrukyrka is the central church for both the town parish of Enköping as well as for Vårfrukyrka Parish. It is one of the oldest churches in Sweden and construction is believed to have begun already in the early 12th century.
Afzeliiplan is the oldest park in the town and was supposed to be the meeting point for the ladies of the wealthier families. The park was built in 1899 and it is named after the vicar Arvid August Afzelius.
Skolparken is a larger park right next to the church. It houses a popular playground and has space for the many events that take place here.
Gustav Adolfs Plan
This is a park that was established in the 1930s. It is named after the former king Gustav Adolf and is located close to the main square. At its center is a fountain. This is also a popular spot for anyone waiting for a bus at the nearby bus station.
Enköping was earlier home to a Franciscan convent. It was built in the 13th century and would be demolished as soon as the 17th century. Today it is only parts of the foundation that is still visible and the surrounding area is a park.
Munksundskällan is today a park with an 18th-century pump station. But this was once the location where the locals collected their water, an activity that started here at least as early as the Middle Ages.
How to Get to Enköping
- Flights: The closest airport is Stockholm Västerås Airport (VST), 28 kilometers away, which has mostly low-cost carriers. In addition, there is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN), 80 kilometers away with both domestic and international flights.
- Car: Enköping is along the E18 between Stockholm and Västerås.
- Bus: Local and regional buses from UL connect Enköping with the surrounding region. There are also long-distance bus routes with Flexibus available.
- Train: SJ has trains to and from Enköping and connects the town with Gothenburg, Hallsberg, Stockholm, and Västerås.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 80 kilometers (56 min) Gothenburg – 411 kilometers (4 h 48 min) Malmö – 618 kilometers (6 h 35 min) Linköping – 203 kilometers (2 h 31 min) Kiruna – 1216 kilometers (13 h 34 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden