Falun and its around 37.000 inhabitants have shown that there is a life after the closure of a mine that has formed the area for centuries. The mine is today a part of World Heritage Falun, a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers a large part of the urban area. The locality plays a central role in many traditional Swedish items such as the color falu red and the sausage falukorv.
A Short History of Falun
The first known document mentioning the mine at Tiskasjöberg dates back to the late 13th century. Tiskasjöberg would later be known as Kopparberget, the copper mountain. The mining was done by men from the surrounding area. The area developed during the 14th century with a weekly market, which would later become a permanent settlement known as Falan. There are still signs around Falun from the Middle Ages, mainly the street layout and the Stora Kopparberg Church.
Falun received town privileges both in 1608 and 1624, but they were never really implemented. It wasn’t until the third attempt in 1641 that Falun became a town. In the middle of the 17th century, Falun had grown to become the second largest town in Sweden, after Stockholm.
The decline of mining in Falun began at the end of the 17th century, with the significant earth slide in 1687. The mine has since continued to be an important part of Falun, both with the continuing mining for another 300 years until 1992 and also after that as a major tourist attraction.
The decline in mining also resulted in a declining population until the opening of the railway in the mid-19th century. The railway meant an increase in industrial production, but Falun also grew within the fields of administration and education. Falun stayed as a town until the municipality reforms of 1971 when Falun was reclassified as a locality.
Things to Do and See
The many museums in Falun tell the story of a long and rich history. The world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site includes more than only the mine.
World Heritage Falun & Falu Mine
The “Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun” is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001. It is the large mining excavation, the Great Pit, of the mine that is the main attraction. It is Falun’s industrial past that is worth saving for the future and with the mine comes the 17th-century town planning and the historical buildings.
Elsborg, Östanfors & Gamla Herrgården
The streets of Elsborg, Östanfors, and Gamla Herrgården are lined with red timber houses that once were the home of the miners and foundry workers of the mine. The red paint is from Falun and is known as falu red.
Gamla Herrgården is one of the oldest settlements in the area. Some of the buildings in these three areas date back to the 17th century. The areas also form a part of World Heritage Falun.
The Railway Museum was opened in the 1990s and showcases old steam locomotives and other vehicles of the railway. Falun’s connection with the railway has shaped the town’s history since the mid-19th-century.
Dalarnas Regiment Museum
The Regiment of Dalarna was established for the first time in 1625. The regiment saw several battles during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of the more noteworthy being Lützen in 1632, Poltava in 1709, and Gadebusch in 1712. The museum covers the more recent history from 1908 to 2000, including the times of the first and second world wars and the Cold War.
Dalarna Museum is the county museum for which Falun is the central urban area. The county covers mostly what was once the province of Dalarna. The museum’s collection has been expanding since its establishment in 1862 and has now around 60.000 objects. The museum’s exhibitions include local paintings, handicraft, folk costumes, and a lot more.
Vass Britas Gård
The darkened color comes from the smoke of the roasting furnace as it has blackened the walls. The house probably dates back to the 17th century and does today include three flats to accommodate visitors. It is named after the miner’s wife Vass Brita Ersdotter who moved to Falun in the 1880s.
How to get to Falun
- Flights: The closest airport is Dala Airport (BLE) is located 27 kilometers away. It connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
- Car: Falun is located along the E16 between Gävle and Malung.
- Train: There are long-distance trains connecting Falun with Gävle, Mjölby, Stockholm, Örebro, and a few more.
- Bus: There are regional buses connecting Falun with the surrounding area as well as national services.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 259 kilometers (2 h 51 min)
- Gothenburg – 466 kilometers (5 h 46 min)
- Malmö – 682 kilometers (7 h 22 min)
- Linköping – 305 kilometers (4 h 1 min)
- Kiruna – 1154 kilometers (13 h 3 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden