Kopparberg, Västmanland – Exploring Sweden

Some know it because of a 19th-century postal stamp and others for the sweet cider. Kopparberg is a locality with a lot of stories and the oldest ones usually refer to copper ore. With a population of around 2.900 inhabitants, it is the seat of Ljusnarsberg Municipality. Despite being a part of the province of Västmanland, Kopparberg is today a part of Örebro County. However, culturewise this is one of the centers for a region known as Bergslagen, where mining has been central to people’s lives.

A Short History of Kopparberg

Copper was found in the area of what is today Kopparberg in 1624. At the time, the name of the area was Lindesås Finnmark, being an area where there were Forest Finns. It was later renamed Ljusnarsberg after the lake Ljusnaren and the mountain. The name Nya Kopparberget, the New Copper Mountain, was used sporadically and made a link with the larger Stora Kopparberget in Falun.

The railway arrived here in 1872 and with it, the final say about the name. Well, with a few changes still to come. The station was named Kopparberg and a settlement started to grow in its vicinity. The new settlement became a market town in 1908.

The mining of copper continued until 1975 when the owner Boliden closed the last mine Ljusnarsberg Mine. The closure of the mine has resulted in a decline in population in the area from its peak of more than 4.500 inhabitants in the mid-20th century.

The Postal Stamp

And how was it with the postal stamp? A Swedish three-skilling banco postal stamp was canceled at a post office in Kopparberg in 1857. What was special about this stamp was its color. The three skilling banco was blue-green, this one was yellow. The big mystery is if the person canceling the stamp noticed the color difference or not? After all, it was just a few years after the introduction of stamps in Sweden in 1855.

What is known is that this stamp is today most likely the only one of its kind and valued above one million dollars. This makes it one of the most expensive postal stamps in the world today.

Things to Do and See

With its red timber buildings and the mining history, it is not hard to guess what the focus for most visitors will be. Mining is in the center of everything here and copper is the local gold.

The Courthouse

The courthouse, Tingshuset in Swedish, was built in 1641 and was originally used by the mining company. It then included an office for the administration of the mine. It was first in 1893, after a reconstruction, that the building became the local courthouse for a short period of time. Since the court moved, the municipality has mostly used the building.

Ljusnarsberg Church

The Ljusnarsberg Church is just a short walk from the courthouse and follows the same color scheme. It dates back to the 17th century and received its current shape in the 1890s.

Finnkullberget Nature Reserve

Finnkullberget Nature Reserve covers an area of around 90 hectares and was established in 2007. The forested hill is there to invite locals and visitors to outdoor activities.

Ljusnarsbergsfältet

Ljusnarsbergsfältet is the mining area on the hill directly next to the center of Kopparberg. This is where the first copper ore was found in 1624 and it is today possible to walk around a few of the old mining pits read about their history.

Hiking: Kopparstigen

The hiking path that also includes the mining fields Ljusnarsbergsfältet is about 2.5 kilometers long. In addition to the mines, it also passes by several of the other sights in Kopparberg.

The Local Heritage Museums

The local heritage organization has a total of eight museums in Kopparberg. These include the Photo Studio, the Post Museum, the Goldsmith Museum, The Shoemaker Museum, the Costumes Museum, The Peasant Museum, and Kaveltorps Mining Museum.

How to Get to Kopparberg

Flights: Closest airports are Örebro Airport (ORB), 93 kilometers away, and Dala Airport (BLE), 86 kilometers away. Both have mostly charter and domestic flights. In addition, there is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, 221 kilometers away with international flights.
Car: Kopparberg is along road 50 between Lindesberg and Ludvika.
Bus: Local and regional buses from Länstrafiken Örebro connect Kopparberg with the surrounding region.
Train: TiB/SJ has trains to Kopparberg from from several towns, such as Borlänge, Gävle, Hallsberg, and Örebro.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

Stockholm – 219 kilometers (2h 48min)
Gothenburg – 362 kilometers (4h 37min)
Malmö – 586 kilometers (6h 27min)
Linköping – 204 kilometers (2h 44min)
Kiruna – 1255 kilometers (14h 43min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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