Kristinehamn is a town in the province of Värmland on the shores of Lake Vänern. With a population of around 18.600 inhabitants, it is the seat of the local municipality and the second-largest locality within the county after Karlstad. It has for centuries been an important harbor and the Göta River connected the town with the Atlantic Ocean, a journey made a lot easier after the completion of the Trollhätte Canal in the year 1800.
A Short History of Kristinehamn
The location where Kristinehamn is today has for centuries been a place for a harbor and market. It was earlier known as Bro and was a part of Varnum Parish. This was at the time, as it is today, along the travel routes between Sweden and Norway. An ironwork was established here in 1572 and later king Karl IX gave Bro town rights in 1582. It did, however, not last long, and the rights were moved to Karlstad two years later.
Bro had to wait until 1639 to receive its town privileges. This was also when the name Kristinehamn was established after the soon-to-be Queen Kristina. The town and its harbor were used for the trade of iron. The iron arrived in the town by horse or railway from the region of Bergslagen and was then loaded onto ships for further transport to ironworks.
The army arrived in Kristinehamn in 1942 when Bergslagen Artillery Regiment was moved to the town. It was, however, in large parts dismantled in 2000, and the remaining parts were moved to Boden in 2005. The regiment was re-established in 2022.
Things to Do and See
Lake Vänern is most likely one of the biggest attractions in the area. Along its shores, there are the camping, a few beaches, and several marinas. The two rivers Varnan and Lötälven offer additional opportunities to enjoy nice views.
Bojorten Christine af Bro
Bojort is a type of ship that was common for transports in shallow waters of canals, especially in the Netherlands and in Flandern. The ships were used in Kristinehamn from the 17th century up until the 19th century and are still depicted on the coat of arms for Kristinehamn Municipality.
Christine af Bro was built in 2002 and is a replica of the former Bojort ships that once traveled these waters. The maiden voyage took place in 2005 and Kristinehamn is its home port.
Picasso Sculpture at Strandudden
Pablo Picasso in Kristinehamn? Almost, it was after a collaboration with the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar that there since 1965 is a Picasso sculpture in Kristinehamn. Pablo Picasso created a maquette that Carl Nesjar used as a model for the full-scale sculpture. The final sculpture was approved by Picasso in 1964 prior to the unveiling of the sculpture.
Kristinehamn Art Gallery
Kristinehamn Art Gallery was established in 1997. The exhibitions mostly include modern and contemporary art. The museum is housed in the former mental hospital Marieberg Hospital dating back to 1887.
This might look like a small cathedral, but it is actually only the town’s church. The church was inaugurated in 1858 and replaced the former church of Varnum Parish. This red-brick church is today the main church of Kristinehamn Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.
How to Get to Kristinehamn
- Flights: Karlstad Airport (KSD) is 59 kilometers to the west and Örebro Airport (ORB) is 62 kilometers to the east.
- Car: Kristinehamn is by road E18 between Karlstad and Karlskoga.
- Bus: Local buses from Värmlandstrafik connect Kristinehamn with the surrounding region as well as provide travel options within the town borders. There are also long-distance buses from Flixbus between Oslo and Stockholm that stop here.
- Train: SJ, Tågab, and Vy Tåg have trains to and from Kristinehamn. Destinations include Stockholm, Karlstad, Degerfors, Alvesta, Oslo, and Kongsvinger.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 268 kilometers (3 h 5 min)
- Gothenburg – 249 kilometers (3 h 14 min)
- Malmö – 470 kilometers (5 h 47 min)
- Linköping – 171 kilometers (2 h 23 min)
- Kiruna – 1369 kilometers (16 h 18 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden