Kumla, Närke, Exploring Sweden

Kumla, Närke – Exploring Sweden

In neighboring Hallsberg you might get stuck due to a canceled train but getting stuck in Kumla might have a completely different meaning. This is a locality in Örebro County that is home to around 17.200 inhabitants as well as one of only three high-security prison facilities in Sweden. So if you happen to visit Kumla, make sure that it is not a one-way trip inside the prison walls.

A Short History of Kumla

Kumla was once the center of the local parish with a church that has its origins in the 12th century. The church was, however, rebuilt in the 19th century and once more in the 1970s when the former was destroyed in a fire. The parish was known for its shoemakers, especially the number of shoemakers that made multiple shoes of the same kind. There is a way of saying in the province of Närke that there are more shoemakers than people in Kumla – “I Kumla bor det mer skomakare än folk“. Considering that the parish is estimated to have had 35 shoemakers in 1850, there might be some truth to the saying.

The current locality began developing in 1862 when the railway through the area opened. It was the railway between Hallsberg and Örebro and it might have been the reason for the ongoing increase in the number of shoemakers. Wikipedia cites sources that tell of 450 shoemakers in 1872 and as many as 1070 in the year 1900. The early years of the 20th century saw the replacement of shoemakers by industrialized manufacturing. Today there is still one company manufacturing shoes in Kumla and that is Arbesko.

The Kumla Prison was completed in 1965 and has since housed some of the most dangerous inmates in Sweden. During the years since there have been two escapes from the prison. The first one occurred in 1972 when 15 inmates escaped and the second was in 1991 when two inmates escaped. All escapees were re-captured.

Things to Do and See

For most visitors, it is not the prison that is the main target. There are a few cozy streets in the center with shops and restaurants, but the residential areas soon take over and offer little new to explore. That takes us to the railway station. Have a look at it and let us know your thoughts. It is not like any other railway station in Sweden.

Kumla Railway Station

The railway through the area opened in 1862 and the current station building was completed in the year 1900. The station was inspired by American architecture and was designed by the architect Folke Zettervall. It is a railway station like none other that we have encountered in Sweden.

Svenska Skoindustrimuseet

The Shoe Industry Museum is dedicated to the region’s history of shoe manufacturing. This is where you can learn more about how shoes have been manufactured through the centuries, how they have been distributed, and how fashion has developed.

Kumla Church

Kumla Church was inaugurated in 1972. It is a stone church that is located on the outskirts of the locality. It replaces a former parish church from the 19th century that was burned down in 1968. The church is today part of the Kumla Congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden.

How to Get to Kumla

  • Flights: Örebro Airport (ORB) is 22 kilometers to the north.
  • Car: Kumla is along Road E20 just south of Örebro.
  • Bus: Local buses from Länstrafiken Örebro connect Kumla with the surrounding region.
  • Train: SJ, Tåg i Bergslagen, and Västtågen have trains to and from Kumla. Destinations include Stockholm, Göteborg, Örebro, and Hallsberg to mention a few.

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

  • Stockholm – 217 kilometers (2 h 27 min)
  • Gothenburg – 267 kilometers (3 h 25 min)
  • Malmö – 486 kilometers (5 h 39 min)
  • Linköping – 111 kilometers (1 h 31 min)
  • Kiruna – 1319 kilometers (15 h 40 min)

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

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