Welcome to the Arctic Circle. It is here at Naisheden that you will find one of the few easily accessible markings of the line in Sweden. This is a rest area along Road E10 with a former inn. Nearby is also the former military airfield of Överkalix-Naishedens Flygfält. The area lies within Överkalix Municipality in Norrbotten County. This is in many ways the gateway to the far north of Sweden. The only Swedish town north of here is Kiruna.
A Short History of Naisheden
There have been many local inhabitants over the centuries. The name Naisheden comes from the nearby lake of Naisjärv, a name where the languages of Sami, Finnish, and Swedish are mixed. Iron ore from the mines in Gällivare was transported through the area at the end of the 18th century. At that time it was the winter roads that had to bear the weight of the transports. The ground needed to be frozen for roads to be usable. It was not until the 1870s that the construction of a road through the area was completed.
Naisheden was for decades home to a military airfield. It opened in 1943 and was in operation until the 1980s. It was used by the Norrbotten Wing of the Swedish Air Force, also known as “F 21”. The area around the airfield has since mostly been restored and left is a smaller private airfield.
A small permanent population was established in the 1920s. The small settlement had a school and other services up until the 1950s. The 1950s did not only see a decline in local services. It was at this time that the tourist stop at the Arctic Circle was established.
Things to Do and See
Not much seems to be open here, not even during the summer. The rest area at the Arctic Circle has had an inn and other services previously. Now it looks abandoned and the main sight is not as much a sight as a feeling. This is, after all, the Arctic Circle. North of here the sun doesn’t set during the summer and it doesn’t rise during the winter. Yes, you will have to continue much further north to experience these extremes, but this is where the experience will start.
How to Get to Naisheden
- Flights: The nearest airport is Gällivare Lapland Airport (GEV).
- Car: Naisheden is located along Road E10 between Gällivare and Överkalix.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 1029 kilometers (11 h 30 min)
- Gothenburg – 1374 kilometers (15 h 20 min)
- Malmö – 1637 kilometers (17 h 10 min)
- Linköping – 1224 kilometers (13 h 20 min)
- Kiruna – 207 kilometers (2 h 50 min)