Österbybruk is a former company town and ironworks in a region that is today Roslagen. This is a part of the historical province of Uppland and an area famous for its historical mining and many ironworks. Österbybruk is today a locality with around 2.300 inhabitants and it has been able to preserve a big part of its industrial past.
A Short History of Österbybruk
The lands of what is today Österbybruk, previously Österby belonged for a long time to the estate at Örbyhus. The Swedish king Gustav Vasa established ironworks here in the 16th century. The ironworks of Österbybruk came in 1643 in the ownership of the Dutch businessman Louis De Geer. De Geer’s ironworks empire included many more of the company towns in the area, such as Lövstabruk and Gimo. De Geer was only one of several hundreds of Walloon families who moved to Sweden during the 17th century, many of who were employed within the steel production.
The ownership of Österbybruk changed hands several times during the coming centuries. The last private owner was Per Adolf Tamm, who in 1916 sold the ironworks to Gimo-Österby Bruks AB. The production remained active until 1983 when all of the company’s operations in Österbybruk closed down. Österby Gjuteri AB has since made claims to the heritage at their more modern steel foundry.
Österbybruk lies along the Dannemora-Harg Railroad, which was completed in 1878. The last passenger train stopped in Österbybruk in 1960 and the railroad has since only been transporting goods to and from the harbor of Hargshamn.
Things to Do and See
A lot of the tourist attractions of Österbybruk are connected in one way or another with the old ironworks. It is the environment of the former company town that creates that atmosphere and lets visitors dream back to an almost forgotten industrial past.
Österbybruks herrgård, the mansion, has many similarities with many castles in Sweden. The mansion was completed around the year 1780. In addition to the main building, it also includes gardens and other surrounding buildings that still are able to create that 18th-century atmosphere.
The Walloon Forge
This might be the only Walloon Forge in the world that is still working. The forge is usually open during the summer, showcasing the historical processes, equipment, and life. The building has its origins in the 16th century. It has been conducting the Walloon process since the 17th century and has in most parts been unchanged since 1794.
The public library is housed in the old school building, not far from the mansion. For most, it is not the content of the library that makes a visit worthwhile. Instead, it is the building that melts in well with the other buildings of the mansion. The library opened in 2019.
Simbadet is the local beach as well as camping at the shores of lake Stordammen. This is a popular place for locals and tourists during the summer months, either for swimming or enjoying other activities on the lake.
How to Get to Österbybruk
Flights: The closest major airport is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, 74 kilometers away with both domestic and international flights.
Car: Österbybruk is where Road 290 meets Road 292, between Gimo and Örbyhus and between Forsmark and Uppsala.
Bus: Local and regional UL buses connect Österbybruk with the surrounding region.
Train: Upptåget has train connections to and from nearby Örbyhus.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 111 kilometers (1 h 19 min) Gothenburg – 499 kilometers (6 h 2 min) Malmö – 719 kilometers (7 h 37 min) Linköping – 306 kilometers (3 h 16 min) Kiruna – 1141 kilometers (13 h 15 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden