There are cities that some people consider to be beautiful while others at the same time cannot understand why. Södertälje must be one of those places that can both amaze and horrify. Fortunately, we do not need to argue about matters of taste.
Södertälje, also referred to as Telge, is a town just south of Stockholm. It is today a part of the county of Stockholm but has historically been a part of the Södermanland region. It has for a long time been an important town as it connects the towns around lake Mälaren with the Baltic Sea, this is due to the canal crossing the central part of town.
With a population of around 70.000 inhabitants, it is the 16th largest city in Sweden. The city became a little bit more famous around the world when it during the Iraq war welcomed twice as many Iraqi refugees as the entire United States, as mentioned by NY Times.
A Short History of Södertälje
Södertälje was first mentioned in the year 1070 as a place on the road between Birka and Skara. It was much later, during the 19th century, that the importance of the town grew. It was at this time that the harbor was extended to welcome larger ships and the canal through Södertälje that connected the Baltic Sea with lake Mälaren was opened in 1819.
At the turn of the 20th century, the town had a population of around 8.000 people. It was also at this time that several industries were established in the town. The most famous ones are probably Aktiebolaget Astra Apotekarnes Kemiska Fabriker, later known as AstraZeneca, and Vagnfabriks-Aktiebolaget i Södertelge, shortened as VABIS and today known as Scania.
The demographics of Södertälje changed a lot in the 1960s and onward. Up until then the population of around 33.000 was quite homogeneous. However, this changed when Astra and Scania-Vabis needed more workers. When workers were not to be found in Sweden, the first waves of Finnish workers started to arrive in Södertälje together with a few Greeks, Italians, and Yugoslavians. The Finnish wave was in the 1970s replaced by a wave of Assyrian refugees and then in the 2000s, there was one more wave of refugees, this time mainly from Iraq.
Five Things to Do In Södertälje
Södertälje is something of a gateway to Lake Mälaren. There are plenty of activities for people who like to go swimming or who just want to relax next to the water. There are possibilities to swim in both lake Mälaren as well as the Baltic Sea and several smaller lakes. Or how about long walks and a nice picnic in nature?
This museum is at the Marcus Wallenberg Hall next to the Scania Head Quarter in Södertälje. There are several old trucks and other vehicles on display showing you most of the history of the company. Find out more about the opening hours on their website >>
There are multiple sports teams in the city. Fans can enjoy ice hockey games at the AXA Sports Center. This is where Södertälje Sportklubb (SSK) plays their home games in the Swedish second division Allsvenskan. Football (or soccer) is played at Södertälje fotbollsarena where both Assyriska FF and Syrianska FC play their home games in the Swedish second division Superettan. When it comes to basketball there are two teams – Södertälje Basketbollklubb and Södertälje Kings – that play in the Swedish top league Svenska basketligan.
Tom Tits Experiment
This is a place where kids can play and have fun for a day. Even Susann came there with her classmates all the way from Finland back in the day. This is an old industrial building filled with different kinds of experiments for kids. There are also several jokes about this place due to its name. It is a bit funny that the headquarter for AstraZeneca is located just across the street. Foreign businessmen and women on a visit did probably look more than once at the big balloon with the name that was previously flying above the building.
Torekällberget is an open-air museum close to the center of the town. Here you will find old buildings guiding you through the history of Södertälje as well as the region of Södermanland. It’s a nice way to learn how people in the area lived during the 19th century.
Going to Södertälje?
Do you want to travel to Södertälje? Here are a few means of going there:
- Car: Two major roads connect Södertälje with the rest of the country. From the north, there are the roads E4 and E20 that connect Södertälje with Stockholm. E4 continues south towards Nyköping, Norrköping and Linköping, while E20 continues west to Strängnäs and Eskilstuna.
- Bus: There are buses connecting Södertälje with the southern part of Sweden and there is also the possibility to transfer to buses to most of Sweden in Stockholm.
- Train: From the train station Södertälje Syd a bit south of the center there are trains connecting Södertälje with most of southern Sweden as well as trains that offer further connections upon arrival in Stockholm. There are also four stations for the local trains that connect the city with Gnesta as well as the rest of Stockholm. These are Södertälje Centrum, Södertälje Hamn, Södertälje Syd and Östertälje.
- Flights: the town is in the middle of a triangle that is formed by four airports. There are Bromma Airport and Arlanda Airport to the north. Bromma is close to the center of Stockholm and Arlanda lies north of Stockholm. Then there is Skavsta Airport in the south, in Nyköping, as well as Västerås Airport to the west in Västerås. These four airports give access to both domestic and international flights, with Arlanda being the largest one.
The driving distance to Södertälje from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 36 kilometers (34 min)
- Gothenburg – 441 kilometers (4 h 33 min)
- Malmö – 580 kilometers (5 h 50 min)
- Luleå – 933 kilometers (10 h 36 min)
- Linköping – 167 kilometers (1 h 46 min)