There are few towns and cities in Sweden that could match the history of Strängnäs. This is especially visible when it comes to the religious history of the country. It is one of Sweden’s oldest towns and the cathedral made it into one of the country’s most important towns during the medieval ages.
Today Strängnäs is a charming town situated on the shores of lake Mälaren, Sweden’s third largest lake after Vänern and Vättern. The town is home to approximately 11.000 inhabitants and it is the center town of Strängnäs municipality. The municipality also includes towns such as Mariefred. It belongs to Södermanland County and the historical province of Södermanland.
We have been to this town a few times as we have relatives living there. But visiting the center of Strängnäs is something that is not so common for us. As in most cases when you have relatives in an area, you usually prioritize them over actually exploring the area in which they live. One thing is for sure, Stängnäs is a really nice town to stroll around in.
A Short History of Strängnäs
The construction of the cathedral in Strängnäs was started in the 1260s. It has been in use from the 1280s and onwards. This made Strängnäs one of Sweden’s most important towns during medieval times as the town became the seat of the bishop.
One of the more important events in the history of Strängnäs happened in 1523. On the day that is now the National Day of Sweden – the 6th of June – Gustav Vasa was elected king of Sweden in Strängnäs. The king made a lasting mark on Swedish history as he ended the rule of Danish kings in Sweden. The independence has been secure ever since.
The first newspaper in Sweden was published in Strängnäs in 1624. It was published by the bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gotus and the first edition had several articles about the Thirty Year War. This particular newspaper no longer exists. However, another one of Sweden’s oldest newspapers – Strängnäs Tidning – founded in 1846 – can still be read today.
The 20th century brought with it a lot of new infrastructure to Strängnäs. The railway opened already in 1895. Another important project from the time was the construction of a bridge across lake Mälaren. It connects Strängnäs with Sweden’s 5th largest citiy Västerås. The era also brought with it the first electric lamps in Strängnäs in 1905 and the move of the regiment Södermanlands Regemente from Malmköping to Strängnäs in 1921.
In 1944 the town was bombed by disoriented Soviet forces. Nobody died in the bombings. Sweden was not active in the war, and the Soviet soldiers had actually thought they were in Finnish airspace.
Today Strängnäs is a calm town. It has good connections to Stockholm only 45 minutes away and many people who live in Strängnäs work in the capital. The largest private employer in the municipality is Åkers Sweden AB with around 325 employees.
Five Sights and Activities in Strängnäs
Strängnäs has a lot to offer for tourists and you will probably not become bored the first days in town.
Strängnäs Cathedral & Roggeborgen
The Cathedral – Domkyrkan in Swedish – from the 13th century is difficult to miss when walking around in Strängnäs. The cathedral stands on a hill in the center of town and it is just a short walk away no matter where you are. This is one well-preserved historical sight well worth a visit. There are multiple historical buildings near the cathedral. One of these fascinating buildings is Roggeborgen. It was here that the parliament elected Gustav Vasa the new king. A school opened here in 1626. Educational activities continued to the 1960s. These days the building houses a library.
Arsenalen – The Swedish Tank Museum
This is one place I want to visit. It will probably be somewhat challenging to convince Susann to visit. Military history in Sweden could be quite interesting even though we didn’t take part in any of the World Wars. And the possibility to see all the vehicles is hard to pass on.
This is where we parked our car last time we were in town. We were at once welcomed by the summer atmosphere that so many other small towns in Sweden offer at this time of the year. In typical Swedish-style restaurants with their outdoor seating let people enjoy the sunshine and there are plenty of small stands selling ice cream. This is a really nice area to enjoy the evening with the sunset over the marina.
Sweden’s 3rd largest lake has a lot of activities to offer. Walking along the shores offers a great view and it sure is relaxing when the sun sets. Or would you prefer to go for a swim or fishing? The possibilities are endless and we can just imagine how nice it would be with a boat trip out on the lake.
Day trip to Mariefred
Mariefred is another town in Strängnäs municipality and it also has plenty to offer when it comes to history. Only a short distance away it offers sights such as Gripsholm Castle.
Read more about Mariefred here: Mariefred, Södermanland – Exploring Sweden
Going to Strängnäs?
Do you want to travel to Strängnäs? Here are a few means of going there:
- Car: The highway E20 connects the town with Södertälje and Stockholm in the east and Örebro and Gothenburg in the west.
- Bus: There are local buses going to other towns in the county. These are the green buses ran by Länstrafiken Sörmland.
- Train: There are regular trains to Stockholm in the east and to Arboga in the west.
- Flights: There are several airports in the vicinity, the closest are Västerås, Skavsta and Arlanda.
The driving distance to Strängnäs from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 89 kilometers (58 min)
- Gothenburg – 400 kilometers (4 h 9 min)
- Malmö – 578 kilometers (5 h 30 min)
- Luleå – 914 kilometers (9 h 11 min)
- Linköping – 165 kilometers (1 h 54 min)