Örnsköldsvik (Swedish pronunciation: [œɳɧœldsˈviːk], Southern Sami: Orrestaare), often referred to as Övik, is a charming locality situated in the Västernorrland County of Sweden. The town has a population of 32,953 inhabitants as of 2017. Its natural harbor and archipelago are located in the Gulf of Bothnia, and it is surrounded by the northern boundaries of the High Coast area, making it one of the most picturesque destinations in Sweden. Örnsköldsvik is known worldwide for its environmentally friendly approach and is a testbed for ethanol-powered cars.
Örnsköldsvik has a rich history that dates back to the Nordic Bronze Age. The reconstructed Roman Iron Age village called Gene fornby is a popular tourist attraction just outside the town. Örnsköldsvik itself is a relatively young city, founded as a köping (a Swedish market town) in 1842 and became a city in 1894. Its name originates from the surname of the governor of Västernorrland County from 1762–9, Per Abraham Örnsköld, and means Örnskölds Bay. The surname Örnsköld literally means Eagle Shield. The town has hosted the 1976 Winter Paralympics, the first Winter Paralympics.
Örnsköldsvik Municipality is one of the largest municipalities in Sweden, with over 56,000 inhabitants. The municipality is vast with very large forest areas and consists of several rural communities.
Örnsköldsvik has a strong economy, and historically the most important economic activity was trade and heavy industry. The Finnish-owned Metsä Board runs a former Modo locale, one of Europe’s largest pulp mills, in the village of Husum, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Örnsköldsvik, while Domsjö Fabriker, runs a specialty cellulose mill in Örnsköldsvik. Other notable companies based in Örnsköldsvik include Svensk Etanolkemi, a producer of ethanol products, and Fjällräven, a manufacturer of wilderness equipment and clothing.
Örnsköldsvik has excellent transportation connectivity. Main road transportation is provided by the European route E4. The town is also served by a railway line, the Bothnia Line, which is one of the highest-speed tracks in the country, with a maximum speed of up to 250 km/h (160 mph). Örnsköldsvik Airport provides daily flights to and from Stockholm Arlanda Airport operated by Sveaflyg.
Örnsköldsvik offers various recreational activities to visitors. Due to the hilly surroundings, hiking and exploring the scenery of the High Coast is popular in the area. In the wintertime, skiing and ice hockey are both popular, and cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, and ski jumping are practiced in the downtown area. The town is also known for having hosted the inaugural Winter Paralympic Games, in 1976. The 2008 European Curling Championships also took place there, and there is an indoor water park called Paradisbadet, which offers one of the longest water slides in Europe. The town is also a popular destination for golfers, with the recently established Veckefjärdens Golf Club to the south of the center, owned by local celebrity ice hockey player Peter Forsberg. The islands surrounding the coastal area of Örnsköldsvik are big tourist attractions that can be reached by ferry.
Örnsköldsvik is the birthplace of many world-famous ice hockey players, including Peter Forsberg, Markus Näslund, Niklas Sundström, Andreas Salomonsson, Mattias Timander, Victor Hedman, Tobias Enström, Victor Olofsson, and the twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin. The town is also home to many successful artists, musicians, actors, politicians, and athletes.
In conclusion, Örnsköldsvik is a hidden gem in Sweden, boasting breathtaking landscapes, a rich history, and mouthwatering local cuisine. The town offers an array of recreational activities for visitors of all ages, making it a must-visit destination. Come and explore the charm and beauty of Örnsköldsvik – you won’t be disappointed!