To celebrate the fact that Luleå passed the 75,000 mark for residents in 2013, we made an attempt to beat a world record.

One Saturday in March we formed perhaps the world’s largest human hand on the ice in the harbour Norra hamn. 2,493 Luleå residents filled the marked template and waved to photographers who documented the record attempt.

The thumb has become something of a new symbol for Luleå. It started when Facebook chose Luleå as the location for its first data center outside the United States. A decision that attracted the attention of news media around the world, which also pointed out that Facebook chose a place far north with natural cooling, renewable energy and a high-quality data network.

As a gesture back to Facebook, Luleå placed a “Like thumb” made of ice in the city park. The image of the ice thumb also went viral around the world when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg put it up on their own page. In less than one hour hundreds of thousands of people had seen and liked the “Icy Like in Luleå”.

The giant human hand alluded, of course, to Facebook’s “Like” thumb, but also to the ordinary Swedish way of saying “thumbs up”. Luleå passing the 75,000 inhabitants mark in 2013 was worth a big thumb’s up! Said and done. Ask Luleå residents to turn out to beat the world record, and they come by the thousands.

The images of the human hand were spread quickly. The “Thumbs-up” was shown by the Swedish and international press, and spread through social media around the world. The images have been seen 300,000 times alone on Luleå Municipality’s homepage. Luleå residents’ own pictures and videos have been shared on Facebook and have appeared on blogs as well as YouTube.