400 years. That is a long time! Over the course of the year Luleå had developed from a small town with just a few residents to a vibrant city with over 79 000 people. We've gathered a few milestones in Luleå's history for you.

Town status and urban rights

1621 Luleå is granted town status and urban rights from King Gustav II Adolf. Within the first five years Luleå grows with 50 citizens and after a short while the town moves from (what is now called) Gammelstad to its present location.

1653 Luleå is on fire for the frist time. Only four years after the city moved from Gammelstad half of the town is destroyed. In the year of 1657 fire rages through Luleå again. 

1667 The church is inaugurated. 

1690 Starvation threatens the city over the course of several years due to crop failure.

1716 Russian Cossacks plunder the city and kills about 20 people. 

Luleå 100 years

1762 The first really big city fire. Two thirds of the city is destroyed. 

During 1790s the iron ore collaboration between Selets bruk and Melderstein is started.

1808–1809 The Swedish-Finnish war. Russian soldiers occupies Gammelstad and Luleå and sickness takes the life of many soldiers. The so called Ryssgraven, "the Russian graves" in English, is a remnant of this. 

Luleå 200 years

1857 The County administrative board moves from the neighboring city of Piteå to Luleå.

1864 The town board is established. 

1883 Construction of the iron ore harbor is started.

1887 The city is on fire, again.

1888 The first train with iron ore arrives from Gällivare's mine to Luleås iron ore harbor.

Luleås most expansive fase starts during the 1890s and the population grows with 1000% between the years of 1821 and 1921.

1905 The first water pipes are drawn. 

1910 The teacher Siri Holm becomes Luleå's first female town board member.

Photo: Henny Tegström, source: Luleå county archives.

1914 World War I starts. The military horses are reviewed in front of city hall and in the south harbor the iron ore fleet lays anchored. 

Luleå 300 years

1921 King Gustav V and queen Victoria arrives the 11th of June to celebrate Luleå's 300th birthday! 

Photo: Henny Tegström, source: Luleå county archives.

1939 World War II starts and Nazi-Germany stored freight in Luleå. The attack on the newspaper Norrskensflamman in Luleå takes five lives.

1943 Iron ore is produced for the first time in Luleå at Norrbottens Järnverk. The ironworks needs manpower and there is a housing shortage in Luleå. 

1950 The neighborhood Malmudden (translates to Ore cape) is finished with 458 new apartments. 

1954 The bridge over Luleå river connecting the centre of the city to Bergnäset is built, and is christened Bergnäsbron. The ferry is now no longer needed. 

Photo: Henny Tegström, source: Luleå county archives.

1955 The worlds first indoor shopping mall is built in Luleå and named Shopping. Because why not?

Photo: Rune Espling, source: Luleå county archives.

1958 The new City Hall is built. 

1969 Nederluleå county, Råneå county and Luleå city merge. The county of Luleå is created.

1971 Luleå university of technology is established.

1970-1980 Three new neighborhoods are under construction.

1988 The unforgettably summer when Luleå is the host of Midnight Sun Cup – the 12 meter world championship. The summer festivities are a fact and even King Carl XIV Gustaf visited!

Photo: Göran Wallin, source: Luleå county archives.

1996 Gammelstad church town is included in UNESCOs world heritage list and is therefore among one of Sweden's fifteen world heritage sites. 

2011 Facebook chooses Luleå as its new location for their server halls. 

2019 The county of Luleå passes 78000 citizens. 

Luleå 400 years

2021 A book in two volumes with the title Luleå – The first 400 years is published. The book is written by historians Roine Viklund and Curt Persson, active at Luleå University of Technology.

Text: Katja Güth Laitila | Grafic: Joakim Höggren