65°35′4″N 22°9′14″E

Luleå is considered the world’s largest brackish water archipelago with 1 312 islands, several rivers and vast forests.

The Luleå region has become the Node Pole, because of its northern location, and its role as a data traffic hub in Europe. The region offers stable, low-cost electricity that is 100% renewable. In addition, because the region is one of the coolest in Sweden. This means it is easier and cheaper to keep server centres cool! Sweden’s long political stability is cited as another long-term benefit of the location.


All of the cities in Sweden resemble each other. There seems to be an architectural standard for each type of structure, that lasts about a decade, before it is replaced.

Umeå University School of Architecture, The Waterfall that went silent (2023)
Foodora Market, delivery unavailable.
Taco Bar since 1983
Drinking water: 20th century
Drinking water: 21st century
Sculpture, repurposed as grafitti


Plastic seals.
Cement bears.
Playful monster.
Playground giraffe.


67°50′56″N 20°18′10″E

Kiruna, a short, practical name that could also be pronounced by Swedish-speaking inhabitants, means rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), a type of grouse, in Sámi and Finnish.

The area around Kiruna has been inhabited for at least 6 000 years. For centuries the presence of iron ore at Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara had been known by the local Sámi population. Despite finding large amounts of ore, no mining was started because of the remote location and harsh climate. Some ore was extracted in the 19th century.

In the 1880s plans were made to construct a railway from Narvik to Luleå. It was built by 1903. Mining started in the early years of the 20th century. It provides 80% of Europe’s iron ore.

In 2010-06 Kiruna municipal council decided that the town would be moved eastwards (to 67°51′1″N 20°18′2″E), in the direction of Tuolluvaara, because the Kirunavaara mine undermines the existing town centre. A denser city centre with a greater focus on sustainability, green and blue infrastructure, pedestrians and public transport rather than automobiles, is being constructed. We are using this last opportunity to stay in the old town.

In the old city, abandoned buildings have their windows covered up with original works of art. Some are by unidentified artists.

God Jul! = Merry Christmas! (Jul is pronounced exactly like Yule.)

Many works are by Kena Kriström (1953 – ), born in Östersund. She is especially noted for her ice sculptures in Jukkasjärvi, 20 km east of Kiruna.

Some works are by Carina Kero Esberg (1990 – ) originally from Kiruna, now living in Luleå.

Some parts of the old city have been taken over by wild animals!

Note: Today, we had to take a train replacement bus about 72 km = 1h 10m from Narvik to Björkliden. From there we took a real train about 104 km = 1h 30m to Kiruna. On the trip Alasdair used his Blue Square app. This used his Samsung phones GPS system to tell us the speed of the train. At one time it showed 99 km/h, at another 112 km/h. We also had to wait for iron ore trains to pass.