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Kiruna, the Swedish town that has to move 4 km

Posted in Lapland E, Norrbotten E by
Kiruna

About 150 km above the Arctic Circle you will find the Swedish town of Kiruna. Kiruna is mainly known for mining and for several years also as ‘the Swedish city in Lapland that has to move 4 kilometers’. An entire municipality that moves a few kilometers, it doesn’t happen every day. The move is necessary for the further mining of the iron ore, which threatens to sink the city.

Kiruna

The history of the mining town of Kiruna

After discovering that there was a lot of iron ore in the ground at the place where Sami had lived for centuries, they founded the city of Kiruna here in 1900. Railway lines were also immediately built for the transport of the iron ore. So it was a carefully planned city.

There are 3 mines of which only the oldest (Kiirunavaara) is still open. The other 2 mines were active from 1920 to 1970. In the 1970s they switched from opencast mining to shaft construction. They are currently more than 1 km underground! The mountain of mining can be seen all over the area.

Kiruna

The great move

Before my visit to the city, I couldn’t really picture what that ‘moving’ looked like exactly. Once there, this became a bit clearer. In recent years people just have started to build their houses further from the mines. So many houses don’t have to move. It is mainly the older houses that are close to the mine that will be moved. And you can take that move literally. They tear down the houses piece by piece to rebuild them a few kilometers further away from the mine. Moving all these buildings will cost several billions and it is the Swedish state mining company that is responsible for all costs. About 20,000 people live in Kiruna.

Hjalmar Lundbohmsgården

Hjalmar Lundbohmsgarden

When I was there in the summer of 2017, they had started moving this villa. It was the home of the first boss of LKAB, the Swedish state mining company. It is one of Kiruna’s oldest buildings and one of the closest to the mine. Hjalmar Lundbohmsgården is moving a few kilometers away along with some other valuable buildings in the neighbourhood.

The church of Kiruna

Some buildings will be demolished brick by brick and rebuilt elsewhere, but they will move this old wooden church in its entirety. The church dates from 1912 and was voted the most beautiful building in Sweden. To move the church they will build special roads. The move is planned 2025-2027.

Can’t you imagine it all? This video gives a clear view of the city. And especially pay attention to the nice part about the ‘spark’!

Kiruna City Hall

One of Kiruna’s buildings that will not be moved but will simply be demolished is the Kiruna City Hall. It is close to the mine and although it won an award in 1964 as the most beautiful public building in Sweden, it was chosen to design and build a completely new town hall in the new center of Kiruna. The striking tower will be moved and will become one of the eye-catchers of the new center.

Stadhuis Kiruna

Nearby: the ice hotel

A twenty minute drive from Kiruna you will find the first ice hotel in the world. Icehotel 365 is now open all year round, both for those who just want to visit and for those who actually want to stay and sleep in the ice hotel.

Tours in and around Kiruna

TV-tip

Although I didn’t recognize much from the TV series on the spot, the Nordic Noir series Midnight Sun is set in and around Kiruna. A must to watch to learn a little more about the local problems and the tensions between the Sami and the miners. In the summer months the sun does not set for 2 months and with a bit of luck you will see the midnight sun (if it is not cloudy, like when I was there). Are you interested in more Netflix tips?

Hotels in Kiruna

Booking.com

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Kiruna, the Swedish town that has to move 4 km
12 August 2021
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Staying at the ICE hotel

Posted in Lapland E by
An overnight stay at the ice hotel

When I traveled with the Inlandsbanan to Swedish Lapland this summer, I also booked a train to Kiruna and an overnight stay in the ice hotel. You are wondering what I was doing at the ICE hotel during summer? Well, since 2017 you can visit the ice hotel throughout the year.

IJshotel 365

ICEHOTEL 365

Oh deer-suite ijshotel 365

Last spring, they took large blocks of ice of 2 tonnes from the nearby river Torne. These blocks of ice were stored in giant freezers during the summer months so that they could start with the sculpting in September / October. The ice hotel then opened around December and remained until it started to thaw and the ice hotel disappeared again.

ijshotel

The ICE hotel in Jukkasjärvi (near Kiruna) is about 200 kilometers above the polar circle and was the first ice hotel in the world. Every year, dozens of snow and ice artists shape the hotel and ice bar. This temporary hotel will continue to exist in the future. And a permanent ice hotel will be added.

ijshotel na middernacht

For this permanent building, they devised a sustainable construction. The permanent ice hotel is covered with a layer of moss. Thanks to the midnight sun, they can get all the energy needed to keep the building at -5 degrees constantly from solar panels. The ICEHOTEL 365 got 18 art suites. Every year the interior will change.

ijshotel

Staying at the ICEhotel

ijshotel kwallen

Tip: book your stay at the ICE hotel here!

The entire interior, from bed to table and chair, is made of ice. On the bed is a mattress on which a reindeer skin lies. These ensure that you do not get cold at night. Next to your ice room, you also have a warm room where you can get changed and where you can leave your luggage (so that it does not freeze). There is also a heated lounge in the main building where you can sit at the fireplace in the evening. The showers + saunas and the toilets are also at the main building.

ijshotel lobby

Warm area

warme ruimte ijshotel

Changing is done in a warm room in the main building. Each room has its own enclosed space with deckchairs and even a bench. You do not need any special clothes or extra layers to sleep in the ice room: a single and thin layer of thermal underwear (merino wool) is enough! You can also buy that thermal underwear on the spot. A hat and gloves can also be handy. You will also get shoes / boots from the hotel. There’s a good reason for it: if you’d leave your shoes next to your bed, in the morning they would be cold! Once you’re back in the main building, you can switch back to your own warm shoes.

ijshotel

Sleeping bag

Tip: Do not go to bed too early. In winter you may want to spot the northern lights, in summer you can catch a glimpse of the midnight sun (if it’s not cloudy at least). So I did not go to bed until midnight. You will receive a sleeping bag and a liner at the reception. Only take them to your room if you are going to sleep. The sleeping bag would freeze otherwise.

slapen in het ijshotel - slaapzak

That sleeping bag was a serious turn off for me. My sleeping bag stank! Really, they do not wash them between the guests. You have a liner sheet but still. I exchanged my sleeping bag for one that smelled less but the idea alone ruined the experience for me. In retrospect, I’d better had taken my own anti-freeze sleeping bag or put an extra scarf around my head so that the sleeping bag was further away from me and my poor nose.

ijshotel

In addition, I have to say that, thanks to the reindeer skin and the sleeping bag, I wasn’t feeling cold at all. Yes, in the morning my toes and my nose had a little cold, but it all worked well. I can imagine that if you’re in a sleeping bag with two persons, it’s even warmer.

ijshotel

Wake up call with blåbärssoppa

After some time I found a comfortable way to lie down and I turned off the light. And then the light was out and you could not see the ice sculptures anymore. Just to say how relatively it is to sleep in an ice hotel.

blabärsoppa in het ijshotel

By eight o’clock in the morning I was awakened by the receptionist who had a cup of warm berry juice. Delicious! I took some pictures to capture the experience and hurried to the warm space. After breakfast and a sauna, I took off again.

Visiting the ice hotel

Scupturen ijshotel

Is an overnight stay in the ice paradise too adventurous for you? Then you can also just visit the hotel and the ice bar. A ticket costs about 30 euros. Not cheap but definitely worth it! Even more, I would not stay overnight in an ice hotel again but would just go for a visit.

Here you can find an overview of other hotels in Jukkasjärvi.

Ice Bar ijshotel

You can follow a workshop on the spot to make an ice sculpture yourself. You can also choose to stay in a warm room in Jukkasjärvi. Across the road is a restaurant where you can eat. Breakfast is also served there for those staying at the ICE hotel or in the warm rooms.

How do you reach the ICEHOTEL?

Most people choose the night train from Stockholm. I traveled with Inlandsbanan to Galliväre and took the regular train to Kiruna. From here you can take bus 501 or the ICEHOTEL shuttle bus. Don’t forget to check the departure times, because bus 501 only drives 2 times a day. A taxi is also a possibility but in remote areas taxis are not very common. From Kiruna to Jukkasjärvi it ​​is about 30 kilometers.

From Stockholm there are flights to Kiruna. The flight takes one and a half hours. Kiruna Airport is 15 km from the ice hotel.

ijshotel

Is an overnight stay at the ice hotel on your bucket list? Or have you slept there and you want to share your story? Don’t hesitate to comment below!

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Staying at the ICE hotel in Jukkasjärvi Sweden
15 October 2017
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