Boden, Norrbotten – Exploring Sweden

The large canons has for a long time looked out over Boden and the Gulf of Bothnia far in the distance. Because of its strategic location, this was one of the best defended places in the country and has played an important role in defending Northern Sweden during the past century.

The population of the town has declined to around 17.000 inhabitants as the number of conscripts in the area has decreased over the past decades.

A Short History of Boden

Boden was first mentioned in the first half of the 16th century, at the time it had seven houses. Överluleå parish was established in 1831, when Luleå parish was split into Överluleå and Nederluleå. The construction of Överluleå church in Boden started in 1827. There was also a small church village for the distant parish members that had to travel to church.

Boden’s importance didn’t grow until the end of the 19th century. This was when it became a connecting point for the three railways; Malmbanan from Gällivare to Luleå, Haparandabanan from Boden to Haparanda, and the northern part of Stambanan to Bräcke connecting Boden with the rest of southern Sweden.

It was eventually the military that put this little town on the Swedish map. The garrison was built in the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time the huge Boden Fortress came into existence. This became one of the main fortresses in Sweden. As a matter of fact, foreigners were until 1997 banned from visiting the areas around Boden. The number of conscripts in the town has declined since the end of the Cold War and Boden Fortress was decommissioned in 1998.

Things to Do and See

Remember that nature is never far away in this part of the country and both summer and winter activities are easily accessible. Here are a few of the other sights and places to explore.

Defense Museum / Försvarsmuseum

The Defence Museum in the town showcases the history of the Swedish armed defence since the end of the 19th century. Its focus lies on the northern part of the country. The museum was founded in 2006 and it had almost 24.000 visitors in 2017, 10.000 more than the year before.

Rödberget Fort

Rödberget Fort, Rödbergsfortet in Swedish, is a part of the larger defensive structures in and around Boden. It was in use until 2000, being the last of the forts to be decommissioned.

Sports

The ice hockey team Boden HF was founded in 2005. The team currently plays in the northern division of Hockeyettan (the Swedish third league). Players such as Niclas Wallin and Oskar Sundqvist have Boden IK as their youth team.

The team plays its home games at Björknäshallen. This is an arena with a capacity of 4000, making it the 28th largest in Sweden. It was completed in 1965.

You should definitely not forget the other major sports in the town. Boden Handboll IF plays in Svensk handbollselit, the highest division for women’s handball in Sweden. Bodens BK is the local football team, currently playing in Division 2, the fourth league in Sweden. IBK Boden is the city’s floorball team, they have had the women’s team in the top division at one occasion, the men are currently playing in Division 2.

How to get to Boden

Flights: Luleå Airport (LLA) is located 42 kilometers from Boden and connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Boden is located close to Luleå along road 97 towards Jokkmokk. Luleå is located along the highway E4 between Skellefteå and Haparanda.
Train: SJ has trains from Luleå/Stockholm and Björkliden/Kiruna and Norrtåg has trains from Kiruna, Luleå and Umeå.
Bus: There are regional buses connecting Boden with the surrounding area.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

Stockholm – 930 kilometers (10 h 1 min)
Gothenburg – 1278 kilometers (14 h 23 min)
Malmö – 1538 kilometers (16 h 9 min)
Linköping – 1124 kilometers (12 h) 
Kiruna – 308 kilometers (4 h 2 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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