Ports of Stockholm
Review and History

The Ports of Stockholm are located in the largest city in and capital of Sweden. Located on an arm of the Baltic Sea where the Salt Bay meets Lake Malar about 160 kilometers south-southeast of the Port of Gavle and 350 kilometers northeast of the Port of Kalmar. Built on many islands and the mainland, the Ports of Stockholm are located in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. In 2005, over 771 thousand people lived in the city, and almost two million called the urban area of the Ports of Stockholm home.

The service industry accounts for some 85% of the jobs in the city, and the Ports of Stockholm have little heavy industry, making it one of the world’s cleanest cities as well. High-tech companies have been moving into the Ports of Stockholm over the last ten years, including companies like IBM (Swedish), Electrolux, and Ericsson. Stockholm is also the country’s most important financial center, with Sweden’s major banks and insurance companies headquartered there. Tourism is also an increasingly more important center for tourism, with as many as 7.7 million people staying there at least overnight in the early 21st Century.

Port History

Norse legends talk about talk about the location of modern Stockholm as Agnafit, connected to the mythical King Agne. However, historical documents first mention the town of Stockholm in 1252 when the Bergslagen mines made it important to the iron trade.

Built largely under the rule of Birger Jarl, the Ports of Stockholm grew quickly after a trade agreement was made with the City of Lubeck in Germany that exempted German merchants from customs charges and gave them the right to settle in the Ports of Stockholm.

The Ports of Stockholm first became prominent on the international stage as a result of trade between the Baltic region members of the Hanseatic League. For almost two hundred years, beginning in the late 13th Century, half of the city council’s members were representatives of the Hanseatic League.

By 1436, Stockholm was considered to be the capital of Sweden, although the country was dominated by Denmark for many years. In 1520, King Christian II of Denmark came to the Ports of Stockholm, and the Stockholm Bloodbath, where many opposition leaders were executed, took place late that year. The Ports of Stockholm bloodbath led to many uprisings and to the break-up of the Kalmar Union. After many years of conflict between Denmark and Sweden, Gustav I Vasa freed the Ports of Stockholm from rule by Denmark in 1523.

The old city, Gamla Stan (or Old Town), grew up on the islands of Stads, Helgeands, and Riddar. The buildings in this part of town survive from the 16th and 17th Centuries, and the area is protected by law. The Royal Palace, the Church of Saint Nicholas, the House of Lords, and the Stock Exchange are on Stads Island. The Swedish Parliament and its National Bank are on Helgeands Island.

By 1600, at least ten thousand people lived in the Ports of Stockholm. In the middle 1600s, the city grew quickly as Sweden’s world power grew. The Ports of Stockholm became an independent administrative unit, the old city walls were dismantled, and the city expanded to both the north and south.

The Black Death came to the Ports of Stockholm in 1710. Together with the Great Northern War, the plague brought growth (both economic and in population) in the Ports of Stockholm to a stand-still. However, Stockholm continued to be the political heart of Sweden and to develop culturally.

In the 1700s, several fires all but destroyed major parts of Stockholm. As a result, stone buildings replaced the traditional wooden homes. Around this time, the Ports of Stockholm had become Sweden’s cultural heart.

In the 19th Century, industrialization brought a new era of growth and development of the Ports of Stockholm. The city began cleaning and sanitation services around 1860, promoting greater population growth. In the city’s center, new buildings, boulevards, and parks sprang up. Many of the Ports of Stockholm’s current schools, libraries, museums, and hospitals appeared at this time as well.

By the end of the 19th Century, Stockholm had regained its leadership role in Sweden’s economy. Immigration brought further population growth to the Ports of Stockholm. At the turn of the century, over 60% of Ports of Stockholm residents had not been born there.

Old bridges and modern overpasses connect the islands to the mainland areas of the Ports of Stockholm. The district of Norrmalm is the main center for shopping, finance, and business, while the Kungsholmen district contains the city hall and municipal buildings. The Island of Djurgarden east of Old Town, contains cultural and recreational facilities, including several museums.

The Ports of Stockholm serve several major industries that include makers of machinery and metal products, printing and paper, chemicals, and foodstuffs. As the second biggest port in Sweden, it is also an important center for international trade and shipping. Stockholm is also Sweden’s most important education center, housing Stockholm University, the Karoline Medical Institute, and the Royal Institute of Technology.

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