We are surrounded by iron and steel. It’s actually such a common material that we barely think of it. But in bygone times, iron was expensive and in high demand. Iron has been produced in Sweden for at least 2 500 years and has had great significance for the economy of our country. Access to iron has been decisive for the development of technologies in many areas – from agriculture to defence.
Bergslagen – the counties of Värmland, Västmanland, Närke and Southern Dalecarlia – constitute Sweden’s industrial cradle. Here the beginnings of industrial development were to be found in the 12th century. The 18th century was the golden age for Bergslagen. Around 1850 Sweden accounted for three quarters of England’s import of iron. Sweden accounted for a total of one third of Europe’s entire iron production.
Immigrants have contributed
Apart from our natural resources, immigrants and the knowledge they have brought with them have been a fundamental aspect for the development of the Swedish economy. Almost everything new that has occurred in this general area has been dependent on initiatives from immigrants and not least in the area of the iron industry.