The King and Queen visit Kiruna

On Wednesday 24 January, The King and Queen visited Kiruna to find out about the ongoing process of moving the town.

Kiruna before the move. Photo: kiruna.se

Wednesday morning began at Kiruna Town Hall, where Chair of the Municipal Executive Board Kristina Zakrisson and municipal town planner and Professor of Urban Planning at KTH Göran Cars talked about the transformation of the town. The title of the talk was 'The world's biggest urban move – it needs to be fast, and it needs to go well!'. CEO of LKAB Jan Moström and LKAB's Director of Urban Transformation Stefan Hämäläinen then spoke about the company's role in the transformation of the town.

There then followed a coach trip around Kiruna, guided by Kristina Zakrisson and Göran Cars.

During their visit to the new town centre, The King and Queen saw the new Kristallen town hall, which will be ready for use in the autumn. Photo: royalcourt.se

The next item on the agenda was a visit to Kiruna Church, where Priest Heli Pruikkonen and Administrative Director Roland Rova welcomed the visitors. The church was built between 1909 and 1912, and was designed by architect Gustaf Wickman. The altarpiece was painted by Prince Eugenopens in new window. Kiruna Church will be moved from its current location, with a new location next to the churchyard between Kurravaaravägen and the new town centre.

Kiruna Church will be moved from its present position. The shingle-clad wooden structure was built between 1909 and 1912, and was designed by Gustaf Wickman. Photo: kiruna.se

Priest Heli Pruikkonen and Administrative Director Roland Rova give The King and Queen a guided tour of the church. The altarpiece was painted by Prince Eugen. Photo: Ulrika Isaksson

The King and Queen also saw new town districts, the construction of the E10 route and the town hall clock tower, and the new town hall and county art museum.

The street network for the new town centre is almost complete, and its structure – which will be populated with homes, shops, hotels, etc. – is now emerging. The infrastructure for the new town centre, such as water supplies, sewerage, district heating and fibre internet, is already in place in the ground.

The visit to Kiruna concluded with lunch at the town hall, hosted by Kiruna Municipality. During lunch, The King and Queen were given a presentation of the town hall's history and its artworks.

The day in Kiruna ended with discussions on the town move.

Town planner Göran Cars gives a guided tour of the new town hall. Photo: Ulrika Isaksson

The 26-metre-high clock tower that stood on the old town hall has been moved to Kristallen, Kiruna's new town hall. Photo: royalcourt.se

Moving Kiruna

Iron ore mining has been carried out in Kiruna for more than a century without having a significant effect on the centre of the town. However, in 2004 the mining company LKAB presented a forecast of how subsidence will reach the town centre. This marked the beginning of the town's transformation. Kiruna's Municipal Council decided that the town centre would have to be moved three kilometres east of its current location, requiring the construction of a new town centre and a new town hall. The timetable for the project runs until 2024.

The players in the process are Kiruna Municipality, including the municipal companies Tekniska Verken i Kiruna AB and Kirunabostäder, and LKAB, the Swedish Transport Administration and Vattenfall.