The north-west of Sörmland
The territory of the municipality of Eskilstuna Kommun forms the north-western end of the central Swedish province of Södermanlands Län on the border with the neighbouring province of Västmanlands Län. The municipality borders Sweden's third and fourth largest lakes – Lake Mälaren in the north and Lake Hjälmaren in the west. On the other sides are the neighbouring municipalities of Strängnäs, Flens and Katrineholms Kommun.
With an area of around 1,250 square kilometres, Eskilstuna Kommun is the second largest municipality within the province after Nyköpings Kommun, but is by far the most populous of the total of eight municipalities in Sörmland. The central town Eskilstuna, situated on the river Eskilstunaån, is the largest city in Sörmland (short for Södermanland) and became one of the most important industrial cities in Sweden from the 17th century onwards. The name Eskilstuna goes back to the English monk Eskil, who began the Christianisation of the region during the 11th century and established a bishop's residence here in the then village of Tuna, which was moved to Strängnäs a few years later.
Exploring the landscape and nature of Eskilstuna Kommun
The landscape within the municipality is characterised by the shores of the Mälaren and Hjälmaren as well as the Eskilstunaån river running between the two lakes, and by the typical switches between forests, lakes, rocky hills and fields throughout the region. About half of the area is forested and you will find the northernmost beech forests in Sweden. A quarter of the area is used for agriculture and the almost 60 lakes within the municipality cover just over ten percent of the area. With the exception of the lakes Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Näshultasjön, which covers more than ten square kilometres, the other lakes are less than one square kilometre in size.
More than 20 municipal and several unofficial bathing spots offer you plenty of opportunities to take a dip in the refreshing water, and if you are a fishing enthusiast, you can indulge your passion at most of the lakes. The Mälaren in particular is ideal for long canoeing and boating trips, and you can sail all the way to the Baltic Sea.
The long-distance hiking trail Sörmlandsleden, which is about 1,000 kilometres long, offers a good opportunity to explore the landscape up close. Divided into stages of varying lengths, it leads through the entire province and also through the area of the municipality of Eskilstuna. In addition, there are around 20 nature reserves with mostly marked circular trails where you can discover the different facets of the region's nature on foot.
Sights in Eskilstuna Kommun
The region around today's Eskilstuna was already relatively densely populated in pre-Christian times, measured by the standards of the time. The legacies of Iron Age settlements, such as large grave fields and rune stones, are accordingly numerous. The Tumbo Gravfält is one of the largest early historical burial grounds in Sweden. A visit to the famous Sigurdsristningen – a large rock with the legend of Sigurd the dragon slayer, which was carved in stone as a picture story around 1,000 years ago – offers you a detour into the world of Germanic tales.
A stroll through the old town of Eskilstuna or especially through the picturesque centre of the neighbouring town of Torshälla, with its cobbled streets and old craftsmen's houses, reveals something of the flair of the time when the streets were still filled with the hammering of forges and the smell of hot iron. The best-known remnant and one of the roots of the historic metal industry is the Rademachersmedjorna, a forge dating back to the 17th century. The Eskilstuna Stadsmuseum and the Munktellmuseet offer further insights into the industrial history and technical development of the last 150 years.
The accumulation of castles and manor houses typical of Sörmland is not quite as distinct in Eskilstuna Kommun as in the neighbouring municipalities a little further to the east. Nevertheless, there are some castles where either the castle parks are open to visitors or guided tours are offered. The most striking of these is undoubtedly the Stora Sundby Slott, which looks as if it has come out of a storybook.
If, in addition to the historical highlights of the region, you are also looking for typical family activities, you will find them at the Parken Zoo in the centre of Eskilstuna. With a combination of zoo, child-friendly amusement park and bathing area, the park is one of the most visited attractions in and around Eskilstuna.
Eskilstuna Kommun in figures
With around 107,000 inhabitants, Eskilstuna Kommun is by far the most populous municipality in the province of Södermanlands Län. At first glance, the population density is quite high by Swedish standards, with over 97 inhabitants per square kilometre, although a second glance reveals that around 80,000 inhabitants are accounted for by the two largest cities of Eskilstuna and Torshälla alone. The rest of the population is spread out in the much more sparsely populated surrounding area among the twelve other towns and smaller villages within the municipality.