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A city in transformation

Never before has such a big community been transformed like this because the land is needed for industrial purposes. Everything is focused on ensuring that the town and the mining industry can coexist in harmony.

Foto: Jessica Nildén

Mining company LKAB has been mining around Kiruna since the early 20th century, which is when the town first came into being. LKAB is a limited company which is wholly owned by the Swedish government, and the group as a whole employs around 4,000 staff in 15 or so countries. The community was made up of three different areas around the turn of the 20th century, when Kiruna was established. The buildings were centred on the low mountain of Haukivaara, which had a relatively good local climate and was situated in a strategic location between the two mining mountains of Luossavaara and Kiirunavaara. Communications in those days required people to live near to where they worked. Kiruna was granted a town charter in 1948, and the town had already begun to expand in the 1940s as well. The town plan was the first of its kind to be established in the Nordic countries according to continental concepts. Instead of having a traditional grid plan, the Kiruna town plan is designed organically and also adapted according to the terrain.

A new town emerges

Today, the city transformation of Kiruna is in full swing. A society that, just like then, meets people’s needs in everyday life. It’s all about the city and the mining industry developing and living in harmony as they have done for over 125 years. The city transformation project has now entered its operative stage, where a Culture Centre, a bathhouse, emergency service facilities, schools as well as the blocks around the City Hall are under construction.

Roads and railways have already been redirected. Buildings have been demolished and others are being built in the new center, which is located three kilometers east of “old Kiruna”. The new town hall Kristallen was the first new building in the new city centre with inauguration in 2018. New Kiruna will be characterized by a lively and safe urban environment. This includes good lighting and a denser city center, which has been an important request from Kiruna’s residents. Some of Kiruna’s most famous and beloved buildings, including Kiruna Church, will be deconstructed piece by piece and moved to the new center.

Kiruna city transformation is the most radical, urban relocation project ever implemented. Never before has such a large and modern society been transformed because an industrial activity needed the land. The goal is for new Kiruna to be built for a diversity of people. Those who already live here should feel at home and returnees, new citizens and visitors should feel welcome here.


The story of Kiruna

Let local guides take you on a journey from the history of Kiruna to the ongoing city transformation.

City transformation

On your own

Mining is the base in Kiruna’s business and therefore Kiruna Municipality is prepared to move parts of the city. In order for LKAB to continue mining the iron ore, until the year 2035, everything above the mine must be moved to safety. Everything. The city transformation is a major and complex process that will last for many years. Here you will get tips on how to learn more and experience the city transformation on your own.

Check out the city transformation
Visit the world's largest underground iron-ore mine

LKAB's Visitor Centre

Read more and book

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