Saturday, December 12, 2020

Living in the Swedish North


"The locals here rave not only about having a real winter with guaranteed snow, but also a fifth season, which they call spring-winter. “When the sun is heating things but there’s still snow and it’s cold at night. It’s very nice to go out with snowmobiles and fish, and so on. It’s the best season. And it’s getting lighter,” Mr. Moback said. He joked that in Stockholm, you have only two seasons: “a warm rain time and a cold rain time.” But what about the dark winters?


Norrbotten has an even lower population density than Norrland as a whole, even though its two main cities, Lulea and Kiruna, are some of the most populous in the north. Making up roughly 25 percent of Sweden, it’s home to only 2.5 percent of its people. It is also home to some very large scale industrial and scientific projects. Among them: what will soon be Europe’s largest land-based windmill park; the Esrange space center with its massive satellite dishes, research centers and even a launch site; and a groundbreaking project at the SSAB plant just outside Lulea to make steel using hydrogen instead of coal. Facebook is in the process of building a series of large data centers here, lured by the cold weather (data centers generate a lot of heat) but also the energy supply, which comes exclusively from renewables."

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