It was not by chance that Umeå was chosen to be European capital of culture 2014. Umeå is famous for its creative climate, pervaded by inquisitiveness and passion. Our cultural offerings cover everything from Sámi tradition to opera, dance, sport, modern art and all genres of music. Here, there is something for everyone.
Umeå is a comparatively small city. However, it has a large city’s cultural offerings. Furthermore, never think that we would slow down at the end of the capital of culture year! Umeå continues to offer masses of thrilling events and delightful experiences. Minority interests and commercial entities alike run very many enthusiastic associations, clubs and societies. These, in Umeå’s famous “do-it-yourself” spirit, foster our cultural heritage. There is always something happening here.
And you do not need to walk far to discover that all Umeå bubbles with culture. Right in the heart of the city, there is the world’s finest collection of vintage guitars at Guitars – The Museum. Then there is Väven, an innovative meeting point for culture and experiences. In addition to a new city library that occupies several floors, Väven is also home to, amongst other things, the Museum of Women’s History. Raising the profile of the female role, the museum is unique in Sweden. Just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, there is Umeå Arts Campus on the shores of the Umeälven river. Here, Bildmuseet is one of the country’s most interesting windows onto contemporary visual expression and art. The Gammlia complex, a stone’s throw away, is one of Umeå’s culture and cultural heritage hubs. Here, at the Museum of Västerbotten, exhibits show the county’s many thousands of years of history. This includes reindeer farming by the Sámi people and the life of the settlers. Gammlia is also home to the Swedish Ski Museum (where the world’s oldest ski is one of the attractions) and Tráhppie (where you can discover more about the culture of the indigenous population and buy Sámi handicrafts).
Culture for all tastes
Complementing all the popular museums, you can add an opera house, several sassy festivals, a world-class sculpture park, art galleries, a European film festival and countless music, dance and theatre groups of all ages. The whole starts to give an idea of how passionate Umeå people are about culture. Throughout the year, there is an uninterrupted stream of exciting projects, major events and festivals – all sizes and for all ages and tastes. Amongst the annual highlights are events such as Sámi week (Ubmejen Biejvieh), Brännbollsyran (much more than just celebration of Swedish softball) and Littfest (Umeå’s international literature festival). Furthermore, every summer, Umeå Live stages several large-scale free events for residents and visitors alike. Offering lots of activities and appearances by famous artists and local talents, these events are jointly financed by the municipality of Umeå and the business community. Indeed, Umeå is the Swedish municipality that invests most in culture!
That our music scene accommodates everything from hardcore and hip hop to folk music and opera is just one example of Umeå’s cultural diversity. Several of the city’s bands and artists have, over the years, achieved national and international success. Naturally enough, Sweden’s northernmost opera house, NorrlandsOperan, is in Umeå. We also have a vibrant theatre scene with several professional associations successfully developing their own programmes. Consequently, our theatre offerings are rich in variety. Local theatre groups and visiting troupes alike tread the city’s boards presenting everything from Shakespeare to reviews.