Infobox Settlement
official_name = Gävle

image_caption = Gävle-The Old Town
image_shield =

mapsize =
map_caption =
settlement_type =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Sweden
subdivision_type1 = Municipality
subdivision_name1 = Gävle Municipality
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Gävleborg County
subdivision_type3 = Province
subdivision_name3 = Gästrikland
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
area_footnotes = cite web |title=Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2000 och 2005 |publisher=Statistics Sweden |url=http://www.scb.se/statistik/MI/MI0810/2005A01B/T%E4torternami0810tab1.xls |format=xls |language=Swedish |accessdate=2008-05-15]
area_total_km2 = 41.79
population_as_of = 2005-12-31
population_footnotes =
population_total = 68,700
population_density_km2 = 1644
timezone = CET
utc_offset = +1
timezone_DST = CEST
utc_offset_DST = +2
latd=60 |latm=40 |lats= |latNS=N
longd=17 |longm=10 |longs= |longEW=E
website =

Gävle ['jɛ:vlə] is a city in east central Sweden with 68,700 inhabitants (2005). It is the seat of Gävle Municipality with a population of 92,416 (2006) and of Gävleborg County. It is the oldest city in the historical Norrland (Sweden's Northern lands), as it received its charter in 1446 by Christopher of Bavaria.


It is believed that the name "Gävle" stems from the word "gavel", meaning river banks in old Swedish, by the river Gavleån. The oldest settlement was called Gavle-ägarna in Swedish, which means "Gavel-owners". This name was eventually shortened to "Gavle", then "Gefle", and finally "Gävle".

For a long time Gävle consisted solely of small, low, turf or shingle roofed, wooden buildings. Boat-houses lined the banks of Gavleån, Lillån, and Islandsån. Until the 1700s the town was built, as was the practice then, around the three most important buildings; the church, the regional palace, and the town hall.

Over the last 300 years Gävle has been ablaze on three different occasions. After the fire of 1776 the town was transformed to straight streets and rectangular city blocks. The number of stone and brick houses also started to increase.The biggest town fire occurred 1869 when out of a population of around 10,000 approximately 8,000 inhabitants lost their homes, and about 350 farms were destroyed. Almost the whole town north of Gavleån was burnt down. All the buildings south of Gavleån were saved. An area of the old town between the museum and the library has been preserved to this day as a reserve - Gamla Gefle.

After the catastrophe of the fire Gävle developed its characteristic grid plan with large esplanades and green areas. It is now a green town with wide avenues. Stopping the spread of future town fires was the main idea behind this development.

An extensive redevelopment of the central town area was started during the 1950s. Around 1970 Gävle became a large urban district when it was united with the nearby municipalities of Valbo, Hamrånge, Hedesunda, and Hille. New suburbs like Stigslund, Sätra, Andersberg, and Bomhus have grown up around the central town.

Gävle goat

The history of the Gävle goat began in 1966. A man named Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of making a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas goat of straw and placing it on (Slottstorget) Castle Square in central Gävle. On 1 December the 13-metre tall, 7-metre long, 3 tonne goat stood on the square. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames. The goat has since had a history of being burnt almost every year, 2005 being the 22nd time it was burnt. Burning the goat is an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, but undoubtedly this is what has made the goat famous. In 2006 the goat was covered in a flame resistant coating to prevent arson, enabling the goat to remain standing throughout that winter.


Gävle is situated by the Baltic Sea near the mouth of the river Dalälven. At 60 degrees north and 17 degrees east, Gävle has the same latitude as Helsinki and the same longitude as Vienna and Cape Town.

Gävle has a similar climate to the rest of central Sweden with an average temperature of −5 °C (21 °F) in January and +17 °C (63 °F) in July.Yearly rainfall is around 600 mm (24 in).


Trade from the port of Gävle increased markedly during the 1400s when copper and iron began to be exported from the port. In order to ensure that all trade was via Stockholm, sailing to foreign ports from Gävle and a few other ports was forbidden.

During the 1500s, Gävle was one of the most important port and merchant towns with many shipping companies and shipyards.

In 1787 Gävle was awarded "free and unrestricted sailing rights" to and from foreign ports. This led to an increase in trade, which in turn lead to an increase in buildings, industrial developments, trade and shipping.

Today there are few shipping companies or shipyards left, but an important port remains. It has over 1000 ships calling per annum and is among the top ten common ports in Sweden.

Major companies

* Korsnäs (company) (forest industry)
* Stora Cell Industri (forest industry)
* Kraft General Foods Scandinavia (Gevalia coffee and spices)
* Leaf AB (sweets and confectionery, carrying brands such as Läkerol and Ahlgrens)
* Gävle Galvan (galvanization)
* Gävle Stål (pre-fabricated steel constructions)
* Gävle Varv (pressure tanks)
* Cale Industri (parking meters)
* Ericsson (radio base stations for mobile telephone networks)


The University College of Gävle currently enrolls 12,500 students. It offers courses of study at six departments: Business Administration, Education and Psychology, Caring Sciences and Sociology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Natural and Computer Sciences and Technology, and Built Environment.

Some courses are given in English taught both to visiting students from foreign partner institutions and to Swedish students.

Miscellaneous topics

Gävle is mostly known for the coffee called Gevalia, produced by Kraft General Foods Scandinavia (Gevalia is the Latin name for Gävle), its Gävle goat, the Läkerol throat lozenges and car-shaped sweets Ahlgrens Bilar, its ice hockey team Brynäs IF

Notable natives

* Alexandra Dahlström (actress)
* Christian Edstrom (professional rally co-driver)
* Anders Eklund (boxer)
* Joe Hill (labour activist)
* Cat Stevens (musician) - his mother Ingrid Wickman was from Gävle, and he also lived here for some time during his childhood.
* Joakim Sundström (sound designer)
* Nicklas Bäckström (hockey player)
* Ewa Mataya Laurance (professional pool player)


Gävle has teams competing in the highest national league in both football (Gefle IF) and ice hockey (Brynäs IF). The town is also home to a wrestling team called BK Loke.

Town twinning

Gävle's town twins are:
*flagicon|South Africa Buffalo City, South Africa
*flagicon|Iceland Álftanes, Iceland
*flagicon|Norway Gjøvik, Norway
*flagicon|Denmark Naestved, Denmark
*flagicon|Finland Rauma, Finland
*flagicon|Latvia Jūrmala, Latvia
*flagicon|USA Galva, USA


Mackmyra, a suburb of Gävle, is home to Mackmyra Whisky, the only whisky distillery in Sweden. Malt whisky has been produced there since 1999.

ee also

*International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships (1995)
*List of Gävleborg Governors


External links

* [http://www.gavle.se Gävle] - Official site

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gävle — Gävle …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gävle — Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gävle — Administration Pays  Suede !Suède Province historique Gästrikland …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gavle — Gävle Gävle Chiffres concernant la localité Pays  Suède Provinc …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gävle —   [ jɛːvlə], früher Gefle [ jɛːvlə], Hauptstadt des Verwaltungsbezirks Gävleborg, Schweden, am Bottnischen Meerbusen, 89 600 Einwohner; Metall , Textil , Papierindustrie; Verschiffung von Eisenerz und Holz, Fischereihafen.   Stadtbild:   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gävle — es la Capital del condado de Gävleborg ,Suecia. Con una superficie: 1.485,1 km² (56 de 290 de Suecia) , y una Población (2005): 92.081 (15 de 290). Limita: al N. con el municipio de Söderhamn ,al E. con el mar Báltico ,al SE. con el municipio de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gävle — /yayv le/, n. a seaport in E Sweden. 87,378. * * * ▪ Sweden  town and port, capital of Gävleborg län (county), east central Sweden, on an inlet of the Gulf of Bothnia, northwest of Stockholm. Although first mentioned in documents in the 8th… …   Universalium

  • Gävle — Sp Jèvlė Ap Gävle L R Švedija …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Gävle — geographical name city & port E Sweden on Gulf of Bothnia NNW of Stockholm population 89,194 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Gavle — Original name in latin Gvle Name in other language Evle, GVX, Gaefle, Gaevle, Gefle, Gevalia, Gorad Eule, Gfle, Gvle, Jevle, Jevl evle, iGavleevure, yblh, ye fu lei, yebeulle, yfla, ywlh, Євле, Јевле, Горад Еўле, Евле, Йевле State code SE… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.