Since the University opened in 1965, the population has doubled and became the largest city in Northern Sweden, Umeå is a place where different worlds meet. The average age of the 114 000 people who live in Umeå is 38. They intend to increase their numbers — the goal is to pass the 200 000 figure before 2050. Over half of the people who live here are from outside the region. More than 50 languages are spoken - with English widely used everywhere - and there is a thriving community of clubs and societies that represent people and cultures from across the globe. Whether you prefer hiking in rugged, unspoilt countryside where reindeer and elk still roam freely, or feel more at home in the centre of one of Sweden's fastest growing cities with its fashionable shops and great places to eat and drink, Umeå will challenge you with its endless possibilities.
In 1888 the city suffered a great tragedy after a fire broke out in a factory building which then spread and left almost 80% of its inhabitants homeless. During the reconstruction they built wide esplanades and planted birch trees to prevent a new fire from spreading from one building to another. That’s why it is now known as “the birch city”.