The country of Sweden is a Scandinavian nation located in Northern Europe. Sweden is most known for being one of the countries that Vikings come from. In terms of its environment and landscape the country is known for its inland lakes, vast forests, mountains covered in glaciers, and its thousands of coastal islands. An often overlooked factor in Sweden's landscape is its rivers, and that is what this article will discuss.
The Ume River is the third longest in Sweden, having a total length of 292 miles (470 kilometers). The Ume River runs across Västerbotten County in the northern part of the country. The source of the river is the Överuman Lake that sits on the border between Norway and Sweden and from there it flows southeast until it reaches its mouth at the town of Holmsund where it drains into in the Kvarken region of the Gulf of Bothnia. The river passes through the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve on its path. In the 1950s hydroelectric reservoirs and dams started to be built throughout the country but there were concerns about the impact this had on the environment, especially on the Ume and Vindel Rivers. This led to the 1961 Peace of Sarek agreement that prevented development of some part of the Vindel, but allowed development of hydroelectricity on the Ume and other rivers. Before hydroelectricity came to the river the 1830s saw the development of water powered sawmills which started on the Ume, at the town of Baggböle. However, by 1884 the last water powered saw mill closed on the Ume as they had all been replaced by steam powered mills.
The Dalälven River is the second longest in Sweden and the longest river wholly in Sweden, having a total length of 323 miles (470 kilometers). The Ume River runs across Dalarna County and Uppsala County in the central part of the country. The source of the river is at the confluence of the Västerdalälven River and the Österdalälven River at the locality of Djurås. The flow of the river goes southeast until it starts to go back north until it reaches its mouth at the Gulf of Bothnia. Today the river is tapped into to make use of about two-thirds of its hydroelectric power potential, with the largest of these power plants being at the Trängslet Dam. Historically, the area along the river has been used as a raft transport route, as well as a location for the iron and steel industries. The environment along the river has a high biodiversity, with a mix of wetlands, rivers, lakes, flood plains and forests.
The Torne River is the longest in Sweden, barely beating out the Dalälven River by having a total length of 324 miles (470 kilometers). The Ume River runs across Norrbotten County in the very northern part of the country. The source of the river is Torneträsk Lake and its main affluent that sits near the border with Norway and from there it flows southeast, At the half way point the river flows right along the border that Sweden shares with Finland until it reaches its mouth at the Gulf of Bothnia right between the cross border Swedish city of Haparanda and Finnish city of Tornio. The Torne River making up part of the border between Sweden and Finland goes back to the 1809 Treaty of Fredrikshamn, which concluded the Finnish War between the Kingdom of Sweden and the Russian Empire. It was decided in the treaty that the river, along with the Muonio and Könkämä Rivers would make up the border between Sweden and the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland.
The Importance of Sweden's Rivers
Despite the country often going without fame and renown for its rivers, we hope that this article has highlighted some of the historic, economic, and cultural reasons why Sweden's rivers are so significant. Sweden's rivers have been important in the past for various industry, transportation and for settling border disputes. Today, Sweden's rivers have helped to usher in a new era of using renewable sources of electricity, such as energy produced via hydroelectric power in these rivers' dams.