Västerås is in the heart of the beautiful Mälardalen on the shore of Lake Mälaren, west of Stockholm. Västerås is a large city with the benefits of a small town, and it continues to be among the big Swedish cities that are expanding most rapidly and there will soon be more than 130,000 inhabitants. It has a city's opportunities in trade, industry, employment, education, entertainment, services, culture and transportation. The small town benefits include shorter distances, the lack of traffic jams, fresh air, and a more human pace that leaves time left over for yourself, your family and your hobbies.
Västerås is a waterfront city, which is slowly waking up to the fact that it has an attractive position with Lake Mälaren within its borders. The city is now taking advantage of this asset it was given by Mother Nature. So far only around 400 homes have been completed next to the lake. But this is just a modes start. Over the coming 10-15 years there will be around 4,000 new apartments along the water's edge, with waterfront walks and a marina, restaurants, cafés and parks.
The business base of the region is large companies such as ABB, ICA, Westinghouse and Bombardier. They work as magnets and catalysts for many small and medium-sized companies, who they work with, or supply services and products to. They also help the city to grow by attracting new companies with internationally experienced employees and their families.
Increased variety and strong international companies boost business. But a great deal also depends on the stimulation and support given to start-ups. In 2002 a study by the Taxpayer's Organization showed that Västerås is providing one of the best business environments in the country.
13,000 students study at Mälardalen University. It's a fairly new University, just ten years old or so, but it has grown faster than anyone could have wished for. Students in the past moved from Västerås for further education, to places like Uppsala, Stockholm, Göteborg or Link¨ping. The tide has turned, and students are now choosing to study at Mälardalen University. Half of the students study technical or science subjects, the other half have chosen social studies, behavioral science, humanities or nursing.
People living in Västerås live in an area with active recreation and culture close at hand. Lake Mälaren is obviously the largest recreational magnet, with its miles of coastline and archipelago. With a boat you can not only explore Mälaren, you can also explore the canals via Stockholm or Södertälje out into the Baltic Sea. In wintertime you should pack a rucksack, strap on your long-distance skates and head off down Lake Mälaren. Västerås is also a sporting city. The city is home of successful elite sportsmen and women.
Behind these successes are years of wide-ranging investment in youth sports. Thousands of young people pack their sports bag each day to train at one of the city's sports facilities. There are more than 100 football fields, around 15 ice rinks, 2 public swimming centers and 3 large sports centers to choose from. People who prefer gocarting, clay pigeon shooting, parachute jumping, rock climbing or hang gliding are also catered for.
Eight of Sweden's finest golf courses can be found within a 40 km radius of Västerås. Most of them still have memberships available. The newly built concert hall and culture centre provide a good variety of culture, together with the theatre, museums and galleries. Jazz lovers have their own watering hole, Village. In 2002, Västerås has excellent transport communications. Whether traveling to Stockholm, London or further away, distance is no problem. On weekdays there are two trains an hour between Västerås and Stockholm, and the journey takes a mere 50 minutes.
It takes roughly the same amount of time by car. Join the E18 from the city and just drive east, with motorway practically all the way. To the west, Oslo is just 400 km away. Örebro and Uppsala are a mere hour's drive away. A third of the population of Sweden can be reached within a 150 km radius.
If you're traveling a little further and you start your journey at Stockholm-Västerås Airport, ten minutes from the centre, you can travel e.g. to Malmö, Copenhagen, Oslo or London.
Västerås has the largest inland port in Scandinavia.