We know that the Arvika region was populated, if only sparsely, as early as the stone age. There are many relics from ancient times. The most northerly stone cists to be found in Sweden are in this region and in Skramle in Gunnarskog there is a rune stone dating from 500 AD - one of only a few from that period to be found in Sweden. The Glafsfjorden region is classified as an area of national cultural significance. A trace of the Viking expeditions along Glafsfjorden also survives in the name of the waterway between Säffle and Arvika - "Vikingaleden" (the Viking way).
The original Swedish meaning of the name Arvika has been interpreted as "river coves" or "river bends". The saga of Håkon Håkonsson states that in 1225 the Norwegian king visited "a district that is called Arvika" in Värmland, and in the year 1362 the name "parish of Aruika" appears in a medieval letter. The settlement of Arvika first appeared on a map in the 16th century, but only as a small village.
In the 18th century there were repeated proposals to build a larger community in western Värmland. It was to be a centre of commerce that would avoid the frustrations of customs and border trade.
The choice fell to "Kyrkeby in Arvika parish", a site suggested by the local people and the county governor. The conditions for building a town were good, thanks to the excellent location on Kyrkviken bank - an offshoot of Glafsfjorden.
For a long period during the 19th century the maritime trade, and hence the port, had a major influence on freight and industry in the region. This was especially true when the Säffle canal was completed in 1837. Arvika is actually the most inland port in Sweden providing a link to the seven seas, although today the beautiful waterway is mostly used by sailing tourists.
Even more important for Arvika was the arrival of the north-west main line and railway in 1871, which transformed Arvika from an unremarkable centre of trade and craftsmanship into a flourishing industrial town.
The strategic location on the main line between Stockholm and Oslo still has great importance today. It provides rapid public transport and carries goods from Arvika out into the world. The first town plan of Arvika was drawn up in 1811, although it was known as Oscarstad until 1821 in honour of the new crown prince's son Oscar (later King Oscar I). At that time the community was not yet recognized as a town, and the people of Arvika had to be satisfied with living in a market town for 100 years before Arvika was "officially" made a town in 1911.
During the district merger in 1971 Arvika district was formed from Arvika town and the rural districts of Brunskog, Stavnäs, Glava, Älgå and Gunnarskog.
Western Värmland is an area of outstanding natural beauty - and the community of Arvika nestles invitingly on he shores of Glafsfjorden. You will find everything here you could expect a modern population centre to offer. We are close to shops and to all the facilities that society provides. You also have an excellent opportunity to find the type of accommodation you want, whether you are looking for a little cottage in the woods or a central apartment.
The district offers a wide range of childcare facilities - day nurseries, family nurseries and playgroups. In most locations pre-school activities and playgroups are integrated with the school.
We are also committed to community healthcare. The district has modern sheltered accommodatiosn for the elderly and disabled, including shared accommodations and residential retirement homes. Those who wish to live at home get help with cleaning, preparing meals and other tasks they may find difficult to do themselves. A night patrol makes sure there are no problems at night. There are additional services for those who require them, for example, travel services, panic alarms, healthcare at home, day centre activities, mobility aids, short-term care and various facilities for people with developmental problems.
Arvika has a county hospital offering the usual facilities: surgery, medical/geriatric, psychiatry, anaesthesia/intensive care, eye-ear-nose and throat and gynaecological reception. There is also a rehabilitation unit.
Verkstaden healthcare centre is divided into three areas - central, east and west - each providing their own doctors and nurses. The health care centre also provides pediatric reception, pediatric care centre, prenatal healthcare and pediatric and adolescent psychiatry.
As you would expect in a population centre such as Arvika you also have access to police authorities, the district court and land survey office.
The sixth form colleges can also provide tailored company training courses to suit individual requirements. Many companies in the region take full advantage of this opportunity. Local adult education provides training at secondary and sixth form level as well as offering a variety of training programmes and courses for companies and other organizations.
Our district college of music is extremely active. Around 2,000 students, children and adults receive instruction in choral or orchestral performance, singing or playing an instrument. Everyone is catered for, from the solo violinist to Arvika Town Music Band with its sixty or so members.
We are also very proud of our music academy, which provides training in music teaching and a number of shorter courses. The history of the academy stretches back to 1905 and can count among its former students well-known musicians such as Stikkan Andersson and Björn J:son Lindh. Ingesund music academy - a branch of the University of Karlstad - and Ingesund folk high school are also situated in Arvika. The fok high school runs general studies courses as well as specialist courses.
There is easy access to higher education at the university of Karlstad which also organizes courses in Arvika.
Stömne, renowned for its rich vegetation, and Bergs klätt, with its fantastic views over Glafsfjorden, are two other wildlife reserves that are well worth a visit.
Our surroundings give us unique opportunities for swimming, canoeing and fishing. You can catch everything here from the common freshwater species to game fish such as salmon trout and char. In Viksälven, almost in central Arvika, you can even catch rainbow trout!
For those who do not seek out their very own little bathing cove (there are 365 lakes to choose from within the district boundary!) we can recommend Ingestrand. This is Arvika's most popular bathing spot, with a four-star camp site, small grocery shop, restaurant and mini-golf course.
When winter descends, skiers will find many wonderful cross country ski tracks await them. For the courageous there is a ski slope in Rackstad with a lift and snow cannon, as well as a half pipe for snowboarders. Skaters will enjoy the numerous ice-covered lakes and all the outdoor ice rinks. In a region with so many opportunities for leisure activities there is naturally a rich social life with many enterprising clubs.
The social side is not limited to sports clubs however. On the culture front the societies are at least as active! These include the art society and the concert society, theatre, folk dance and photographic societies, the cinema society and numerous folklore and heritage societies.
Nor should we forget Arvika's large and modern library. This is the place to borrow books, audio books and magazines, trace your roots, see exhibitions, listen to lectures, read the daily papers or find more information on the Internet or on one of the databases. For those who find the library too distant there is a library bus that regularly tours the district, plus a book reservation service.
Arvika is just as close to the international markets as Oslo or Stockholm - and costs are generally lower than in the big city regions. Arvika is served by highway 61 to the east and west - one of the most important links with Norway - and by county road 175 and highway 45 to the south. Rail services also give us close links with the rest of the world. Westlanda airport gives many companies in the region fast connections with their parent companies, customers and suppliers. Oslo's Gardermoen airport is located within a convenient distance. There are also air taxi services to Karlstad airport, which has regular scheduled flights. From here you can reach Arlanda airport in just 30 minutes!
Fast telecommunication and computer links are also provided by the local authority's fibre optic network that extends throughout the town of Arvika.
Finding skilled people is no problem. Trade and industry in Arvika has been built on a solid foundation of old traditions and craft skills. The inventiveness and creativity demonstrated by the pioneers of the turn of the century such as Per Andersson, with his mechanized hay-making machinery, and Oscar Kjellberg, inventor of the coated welding electrode, still live on today.
In Arvika we care about companies. This applies equally to those that are already established and those that plan to set up. Some 2,300 registered companies in many different fields are growing and flourishing here. They include big companies such as Volvo Construction Equipment AB, ScanModule AB and Thermia Värme AB. The region is also bustling with small and medium-sized companies. But we have plenty of space for more, including those who want to expand! Industrial land with planning permission is ready and waiting for light and heavy industry. We can help find existing industrial or office premises and there are opportunities for financial aid in setting up.
In Arvika we understand companies and their business. We therefore know a lot about their needs and desires. The local authority trade and industry unit, as well as the local councillors, have close contacts with companies and their own organizations and networks. This ensures rapid decisions and direct information. We know how important it is for companies to thrive here.
We work closely with the county council and with banks and trade organizations - organizations that can give you the backing of information and capital. We know the Värmland contact network inside out!
The Rackstad museum in Arvika not only displays the works of the Rackstad artists but also visiting exhibitions of fine art, sculpture and craftsmanship.
The sculptor Christian Eriksson is acknowledged as the founder of the Rackstad colony. It was he who brought together artist friends from Stockholm. Christian Eriksson's home and studio, the commemorative Oppstuhage next to Rackstad museum, is open to visitors who want to soak up the atmosphere of that period.
Today's generation of artists and craftsmen are by no means unknown. In Arvika and the surrounding area there are countless exhibitions, and many artists and craftsmen open their studio doors wide to visitors. You won't find run of the mill tourist souvenirs in Arvika!
In Arvika's beautiful art gallery, formerly a bank, residents and visitors to Arvika can see a succession of prominent exhibitions. Gallery 39 gives artists, professional or amateur, an opportunity to display their work free of charge.
Arvika is a meeting point for all forms of music. From classical refrains to ballads, jazz and rock. Choose what you will - listen or join in!
The vehicle museum, the nail smithy in Älgå, Storkasberget look-out tower - around the region there are many fascinating places that are well worth seeing for visitors to Arvika and for local residents. In fact there is so much to choose from that we have produced several special tour programmes so that our visitors do not miss anything!
You will find Sågudden museum almost in the centre of town. Here you can wander among the picturesque cottages and see the craftsmen at work. Or take a look round our heritage museum with over 5,000 exhibits from a lost age.
Klässbols linen weaving factory is the only one in Scandinavia to produce damask linen and is famous for its beautiful linen products. They are still manufactured to the same patterns that have been handed down by generations.
Few tourists are around for the special "festivals" of Arvika's own residents. When the traditional October market "Arvikamârten" comes around everyone moves outdoors. The entire town centre is transformed into a marketplace and everyone is either looking, haggling or buying. And then it's time for the cabbage soup. Thousands of litres of it!
Elis of Tasere, brother of the sculptor Christian Eriksson, is often considered the archetype of the people of Arvika, who are known as "jössehäringarna". Elis was a well-known character who gave rise to a whole string of tales as a result of his inventiveness and unflagging good humour. There is a statue of Elis and his well-known bicycle on the pedestrian street in Arvika.