A city in transformation
TEXT: HANNA STJERNSTRÖM | PHOTOS © BORÅS
With only 25 minutes to the international airport Landvetter, Borås is climbing up the ranks as a top destination in Sweden. With a booming tourism scene, the city offers something for everyone: the aesthete, the nature lover, and the young, aspiring zoo keeper.
Did you know that Borås is one of the largest centres for e-commerce in Scandinavia? Guided by the three keywords design, culture and textile, the city has a long history of commerce and manufacturing. Borås is historically known as ‘the textile city’ and has carried that heritage through centuries. Today, the city remains a frontrunner within design and textiles and hosts some of Sweden’s leading schools in textile design. “Even if we lost a lot of production during the 1970s, we still have a high level of competence and research here,” says Helena Ransjö Alcenius, CEO at Borås TME. “For instance, the world’s first product made of 100 per cent recyclable cotton was invented here in Borås.”
The aesthetic city
Along the streets, there are donated sculptures, installations and urban mural paintings that are on view for both residents and visitors 24 hours a day, all year round. “Design, culture and textile are all artistic expressions that are important for us. They are ways of constantly trying to challenge, improve and create,” says Ransjö Alcenius.
There is currently a drive and an urge to be creativally brave, and during the past few years there have been numerous additions to the cultural sphere. One of these is the nine-metre-tall bronze sculpture, Pinocchio – Walking to Borås by Jim Dine, which stands in the middle of the city.
The outdoor city
There are 13 nature reserves in the region, with opportunities for everything from a brisk walk to an outdoor adventure. The closest is Rya Åsar, a nature reserve located about ten minutes north of Borås, with a varied landscape and animal life. Every year, the nature reserve welcomes thousands of national and international participants for the largest hiking event in Sweden.
LinnéMarschen, which is named after the Swedish botanist Carl von Linné, will be held for the 43rd time in April 2019. The event both challenges and entertains participants on multiple routes of various levels of difficulty. Because of the varied landscape in the reserve, both experienced hikers and families with children can enjoy the event via different routes. “We are surrounded by parks and green landscapes,” says Ransjö Alcenius. “We are so lucky to have nature just around the corner.”
The animal-loving city
She continues to talk proudly about how important both nature and animals are to Borås, and highlights the city’s zoo, located only a short distance from Rya Åsar. Borås Zoo was the first park to allow animals to walk freely in enormous spaces and is still working hard to preserve threatened species and develop further knowledge. The park hosts almost 600 animals, with approximately 65 species, and is specialised in African animals and Nordic wild animals. “This is a city in transformation and we are always trying to develop and be better,” Ransjö Alcenius concludes.