History of the house and the area
Arbetets museum is located on the island of Laxholmen in the middle of Motala Ström. The name Laxholmen dates back to medieval times when salmon fishing was of great importance, hence the name Lax (Salmon) Holmen (Islet). The fish were caught in the stream and then taken to the islet. In 1520 a Salmon Sheriff was established to protect the interests of the Crown.
The “Iron” – Strykjärnet
Up until 1916 the only buildings located on Laxholmen were a few small, wooden constructions. In that year the Architect, Folke Bensow presented the plans for Strykjärnet – The Iron. The building followed the contours of the island with the result that it was constructed with seven corners. The façade was deliberately unembellished. Not apparent to the naked eye is that the factory, constructed in 1917, involved using the latest in building materials, reinforced concrete.Up until 1934 Strykjärnet was a textile mill. After this year the role of the factory changed to be replaced by twining, rinsing, reeling and warping. At its height, the factory employed 600 people, the majority were women. One of these was Alva Carlsson who worked as a reeler and is the subject of the only permanent exhibition in the museum. During the 1960’s the whole textile industry died out leaving behind a number of empty industrial buildings. After undergoing meticulous renovation work under the guidance of Architect Ove Hidemark, Arbetets museum opened its’ door in December 1991. Sweden had a new and very unusual museum. The Industrial Landscape suddenly experienced a renaissance and is today one of Sweden’s most interesting and exciting areas.
Strykjärnet was voted Östergötlands favourite building in all categories in the Swedish Year of Architecture 2001 competition and took home a respectable second place in the national finals.
The Industrial landscape
Arbetets museum is located in the middle of one of Europe’s most interesting industrial landscapes beside Motala Ström in Norrköping. The area is dominated by the careering Motala Ström and the tall, elegant factory buildings. These old buildings are a reminder of the days when nearly all Swedish wool fabric was produced here and the industrial town of Norrköping gained the title Little Manchester.The industrialists and factory owners of the time were more than a little proud of their achievements when they looked out over the sea of chimneys. Most of these buildings were constructed between 1850 and 1917 and nearly all reflected simplicity. The yellow plastered facades were a striking contrast to the red bricks and together with steel supports, fire lookout posts and the tower spires all added to the beauty of the landscape. The large, multi-paned windows with the arched window frame are typical of the area. They were necessary to allow as much light as possible in the buildings. Quite a few architects have been involved in this area: Carl Theodor Malm, Theodor Glosemeyer, Karl Flodin, Knut Philström, Werner Northun to name but a few.
For more information about the industrial landscape we recommend “Norrköpings Industrilandskap vid Motala Ström” which is available at Arbetets museum, Norrköpings Stadsmuseum or Upplev Norrköping, the tourist office.
[This information is copied from The Museum of Work, Norrköping, Sweden]