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Sweden’s King and Queen visit snowy Kiruna

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden visited the city of Kiruna – the northernmost town in Sweden – this week to see the progress being made with the world’s largest city reconstruction project which will see the municipality’s centre moved three kilometres to the east.

The project officially began in November 2007 in response to a 2004 study which revealed that a mining-related subsidence was putting the city at risk, and the relocation project officially got underway in 2014.

The royal visit began at Kiruna Town Hall where the King and Queen met with municipal council chairperson Kristina Zakrisson and Urban planner Göran Cars to learn more about the ongoing city conversion. They also heard from LKAB CEO Jan Moström and Director of Social Transformation Stefan Hämäläinen about the company’s role in the urban transformation as LKAB produced the original study which proved the necessity of the reconstruction project.

Their Majesties were then taken on a driven tour of the city to see the developments first hand before visiting Kiruna Church where they were welcomed by church leader Heli Pruikkonen and Chancellor Roland Rova. Built between 1909 and 1912 the church will soon be moved to its new location in Kiruna’s new town centre.

The infrastructure of the new city – including water, sewers and fibre networks – are already in place and the street network is near completion with plans in place for even more new neighbourhoods to be added in the years to come.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia also toured the new town hall and county art museum where they attended a luncheon and engaged in talks surrounding the city move and the overall design plans which map out a denser city centre with a focus on sustainability including infrastructure which favours pedestrians and public transport over automobiles.

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