Oskarshamn is a coastal city and the seat of Oskarshamn Municipality, Kalmar County, Sweden with 17,258 inhabitants in 2010.[1]

upper left: Skeppsbron;

upper right: Building at Lilla torget;

bottom: Harbor area.

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 57°15′54″N 16°27′00″E
CountyKalmar County
MunicipalityOskarshamn Municipality
Founded byOscar I
  Total13.10 km2 (5.06 sq mi)
 (31 December 2010)[1]
  Density1,317/km2 (3,410/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)



Döderhultsvik was the original name before a town charter was granted in 1856. The name was then changed to Oscarshamn (meaning: Oscar's port) after the king Oscar I of Sweden.[2] The spelling has later changed to Oskarshamn.

Struggle for town charter

The location of Oskarshamn was known as Döderhultsvik since the Medieval age. In 1645, the city of Kalmar, to the south, made a request to the Royal Government on holding commerce in the bay there, which was granted, giving it merchancy rights as a köping. There followed 200 years of merchancies in the town, during which it was governed and dependent on Kalmar; while the surrounding towns and municipalities made frequent requests to grant it a charter, consequently turned down each of the attempts made in the years: 1786, 1798, 1800, 1815, 1818, 1823, 1825, 1830 and 1838. In 1843 it got some independence, with a local council, but the council itself was occupied by citizens of Kalmar. In 1854, the King Oscar I of Sweden promised to grant it a charter as soon as it had fulfilled certain demands, including building a prison and a council hall, among other things. When they had accomplished the feats, the charter was granted, and the city became one of the Cities of Sweden starting 1856, on May 1. This status has today no legal significance, but Oskarshamn is now the seat of the much larger Oskarshamn Municipality, without being a political entity of its own.

Recent history

Industrialisation began with the inauguration of the railway line to Nässjö. From then on, industries as well as the harbour began to expand. The biggest private employer for a long time was the Oskarshamn Shipyard, which at its height had almost 1500 employees. But in the 1970s, the Swedish shipbuilding industry suffered a large financial crisis and many shipyards closed down. In Oskarshamn, the shipyard went through a large downsizing which left many people unemployed.

However, at around the same time, two major industries were established in Oskarshamn. In 1966, Scania AB bought the truck cab factory, which had been building truck cabs since 1948, and started expanding. The Scania factory is today one of the biggest employers in Kalmar county with almost 2000 employees. Liljeholmens Stearinfabriks AB, established in Oskarshamn in 1970, is the world’s largest candle manufacturer, specialized in stearin candles.

The oldest person in Sweden Astrid Zachrison was born Åby in Fliseryd, just west of Oskarshamn. She died on her 113th birthday.


The shipyard founded in 1863 is still active, as well as commercial and passenger shipping. Three different ferry lines transport passengers to Gotland, Öland and Blå Jungfrun.

Between 1965-1985, a nuclear power facility was constructed outside Oskarshamn. Three BWR units were built, that today delivers about 10% of Sweden's electrical supply.[3] There is also a laboratory for research concerning long-time storage of spent nuclear fuel. The Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory is open to the public to visit.

The two top employers in Oskarshamn are Scania truck manufacturer and the OKG nuclear power plant. Other companies are for instance; Liljeholmens candle factory, battery manufacturer SAFT, Elajo, Bygg Hemma.


In the port of Oskarshamn there are tourist boats which take visitors to the island and national park Blå Jungfrun. There are also boats that cruise the coastal waters closer to Oskarshamn. Within the municipality there is the Oskarshamn archipelago which consists of over 5 000 islands and small islets.

In the harbor area there are some restaurants, pubs and cafés. There are also viewpoints over the harbour. On the south side of the port there is a 72-metre (236 ft) wooden bench called Långa Soffan. It was built in 1867 and it is believed to be the longest of its kind in Europe. From the bench there is a panorama view over the harbor and the quite lively shipping activity going on there. There is a marina for private boats at the innermost of the harbor.[4]

Another panorama-view of Oskarshamn and the sea outside is obtained from the top of the town’s northern water-tower which is open to the public.

The older part of Oskarshamn is preserved fairly well. In one particular part of town there are older wooden houses originating from the 19th century. The area is called Besväret and Fnyket.

Oskarshamns Stadspark is a public park located immediately south of the towns central parts.

Fredriksbergs Herrgård is a manor-house built in 1784 situated just outside the city center of Oskarshamn. It is open for the public to visit and houses a restaurant, café and a small museum.[5]


Oskarshamn has an oceanic climate (Cfb), mild for its latitude, with winter means slightly below freezing and summer days among the warmest in Sweden and Scandinavia. Precipitation is light to moderate, typical of South-Eastern Sweden.

Climate data for Oskarshamn 1991-2018
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2.0
Average low °C (°F) −3.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 38
Source: SMHI Open Data


Oskarshamn was the home of the famous woodcarver Axel Petersson Döderhultarn. His studio as well as the Döderhultarn Museum, containing more than 200 of his carvings are located here. There is also a maritime museum in Oskarshamn.

At the release of The Simpsons film, Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet concluded that Oskarshamn is the Swedish equivalent to Springfield, the Simpsons' hometown.[6]

Each summer there is a music festival located to the harbor area. The festival, named Latitud 57and connected to the other international Latitude music festivals, is taking place simultaneously as the annual Oskarshamn Offshore Race which is a popular competition for powerboats. The world championship in Offshore was held here 2011.


There are four main elementary schools in Oskarshamn, Norra Skolan, Vallhalla skolan, Rödsle Skolan and Kristinebergs Skolan. There is also two high schools, Oscarsgymnasiet (The main high school) and Elajogymnsiet (Specializing in electricity).


The rail traffic is today limited to a few passenger trains a day to and from Nässjö and freight trains to and from the harbour. There is also a ferry line between the town and Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. Oskarshamn also has its own airport, situated some 11 kilometres (7 miles) to the north of the city centre.


IK Oskarshamn is the name of the local ice hockey team. The team has played in the highest hockey-league in Sweden, Swedish Hockey League, since 2019.[7]

Craftstaden IBK is the name of the floorball team which is playing in the division 1-league. IFK Oskarshamn and Oskarshamns AIK are two of the towns' soccer teams. The latter plays in the division 1-league.

During 5th to 10 July 2011, Oskarshamn hosted the world championship in offshore powerboat racing.[8]

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Oskarshamn is twinned with:[9]

See also


  1. "Tätorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2005 och 2010" (in Swedish). Statistics Sweden. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  2. Hofrén, Manne. Oskarshamn 1856-1956: historik. (Oskarshamn, 1956), (Swedish)
  3. OKG company information
  4. "Oskarshamns Marina". Promarina (in Swedish). Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  5. "Fredriksberg Manor House". Visit Småland. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  6. http://sydsvenskan.se/sverige/article253293.ece
  7. "Historien om Ishockeyklubben Oskarshamn". IK Oskarshamn (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
  8. http://www.oskarshamnsmotorbatklubb.se/
  9. Lindquist, Ted. "Internationella frågor och vänorter". Oskarshamn Municipality (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
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