With this small text we will try to give you a very short briefing on the history
of our great town Sundbyberg. At least about some of the most important things in its modern history.
One could ask oneself what's so special about Sundbyberg. Songs, comedies and
several books have been written about it, even television programmes as the popular
"Lorry", named after one of the most famous places in town, has it´s
own little inventor from Sundbyberg performed by actor Peter Dalle. To understand
the magic of Sundbyberg you have to know something about the founder of the town
and the people who came to live and work here.
How did it all start?
About 150 years ago Sundbyberg was considered an agricultural area in the coutryside.
There were only a few mansions and they were more or less owned by the same owner,
who lived at The Estate "Sundbybergs Gård".
In 1863 a man called Anders Petter Löfström bought the estate, including
the other mansions and farms in the area. He was originally an agriculturalist but
as he liked to work hard he soon turned into a real country squire and owner of a
lot of estates all over the country. but he was a very special man and a very special
squire, he was a working squire taking part in all kinds of duties and practical
work concerning the estate. He was a real self-made man and he never liked the power
he in the long run came to possess.
During this period Stockholm became crowded as a lot of people had to move from
the agricultural parts of Sweden when a lot of farms had to close down. Sweden was
at last changing from being an agricultural country into an industrialized one. As
the former farm workers were forced into the larger cities these became just like
Stockholm, overcrowded. Of course neither Stockholm nor any other town was prepared
for this migration and there was not enough housing for the workers.
The important railroad
Löfström and his wife Emma were very liberal and religiously minded
with a great interest in social welfare and they wanted to do something for homeless
workers and their families. Löfström had connections everywhere and he
heard about the plans to build a railroad from Stockholm to Västerås and
realized that if he could persuade the private railroad company to place a part of
the railroad within Sundbyberg he could also help the poor workers in Stockholm as
well as himself. With a train connection to Stockholm a worker could easily live
in Sundbyberg and work in Stockholm. He did succeed in his plans and sold a great
piece of land very very cheap to the railroad company and they started to build their
railroad. In 1876 the railroad opened up.
A new modern suburb - the very first
Löfström then started to sell out pieces of land, very cheap we might
add, to workers who then got the possibility to build their own homes. Löfström
got his inspiration from Europe with all it's new and modern suburbs, particularly
from England. He got a lot of help and inspiration from his sons who travelled all
over the world. His eldest son Per Johan who had a Master of Architecture from the
Vienna Academy helped his father making up drafts for houses and an infrastructure
of a town.
Löfström's original idea was to build a new and modern suburb but it
did not turn out that way in the long run. All around Stockholm construction of houses
for workers and white collar workers was taking place, so in the late 1880-ies there
was not such a big demand for land and houses in Sundbyberg anymore.
then came up with the idea that he might attract some businessmen to start up factories
and mills in order to make Sundbyberg, as such, attractive as a place to both live
and work in. He made contact with Carl Richard Nyberg, the Sievert brothers and many
many others. They were all, as Löfström, self-made men and saw the opportunity
to, for a cheap price, buy themselves land for their companies mills and factories.
They all became very successful throughout the world.
Max Sievert and L. M. Ericsson
One of them, Max Sievert - and his brothers - were good friends of L. M. Ericsson,
the founder of the Ericsson telecommunications company, and after a few years they
started to fabricate telephone cables exclusively for him. This was a very important
change in the working life of Sundbyberg. For the first time there were now jobs
for women. They could for the first time enter the labour market without having to
leave home. They could manufacture telephone cables at home in their own kitchens.
In 1928 Ericsson bought the whole business from Sievert but the factory remained
in Sundbyberg. Even today with new technology, downsizing and outscoring, we can
still find a small division of Ericsson within our town - Ericsson Cables, still
offering jobs for some of our citizens.
A growing area
Well then, what happened with Sundbyberg ? In 1888 Sundbyberg gained the right
to become a "köping", an independent urban district (small market town) and a
lot of people started to move in from all over the country. They had found themselves
a new place to lead their lives. Sundbyberg was now filled with workers and factories
and to serve them the town also needed shops, doctors, craftsmen and so forth.
Löfström started to build more than a 100 houses by himself in order
to attract those kinds of people and as always he succeeded. He also built a church,
the first town hall, the first school, the first nursery and day-care-center, among
other things, and donated everything to the town including the legal rights to the
water of Bällsta River.
Duvbo - a very special place
As mentioned above Löfström also owned the estate "Duvbo Gård"
situated just north of the centre of Sundbyberg. He found no need for that land anymore
although he used the land, or rather the clay he could find on the land for his brickmill.
Bricks which were used to build houses within Sundbyberg and even in Stockholm. Due
to his connections with businessmen from Stockholm he was involved with plans to
build small new villa suburbs all around Stockholm. He took a great interest in all
kinds of plans that included housing for workers and sold the Duvbo Estate to a newly
formed company, mainly formed by workers in Stockholm, in which he held shares, called
"AB Egna Hem På Landet" (Villas on the Countryside Ltd.). "AB
Egna Hem På Landet" started to sell out the land and within a very short
period of time the area Duvbo was built. To make the area even more attractive a
new railway station was built, the "Sundbyberg Norra" situated very close
Duvbo is considered the first area of Egna Hem in Sweden and is therefore now
protected from major changes. To own a house in Duvbo is equal to a great responsibility
to preserve historical object for the future. When there is a demand for restoration
etc it is to be done in a way so that you do not alter the special design of the
area or it's houses.
Independent - at last!
Löfström, who started everything about suburbs in Sweden, turned out
to be the founder of an independent industrial town without the need for Stockholm.
Sundbyberg grew and grew and the population which came from different parts of Sweden
with different experiences and different backgrounds started to organize, religious
people started building a lot of churches, workers started labour unions and political
organizations. Sundbyberg became a town where people did care for one another. It
became a place where children were born and where their grandparents died, generation
after generation. A very special spirit, called Sundbybergsandan (The Sundbyberg
Spirit), makes people love their town and stay here. A person from Sundbyberg is
not likely to move from here and people from the outside world find the town so exotic
and special that they more than gladly wait years and years to find themselves an
apartement or house in Sundbyberg.
In 1927 Sundbyberg gained the rights to become an independent town. Sundbyberg
is still independent and we do hope it will stay that way!
Sundbyberg 1995 (revised aug 1997)
Lena A Löfström
PS. One strange thing with Sundbyberg is that it, along with is neighbour town Solna,
is actually surrounded by the borders of Stockholm. Sundbyberg is like a small island
within the great sea of Stockholm. DS.