If you want to understand something about Umeå without visiting the city, you can ponder these figures. 75,000 people live in the densely built-up areas. Of these 35,000 are students at the university – more than 40 percent. Umeå is one of Sweden’s most important student towns and it leaves its mark on everything from culture, sport and entertainment to intellectual stimulation. Festivals, lectures and concerts are held almost every day and the problems which arise are more to do with worrying about what to do than a lack of options.
The music scene offers everything from song and jazz recitals to major rock concerts and the jazz festival is one of the oldest in Europe. Umeå Open is the country’s largest indoor festival with pop, rock and club music, while the Norrland Opera, which works with the Umeå Symphony Orchestra, satisfies the need for classical music. This, along with innovative companies in the fields of biomedicine and IT, create a tangible sense of new thinking, belief in the future and confidence in ”the town of the silver birches”.
A large proportion of Sweden’s electric power comes from Västerbotten’s rivers, but for tourists, it is natural that the rivers are interesting for other reasons. The Vindel River, one of the country’s largest unexploited rivers, is just one of the waterways to offer fishing and paddling, while the surrounding countryside lends itself very well to adventures in the wilds like Beaver Safari and River Rafting.
Umeå is also home to the largest sport and exercise facility in the Nordic region, IKSU, closely linked to the University campus.