The 58,084gt Stena Scandinavica arriving at Gothenburg from Kiel. She was built in 2003 by Hyundai at Ulsan as the Stena Britannica for the Harwich to Hook of Holland service. In 2010 she was renamed Britannica and became Stena Scandinavica in 2011. (Nigel Lawrence)

Gothenburg is an attractive and popular city for international and national tourists as well as cruise ship passen­gers in South West Sweden, and is the capital of Vastra Gotaland County in the large Goteborg and Bohus Province at the mouth of the river Alv Gota on the Kattegat. It is the second biggest city in Sweden after Stockholm, and has much commerce, indus­try and good ferry links around the Baltic as well as a university. The Port of Gothenburg has large imports of oil, gas and new forms of energy for three refineries with deep water tanker terminals. Shipbuilding at three ship­yards was formerly of great importance. The population has grown from 433,811 in 1992 to 587,500 in the year 2020. The city has a welcoming tradition for visitors in a city centre that has everything within walking dis­tance.

Around 11,000 ships visit the port per annum, and it is the only Swedish port equipped to handle mega container ships and VLCC tankers, handling 30% of the foreign trade and 60% of the container trade of Sweden. In 2019, annual cargo tonnage was around 37 million tonnes with 772,000 TEU of containers handled, while ferry and cruise passengers totalled 1.676 million. The port is located at position 57°07′ North, 11°93′ East, with facilities on both sides of the river, with the north shore, Norra Alvstranden, on the island of Hisingen, and the south shore, Sodra Alvstranden, on the mainland.

A map of the port. (Port of Gothenburg)



The Port of Gothenburg was founded in 1620 and celebrated its 400th Anniversary in 2020 with many celebratory key events that lasted for several months. The city fathers wished to be free from the extortionate taxes levied on Swedish ships by the Danes. The first har­bour was dug out of the Stora Hamnkanalen (Grand Canal) in the 1620s on the south side of the river. However, most ships were forced to anchor further down the river beyond Klippan or at Gamla Varvet, now Stigbergskajen, due to the very shallow water. The goods were transhipped into barges and transported to Stora, and to other storage yards in Majorna or to quays further up the river. Exports were chiefly grain, tim­ber and iron, but the town was destroyed nine times by fire between 1669 and 1804, so that little of the original canal system and its wooden warehouses remained.

The harbour is the soul of the city, and was founded by Gustav Adolf with a square named after him. The first town was built by King Carl IX on Hisingen island, but this was destroyed in 1611 by Danes and Norsemen. The Kronhuset was built in 1643 as an armoury but was converted in a House of Parliament when King Carl XI was sworn in after his father King Carl X had died. The Rashuset (Town Hall) was built in 1672, and the Stadshuset (City Hall) in 1758 as an armoury, gatehouse and barracks. The squat little forts of Skanen Lejonet and Skansen Kronan are picturesque buildings topped by a black lion and a golden crown respectively.

The city was built on a bed of clay 400 feet in thickness, and is the reason why there are no high-rise buildings in the city as the ground is unsuitable, and the large Kungsparken (King’s Park) occupies much of the city area. The large fortress of Nya Alvsborgs Fastning was built on an island in the mouth of the Gota in the later 17th cen­tury, three kilometres from the city, in order to protect the western gateway into Sweden against the Danes. It was twice damaged by fire in 1717 and 1719 by the Danish fleet led by Peter Tordenskold, but today it is a peace­ful venue for meetings, weddings in the chapel, and banquets. It is reached in summer by boat tours four times daily from Lille Bommen (Lookout Tower).

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Gothenburg - the only Swedish port equipped to handle mega container ships and VLCC tankers. With around 11,000 ships visit the port per annum.

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