GULLBERGSVASS: a history of transformation

During its lifetime it is sufficient to say that Gullbergsvass has been many things. A place for wildlife, military logistics, farmland, human invention, trade, innovation and human living. The land is, on its own, an ever changing hybrid, now awaiting its next transition.

1659 : The first master plans of the area

This is when the initial thought of drying the area arises. The area was to be part of the inner city, hencesurrounded by the characteristic moat and defense wall.

1687 : Construction of the military outpost

The military outpost of Skansen Lejonet (Leo Gothicus) was the first building of the site. Serving as an important lookout and defence post at what was then the waterfront.

1859 : Drying the land

On the 17th of May 1859 the most dramatic change in the history of Gullbergsvass occurred, the day the reed slowly became land. A place that had once been a 200 acres natural reed, so full of life it was considered one of Europe's bird-richest wetland, quickly became a claysite. The highly nutritious clay attracted farmers and the land was allowed for some years of harvest to stabilize the ground.

1861 : Second planning of a city

The city of Gothenburg announces a competition for a master plan of the area. The proposals show a very different Gullbergsvass, with grand squares, canals and even royal castles.

1862 : Take-off of trains

The coherent train track between Gothenburg and Stockholm is finished as a result of an increasing trade in Gothenburg harbour, and an interest to distribute the goods by train rather than the detour of the waterway.

1866 : Masterplan wins legal force

His Majesty the King established the proposal combining a canal system from what is today Lilla Bommen and the spaghetti junction of the north east of the area, a park area, a square and housing. However, due to the demand for expanding the train tracks, this plan was never realized, although the space for the canals was long reserved. Instead an era of logistics began.

1884 : Start of the industry

Gullbergsvass is decided to be an industrial site for steam power and goods

1888: Hisingsbron is finished

1920 : The industrial takeover, population decline

The final train tracks were inaugurated and Gullbergsvass had developed into a lively and important site for logistics and infrastructure throughout the decades that followed, housing around 3000 inhabitants and securing a large portion of the trading logistics of the Nordic countries. However, as the logistic site developed further, it did so at the expense of housing and the population started to rapidly decline.

1940 : Population halved

The population had halved to 1500 inhabitants due to a combination of demolished housing and an unfavorable living environment. The decline kept at a rapid pace.

1970 : Offices and motorway

A large portion of the train tracks are demolished and the few residential houses along the canal are replaced by offices. The E45 road was built on the old train tracks.

1990 : The population of Gullbergsvass reach zero

2010 : A turning point

Housing became available in a small area of Gullbergsvass and the population reached 500 people in just one year.