-Köping explained!

If you fly to Stockholm via budget airlines, you’re most probably going to end up in one of the small airports in Stockholm (Skavsta or Bromma) but not the big international airport, Arlanda.

Skavsta (http://www.skavsta.se/) is one of the smaller airports in Stockholm where budget flights to/from mostly European cities depart/land. Like most budget airlines, you don’t actually arrive in the city they claim they fly to, but you arrive in a close by one and Skavsta is no exception. The closest city to Skavsta is Nyköping (yeah, I know you’re wondering how to read that!) which is actually not only around an hour away from Stockholm, but also not at all part of Stockholm’s county.

During my first days in Sweden, I was curious about the Swedish language and to be more specific, I was very curious about the extra vowels (ö, ä and å) which of course don’t exist in English. My first encounter with them happened to be the sign saying “Nyköping”. I asked a Swedish speaking friend “How do you pronounce that one?” and he said something like “Noeyshoeping”! The first thing I wondered after hearing the pronuncitaion was “What happened to the poor “K”?! ”

After learning some Swedish, I realized that the letter “K” can be pronounced both as “K” or “Sh” depending on the vowel that follows it.

Being curious about the geography of Sweden, I started to study the map of Sweden. I then realized that Nyköping wasn’t the only -köping city in Sweden. As a matter of fact, Nyköping is one of around 12 cities and towns ranging from big to very small ones which are partially sharing the same denomination.

-Köping means “Marketplace”. The history behind the usage of -köping to name cities or towns goes back to Medieval Sweden when those cities/towns were active marketplaces and thus they earned the “-köping” status.


The biggest city of all the köpings is Linköping with a population of around 100,000+ (yeah, this is big according to Swedish standards!) and a big university (Linköping University http://www.liu.se/?l=en) which is a more engineering and technology oriented university. Jönköping comes in the next place with around 90,000+. In the third place comes Norrköping which I think is a beautiful small city. It has some very nice old buildings and an active tram system and it’s where the headquarter of Migrationsverket (The Swedish Migration Board) is. Other “köpings” include Enköping and even Köping (without any prefixes) which are relatively small cities. The smallest köping is Äsköping with a population of around 400.

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