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Higher education
Several Swedish universities place high in European rankings, and their research has contributed to the global success of Sweden’s many high-tech companies.
Photo credit: Magnus Liam Karlsson/

Uppsala – a hotbed of innovation

Armed with an illustrious academic heritage and a spirit of innovation, Uppsala is celebrated internationally as an ideas incubator with the power to shape the future.

Uppsala – the “Cambridge of Sweden” – is a brainy university town and a hub for new ideas. But what makes Stockholm’s neighbour such a key innovation city? Its academic eminence stretches back centuries. Founded in the 15th century, the world-renowned Uppsala University (UU) is the oldest in Sweden. The fact that Uppsala attracts students, entrepreneurs and talent from across the world plays an important part, while the convergence of academia and a distinct business culture creates a fertile breeding ground for collaborations.

The city has a well-earned reputation for innovative thinkers, from the likes of Carl Linnaeus to Skype founder Niklas Zennström, and the lineage remains just as strong today.

Uppsala’s sustainability credentials are celebrated well beyond the borders of Sweden. In 2018, and again in May 2020, the city was crowned winner of WWF’s global One Planet City Challenge. The jury particularly praised its cross-sector sustainability interventions and strong focus on eco-friendly mobility solutions.

Uppsala University

Uppsala University is a broad research university. It was founded in 1477 and is Sweden’s first university.

Photo: Niklas Lundengård

Experience innovation across Uppsala’s urban landscape

You get a taste of Uppsala’s innovation-driven spirit as soon as you roll into the central station, next to which Juvelen – Scandinavia’s most sustainable office building – demands your attention. Completed in 2019, this striking, jewel-like six-floor landmark has been conceived with green energy solutions along with many other sustainable innovations that have contributed to its Platinum LEED certification.

To explore the city, do like the locals and hop on a bike. With its well established network of cycle paths, it’s easy to see why Uppsala was named Sweden’s most cycle-friendly city for the third year in a row in May 2020.

No visit to Uppsala would be complete without seeking out the 18th century legacy of its most famous scientist and botanist, Carl Linnaeus. There are several inspiring gardens and museum homes to explore – including The Linnaeus Museum and the two centrally located spots Linnaeus Garden and The Botanical Garden.

You can park your bike at Cykelgaraget – a state-of-the-art two storey bicycle parking area with space for 1,200 bikes. The modernist, glass-fronted building features a roof combining solar panels and stonecrop (sedumtak) that helps to absorb rain, preventing flooding of nearby streets.

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Juvelen in Uppsala

'Juvelen' (the Jewel) is a sustainable office building and a new landmark of Uppsala

Photo: Tina Axelsson/

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Juvelen in Uppsala

Photo: Tina Axelsson/

The Linnaeus Garden in Uppsala

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

Cultivations at the Linnaeus Garden

Photo: Gustav Dalesjö

Botaniska trädgården

Photo: Niklas Lundengård .

Cykelgaraget in Uppsala

Photo: Tina Axelsson/

Paving the way for new ideas

Continuing Uppsala’s reputation as a key ideas hub, a new generation of thinkers is striding forth. Maria Strömme – Sweden’s youngest ever professor of technology and the brains behind the nanotechnology solution Upsalite – is an eminent example. Other notable entrepreneurs are Jason Dainter and Kristofer Klerfalk – the founding pair behind BASE10 coworking centres.

Meanwhile, Uppsala Innovation Centre (UIC) is ranked as a World Top 5 Public Business Incubator by UBI Global identifies incubators around the world. Each year, some 80 start-ups and projects enter the fold of UIC’s business development programs. Cancer Diagnostics, Textcloud and Newergy are three of the young companies currently being nurtured.

A visit to Uppsala will give you a glimpse into the future of sustainable urban living, sprung from the city’s scientific and academic heritage.

Uppsala Berzelii Centre

The Uppsala Berzelii Technology Centre for Neurodiagnostics is dedicated to research concerning complex neurodegenerative diseases and sydromes such as ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and chronic pain.

Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/