Stenpiren: Beach, History, Monument for Immigration, Transport Hub of Gothenburg

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Instagrammers of Gothenburg by Stenpiren

Stenpiren is one of the latest additions to Gothenburg’s tram-, boat- and bus-stops, and with the Skeppsbron project, it has become a focal point for public transport since 16 August 2015. On its premises is also a monument for immigration called the Delaware Monument or Delawaremonumentet, edging the river Göta.

On the present location at Stenpiren was a pier built in stone outside the Ship Bridge and at the mouth of the Great Harbor Channel in the district of Vallgraven, 1844-1845, and earlier a half-wide wooden bridge stood in its place and it was one of the city’s first quays.

From here one can also take a boat to Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg.

The Delaware Monument in Gothenburg is a replica of the original sculpture in Fort Christina State Park in Wilmington, USA. The Delaware Monument in the USA was unveiled on 27 June 1938 in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the creation of New Sweden and the function was attended by Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, Crown Princess Louise and Prince Bertil along with the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The one in Sweden was unveiled in 1958 as a memorial to the New Sweden Colony and to those who emigrated from Sweden in the 17th century to the USA.

The sculpture is in the form of a 7.5 meter high pillar topped by a ship. On the pillar are figurative themes and texts about various historical events linked to the history of the Swedish colony in the USA, and the first Swedish colony outside Sweden.

Håkan Strömberg is an authority on the history of Gothenburg and the author of AN HISTORICAL GUIDE TO GOTHENBURG. In the book, he writes: “Far out on Stenpiren at the Port of Gothenburg stands the Swedish Delaware Monument, a bronze sculpture depicting a sailing ship. It stands as a reminder of the time when Sweden was keen to become a country with colonies in other continents.

“The monument is actually a copy. The original was unveiled in 1938 in Delaware, USA. It was erected to commemorate the passing of 300 years since a Swedish expedition arrived on the coast of North America.

“The expedition consisted of two ships which sailed from Gothenburg in autumn 1637. In March 1638, the ships reached the Delaware River, where the expedition made contact with the local Lenape people, and purchased a tract of land along the river. The colony New Sweden was born! The area was given its own governor and more colonists were sent over. Some came voluntarily, others were criminals who were not given any choice.

“Forts were built around the Swedish farms with names such as Fort Christina, New Gothenburg and Älvsborg, now called Elsinboro. The forts were needed. Further north, along the Hudson River, lay New Netherland. The Dutch were not keen on the competition from the Swedes and sent off a small army which conquered New Sweden in 1655. The Swedish authorities went home, but some of the settlers remained, and Swedish priests were sent over to the Swedish descendants until the late 1700s.”

The Swedes established their first colony in Delaware Valley in 1638, USA

Thousands and thousands of Swedes emigrated to the USA beginning in 1840s to escape from famine, starvation, long winters, crop failures, harsh social and climatic conditions, undemocratic rule, lack of religious freedom among others until to the early 20th century. During the period of emigration, almost 20% of Swedish population left the country. For the Swedish emigrants, Gothenburg was the main port to board a ship or steamer.

The Delaware Monument at Stenpiren in today’s Gothenburg is a slice of history in nutshell, and stands welcoming all those de-boarding from the boats at the pier.

Sten in Swedish means stone: En sten – stenen – stenar: a stone/rock – the stone/rock – stones/rocks

Stena functions as a verb meaning to stone: Att stena – stena – stenar – stenade –  stenat: to stone – stone – stone/stones/stoning – stoned – has/had stoned.

Pir means pier: En pir – piren – pirar: a pier – the pier – piers.

The area around Stenpiren is also an example for urban regeneration.