The ancient cobber mine of Falun

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The small town of Falun has had a very significant influence on all of Sweden – you could say they have made the colour of Sweden.

Old industrial buildings at the mine

Just outside the current town you find an old mining site where the Swedish industrialization started before you actually had industrialization anywhere around the world. By the 17th century Falun Gruba had become the most important cobber mine in the world and the output from here help fund the growth of the Swedish army to become the biggest in northern Europe.

We go to visit the old mine and walk around at the old buildings. Usually you can go and visit the mine underground but the tours under the surface has been temporarily suspended so we don’t get to see what is down there. Instead we can walk around the top and look into the open mine part of the area.

Main building at the mine – now museum

There are also a lot of old buildings to look at which were used in the production in the mine in the old days.

The old paint factory making red paint

One of the most important buildings houses the company called Falu Rödfärg which produced paint. Interesting the production of cobber leave behind a substance which can be used to produce paint – or it used to be the basis of paint production until it was discovered it was actually toxic.

Falu Rödfärg produced red paint which is called Falun Red or Swedish Red. This paint is one of the oldest mass produced paint anywhere around the world. It got its popularity when the king decided to paint the roof on his palace in the red colour of this paint. Paint at this time was a luxury good – but it was still cheaper than putting actual red cobber on the roof so the king was just trying to be fancy on the cheap. It didn’t take long before the nobility decided to copy the king and many roofs around the Swedish country side was painted in the Falun red colour.

The production of the paint increased and it became cheaper. So the common farmers could afford painting their houses in the red colour – before they had just been unpainted. The popularity of this colour has stayed until today and most of the Swedish wooden houses are painted in the Falun Red colour. Though they do not use the original recipe for the paint anymore for health reasons.

Other buildings at the area used to be used for the mining. The most interesting building is a large building which is called the shaft and used to be the access point to the underground mining from where the miners would get up and down from the mine.

Mine shaft

The outside of the mine is pretty interesting and we did enjoy just walking outside the area. If you are interested to learn more about the mining there is a museum at the premise which you can go into. There is also a hotel if you want to stay really close to the mine so you can explore the area in the morning.

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