Norrköping’s north–south central artery, Drottninggatan runs ruler-straight from the train station and crosses Motala ström, the small, rushing river that attracted the Dutch industrialist Louis De Geer (1587–1652) to the town in the early seventeenth century. He was known as the father of Swedish industry, and his paper mill, became the biggest factory in town. Many of Norrköping’s buildings, and the trams, are painted in De Geer’s colour of choice – a tortilla-chip yellow – which has become synonymous with the town.
Just a few steps down from the station, compact Carl Johans Park has 25,000 cacti, formally arranged in thematic patterns and interspersed with brilliantly coloured flowers and palm trees. Glance to the right from here (with the train station behind you) across Slottsgatan, and you’ll see the splendid 1906 city theatre, with its Art Nouveau curves and double Ionic columns. Over the river, follow the tram lines up cobbled Drottninggatan and after a few hundred metres turn right into Repslagaregatan for Gamlatorget, overlooked by a charismatic Carl Milles sculpture of Louis De Geer with a bale of cloth slung over his shoulder.