About Stromfors Iron Works
Strömfors Iron Works date back to the late 17th century and are one of the oldest ironworks or ‘bruks’ in Finland. However, it was only in 1744 that they were named as the Strömfors Iron Works: a combination of the surnames of its then owners, Anders Nohrström and Jacob Forsell.
Today, visitors can tour the Iron Works Forge Museum as well as the fully restored iron workshop of the Upper Forge, which occasionally puts on hammering shows in the summer.
Stromfors Iron Works history
By the end of the 16th century, the Swedish rulers of Finland had come to the realisation that iron production needed to be modernised as bar iron became the new standard of trade. The governor of the Uusimaa and Turku provinces in Finland, Johan Creutz, founded the iron works in the westernmost junction of the Kymijoki River in 1698 – the perfect location for transporting goods and placing a water wheel for power.
The iron works were founded as part of a wider strategy by the Swedish crown to increase iron and steel production within the kingdom. When Forsell and Nohrström acquired the ironworks on the Swedish side of the Finnish border (the other side of the river had become Russian in 1743) in 1744, the ironworks received the name ‘Strömfors’. The pair extended Strömfors, building a new forge and a sawmill.
The iron works was of such importance that Strömfors became an independent municipality until later being incorporated into the neighbouring Lovisa. Strömfors had a population of about 1,300, 10 percent of which were iron workers. The iron workers were organised into shifts of 12 hours, mainly producing iron bars and nails.
Only 46 years later, the ironworks gained a new manager, 31-year-old Virginia af Forselles, who managed the iron works for almost 60 years and added multiple new buildings including the red house on the riverside. Iron manufacturing ended in 1950, shortly followed by the sawmill business, and Strömfors was made a historically significant environment.
Stromfors Iron Works today
Today, the characteristic Nordic red and white wooden buildings of Strömfors remain situated on the scenic river’s edge and function as an open-air museum that displays much of the well-preserved ironworks from the 18th century. The Forge Museum has 2 sections: the working mill wheel and the old smith’s workshop.
In addition to the museums, art gallery and small crafts shops, the ironworks contains a restaurant and cafe. All year long visitors can also stop and stay at the holiday apartments than look over the river, including the Krouvinmäki Inn, which was partly built of clay.
Getting to Stromfors Iron Works
The easiest way to reach Strömfors is by car. The iron works are only an hour and a half drive from Helsinki, Finland’s capital, via the E18 past Lovisa. There is parking on site.