Varkaus (before 1929 Warkaus) is a Finnish city in the southern
part of Pohjois-Savo province. The city has a population of 20,392
and covers an area of 524.47 km², of which 138.84 km² are water
bodies. The population density is 52.88 inhabitants / km². On
January 1, 2005, the municipality of Kangaslammi joined Varkaus.
Theft is a well-known industrial city. Stora Enso (formerly A.
Ahlström Osakeyhtiö) 's Varkaus mills, as well as Foster Wheeler and
Andritz, are located there. A local newspaper, Warkauden Lehti, is
published in the city.
The decline in the population of theft, especially in the 21st century, is largely due to the structural change experienced by the paper industry, which has led to a significant reduction in jobs in the sector. The structural change has also affected the operations of the Varkaus mills.
The first written mention can be found in 1323 in the
Pähkinäsaari Peace Book, where one of the landmarks is the Lappish
winter village on the shores of the Sith (now Siitinselkä).
Permanent settlements in the area began to emerge in the 15th
century at the time of the completion of Olavinlinna (a medieval
castle in Savonlinna), and at the turn of the next century a crown
fishery was established in Varkaus. Theft was close to obtaining
city rights in the 18th century, but Kuopio did.
In 1792, a royal decree established a naval base in Varkaus, which housed the “Voluntary Company of the Naval Artillery Regiment of the Royal Army Navy”. For this reason, Varkaus was called Ship Choice. The shipyard was in operation until the Finnish War, when Russia took over the entire territory of Finland. The city still has Laivalinnankatu.
During the 19th century, Varkaus developed into a major industrial center (wood and paper industry and shipbuilding) thanks to the hydropower available and because of its excellent location along the waterways. The Taipale canal in Varkaus was the first blocking canal built in Finland, and it made it possible to connect the above-mentioned Leppävirta route to shipping with waterways in the Saimaa region.
The zoning work in Varkaus began at the beginning of the 20th century, when Ruukki in Varkaus became the property of A. Ahlström Osakeyhtiö and Walter Ahlström became the company's CEO. Ahlström set out vigorously to develop the wood processing industry in Varkaus. Ruukki's population grew strongly during the major years of construction. Ruukki was responsible for zoning as well as housing policy and also for public duties while Varkaus was still without municipal independence.
Walter Ahlström had a vision of an entire city that would be formed around industrial plants. Ahlström was actively involved in the planning of his city, his aim was to create a new kind of industrial community in which all functions were part of a whole.
A. Ahlström Osakeyhtiö ordered the first town plan of Varkaus in 1913 from architect brothers Ivar and Valter Thomélé. These parts were connected by Ahlströminkatu, a boulevard-like park street. The Civil War (1918) and the trauma left after it marked the spiritual atmosphere of the factory site for decades. The division into reds and whites persisted even after the war.
Varkaus became a densely populated community in 1928, an independent township split from the municipalities of Leppävirta and Joroinen in 1929 and a city in 1962.