Skåne is a landscape of contrasts, offering great diversity within easy travelling distance and only a short journey from peaceful countryside and picturesque fishing villages to the vibrant cities of the region.
The countryside is varied – from the wide open plains, rolling fields of rapeseed, and 400 km of coast lined with white sandy beaches, to the deep forests of the northeast and the steep cliff faces of the northwest.
Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, is situated in the southwest with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Helsingborg in the northwest and Kristianstad in the northeast.
A culinary heartland
Skåne is recognised as the culinary heartland of Sweden, so it is no surprise that the region boasts many award-winning restaurants – not just in Malmö and Helsingborg, but also scattered throughout the region's rural areas.
The stunning gardens of Skåne spread out before your eyes, offering a myriad of unique experiences, from the beauty of traditional botanic gardens to gourmet food, festivals and concerts served up in delightful surroundings. You cannot fail to notice the sense of history as you travel around the region, not least in the 200 castles and manor houses. Several of the castles are open to visitors and offer activities in the gardens (Sofiero), art exhibitions (Wanås), food and of course a wealth of history.
Skåne is perfect for outdoor activities, with its 1000 km of walking trails, a seemingly infinite number of narrow picturesque roads that constitute a paradise for cyclists, and vast lakes and clear rivers for canoeing and fishing excursions. You can also have a go at mountaineering in northwest Skåne. Child-friendly white beaches stretch for miles, Malmö and Åhus are home to excellent theme parks, and fun is waiting to be had at Tosselilla Sommarland in Österlen. In central Skåne you will find Skåne Zoo, with more than 80 animal species from the Nordic region.
Trade and industry in Skåne
There are more than 100,000 companies in Skåne altogether; approximately 700 of them employ more than 50 people. Many companies are running successful export operations in Europe and other parts of the world within, for example, the manufacturing industry and the transport and service sectors.
Some companies that started in Skåne have developed into major international corporations such as Tetra Pak, Gambro, Absolut Company, Sony and Brio.
60 percent of Scandinavian pharmaceutical research and manufacturing takes place in the Medicon Valley life science cluster, spanning Skåne and Zealand in Denmark. To achieve the desired synergy effects, these companies work together with researchers and students at universities and colleges of higher education as well as with the university hospitals in the Greater Copenhagen area.
There are several research villages and innovation parks in Skåne. The best known are Ideon and Medicon Village in Lund, Medeon in Malmö, Campus Helsingborg and Krinova in Kristianstad.
Skåne is a central point for logistics, with comprehensive infrastructure for rail, road freight and car traffic. Several international transport companies (including DHL and Schenker) have made use of this, not to mention local companies from different sectors, that have chosen to base themselves close to the E4, E6 and E22 motorway corridors - the roads that lead north to the other Nordic countries.
World class research
Construction is underway on the outskirts of Lund on the European Spallation Source (ESS). This will be a world class European centre for material research, which will be fully operational by around 2020. Protons will collide with atomic nuclei in a 600-metre long underground tunnel. When they collide, the atomic nuclei split (spallation) and in turn send out neutrons. These can be channelled towards a type of microscope that uses neutrons instead of light to examine various materials.
Lund has been well known as a seat of learning since the 11th century, when a large number of monasteries and a Latin school were situated here. Lund University was founded in 1666 and is the largest collective institution for research and higher education in the Nordic region. Other knowledge institutions in Lund are Lund Institute of Technology, the research village, Ideon, and Lund University Hospital which together employ about 60 percent of the inhabitants of Lund. Skåne is also the home to three other higher education institutions, Malmö University, Kristianstad University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.