East India Company House

Gothenburg, Sweden

The old East India Company House (now the City Museum) was once the hub of Sweden's trade with the Far East. Most seafaring nations in the 18th century had an East India company which held a monopoly on trade with the East. Scottish merchants were not part of the lucrative dealings of the English, so Scot Colin Campbell, in association with Niclas Sahlgren in Gothenburg, devised an idea for a Swedish East India Company, which would be Sweden's first international trading company.

The company started up in 1731, and the next year the first ship set off for the Far East. This made Gothenburg a European centre of trade in products from China and the East. The main goods were silk, tea, furniture, porcelain, precious stones and other distinctive luxury items. Trade with China saw the arrival of some new customs in Sweden. The Chinese cultural influence increased, and tea, rice, arrak punch and new root vegetables started appearing in Swedish homes.Middle and upper class families bought entire porcelain services with their monograms on.The last ship from East Asia arrived in Gothenburg in 1806, by which time the great East India era was already over.

The house of East India Company was built between 1750-1762. Today it hosts the city museum, archaeological museum and etnographic museum.

References:
  • Marianne Mehling et al. Knaurs Kulturführer in Farbe. Schweden. München 1987.
  • goteborg.com

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Founded: 1750-1762
Category: Museums in Sweden
Historical period: The Age of Liberty (Sweden)

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