The water-powered ironworks at Finspong, 30 km west of Norrkoping was established in the late 16th century by the Walloon Wellam de Wijk. It came to specialise in the production of cast-iron cannon, and was energetically developed by two other Walloons, a father (d 1652) and son (1622-95) both called Louis de Geer, who took over the works from the crown in 1641. During the rest of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century the works had a monopoly on the production of cannon in Sweden, and continued to make guns until the last was test-fired in 1912. The de Geers brought to Finspong many skilled ironworkers from the regions around Liege and Namur, and in 1668 the son built the imposing chateau in the Dutch style that remains a feature of the landscape. In the 19th century the ironworks specialised in the production of art castings under the direction of a German founder, C F J W Mertens (d 1882).
A museum, open in the summer months, in a small 18th century building displays products of the works including cannon and relief castings including that modelled on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which was produced by 19th century foundries in several European countries.
Finspong remains an important centre for the engineering industries, and de Geer’s castle is now occupied by the Siemens corporation. The castle, the rushing water, the ironworkers’ houses in the Brukgatan which bear their dates of construction in wrought-iron letters, and the park, with its iron temple and bridges of the 1850s, comprise one of Sweden’s best-preserved industrial landscapes.