The manufacture of glass in Sweden was encouraged by King Gustav Vasa (1496-1560) who had observed glass making during a visit to Italy. The industry flourished in the heavily forested province of Småland where 15 works are still operating. The Kosta Glasbruk (Kosta glassworks) was founded in 1742 by two mercenary soldiers who had fought in the army of the Swedish king Charles XII (1682-1718), Anders Koskull (1677-1746) and Georg Bogislaus Stael von Holstein (1685-1768), and took its name from the first letters of their surnames, Koskull and Stael. Some of the first employees at the factory were skilled workers from Thuringia. The community that grew up around the glassworks was also called Kosta, and the many glassworks in the region gave it the name ‘the kingdom of crystal’.
The Orrefors glassworks, established in 1898, was merged with the Kosta company in 1990, and after a takeover in 2005 was closed in 2012. The Boda works which dates from 1874 has also been merged with the Kosta company.
Visitors to the factory at Kosta, now the oldest glassworks operating in Sweden, can see the whole process of glass making, including blowing, cutting and painting, and in an interactive part of their tour can try their skills at glass-blowing. The Kosta works has collaborated closely over many years with leading designers whose works are displayed in a gallery. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy a tradition meal, a ‘Hyttsill’.