The porcelain factory known as Gustavsberg on Varmdo island in the Stockholm archipelago, 21 km east of the city centre, was established in 1825 by Johan Herman Ohman on the site of a 17th century brick works. It began to make bone china in 1863 using china clay imported from Cornwall, and gained a reputation as the producer of high quality table wares and figurines.
The company was acquired in 1937 by KF Industri Nordico, the Swedish co-operative union, who began the manufacture of sanitary wares and plastics. KF sold the company in 1994 and it now belongs to the German concern Villeroy & Boch AG. The manufacture of traditional porcelain is now much reduced but Gustavsberg remains an important centre for making sanitary wares.
In 2000 the Swedish National Museum, KF and the municipality of Varmdo came to an agreement by which the collection of Gustavsberg porcelain that had been displayed in the company museum should pass to the state through the National Museum. This mean that the collection could remain intact and that it could still be displayed at Gustavsberg. It comprises a remarkable range of wares manufactured between 1825 and 1990. The Varmdo tourist office is located within the museum which is a popular day-trip destination for visitors to Stockholm.