Why Facebook chose norrbotten

Facebook chose Luleå for their first European data centre

Fotograf: Karl-William Sandström

- After a rigorous review process of sites across Europe, we concluded that Luleå offered the best package of resources – including a suitable climate for environmental cooling, clean power resources, available land, talented regional workforce and supportive business and corporate environment, says Tom Furlong, Director of Site Operations at Facebook.

2009 Luleå began working towards attracting international companies to the region. Two years later, in October 2011, Facebook announced that they will build its first European data centre in Luleå. Facebook opted for Luleå due to the regions unique characteristics. There is a high standard of Technical competence provided by the University, and a natural climate that can provide fresh air cooling all year round. The reliable electricity grid, the low electricity prices and the clean energy were also big advantages.


- The fact that Facebook chose Luleå is evidence of the regions qualities and the huge team effort from everbody involved. Luleå was up against lots of options and with this type of investment, you don´t take a gamble, says Matz Engman, former CEO of Luleå Näringsliv.

The largest of its kind

The data centre opened in June 2013. Fully developed, it will be the largest of its kind in Europe, with an area of 84,000 square meters which is equivalent to more than 11 soccer fields. Much of the traffic from Facebook´s over 1 billion global users will be handled at the new data centre.


- This is the largest single investment in Luleå since the steel mill was built in 1940. It is the beginning of a completely new and digital industry era for our entire region. With this establishment we become a Node for data traffic in all of Europe, says Karl Petersen, former Mayor of Luleå.

The result of the project means several million Euros invested and new job opportunities.

What is a data centre?

A data centre acts as a giant computer. It houses thousands of computer servers that by working together can process vast amount of data traffic. The servers are linked with the outside world via fibre optic cables, and can thereby use their combined capacity to make extensive calculations in order to get web services – such as Facebook – to work.

When you use Facebook, for example to update your status or comment on your friends pictures and films, the server in Facebook´s data centre receives and calculates your requirements so this act can be experienced directly at the same moment that you perform it. With more than 1 billion users worldwide and more than 350 million photos uploaded every day, there is massive amount of data that needs to be processed by Facebook every day.

Photos by Karl-William Sandström