The city is named after a British monk, Eskil, who used the place to spread Christianity in the region, during the Viking period. The Swedish king Karl X Gustaf, offered in 1650, the exclusive right to produce and export fine metal work such as knives, tools, locks and arms, under twenty years to Reinhold Rademacher, an industrialist from Riga, active in Eskilstuna. Hundred years later, the Swedish parliament decided, that Sweden’s first sanctuary would be founded in Eskilstuna. Small businesses dealing with iron, steel or metal processing would be free from the guild system and customs duties. Due to these decisions, Eskilstuna became an important center for Sweden’s arms manufacturing and a center for blacksmiths.
Eskilstuna is today a center for manufacturing,and a high percentage of the citizens are employed in industry, primarily related to heavy vehicles. There are also many knowledge intensive industries. The trade and service sector is growing. Large investments have been made in an intermodal terminal, Eskilstuna Combi-terminal. It is a modern terminal that in only a few years has become established as one of Sweden’s most important terminals, thanks to its great geographic location, functional design and high capacity. Eskilstuna also has a science park- Munktell Science Park and a university – Mälardalens University.