The connection with Omaruru - Namibia
Omaruru and Vänersborg have a shared history through Axel W Eriksson, from Vänersborg, who went to Namibia and started a trading post in the area. The city was established and there were still Swedish descendants living in Omaruru as late as the 1990´s. Since 2001, Omaruru and Vänersborg has had a partnership cooperation.
The Municipality of Omaruru is a town of about ten thousand inhabitants located about 250 km north-east of Namibia´s capital Windhoek. Today, the city´s main industries consists of smaller industries and in the surrounding, livestock and hunting farms. In recent years, the city has also become something of a center for Namibian artists and craftspeople. Tourism is also important due to the city being the transit center for travelers from the capital to the great Etosha National Park in the north.
Omaruru´s history of a modern society starts in the mid 1800´s. The area was crossed by Charles John Andersson on his expedition to the Okavango River in 1858 and a few years later Andersson received large tracts of land in the neighborhood of the Herero people. Andersson´s dream to establishment the city Andersonopole failed when he lost his business in the area a few years later.
When Andersson´s companion, Axel W Eriksson, in 1869 undertook an expedition to South West Africa, now Namibia, Omaruru was a natural choice in the establishment of a new trading station. Some years earlier, on the banks by the water-rich Omaruru River the Chief of the Herero, Willhelm Zeraua, had settled with his people. Eriksson received, together with his colleagues Oscar Lindholm and Thure Een, permission to erect a trading post and residential building by the river on the opposite side of the herero village .
Eriksson´s establishment in Omaruru in 1869 became the starting point of a nearly 30-year-old Swedish trading activity in the area as well as the establishment of the town Omaruru. When Germany from the early 1880´s colonized Namibia, there was an increasing number of German businessmen and servicemen moving into Omaruru and the land around the city was divided up into cattle ranches. Despite a growing German influence, Swedish was spoken in Omaruru as late as in the 1930´s and the last Swedish descendants left the city in the 1990´s.
In 2001 Omaruru and Vanersborg established a partnership cooperation that has been going ever since. As part of this collaboration, the two cities has operated a large number of projects, including the environment, civil protection, HIV / AIDS, school issues, democracy issues, crisis management, culture and water supply.