Gävlebocken originalskiss

The fate of the Gävle Goat

The history of the Gävlebock begins in 1966 at Slottstorget in Gävle. Here you can read about the fate of the straw goat from the start onwards.
The Gävlebocken's history begins in 1966 when it was set up for the first time at Slottstorget in Gävle. It was Söder's merchants who decided to build the large straw goat to attract more visitors to the shops on Söder in Gävle.

Who came up with the original idea to build the world's largest straw goat is not entirely clear. There is information that it came from advertising man Stig Gavlén. Others testify that it may have been Harry Ström, TV trader and chairman of the merchant association. The idea is also said to have come from Inga Ivarsson in Hälsingland. Inga's family owned Edsbyverken, which previously lent the world's largest skis and the world's largest chair to Söder's merchants. The straw goat would then be a continuation of the "world's largest" theme.

What we know for sure is that Stig Gavlén sketched the first drawing of the Gävle Goat on a napkin inside the pastry shop Lido in Söder. Brother Jörgen Gavlén took help from his colleagues at the fire station and built the first goat. The cost of SEK 10,000 was covered by Harry Ström.
As board minutes from Söder's merchants are missing for the current year, Stig Gavlén, Harry Ström and Inga Ivarsson remain as possible idea incubators for Gävlebocken.

The 60'S

  • On the 1st of December, the 13 meters tall and 7 meters long goat was put into place for the first time, weighing in at 3 tonnes. On New Year’s Eve, at midnight, the goat went up in flames. The perpetrator was found and charged for serious vandalization.
  • In 1967, the goat was left unharmed.
  • In 1968, the goat was left unharmed too.
  • In 1969, someone burned the goat on New year’s eve.

The 70'S

  • In year 1970, the first goat that was put up got destroyed within six hours. Two very drunk adolescents were connected to the crime. With the help of different contributors, the goat was put up again – this time made out of reed.
  • By 1971, the tradesmen of Gävle were fed up with burned goats and quit the goat making business. The Natural Science Society of Vasaskolan took over. Their smaller goat was smashed into pieces.
  • In 1972, the goat imploded due to sabotage.
  • In 1973, the goat faced an uncertain destiny.
  • In 1974, the goat was burned to the ground.
  • 1975, yet another unknown fate.
  • In 1976, the goat was hit and destroyed by a greaser car.
  • 1977 – Once more, an unknown fate.
  • In 1978, the goat was once again smashed into pieces.
  • In 1979, someone burned the goat even before he was put up. Another goat was built and drenched in flame retardants, but also that one was sabotaged and destroyed.

The 80'S

  • In 1980, the goat was burned down on Christmas Eve.
  • 1981 – Unharmed!
  • In 1982, the goat was burned on St. Lucy’s Day, 13th of December.
  • In 1983, his legs were destroyed.
  • In 1984, he was burned down on the night before St. Lucy’s day.
  • 1985 – Measuring in at 12.5 meters, the goat enters Guinness Book of Records for the first time. Burned down in 
  • January.
  • In 1986, the tradesmen of Gävle commence the goat building again. From this point on, there are always two goats; the Tradesmen’s goat and Vasaskolan’s goat. However, the large goat was burned down on the night before Christmas Eve.
  • In 1987, the goat was heavily impregnated with fire retardants. Nevertheless, someone burned him down during the week before Christmas.
  • In 1988, the goat made it through completely unharmed. He also became a betting object on British betting charts.
  • In 1989, the goat was put on fire even before he was constructed. Money for a new goat was raised from the public; however, the new goat burned in January. Two months later another goat was constructed, this time for the recording of the movie ‘Black Jack’.

The 90'S

  • In 1990, the goat was left unharmed. This year, many volunteered as guards.
  • In 1991, the goat was accompanied by a commercial sleigh, which turned out to be an illegal construction. Someone put the goat on fire on Christmas Eve’s morning. He was rebuilt in order to go to Stockholm for a campaign against the shutdown of the local military regiment, I14.
  • In 1992, the goat was on fire within eight days; also the goat from Vasaskolan was burnt during the same night. The goat was rebuilt but put on fire again on the 20th of December. The arsonist of all three goats was arrested.
  • In 1993, the goat was once again included in the Guinness Book of Records. This time it was the goat from Vasaskolan that made the qualifications, 16 meters tall. Left unharmed.
  • Also in 1994, the goat was left unharmed.
  • In 1995, it burned on Christmas Day morning. He was rebuilt in order to partake in the festivities when Gävle celebrated 550 years as a city.
  • In 1996, he was guarded by a webcam for the first time. The goat made it through without being put on fire.
  • 1997 – Besides smaller damages caused by fireworks, the goat was unharmed.
  • In 1998, the goat burned on the 11th of December. However, he was rebuilt.
  • In 1999, he burned only a few hours after he was put up. The goat was rebuilt and put up again by the time of St. Lucy’s day.

The 00'S

  • In 2000, the goat was burned just a few days before New Year’s Eve.
  • In 2001, a 51-year-old American visiting Sweden put the pride of Gävle on fire, just the day before Christmas Eve.
  • In 2002, the people of Gävle enjoyed a completely unharmed goat.
  • In 2003, the goat burned two days before St. Lucy’s. A new goat, which made it through unharmed, was put up a week later.
  • In 2004, the goat burned on the 21st of December; only three days before Christmas. No new goat was put up.
  • In 2005, the goat burned on the 3rd of December. A new goat was put up on the 8th and that one was left unharmed.
  • In 2006, the goat survived the deed of a pyromaniac on the night before the 15th of December; he was only slightly scorched on his right leg. After that, the goat was left unharmed.
  • In 2007, the goat was heavily drenched in fire retardants, and was not a victim of pyromaniacs.
  • In 2008, the goat was not chemically protected; instead, the pure straw was delivered from the producers of Mackmyra Whisky. He burned on the 27th of December.
  • In 2009, the goat was burned on the night of the 23rd of December. At the same time, the webcams fell victim to a hacker attack, so the pyromaniacs were never caught on tape.

The 10'S

  • In 2010, the goat made it unharmed. However, someone was plotting to kidnap the goat with a helicopter and bring him to Stockholm. 
  • In 2011, the goat only stood for five days. He was put up in flames as early as the 2nd of December.
  • In 2012, someone put the goat on fire on the night before the 13th of December. The fire started in his left hind leg.
  • In 2013 the goat was burned on the 21st of December, just after 4 o’ clock.
  • In 2014, the goat was spared from fire. He also went on a long trip to visit Zhuhai City in China, in order to celebrate that Gävle and Zhuhai had been sister cities for five years.
  • In 2015, the goat was burned on the 27th of December.
  • In 2016, the goat was burned only a few hours after his grand 50th birthday party. His inofficial little brother, built by the students of Vasaskolan, got to fill the void at Castle Square. However, Little Brother was hit by a car on the 5th of December.
  • In 2017, the goat was left unharmed.
  • In 2018, the goat was left unharmed, too.
  • 2019 was another good year for the Gävle Goat. Sadly, someone set his little brother on fire on the 27th of December.

The 20'S

  • In 2020, Gävlebocken withstood both fire and virus.
  • In 2021, Gävlebocken was burned down after being attacked in the night of 17 December. The perpetrator was arrested with soot and ash on him. In addition, everything is on film. The person is sentenced to prison for six months and must pay damages of just over SEK 100,000.
  • 2022 was the year when the Gävle Goat got a new temporary location for the first time in 56 years. Anyway, it went well and the Gävle goat was left unscathed.