On Oct. 16, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden toured the new Facebook data center in Lulea, which is currently under construction with a planned launch next year.  The King was accompanied by a delegation from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and was given complete information about the construction of the facility along with a surprise tour of the server hall.

Economic development officials in Sweden have been using the Facebook project to highlight the region’s liability as a data center destination. Lulea has already begun to see economic “coattails” from the Facebook data center, as storage vendors EMC and Fusion-IO have set up local offices in town, presumably to help support Facebook’s needs. The international construction agency NCC has created a special division with expertise for data center construction, based in Lulea.

Facebook’s presence in Lulea also seems to have caused an increase in the number of student intake at the Lulea University of Technology. With the university located just 750 meters from the data center, the number of applicants for IT engineering has seen a considerable rise.

“This past year with Facebook’s presence has meant a grn increaseeat deal for Sweden and Lulea,” says Karl Petersen, Mayor of Lulea. ”We are entering a new, digital industrial era, and we expect growth and positive effects to continue.”

“We have been educating data technicians since the early 80s, but right now we are experiencing a previously unseen peak in interest and applications from new students,” said Johan Sterte, Vice Chancellor at Lulea University of Technology. ”In fact, we are currently the University in Sweden that is seeing the biggest increase in student applications.”

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