Art & Culture
Come to Stockholm and discover why the city is labeled the ‘capital of Scandinavia’ and why Swedish culture and lifestyle á la Stockholm is so admired. There are so many things we could list for you to experience, but we will only share a selection of our favorite Stockholm local museums, art galleries, exhibitions, street art, sights other cultural spots. The places where Stockholm locals go for culture, arts, architecture and history experiences.
The Royal Armoury
The Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren) is the oldest museum in Sweden. It was established by King Gustav II Adolph in 1628 after his decision to preserve the clothes he wore on his campaign in Poland.
Moderna Museet located on the little island of Skeppsholmen, is renowned for one of the world’s finest collections of 20th and 21st century art, its fabulous restaurant and kids activities.
Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art
Housed in a 1930s warehouse at the capital’s old free port, Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art has a large exhibition area of around 1,500 square metres. It uses this space to present ambitious shows for mid-career internationally established artists, like Irish sculptor Siobhán Hapaska. Since its beginnings in 1987, Magasin III has also developed a private collection of over 600 works, including many pieces from artists it has showcased over the years. Two of its galleries are dedicated to displaying works from this permanent collection. In the last few years, Magasin III has further expanded its scope to include lectures, talks and collaborations with other art institutions as founder members of FACE.
Bonniers Konsthall derives its name from the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation, which awards a grant to a young Swedish artist every year. The latest contemporary art is presented in a varied exhibition programme of themed group and solo shows. Artists of international calibre have displayed their works here, and American photographer and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart is no exception; immersing herself in foreign communities for long periods of time, Lockhart’s poetic images document the everyday lives of people who are often overlooked. This educational quality is reflective of the many activities undertaken by Bonniers Konsthall, which include collaborating on cultural research projects and art publications. Furthermore, since opening in 2006, Bonniers Konsthall has amassed its own diverse collection of works, which are often loaned to museums around the world.
Skansen open-air museum
An open-air museum Skansen should be also on your list. You can join Stockholmers in celebrating Christmas and Midsummer in traditional style here. Open every day of the year. If you’re coming with the family, the zoo and collection of 19th century buildings and settings from all around Sweden are a must.
The Vasa Museum
A short walk from Skansen is the Vasa Museum. The museum was purpose-built to house the 17th century Vasa ship and we don’t just mean bits of it – we mean the entire ship, which was raised from nearby Lake Mälaren.
The Art Nouveau building containing Fotografiska, formerly an old customs house, was designed by acclaimed Swedish architect Ferdinand Boberg. Today, it is home to one of the best photography museums in Scandinavia. Every year the museum stages between 15 and 20 major exhibitions, which have presented internationally renowned photographers, including Swedes Helena Blomqvist and Klara Källström. Photography shows at Fotografiska explore many different themes, such as Roger Ballen’s black and white depictions of human or animal absurdity, and Sebastião Salgado’s images of parts of the world that have escaped modern civilisation. Visitors to Fotografiska can also enjoy after-hours music events and excellent views of Stockholm from its dining spaces. Fotografiska, Stadsgårdshamnen 22, Stockholm.
Interested in Swedish movies? To see where it all began visit the Filmstaden film studio grounds in Råsunda just outside Stockholm where Ingmar Bergman, Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman worked. Or if you are a fan of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy go on the Millennium Tour in Lisbeth Salander’s footsteps.
Drottningholm Court Theatre
For theatre visit Drottningholm Court Theatre (Drottningholms Slottsteater), one of Europe’s finest 18th-century theatres, which adjoins Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholms Slott) just outside the city.
Right in the heart of Stockholm City, on Sergels Torg in Kulturhuset the City Theatre (Stadsteatern) is running several plays and shows.
Rival is located at Mariatorget on Södermalm and partly restaurant, partly bar and partly a theatre hosting many popular plays and shows. Rival is owned by ABBA-Björn (Ulveaus).
Royal Dramatic Theatre
In the city, visit the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Kungliga Dramaten), a gorgeous gold-detailed, art noveau–style building at Nybrokajen. Take the guided tour to go backstage.
Royal Swedish Opera
Facing the Royal Castle and Parliament, is the Royal Swedish Opera (Kungliga Operan) housed in a splendid neo-classical building from 1897. The Swedish Royal Ballet is also located here.
Folkoperan (The Peoples Opera), located just off Mariatorget is the small opera house for everyone. Driven by the determination to develop the art of opera, through new expression and unexpected interfaces Folkoperan explore our age in depth through narratives.
During the summer months several outdoor theaters scenes are offering free plays and other cultural events. The bigger ones are located in Vitabergsparken in Södermalm and Rålambshovsparken in Kungsholmen.
Easily spotted as the “big blue building” on Hötorget, the Stockholm Concert Hall is one of Sweden’s architectural masterpieces in the neoclassical style of the 1920’s, the Concert Hall was built especially to house the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Apart from being a venue for world-class concerts, it hosts the annual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and the Polar Music Prizes.
Debaser Medis is part of a larger group of venues, but has a definitely rock slant the other two lack, putting on shows by post-rock groups and up-and-coming artists. When local smaller bands are performing, most of their gigs are free before 9 or 10 pm—a great way to discover new music. The venue itself is quite big, with several stages and bars spread over two floors; there’s even a small cinema on the second floor.
Not really into rock or pop? For high-quality live jazz, soul, and world music there isn’t a better place than Fasching, on Kungsgatan, near the Central Station. Opened in 1977, Fasching has been bringing local and international talents to central Stockholm, amazing jazz enthusiasts and famous starts. There are also many up-and-coming artists performing there, making for a great exploration of the local jazz scene in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Södra Teatern, located up on beautiful Mosebacke, is the oldest theater in Stockholm but now focuses on music. In this unique setting dating back to 1850, concerts are held on the main stage, a beautiful lounge adorned with gold and green, or on one of the six smaller stages. There are also bars, restaurants, three outdoor terraces in the summer, and stunning views of the city.
While the Main Concert Hall is the obvious place to look for good classical music in Stockholm, the Berwaldhallen is actually home to the Swedish Radio National Orchestra, one Europe’s foremost orchestras. The venue is also notable for its design and excellent acoustics: it has won a Europe Nostra architecture award for being an admirably sensibly designed concert hall.
The Stockholm Metro is one gigantic art gallery. More than 90 of the 110 stations feature artworks created by some 150 artists.
For the price of a Stockholm Metro ticket you can see sculptures, mosaics, paintings, art installations, inscriptions and reliefs from the 1950s through to the 2000s at most Stockholm Metro stations.
At T-Centralen station check out the 1950s tiling and reliefs on the walls, while at the Arsenalsgatan, exit of Kungsträdgården station (blue line), you’ll see an archaeological dig consisting of ancient columns and details.
Solna Centrum station (blue line) stands out for its cavernous, bright red ceiling that seems to ‘weigh down’ on the platform. Meanwhile, the walls of the station depict a spruce forest that is one kilometre long. Thorildsplan is another station that has received a face lift through the metro art, looking quite boring for many years until new tile art by Lars Arrhenius was put up on the concrete walls in 2008. The tiles form pixelated patterns in different colours and shapes that resemble arcade games from the 80s.
For more information and details about the Stockholm Metro Art check out the website link below to see when guided tours are arranged by SL or just to get the overview maps and go for your own tour.