If you take the Tunnelbanan (underground railway) from Gamla Stan in Stockholm, a five-minute journey south to Slussen station in Södermalm, commonly referred to as “Söder”, you arrive in what once was the great working-class area of the city. Don’t miss the Södermalm Artistic Center in Stockholm
Södermalm Artistic Center in Stockholm
Today, however, this has become the coolest, most bohemian part of Stockholm, popular with local artists and bursting with new cafés, restaurants, boutiques and design shops. There is a concentration of galleries on the steep slope of Hornsgatan, a popular street on which to buy locally made art, glass and ceramics. The inner circle of cool, though, is the “SoFo” area (south of Folkungsgatan), the place to head for cafés and nightlife.
The City Museum
Right next to the Slussen underground is the City Museum (Stadsmuseet), voted Stockholm’s best museum in 2007. While Stockholm received virtually no mention until the 13th century, the museum makes it clear that this strategic spot had been inhabited for many centuries.
Södermalm forms the backdrop for much of the action in Stieg Larson’s best-selling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its follow-ups. Stadsmuseet runs walking tours that point out pertinent landmarks from the books and film.
After the museum, it would be a pity not to make a quick trip up Katarinahissen, a 19th century lift rebuilt in 1935 that carries you to the heights of Södermalm.
Opened in May 2010, the fabulous Fotografiska exhibition space is currently wowing visitors (if not ABBA fans, whose shelved museum was due to open here!) Fotografiske, housed within the impressive Art-Nouveau Customs House (1906), puts on four major photographic exhibitions per year, and around 20 smaller shows and video installations. Previous exhibitions hosted within its superb spaces have included everything from the images of award-winning photographer Åsa Sjöström and images by fashion photographer Herb Ritts, to contemporary reportage on innocent war victims by photographer Magnus Wennman.
The Globe and Skyview
Just west of Södermalm, the former prison island Långholmen is now a lush green space with its own little beaches. And sitting off to the south, like a giant golf-ball on Stockholm’s skyline, the Ericsson Globe is the world’s largest spherical building. Since its inauguration in 1989, it has mainly been used as the national ice-hockey arena and a concert venue, but in February 2010, the new Skyview attraction added another dimension. This highly unusual funicular railway takes visitors up the curving sides of the 130-meter (426ft) high Globe in two glass-sided gondolas.
Södermalm Artistic Center in Stockholm, written by Tor Kjolberg