Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stockholm: The Swedish Capital Exhibits Openness to LGBT Travelers (and a Lot of Art)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stockholm: The Swedish Capital Exhibits Openness to LGBT Travelers (and a Lot of Art)

Article excerpt

A metro station built in 1977 seemed like an odd start for my guided walking tour of Stockholm, a city filled with centuries-old palaces, among other historic landmarks. But as we reached the platform of Kungstradgarden station, it began to make sense. A permanent art installation unfolded in the form of elaborately painted ceilings, vivid floors, and a sculpture garden created from pieces rescued from the castle that had once stood above it. Beginning in the 1950s, almost all of Stockholm's metro stations have been similarly transformed, arguably making the metro the world's longest art exhibit.

In May, Stockholm welcomed its newest venue, the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, with its most popular wing, ABBA the Museum. Through its extensive collection of objects--costumes to cars, mixing boards, and gold records--ABBA the Museum gives visitors a rich history of the world's most popular super group. Interactive exhibits let guests sing in the famed Polar Studios or appear on stage as the group's fifth member.

The city is full of museums and show spaces, their exhibits dedicated to a vast array of subjects. The Moderna Museet (ModernaMuseet.se) regularly mounts large-scale exhibitions in addition to its notable permanent collection of modern art, which includes pieces by de Kooning, Rauschenberg, and Kandinsky. The family-friendly, popular Vasamuseet (Vasamuseet.se) houses a 17th-century war ship recovered from the bottom of the sea that's spectacular up close. And for fans of 20th-century photography, legends like Helmut Newton and Henri Cartier-Bresson appear in regularly rotated exhibits at the Fotografiska Museet (en.Fotografiska.eu/The-Museum). But, of course, there are plenty of things for LGBT travelers to do outside museum walls, too.

Stockholm has earned its reputation as one of the world's gay-friendliest cities and will play host to the EuroGames in 2015. Same-sex marriage has been legal throughout Sweden since 2009, with the Church of Sweden giving it its blessing the same year. Perhaps this incredible openness is the reason Stockholm lacks any discernible gay neighborhoods; its LGBT residents have instead settled in across the city.

That said, many of the establishments catering to the LGBT crowd can be found in either the hip Sodermalm district or Gamla Stan, the Old Town. After a visit to the Royal Palace, stop by Chokladkoppen, a charming cafe with outdoor seating famous for the warm and creamy cup of hot chocolate for which it's named. Torget, another popular hot spot that resembles a chic living room, is a great place to start the night with dinner or a cocktail. …

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