Stockholm: A Cultural History

Overview

Situated on Lake Mälaren on one of the world's most beautiful harbors, Stockholm has set the benchmark for civilized city-living since the time of the Vikings. Its medieval regal period saw the Vasa dynasty turn a small town in the shadow of Uppsala into the capital city of a dominant power in Europe and a major trading port. In the Napoleonic era Stockholm readjusted its priorities to establish itself as a center of innovation, technical and social. While the city has suffered more than its fair share of ...

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Overview

Situated on Lake Mälaren on one of the world's most beautiful harbors, Stockholm has set the benchmark for civilized city-living since the time of the Vikings. Its medieval regal period saw the Vasa dynasty turn a small town in the shadow of Uppsala into the capital city of a dominant power in Europe and a major trading port. In the Napoleonic era Stockholm readjusted its priorities to establish itself as a center of innovation, technical and social. While the city has suffered more than its fair share of disasters, Stockholm's cultural and commercial elite transformed it into a community that welcomed innovation and spread the fruits of its achievements far beyond its borders.

From its celebrated Old Town dating from the Middle Ages to its Art Nouveau and modern quarters, Stockholm is a city rich in museums, theaters, and landmarks. Tony Griffiths explores the Swedish capital, old and new, revealing a city of unexpected contradictions and dark history.

City of Power, Intrigue, and Murder: Gustav Vasa, Queen Christina, and Descartes; murder at a Masked Ball, Olof Palme's assassination; social democracy and armed neutrality; the rights of women and the impact of immigration.

City of Scientists and Inventors: Linnaeus and Nobel; Ericsson and new technology; Laval, Wenner-Gren, and Kamprad.

Sensual City: August Strindberg, Greta Garbo, Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman; sculptors and painters; ABBA and Henning Mankell; home of the smörgåsbord; the church, lust, and the alcohol monopoly.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195386370
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/25/2009
  • Series: Cityscapes Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Griffiths teaches at Flinders University and is the author of Scandinavia.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements ix

Introduction: Touring the Terrain xi

Riddarholm xi

Skeppsholmen xvii

Djurgården xix

Skansen: Romantic Nationalism xxi

Art, Östermalm and IKEA xxv

Chapter 1 A Beautiful, Hungry Landscape 1

Approaching Stockholm

Follow the Vikings 1

Swedes and Finns 4

Venice of Scandinavia 7

Urban Utopias 11

City of Sea, Granite and Copper 13

Vasastan: Hip Vibe or Siberia? 16

Chapter 2 Murky ends 21

A History of Assassination

Gustav III: Murder at the Masked Ball 21

Prime Minister Palme: "Red Olof" 24

Knifed at NK Anna Lindh 31

Chapter 3 Fearful Lingo 35

Mutual Misunderstandings

A New Human Ideal De Botton Meyer 35

High Mediocrity George Bernard Shaw 39

Son of a Servant Strindberg 45

Shocking Stockholm Miss Julie 47

Sentimental Humility and Deep Hidden Arrogance Graham Greene 50

Black Hole 54

The Japanese James Bond Motojiro Akashi 55

Marooned in the Grand Hotel 57

Chapter 4 Money, Money, Money 61

Industrialists and Philanthropists

Grumbling Bear Alfred Nobel 61

What is IKEA? Ingvar Kamprad 68

The Gnomes of Gamla Stan 72

The Aga: Simple, Sweet Tempered and Smart 73

Ships and Matches 74

Ethical Investments: An Arm and a Leg 75

Swell or Swindler? Axel Wenner-Gren 77

Family Business 80

Chapter 5 Stars and Sly Bitches 83

Stockholm and Cinema

Screen Goddesses 83

I Want to Be Left Alone Greta Garbo 86

The Palmolive Garbo Ingrid Bergman 89

La Dolce Vita Anita Ekberg 93

Massacre and Whitewash Bo Widerberg 98

The Devil's Eye Ingmar Bergman 99

Chapter 6 A Man after Midnight 103

Sex, Gender and Equality

ABBA: The Game is on Again 103

Just a Housewife108

Antonio's Temptation 109

A Solitary Beacon: Stockholm and Prostitution 111

The Singha Tsunami 116

Tattoos and Takeovers 118

Chapter 7 The System 121

Conformity, Control and the Demon Drink

The Full Dram Goes Helan går 121

Drunk as a Swede 123

Gross Prurience Carl Linnaeus 128

Trolls in the Tunnelbana 131

Chapter 8 Fairytale Kings and Dancing Queens 137

The Monarchy

Born to Fight 139

The Vasa Dynasty 141

Hairy-legged Hunchback Queen Christina 144

Life Among the Lilacs: Neutrality and Asylum 149

Désirée and Cuckoo Kings 151

Chapter 9 City of Blood 157

Stockholm's Tragic Past

The Stockholm Bloodbath 157

Christina the Ripper 159

The Vasa Disaster: The Lion Sinks 162

The Chernobyl Disaster: Terror from the Sky 164

The Estonia: Sunk off Utö 166

Flight 686: The Milan Apocalypse 169

Chapter 10 The Nobel Prizes 173

Doing It for Me

The Science of Winning 173

Colossal Imagination 176

Prizes among Wars 179

Political Muscle, Artistic Temperament, the Exotic and Obscure 181

City of the Shadowless: Patrick White and the Fear of Rejection 185

Chapter 11 Nothern Necropolis 191

Death and Dying

Reading Themselves to Death 191

Macabre Monarchs 195

The Democracy of Death 197

Chapter 12 Lust 205

How Stockholmers Enjoy Themselves

Joy, Pleasure and Delight 205

The Thrill of Competition 207

Name Days 211

The Smörgåsbord 212

The Bishops Invite You In 215

The Fellini Factor 216

Further Reading 221

Index of Literary & Historical Names 224

Index of Places & Landmarks 227

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