Quo vadis, Holmia?*

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Me standing on my former hood.

On Sunday night, I was trying to make my way to Linus’ house. I’ve been there before but this time, it was dark and the area is not the one I know the best in Stockholm. As my phone had died and it was getting late, I decided to ask a person passing by for the way. The gentleman was friendly and showed me the right way, so I said thanks and goodbye.

The next day, I was zick-zacking through town to the museum shops that actually are open on Mondays (most are closed) because the Fotografiska store did not have anything to hang on my wall. (The posters I liked there were Helena Blomkvist’s and she photographs really creepy scenes with children and animals, often with one of them being dead/sick/resurrected. I did not feel that would make for a good coffee table conversation with new Dizzel friends.) With my hopes on Nordiska Museet, I catch a bus and put my ticket forward, and the driver says, „Men det är ju du!“ („But it’s you!“) In a reflex response in my role as foreigner-not-living-here-any-longer, I say it can’t be me he means because I just got here last night – „and you were looking for this street on Kungsholmen, weren’t you?“ So I met my helper again less than 12 hours later – Stockholm is small. Real small.

Nordiska Museet did not have any fitting wall art for me either so I gave up and ended up in Kulturhuset’s new Stockholm Room. It is a fancy exhibition informing the public about the urban development plans. I think that it is a good idea because many people in the Capital of Scandinavia (their wording, not mine) must wonder where on earth is this city going? One example could be the giant new shopping mall „Mall of Scandinavia“ (abbreviated by those who dislike it as MOS, meaning mash) that was built close to an already existing shopping mall. So now they have two large malls and still no apartments for people to live in.

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Nordiska didn’t have good posters but their great halls never fails to bewitch me, even after all these years.

An odd thought, especially when you learn in the Stockholm Room that the population rises with 41 people every day. 15 000 each year. That’s like a whole new little town each year! The exhibition, with a lovely model of Stockholm in the floor (you can walk on it!), informed me that they are planning to build 140 000 new apartments in the next 14 years. For these new tenants they also plan to open 240 preschools, 21 museums, 6 cinemas, 530 cafés and restaurants, 30 libraries and – of course – 850 shops. In German, you would call that a mamooth project.

*Quo vadis, Holmia? Latin for Where are you going, Stockholm?

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