Day 40 – Stockholm

Live-streaming / Day 40 of 64 / 18 June

Stockholm, day 2. My first place for the day was the Stockholm City Hall [Stadshuset]. There was going to be a guided tour at 10am, so I left the hostel and made my way there at around 9.45am. As the City Hall still serves as a functioning political building, you’re only allowed to enter it as part of a guided tour.

But first, more salmon for breakfast.

After buying my tour tickets from the counter, I waited a short while for the tour to start at 10am. At 10am, our guide assembled us and directed us to the first room of the tour: the Blue Hall. Ironically, as you’ll see in the pictures below, the hall is red as can be. The hall is called the Blue Hall because before the Hall’s construction, the architect responsible claimed that the new City Hall would feature Italian style open courtyards. These courtyards would be open to the blue sky, hence the name Blue Hall. Newspapers immediately latched onto and promoted his idea. Even after the architect realised that an open hall wouldn’t be appropriate for Swedish winters, people still referred to the hall as the Blue Hall, and the name stuck. More famously, the Blue Hall is also where the Nobel Prize Banquet is held every year.

Our next room was the chamber in which Stockholm City Council members gather for meetings. The chamber acts as a sort of “parliament” for the Stockholm City area. Leftist parties sit on the left and rightist parties sit on the right. The building was designed when democracy was still becoming “in vogue” in Sweden, so the architect designed the chamber with many references to democracy and accountability to the people. For example, the roof of the chamber mimics a traditional Viking longhouse’s window, symbolising the flow of power from the people of Stockholm outside into the chamber. The chamber is still used for council meetings, and all people, citizens or not, are allowed to observe proceedings from the two stands located above the floor of the main chamber. And, in the style of 21st century democracy, all proceedings are live-streamed to ensure transparency to the public. What a great idea (hint hint Singapore Parliament)!

The final stop was the Gold Hall. The hall is located on the second floor of the building, and overlooks the Blue Hall. The two halls are connected by a beautiful set of stairs. This convenience allows for the hosting of the Nobel Prize Banquet in the Blue Hall below, and the Banquet’s after-party in the Gold Hall above. The entire hall is covered in 24K gold leaf, and was done in the style of Italian gold mosaics. However, at the time of construction, the only Swedish citizen proficient in Italian gold mosaics was a fresh graduate from a Venetian art school. As a result of his lack of experience, a major flaw was present in his depiction of the patron saint of Stockholm. And with that insightful tidbit of information, the guide ended his tour.

Never get an intern to do important work.

My next stop was the Transport Museum. Unfortunately, after a Tunnelbana journey and a bus ride, I arrived to a museum closed for renovations. I decided to have lunch, and I had read that cheap food trucks were conveniently located at Medborgarplatsen, only a short bus ride away. I ordered a gyro, and spent my lunchtime carefully devouring my food and protecting it from the many seagulls in the area.

After playing Cities Skylines for many years, I’ve finally found the building I’ve always used in my cities. By mere coincidence too.

After lunch, I took a commuter train to the Ericsson Globe. It was a lot more underwhelming than I had expected, and as some have said to me, it looked a lot like a “dice got drunk”.

Feeling slightly disappointed, I headed to my final stop of the day, the Mall of Scandinavia: supposedly the largest mall in all of Scandinavia. Unfortunately, much like the Ericsson Globe, the mall was a bit of a let-down. I was expecting something similar to VivoCity, but what I got was Jurong Point 2. Just another generic, international style, shopping centre. Not wanting to waste my trip to the mall, I decided to get a haircut here before heading back to my hostel at around 4pm.

Less Mall of Scandinavia, more Mall of Anywhere.

– Ryan

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