Stockholm Metro

The Stockholm Metro network located in Stockholm, Sweden comprises of 100 stations in total. The network of underground stations are unique in that they focus heavily on featuring statues, murals, and artistic installations in it’s Metro network, an aspect which commenced in 1957.

The following is a brief history on how art came to play such a big role in the Stockholm Metro, an extract from a promotional flyer printed in 2001:

The Stockholm metro system was inaugu-rated in 1950, but even during the construction of this magnificent triumph of modernism, a group of artists had already started to get involved in the planning process. Why not make underground travel an experience instead of just a means of transport? After all, people need more than just walls of rock to look at and to be inspired by. Art could fulfil that function while also counteracting vandalism, they reasoned. The efforts of dynamic artists Siri Derkert and Vera Nilsson resulted in two motions being submitted to the Stockholm City Council in 1955. One of them included the following:

“Although it may not be possible to turn each underground station into a fairytale castle, artists, sculptors, potters and craftsmen should, in association with architects and engineers, nevertheless be given the opportunity to create beautiful rooms and stimulating station environments throughout, and also mould one of the main stations into an underground cathedral with a fanfare of colour and rhythm.”

All the parties rallied together in favour of the motions and a competition to decorate Klarastationen (now T-Centralen) was announced on 28 March 1956. The jury included artists Sven X:et Erixson and Bror Marklund. The ultimate decision, however, rested with the then Trafikbolaget, which imposed stringent requirements on the artwork in terms of withstanding the tough environment and the test of time.

In the years that followed, a long series of proposals was implemented on the upper platform and in the ticket halls of T-Centralen. The process was a success and the work continued. Today, the Stockholm Metro has become the world’s longest art exhibition, extending for around 110 km. Sculptures, mosaics and paintings can be found in around 90 of SLs (Stockholm Transport) 100 metro stations in fantastic rock chambers.

Features include a lush garden, a bubbling spring, a water-lily pond and an extract from Strindberg’s Occult Diary (for those who can decipher his sprawling handwriting). Under Kungsträdgården on the ramp to Arsenalsgatan, travellers are given the chance to go back in time and visit the burnt-down Makalös Palace, once located in the vicinity. By the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology there is a suspended glass dodecagon. In Kristineberg you can even pet a bronze cheetah.

Some 140 artists have contributed to the Stockholm Metro’s permanent exhibition and an additional few hundred have added temporary art features. SL invests SEK 10 million a year in safeguarding and developing the artwork, which has also enjoyed great international recognition. Art provides a guiding light for the tapestry of people, movements and aromas in the underground.

The Akalla Metro Station is located in Akalla, a district of Stockholm, Sweden. It’s part of the underground Stockholm Metro network in Stockholm, and is the final stop on Line 11 of the Blue Line, opened in 1977.

The Ochre colored walls contain illustrations painted on ceramic tiles which depict the ideals, daily life, leisure and work of men and women created by artist Birgit Ellida Ståhl-Nyberg in 1977. The Phantom is featured on one of these sets of tiles.

Birgit Ellida Ståhl-Nyberg (27th of November 1928 – 20th of January 1982) was a Swedish artist who is known for her political art in the 1960s and the 1970s.