Kulturhuset, Stockholm’s House of Culture

Cities are not the same.

There are some cities that you live in and love so much you don’t want to live, then there are cities that you don’t ever want to stay in. Granted there are personal and subjective reasons for such a decision but if we take away those individual explanations cities are still not equal. There are still cities that are exciting and cities that are boring. Exciting can mean many things – sports, arts, culture, heritage, culinary, fashion, shopping, nightlife you name it.

And Stockholm certainly falls within the exciting section. Now I won’t go into some tourist agency spiel on why Stockholm is great and exciting, the agency does a good enough job on its own thank you very much, but there are elements that I am excited about and those I will talk about 😉

If there is something you can justifiably criticise about Stockholm (ohhh and people surely do, not always justifiably) it’s that the place is full of snobby city types… I mean they dress well especially in the fancy areas of town while I just walk around with jeans and a hoodie,

(okay, not every ‘fashionista actually looks good… at least they put in some effort…)

(I serious need to start upping my dressing game… the jeans and hoodie thing clearly ain’t working…)

and the accent, according to non-Stockholmers the nasally pronunciation I was taught was basically snobby – its says (and I’m quoting non-Stockholmers here) – I’m too cool to talk to you. But the reverse of that criticism is that you cannot say Stockholm has no culture. While there are the most fancy of theatres in major cities, most cities bring in culture and cultural experiences to the widely population by democratising and art. This is often promoted through having accessible artistic institutions such as the Esplanade in Singapore or the Opera House in Oslo. Stockholm’s version is called Kulturhuset or the House of Culture.

Completed in 1974, Kulturehuset was a nod to the growth of modernism in Sweden. Modernism was a concept that arose from the industrial age, in which the philosophy and lifestyle of the former age was thought out of date. Thinkers rejected the certainty of thought of enlightenment. In a way objectivity gave way to subjectivity – something that is still being contested in philosophy and society today, although its hard to disagree with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But that’s a subpoint. Now, the 1970s was perhaps not the most glorious age for artistic styles and so that ‘grand’ House of Culture does not look perhaps as the most amazing structure in the world. What is does have is free access to art and culture for people of all ages and offerings of all sorts from live theater, exhibitions, libraries, seminars, events, restaurants and cafés.

There was a library for teens,

and a library for art lovers… anywhere that displays Martin Scorsese is good in my book 😉

The pictures here may not show people, but there certainly were a lot of people in the Kulturhuset at every sort of activity. That in itself fits the very name House of Culture, built to democratize art and culture.



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