Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan, is home to many things – the royal palace, the most luxious of churches in Stockholm, a dungeon cafe, the oldest square in the town, and the Nobel Museum being among just some of the sights there. All these sights are grand and special and call out to attention. So it’s more than a little ironic that the smallest, most humble monument in Stockholm can also be found there.
Commonly called the hidden tourist attraction in the city, Järnpojke (Iron Boy or Little Boy who looks at the moon) stands at 15 centimetres tall and sits behind the Finnish Church in the old town. It was created in 1954 by Liss Eriksson a famous local sculptor, but only unveiled to the public in 1967. There is not too much reason behind the erection (well barely) of this statute except that it exists.
A common whimsical answer was that Eriksson’s workshop overlooked the Finnish church and he decided one day to make something that would brighten his day as he looked out of his workshop – hence the little boy looking upwards (probably in his direction).
Järnpojke sites on a small table and looks up towards the sky, his posture giving off a sense of child-like wonder of a world beyond. It is testament to the sculptor that even without a face, and made out of metal the sculpture is almost anthropomorphized, we could feel amazement emanate from the sculpture.
Over the years, Stockholmers have taken a shine to this little monument, with people giving it clothes or food everyday to ‘keep him warm’ and ‘keep him full’. Other traditions have also been established, rubbing the boys head is a supposed to bring good luck, spare kroners left around the statuette are put there for the poor of the city to take and get some food.
Try finding him in the old town and drop a few coins when you find him!
ON THE MAP