Underground Art: Stockholm’s Best Kept Secret

Stockholm Underground Map, Metro Never have I been to a city where I wanted to spend more time underground than above ground. But that was before I visited Stockholm.

Built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is surrounded by water and takes the title of Northern Europe’s most elegant city. So with this much outdoor beauty, you may be wondering why I chose to swooped down every underground I could find.

I have two words: underground art.

It’s mystifying how these crazy ass undergrounds never made it to my attention before they did. I had read my fair share of articles on Stockholm but it wasn’t until I started looking for offbeat things to do and see in Sweden’s capital city that the lid to this feast of underground art finally popped open.

And once the lid was opened, I couldn’t keep it shut. I spent hours hammering the keys of my laptop in search of more pictures and more information, and made notes of all the ones which really stood out. There are 100 stations in Stockholm and over 90 of them display art in various forms.

How had I not seen these before? I kept muttering to myself as I gazed over them with an expression of delight in finding something that fills me with wonder does. Surely they deserve a song and dance? That’s why these undergrounds are Stockholm’s best kept secret.

Here are my favourites:

Kungsträdgården

Kungstradgarden Station Stockholm
A harlequin design sweeps through the cave-like underground of Kundsträdgården. Painted by Ulrik Samuelson in 1977, you will also find archaeological remains from the old city which was torn down in the 50s and 60s in favour of modern architecture. I can’t help but feel, along with many I’m sure, that this was a regrettable attack on the city’s history, but thankfully, Gamla Stan, the Old Town, survives.

T-Centralen

Street art Stockholm, underground
Street art in Stockholm, Sweden

There are many stops at T-Centralen as this is where all trains connect and interchange. This wing of this station links to Kundsträdgården so it’s a good idea to see this one after paying a visit to the aforementioned. The figures represent the people who work on the undergrounds, and were painted by Swedish artist, Per Olof Ultvedt.

Solna Centrum

Solna Centrum Stockholm Metro
Out of all the stations this one is definitely the most photographed, and looking like a stairway to hell, it’s no surprise why. Shame about the construction impeding the full effect! Grrrrr.

Stadion

Stockholm Stadion Underground Station
Street art Stockholm trains

As I stepped off the train onto the platform at Stadion, I felt like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow had just been found – by me!

Hötorget

Hotorget Station Stockholm
If you were to find one of these stations inside a contemporary art space, it would be this one. Neon strips of white light fill the ceiling but the rest of the underground is washed down with mint green tiles. Perhaps it’s just my over-active imagination but this station has the potential to be very creepy at night. Imagine it when no one is there but you, the lights are flickering, a gentle breeze swarms past and a stranger is walking towards you…

Fridhemsplan

Fridhemsplan Stockholm Metro Underground
Underground art Stockholm
Anchor art Stockholm
I’m not sure what the colour green represents in this context but Fridhemsplan station has a naval theme running throughout the caves, including a big installation of a ship, anchor and compass.

Östermalmstorg

Ostermalmstorg Stockholm
Love, peace, and the women’s rights movement make up the powerful theme of Östermalmstorg station. Sweden has for a long time been associated with open-mindedness and equal rights and this station represents this state of mind brilliantly. These etches are the work of Swedish artist and sculptor, Siri Derkert, who died in 1973.

Tekniska Högskolan

Tekniska Hogskolan Stockholm Metro
Street art underground meto Stockholm
This station just looks really cool. You will find geometric shapes etched into the floor and a glass pentagonal cube.

Västra skogen

Vastra skogen Stockholm

The perfect place to be for people with a tile fetish!


These were just a few of my favourites stations. I didn’t have time to explore all 100, but it’s a very good reason to go back. If someone were to ask me about Stockholm, I wouldn’t be able to talk about it without mentioning what goes on below street level…

The secret is out.

Which is your favourite station in Stockholm?



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'Underground Art: Stockholm’s Best Kept Secret' have 20 comments

  1. June 1, 2014 @ 6:10 pm Van @ On the Road again

    It’s funny, if you live in Stockholm you’re so busy getting from A to B that you don’t notice the art that surrounds you anymore. At least I didn’t 😀
    But my favourite station is Bagarmossen. Have you been there? They have lights on the wall in every possible colour. It’s so cool!

    Reply

    • June 7, 2014 @ 7:44 pm admin

      It’s easy to forget the beauty of things when they’re on your doorstep, we all have a habit of doing it! Sadly I didn’t go to Bagarmossen, but I will definitely keep it in mind for my next visit to Stockholm – I want to explore them all!!

      Reply

  2. June 4, 2014 @ 3:19 am Mike | Earthdrifter

    What wonderful ambiance. It must enhance mood, consciously or subconsciously. I think the open-mindedness is intelligent. I can’t imagine a reason to to not integrate a giant underground contemporary art museum into an extensive subway system.

    Reply

    • June 7, 2014 @ 10:19 pm admin

      Hi Mike! I completely agree with your thoughts on how these undergrounds elevate mood, consciously or subconsciously. For this reason I wish London would take heed, you can see the stress steaming off the walls during rush hour! There is, however, one underground in London which I enjoy looking at and that’s Tottenham Court road – it’s old but really bright and colourful! http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jan/09/five-best-tube-stations-architecture

      Reply

  3. June 8, 2014 @ 7:17 pm Vid

    Shing,

    This is bloody brilliant – the coolest art I have seen in any underground system. I would spend hours here just taking pictures (Savi won’t like that haah!). Stadion is my favourite :)

    Cheers

    Reply

    • June 8, 2014 @ 10:05 pm admin

      Hi Vid! You’d be in your element here, the photo opportunities are endless. There are sooo many undergrounds to see, and sooo many photos to take – I think Savi’s patience would get a good testing hah! Hope you both had a cracking time in Iceland – your photos tell me you did :)

      Reply

  4. June 22, 2014 @ 11:21 am Hazel

    Out of this world pity my country could do that .

    Reply

    • June 26, 2014 @ 8:28 pm admin

      I second your comment Hazel!

      Reply

  5. June 25, 2014 @ 9:37 pm cameron

    Kungsträdgården is my fave. They have a water fountain. Also very guilty of not paying enough attention to these though.

    Reply

    • June 26, 2014 @ 8:38 pm admin

      Hi Cameron! Kungsträdgården is definitely one of the most striking ones and I love how it contains some of the old remains of the city. If push came to shove, I think I would choose the rainbow! I hope you start giving these works of art more attention now 😉

      Reply

      • June 26, 2014 @ 10:30 pm cameron

        jag lovar! come back soon. Fika is on me.

        Reply

  6. June 29, 2014 @ 5:40 pm Dean Fraser-Phillips

    I would have to agree with Kungsträdgården! I am biased as it’s my home station but the artwork there is exceptional. It’s not just art though. Last year in Odenplan they turned the escalator into a playable piano. Never seen so many people so happy going to work.

    Stockholm is just one part of Sweden that focuses on culture and art. All over there are many hidden gems to enjoy. Try the troll walk in Gamleby or the art in Dalarna. From Nörrland to Skåne it’s a country brimming with exploration. Nice to see a blog promoting our country.

    Reply

  7. July 1, 2014 @ 7:34 am Heather

    Gorgeous photos! I can’t wait to explore these stations when I make it up to Stockholm!

    Reply

  8. December 2, 2014 @ 2:37 am Julia Kitlinski-Hong

    Beautiful captures! I’m a sucker for a beautiful subway, so this is just one more reason to travel to Stockholm. I might never leave the underground…

    Reply

  9. August 30, 2015 @ 7:57 pm Shelyn

    I’ll be visiting Stockholm in less than a week and thought about you as I remembered seeing a lot of your beautiful photos.

    This is so impressive! Looks like Stockholm’s the winner for the world’s best underground. Will try to check out one of these!

    Reply

    • August 31, 2015 @ 1:36 pm Shing Yoong

      Hey Shelyn! I hope the sun shines for you during your trip and you have a wonderful time! I’ll look forward to reading your impressions! Yeh don’t miss some of these beauts :) X

      Reply

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