Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cultural Activities in Stockholm

Sometimes Sweden surprises the hell out of me. Or Stockholm at least. Not necessarily as an American. Or a Swedish American, but just because it does such good work sometimes. And today was one of those days. I went to a museum today. Because that’s kind of what I do on Sundays. There was a Carl Larsson exhibition at Waldemarsudde out on Djurgården, so a buddy and I went to check it out. It’s been open for a couple of weeks so this wasn’t the opening weekend by any means.

And for the first time ever, I had to wait in line to get into a museum. I had to wait in line to get tickets. I had to wait in line to get into the exhibition. It was glorious. Well not the line waiting thing, but the fact that it was so crowded on a Sunday. I think of Sweden as a place that appreciates culture. The city has 74 museums. You don’t have that many museums if you don’t like culture.

But seriously, I have never experienced this anywhere else in the world. And by world I mean the few countries that I’ve managed to travel to. The only two museums that even came close in my mind were the Louvre and the Denver Natural History Museum when Body Worlds was there. And really, those were just packed. There was no waiting in line.

Now keep in mind, Waldemarsudde is small. It is not the Louvre. It is not the Natural History Museum even. But that’s not the point. The place was packed. On a Sunday. For an art exhibition.

Everyone waited patiently in line to buy a ticket. Then everyone waited patiently in line to be allowed into the exhibition. Then everyone stayed to the left and moved quietly and efficiently through the exhibition moving through the different rooms checking out Carl Larsson’s idealized Swedish lifestyle paintings. There was no crowding, there was no pushing, there weren’t even any old lady elbows. I loved it.

And obviously this speaks to the respect that Swedes have for culture. For art. For Carl Larsson. Really just the overall culturalness of Swedes. All Swedes. Because it’s important to make generalization based on incredibly small sample sizes. And old Swedish ladies.

Welcome to Sweden. Where culture is king.


  1. I'm sorry, I just can't help it but for the most part I think museums are terribly boring. A lot of the time I think they're taking a mildly interesting thing and showcase it in a really boring way. I'll stick to discovery channel, nature and all that other good stuff any day of the week. Good edutainment (nice touch, eh?) from the comfort of your own home. That's what I'm talking about!

  2. I pity the fool who's waiting in line to get into a museum!

    Sorry, I came uo with it right after I submitted my previous comment and I just had to write it. I know it's a lame joke and everything...

  3. I love going to museums and I try to do it everytime I go to a bigger city anywhere in the world.

  4. Hairy Swede, will you marry me?
    How old are you?

  5. Mormor is no daisy. Pity the fool who gets in her way at the Carl Larrson exhibit! :)

  6. I'm with you, Hairy. I like the fact that the museums are there and I like going to them, for the most part. I agree it speaks well of the Swedish way. I especially like the buffet the the National Museum. They had a great Trompe L’Œil exhibit there which I wrote about here:

    I even like going to The Vasa Museum during summer to see the interest and delight of the foreign tourists. I continue to learn stuff there.

    Carl Larssons' work is good to look at, but I prefer Anders Zorn, the old rascal.

    If I were a single guy, most museums I've visited seem to be nice places to meet compatible ladies, as well.

    I see you've already got a proposal for marriage!

    Best wishes,

  7. @Robban – first, a glorious use of the word edutainment. Well done. And Im not going to lie, some museums are awful. Nordiska for example, bores the hell out of me. But for the most part, I quite like museums.

    @robban (again) – because the joke was so bad that it deserved to be responded to on its own. But it still entertained me. However, without educating me.

    @Linus – that’s how I am. They usually give a good look at the culture of the city and country.

    @anonymous – Im 25. So youre going to have to wait awhile for my hand in marriage Im afraid.

    @rednk – youre right. They’ve got some sharp elbows. And they love them some Carl Larsson.

    @Pavellas – Oooh, I checked out the Trompe L’Œil when it was there. And you’re right, it was pretty impressive. And you’re right about the Vasa, if nothing else, having seen it a few times, it gives great people watching fodder.

    In terms of finding a lady, there were very few ladies under the age of 55 at Waldemarsudde. But you’re right, one marriage proposal already isn’t bad.

  8. Hairy Swede, are you talking about the same that reads Kalle Anka, is obsessed with teen fashion bloggers, created Melodifestivalen (including this little incident at the weekend):

    "The taped comedy sketch ends with an agreement between the Swedes and the head of the Russian “Schlager Mafia” at which point the programme segues into a techno version of a tongue-in-cheek song entitled “Tingaling, tingaling” (‘Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling’) performed live on the Globen stage and broadcast live across Sweden on SVT.

    The live dance number included an array of Russian stereotypes, including Cossack dancers, matryoshka stacking dolls, and a chorus of men dressed like Russian soldiers. The choreography also featured several scantily clad woman wearing tight-fitting shorts with a single red star splaying their legs toward the camera in unison."

  9. Actually watched this years final. And i can say that i didnt really like that performance, didnt think it was any funny at all...

    But after reading the reactions from some russian diplomats, i found it suddenly alot more fun :)
    Shouldnt be intimidated, even though the glory days of sweden when we would have had a chance against Russia is 300 years gone.

  10. Museums are alright. Interesting that the Swedes are interested in culture although they have no famous classic painters nor composers to brag about. Apart from Bellman maybe.

  11. @this – you bring up some good points. I should probably rethink my position.

    And I have a confession. I was actually watching this train wreck on TV Saturday. It was amazing.

    @anonymous – seriously. For some reason that made it so much better. I was horrified when watching it. it was just so very bad. And not funny.

    How long before a war is started over something ridiculous like this?

    @smek – well, I can’t speak to any of the composers. But Sweden has a lot of writers. And a few artists. Larsson being one. Strindberg is another. But he isn’t really famous for his painting. I suppose.

  12. yeah agree it was really bad :P so bad i didnt even listen to it properly. But after reading the article and then rewatching it i actually found it partly brilliant :)

    I hadnt heard the random "putin" and "lenin" before. And i had no idea of some of the national symbols like a dacing bear comes from russia:P Not offense though to russians, but it was in a way a fun performance, once u knew abit more. And just like Muhammed drawings or anything, never step down.

  13. Also i know georgia had something similar as their actual contribution to the eurovison song contest

  14. Maybe I just had bad luck, I don't know... The only museum that I think seems really cool is the Vasa. i would like to go there sometime.

    Sorry for not educating you. Hence forth i will always try to be equally entertaining and educating in my comments.

  15. @anonymous - the fact that it got such a reaction obviously means it was brilliant. in one of those awful sort of ways.

    @anonymous - see thats why the actual competition is just ridiculous. I guess people were saying this should have been sweden's entry.

    @Robban - it happens, as much as I like museums, I think everyone has been in some that are just horribly boring. but you should definitely check out the vasa.

    and it's ok about not educating me last time. its just that I expect more from you. education and entertainment. youve got yourself a reputation to hold up. come on now.

  16. Hairy Swede, I don't think you should rethink your position. You make a good point because Swede's are above average in the culture department. Every country has it's horror shows on TV especially the UK! I think though that Sweden is typically a paradox in this respect - one minute culture, the next Kalle Anka.

  17. I know. Seriously, come on. But I'm only human, man! It's too much pressure!

  18. @thisis - it does add a bit of charm doesn't it? and you're right, every country has some sort of ultural thing that is just horribly embarassing to anyone outside the country.

    @robban - Ill let it slide. this time.