I stared into the devil’s mouth. The escalators ascending into the monstrous red cave were consuming every passenger who dared to enter into the darkness. I stood awe-inspired at this magnificent combination of art, nature, technology and practicality. The effect was quite impressive as the rough red cave texture contrasted to the sleek, modern silver of the escalators. This was just one of the intriguing subway stations in the ‘world’s longest art gallery’ we visited during our visit in Stockholm.
Whilst Stockholm along with other Scandinavian cities has a notorious reputation for being incredibly expensive there are many FREE things to do in the city. Visiting the world’s longest art museum is one of them.
Check out this epic guide to Stockholm for more useful tips on how to save money when visiting the Swedish capital.
As there are over 110km of tunnels to this free art gallery, it can seem a little overwhelming trying to work out a logical route and which ones to visit. Luckily once I presented Alex with a list of stations I wanted to visit, his analytical approach allowed us to visit 9 of them within a couple of hours.
These are the ones we visited in order.
- T-central(blue and white)
- Solna centrum station
- Stadion station
We were already in the centre therefore this was the logical place to start our subway art tour. T-central reminded me of peace. The blue and white branch motives seemed to be missed a dove to complete this feeling. The blue leaves also gave the illusion of nature being present despite being deep underground. There are also motives of workers who built the subway. This seemed a fitting way to remember their achievements in the central station of this vast underground world.
After that we headed to the furthest destination so we could just work our way backwards. Akalla was not the most impressive subway station but it was still interesting. This station displays ceramic tiles creating in the late 70ies depicting daily life, work and leisure. We only spent 5-10 mins here and lept on the next train .
Release your inner child at Hallonbergen! This station, whose name translates into Rasberry Hill, displays child-like drawings. They were not actually drawn by children but by two artists mimicking an infant’s drawing style in 1975. My favourite part of this station was a hopscotch on the platform! I believe all platforms should have hopscotches on them as that would transform the boring wait for public transport into a fun activity. Well, there may be health and safety hazards on some platforms… Oh well we had fun on the hopscotch! I was quite sad to leave this platform when our train arrived but there was more art to discover.
Solna Centrum Station
Home to the devil’s mouth I mentioned early, this station is very impressive. The colour, the cave like interior as well as the many environmental issues it depicts. On the platforms the red is transformed into a demon sky destroying forests and habitats. Humans are seen as spreading this red mist through pollution, rapid urbanisation and forgetting Sweden’s lush green nature. It’s a powerful political statement which is solidified by humans ascending into the escalator to ignore these issues and be consumed by dark capitalism. Well maybe that reading is a little bit far and considering Sweden is one of the countries who is leading the way in socialism and environmental conservation. However these issues were very relevant when the artists created the station. If you don’t have time to do many of Stockholm’s subway stations make sure you have time to see Solna Centrum Station.
Fridhemsplan displays an odd subterranean world of a compass a plane and cave men carvings. Confused? Yes we were a little bit too.
I felt as if I had stepped into the world of Mario. I nicknamed this station ‘the Pixel Station’. I found it a really interesting concept of using tiles as individual pixels to depict space invaders, Pacmen, hearts and even bombs. Embrace the geek within and take photos of these fun images to your hearts content at Thorildsplan.
Next stop was Universitat. I think we were starting to get a little tired by this point. As one may assume the university station was covered in information from academia. There were maps of the world, mountains and lakes for the geographers as well as animals for the biologists. There was an incredible amount of detail in this station and I believe I felt slightly overwhelmed trying to absorb it all.
The rainbow at Stadion Station epitomises the feel good atmosphere at this subway station. I believe everyone who was waiting or taking photos at this station had a smile on their faces. I really enjoyed this station. It was so vibrant and colourful. The pale blue sky and flowers reminded me of spring and allowed me to forget the very cold, white and grey world that was waiting for me above ground.
This was our final station. It consisted mainly of green, red and white colours. It seemed to present an eclectic mix of styles, patterns and textures. It was very weird! I read that this station was very controversial when it was being built as one of the entrances was supposed to be in the park above but required a large number of trees to be torn down for this entrance. Resident of Stockholm protested by chaining themselves to trees to save them resulting in the exit being relocated. Maybe the green interior was chosen to represent nature, the red to show the potential loss of trees and the white that the conflict was resolved peacefully? Or maybe I should stop trying to analyse the meaning behind the metro stations and just appreciate this unique art museum as a truly interesting free thing to see in Stockholm.
I hope this has inspired you and helped you plan your visit to the longest art museum in the world! If you are looking for a quirky place to stay in the centre of Stockholm check out the Lady Hamilton Hotel review to see whether it would suit you.
Which subway station would you like to visit the most? Let us know in the comments below.