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Categories: Attraction

Hötorget subway station

Visit Stockholm

In 1952, Hötorget was built as the southern terminus of Stockholm’s second subway line, going northwest to the then newly built suburb of Vällingby.

As with all below-surface stations from the early 1950s (other examples being Slussen, Medborgarplatsen, Skanstull, Odenplan, and Rådmansgatan), Hötorget’s walls are covered in square bathroom tiles, and when it opened up for traffic, that was pretty much it.

In fact, none of the early metro stations had any public art at the time of their opening. Stockholm’s politicians were simply put indifferent to the idea of stations being anything else than functional pit-stops. They were content with having billboard ads on the walls. It wasn’t until after a decade’s worth of discussions, debates, and op-eds by the Swedish art community that art got its place in the subway. The artists pointed to Sweden’s long history of public art displays as their most important argument, explains art guide Marie Andersson.

"Public art is considered to be democratic art because it gives everyone the opportunity to experience good quality art in their everyday lives. And not only people who can afford to buy art or visit galleries and museums".

And when T-Centralen and Gamla Stan were being planned – two new stations that would connect the southern and northern lines to one single stretch of subway tracks – a contest was organized to determine the artwork.

Since then, public art has become an integral part of Stockholm’s subway. Over time all the early stations have been either redecorated or had artworks installed. And in 1998, Gun Gordillo's bright neon-lights were installed in the ceiling of Hötorget. By that time the original interior had become classic and was left virtually untouched. The tile work, platform signs, benches – even wastebaskets – were preserved to keep the 50’s atmosphere.

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111 56 Stockholm