Public Art in Stockholm
Publish date: 19 October 2022
Sweden has a long tradition of public art; a belief that art has an important role to play in society and therefore should be available to everyone.
When walking around in Stockholm, there is a variety of artworks scattered in parks, squares, along streets, and in the subway stations for everyone to enjoy.
These are some permanent public artworks not to miss when exploring Stockholm. See also our guide to some of the city's sculpture parks here.
- The statue of the cherished Swedish actor Margareta Krook stands on the corner of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, in the very spot she used to have her cigarette break in between rehearsals. The statue depicts her in her favorite outfit and is actually heated to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Made by artist Marie-Louise Ekman in 2002. See the exact location here
- Art Made This is an urban art project where female artists make their marks on public facades and doors in the city. Learn more about the many artworks in their Instagram gallery.
- “Vårbergs Jättar” (The Vårberg Giants) by artist Xavier Veilhan are two site-specific, sky-blue concrete sculptures located in Vårberg in southern Stockholm. The largest giant, resting on his back in the grass, is 19 meters long, 9 meters wide, and 5 meters tall! See the exact location here.
- Visual artist Yash's mural on Södermalm street Luthens Gränd. See the exact location here.
- Hoop-La. There are many interesting public art pieces to be found on the lush, central island of Royal Djurgården. The latest permanent piece is ‘Hoop-La’ by artist Alice Aycock, acquired by the Princess Estelle Cultural Foundation in their planning for a permanent Royal sculpture park in Stockholm. See the exact location here.
- Subtopia is a center for art, culture, and social engagement in Alby in southern Stockholm. Its growing outdoor gallery with artists from all over the world is available to explore with an online guide. Learn more here.
- The Iron Boy. You'll find Sweden's smallest public statue (and perhaps Stockholm's most beloved artwork) 'Boy Looking at the Moon' ('Pojke som tittar på månen') in the courtyard of Stockholm Cathedral in the old town, Gamla Stan. Today he is simply called 'Järnpojke' ('Iron boy'). The statue is only 15 cm tall and was made by artist Liss Eriksson in 1967. People often dress him in tiny hats and scarfs or leave him gifts. See the exact location here.
- Light art in Rinkeby. A group of secondary school children in the northern Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby created a light-art installation under the direction of light artist Marianne Lind and artist Stina Wollter. The results are six beautiful, bright art pieces decorating the street Rinkebystråket. See the location here.
- Max Ockborn’s art works in Bredängsparken. Max Ockborn has created site specific art works that inhabit and give character to a piece of woodland in Bredängsparken park in southern Stockholm. Three sculptures are cast in aluminum, and four larger rocks have been transformed into trolls. See the location here.
- Amara Por Dios Mural in Södermalm. Artist Amara Por Dios created a beautiful, organic and colorful mural in Ragvaldsgatan, Södermalm in 2017. See the exact location here.
- Mari Rantanen’s mural in Hjulsta. Artist Mari Rantanen interpreted thoughts and feelings of youths in the Hjulsta area into a vibrant mural pattern of circles in motion, symbolizing ideas such as growing energies, new life and openness. See the exact location here.
- Mihály Kolodko's miniature statue in Nobelgatan. The Budapest based artist Mihály Kolodko has created a miniature bronze statue of Alfred Nobel just outside of the Hungarian Embassy in central Stockholm, to highlight the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Hungarian-Swedish diplomatic relations in 1920, and to celebrate extraordinary figure of Alfred Nobel, his legacy and his idea to work for the greatest benefit of humankind, but it also celebrates all Nobel Prize laureates all over the world whom we are all very proud of, including also those with Hungarian origin or with Hungarian connections. ¨Read more about the statue here.
- Elmgreen & Dragset's Life Rings in Royal Djurgården. The latest addition to the new sculpture park by Princess Estelle's Cultural foundation is artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset’s Life Rings, taking a typically singular, reusable, lightweight, and often-weathered emergency tool, and multiplies it into absurdity. In this impossible-seeming tower configuration, it looks as if the life rings have mushroomed upwards, towards the sky. Each life ring is connected to other rings, creating a structure that resembles a chain-link system. Read more about the artwork here.
- På Sergels Torg. The collaborative public art project På Sergels Torg connects the commercial life with artists to create a vibrant meeting space for everyone to enjoy in the heart of Stockholm. Find out more about the wide range of performances, exhibitions and other cultural events in Sergels Torg here.
The 1% Rule
The 1%-rule was implemented in 1963 by the Stockholm City Council, meaning that one percent of the total cost of built projects (including new construction, conversion, and extension) shall be allocated to publicly accessible artwork.
Stockholm Konst, part of the City of Stockholm’s culture administration, is responsible for the commissioning and purchasing of art for Stockholm’s indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Learn more about the 1% Rule here.