Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Subway Art in Stockholm: The World’s Longest Art Exhibit

Stockholm is said to have the “world’s longest art exhibit”. You might think this art would be in a giant traditional museum, but it’s actually not! It’s located throughout 70 miles of Stockholm’s subway system—90 out of the 100 stations are adorned with art. So, when we had a few days to explore the city, I just knew we had to check out the subway art in Stockholm.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Art in the subways began all the way back in the 1950’s, and as time has passed over 150 artists have taken part in creating installations. We were amazed by the creativity and scenes the artists created. Infusing art into everyday life makes mundane tasks exciting and it can foster the growth of a creative, engaged community.

We decided to spend some time one afternoon hopping from station to station in order to see some of the more impressive stops. We made it to 7 stations over the course of an hour or so. Below is a peek into the stations and details about the route we took in case you are interested in following our path–for a map of the Stockholm system, click here. All you need is a valid subway ticket and you can be on your way!

Kungsträdgårdsgatan: Blue Line

We started at this station as we were already in the area and it worked into our plan quite well. The Kungsträdgårdsgatan Station was an interesting first stop as it showcases artifacts from the Makalös Palace which once stood above ground on this very site—the station is meant to resemble an archaeological dig. There are also red, green and white patterns painted throughout the station; these detailed patterns fill the walls, ceiling and floors throughout the station and create an impressive design.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Kungsträdgårdsgatan station is at the end of the Blue Line, so hop on the train (towards Hjulsta) and ride one stop to next station, T-Centralen.

T-Centralen (Central Station): Blue Line

One of the main stations in Stockholm, T-Centralen is the station were all the trains connect, and because of its central location, it is one of the busiest stations in the city. The patterns and colors of the art were created to calm commuters and lower their stress levels. You will find soothing white and blue patterns of leaves on the lower level. The upper level pays its respects to those who worked on creating the station by painting blue silhouette patterns of carpenters, welders, miners and engineers over a white backdrop.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Continue on the Blue Line in the same direction (towards Hjulsta) and ride one stop to next station, Rådhuset.

Rådhuset: Blue Line

I loved the dramatic color and feel of the Rådhuset station—the organic architecture created an exposed rocky surface and made it feel like we were exploring a cave instead of a subway station. Rådhuset got its name because of the courthouse that is located directly above the station, and it also happens to be the fourth deepest station in Stockholm!

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Continue on the Blue Line in the same direction (towards Hjulsta) and ride one stop to next station, Fridhemsplan.

Fridhemsplan: Green Line

Fridhemsplan was similar to Rådhuset with the exposed rock feel, but it was painted in grey and had a bit of a nautical theme. The station had displays of a ship, anchor and a compass and it was meant to showcase the city’s connection to the sea as well as its environmentalist movement.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Switch over to the Green Line towards Hasselby Strand and ride one stop to the next station, Thorildsplan.

Thorildsplan: Green Line

This station was an outdoor station and because of that it was fairly basic compared to the others; however, it was still one of my favorites. The art at the Thorildsplan stations was created in 2008 by Lars Arrhenius. His designs included characters from the video games of Super Mario, Pacman and Space Invaders. I may be a bit obsess with Super Mario, so I loved checking these scenes out on the walls of this stop!

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Go in the opposite direction towards Skärpnack, Farsta Strand, or Hagsätra and ride five stops to Hötorget. The Green Line splits in this direction but you will get off well before the split, so that is why there are three end stops listed—any of these trains will work.

Hötorget: Green Line

We weren’t originally planning on stopping at Hötorget, but as we were making our way to our last stop, we decided to get off the train just because. I’m glad we made a last minute decision to hop off the train—even though the station isn’t as elaborately designed as some of the others, I really enjoyed the simplicity of it. The station is filled with teal tiles and the ceiling is lined with more than 100 strips of neon lights. The lights wind their way along the center of the platform’s ceiling and it gives the station an almost electric feel.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Next Stop: Hop back on the Green Line in the same direction (towards Skärpnack, Farsta Strand, or Hagsätra) and go one stop to T-Centralen. Then, switch over to the Red Line towards Mörby Centrum and ride two stops to the station Stadion.

Stadion: Red Line

This station required an extra line transfer to get to, but it was definitely worth the extra effort. Stadion is filled with bright designs and sculptures to commemorate the Stockholm Olympics that took place in 1912. The station was filled with all the colors of the rainbow and even had a painting of a giant rainbow that arched over the subway platform. I loved the cheery vibe that came from the designs and colors of this station, and it was a great stop to end our tour of the subway art in Stockholm.

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Stockholm Subway Art, Sweden

Because this was the last stop on our journey, we exited the subway here to check out the neighborhood above ground, but you could also head to another station for more exploring. Either way you are sure to find something interesting along the way!

 

22 Comments
  • Angela
    Twitter:
    Posted at 12:31h, 24 March Reply

    Woah. Love the photos and wish we took the Underground when we were there.
    Angela recently posted…A 48-Hour Guide to Stockholm, SwedenMy Profile

  • Corinne
    Posted at 02:09h, 25 March Reply

    The subway stations in Stockholm are amazing! We visited them on a walking tour when we were there as well, and I loved hearing the stories, the background, and all about the artists. What a wonderful way to keep art alive in a city.

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 02:32h, 25 March Reply

    I had heard so much about this and had seen a couple of pictures too. But this is the first comprehensive post on Stockholm’s subway art I have come across. Definitely have to explore this when we go.

  • Mindi Hirsch
    Posted at 14:20h, 25 March Reply

    We were in Stockholm last year and took the subway many times, but we missed a lot of this cool art. I guess we have to go back to Stockholm since your photos of the subway art looks so amazing. Plus I love that you saw it all for the cost of a subway ticket.

  • Tamara Elliott
    Posted at 16:55h, 25 March Reply

    I’m devastated that I didn’t learn about this until AFTER we left Stockholm!! Would have loved to see this first-hand, but your pictures are the next best thing 🙂

  • Guy Crotty
    Posted at 11:34h, 26 March Reply

    This is genius, love it! Such a great way to maximize a public space which is so often taken for granted. Great article!

  • Mia Herman
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:51h, 26 March Reply

    How cool that they commissioned all of these designs! My favorite is the Fridhemsplan because it has that outdoor, rustic feel. I always pay attention to street art when we travel because I love to see how different cities feel about art. Street art is definitely art – in my book. I’ll check this out when we finally make it to Stockholm!
    Mia Herman recently posted…Piknik Dubrovnik: The Ultimate Picnic ExperienceMy Profile

  • Annie
    Posted at 14:17h, 26 March Reply

    My goodness, these might be some of the most beautiful subway stations I have ever seen. All that exposed rock and murals, and then even some whimsy with the Thorildsplan station! I am also a fan of good outdoor art or street art, so I’ll have to use this as a guide around Stockholm subways. Thanks 🙂

  • Samantha Sparrow
    Posted at 00:04h, 27 March Reply

    SO AMAZING! This has been on my bucket list for a while now, I’d love to explore all this unexpected art. I love Kungsträdgårdsgatan, the archealogical feel, especially being underground makes it seem so magical. Thanks for sharing..

  • Mike Cotton
    Posted at 05:52h, 28 March Reply

    I love Stockholm and used the subway on a daily basis while visiting friends there. But for the life of me, I can’t think why I didn’t photograph the subways…An opportunity missed.

  • Nisha
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:01h, 28 March Reply

    What creativity and the best part is the government understands it, allows it and funds it. I am adding to my Stockholm list. Thanks for bringing it to my notice.

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