Stockholm A-Z: Oddities

Stockholm, like many other cities, has its fair share of oddities. Paying attention to these unusual aspects often gives us another view of a city beyond the main tourist impressions and sights.

On Skeppsbron in Gamla Stan there’s a building with an unusual symbol above the door. A vagina carved into the stone. Some say it’s a former brothel and therefore and early form of marketing. Other theories tell the story of a cuckolded man whose wife committed adultery and who carved the symbol into his home’s facade to remind them and all around of his wife’s sin. Rather odd.

Along similar lines, on a building’s facade in St Eriksplan near Karlsbergs train station there are small male figures carved ornately. These small figures have unproportionally erect members. Odd.

In Stortorget in Gamla Stan on the corner of a building, there is a cannonball stuck fast into the plaster. Tour guides tell the story of the Stockholm Bloodbath where hundreds of Swedish nobles were executed in this square. The evil King of Denmark stood in a window and watched this massacre and as the Swedish guard fired a canon to kill him, the ball stuck into the wall. Oddly, it didn’t blast away the whole wall, but it mark the beginning of a Swedish rebellion and independence.

Also in Gamla Stan you can see another oddity. In one of the narrow streets leading up to Stortorget, you can see a Viking rune stone. This stone has oddly been used to repair the corner of a building whose facade was obviously crumbling.

Outside of the National Dramatic Theatre in Östermalm, you can see a rather odd statue. The statue depicts a lone women standing. This woman is a much-loved deceased Swedish actress called Margareta Krook. The odd thing about this statue occurs when you put your hand on her heart. Go see what happens.

Another odd statue is situated behind the Finnish Church in Gamla Stan. The city’s smallest statue is a tiny little boy called the Iron Boy. In himself he’s not that odd. It’s what happens to him that is odd. For years, a secret carer has knitted scarves and hats and covered the statue with them so that he doesn’t freeze in the winter. And at Christmas time, he’s sometimes dressed as Santa.

If you’re in Stockholm around the end of June, you may experience something as odd – the light. As the sky doesn’t really get dark at night, the light reflects into the waters of the city. A petrol blue colour appears – Baltic blue – and envelopes Stockholm in a magical sweep. This is breathtaking to experience from a boat or by the water’s edge.

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