Stockholm Metro (Swedish: Tunnelbahn) is claimed to host the longest art exhibit in the World, stretching 110 kilometres over 90 underground stations. The stations are decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations and engravings by over 150 artists. The artwork helps create unique station identities and attempts to bring life into yet another journey between two places. Visiting these beautifully decorated stations requires nothing more than a valid ticket – you can even join a free guided tour run by SL during the summer months.
Inside the Stockholm metro
Unfortunately we were pushed for time but couldn’t resist at least a sneak preview of the striking and beautiful unique designs at T-Centralen, Hötorget, Stadion and Kungsträdgården. We started our art tour at Stadion station situated in the Östermalm district.
Stadion – Red Line
Stadion station is on the red line and is home to brightly coloured sculptures and signs designed by Enno Hallek and Åke Pallarp in 1973. The designs are incorporate the colours of the rainbow and the focal painting is the large arching rainbow in an otherwise blue rock walled tunnel (yes... I missed this centerpiece!)
T-Centralen – Blue, Green and Red Line
T-Centralen is the busiest station on the network, with passengers interchanging between all three metro lines and SJ. Designed by Per Olof Ultvedt in 1975 the flower and vine motifs on the Blue Line platforms are intended to create a soothing and calm atmosphere for passengers transferring between metros.
Hötorget – Green Line
At first sight, Hötorget station looks pretty ordinary but on closer inspection the more subtle artwork can be spotted between the passengers. In 1998 artist Gun Gordillo added 103 strips of bending neon light strips to the ceiling to contrast the 1950’s decor including vintage station signage.
Kungsträdgården – Blue Line
Our last stop was Kungsträdgarden, which is host to vibrantly coloured caves, painted by Ulrik Samuelson in 1977 and 1987. The red, green and white strips on the station platform symbolise the beautiful Baroque Garden, at Drottningholm Palace (Swedish royal family private residence). The station also has mini-archaeological excavations with Roman columns and stone sculptures.
Planning your day
On your own, simply purchase a Zone 1 metro ticket (valid for 75 minutes) for SEK 36 (4 US$) and hop and off at any of the central zone 1 stations to admire the art work. Alternatively, SL (Stockholm Transport) offers free art walking tours on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays at 3 pm starting from the SL Center (at T-Centralen metro station). You will however still need to purchase a Zone 1 ticket to ride on the metro and visit the stations.