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Photographer's Note

The name Södermalm (“suthraemalm”) is first mentioned in 1288 in a letter from Bishop Anund of Strängnäs. Until the early 17th century Södermalm was mainly a rural, agricultural area. Its first urban areas were planned and built in the mid 17th century, comprising a mixture of working class housing, such as the little red cottages of which a few can still be seen in northeastern Södermalm, and the summer houses and pavilions of wealthier families, such as Emanuel Swedenborg's pavilion, which is now in the outdoor museum Skansen. During this time, it was also the location of perhaps the first theatre in Scandinavia, Björngårdsteatern. Södermalm is often poetically named “Söders höjder”, which reflects its topography of sheer cliffs and rocky hills. Indeed, the hills of Södermalm provide remarkable views of Stockholm's skyline.

In the 18th century, the working-class cottages that clung to Mariaberget, the steep cliffs facing Riddarfjärden, were replaced by the large buildings that are still present today. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that urbanisation grasped the entire width of Södermalm, and even today parts of Södermalm have a rural feeling to them, as for instance the landscape of tiny allotments that climb the slopes of Eriksdal.

Also, rather than being known as a slum, Södermalm is now known as home of bohemian, alternative culture and a broad range of cultural amenities. Meanwhile, the growing demand of housing, as well as an increasing gentrification of Stockholm's central parts, makes apartments in Södermalm more and more difficult or expensive to come by. Thus what was once a working-class district is now somewhat a district of the privileged.

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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5651 W: 83 N: 11110] (75040)
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