For a long time, Södermalm has been Stockholm’s coolest neighbourhood and the beating heart of hipster Stockholm. As with many cool urban areas, it was once one of the least desirable neighbourhoods in the city, but as prices rose in the northern part of Stockholm, people began to move south to Södermalm, and the area became more and more gentrified. The same process is occurring again: prices are rising in Södermalm, and people are moving south – this time to an area known as Midsommarkransen.
The Midsommarkransen neighbourhood was built to house workers in a local brick factory. This created a thriving local community, but one that relied greatly on the AB Tellus company and factory. It remained a tight-knit community, which was further boosted by Swedish giant Ericsson moving into the area in the early 1940s. It was thriving part of Stockholm and a neighbourhood that was full of life.
When Ericsson left in 2000, the area lost a great deal of foot traffic, as there was less of a reason for people to visit the area. The neighbourhood is located between two red line t-bana stations, Telefonplan and Midsommarkransen, which, although they are not far from the city centre, are not stations that many people would pass through on their way anywhere. The area began to go through something of a slump.
As Södermalm began to attract more and more people, though, Midsommarkransen became a sort of extension of the area. People who want to enjoy the buzz of Södermalm but can’t afford the rent there have flocked to Midsommarkransen, and brought with them the kind of creative and contemporary mindsets that have turned it into a hipster hub.
One of the area’s most unique features is Colour by Numbers, an interactive art installation located in an old tower built by Ericsson. The tower lights up with various colours that anyone can control, using an app, an idea that has given people another reason to come to the area. There are also a number of great boutique stores, charming cafés and specialist design shops in the area, giving it an exclusive sense of contemporary cool.
A great example is Vintagefabriken, which has handpicked clothes and design items, both new and vintage, and is an oasis of calm and tranquility. If you are looking for grander and more industrial design items, Dunke Design is perfect. It has a number of beautiful pieces that have been made by combining regular furniture with retrofitted factory and machine parts. The items are thus unique, as well as of impeccable quality.
2 Little Spoons is another lovely design shop that aims to create a sense of community. The owners try to make it seem like a classic neighbourhood shop, but with a global selection of items. They handpick everything they sell, to ensure that each item is made from sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.
Alongside these local design shops is Mimmi Staaf’s furniture workshop, where staff can reupholster your items as well as provide you with new furniture from a variety of talented Scandinavian designers. If you want a more classic Midsommarkransen shop, the type that seems as if it has been passed down through the generations, Midsommarkransen Jarn is a great example. It sells paint and various tools for using around the home.
All that shopping can work up an appetite, and Midsommarkransen has you covered with restaurants to suit every taste and budget. Landet is an exquisite restaurant with both Swedish and French cuisine, and Zugoi Sushi serves excellent fish, while Nalle & Kroppkakan focusses on a classic Swedish potato dumpling.
There are also some excellent cafés if you just want a small bite or a cup of coffee. ABCafé has a wonderfully charming 1950s vibe, while Koloni serves up organic and green cuisine. Biocafe Telus has been serving up top-quality coffee and showing movies since 1920. The neighbourhood also features some charming green spaces, with Svanda Parken having some lovely walking routes as well as space to sit and have a picnic.
Midsommarkransen, then, is the perfect alternative to Södermalm. It retains its sense of contemporary cool, as well as having a great selection of exciting and innovative shops. It is just slightly quieter and more relaxed than its much larger neighbour.
However, chances are it is unlikely to remain a hidden gem for long, so make sure to check it out sooner rather than later.