Södermalm now and then
Södermalm, often shortened as “Söder” (South), is the liveliest district of central Stockholm with a vibrant nightlife. It is full of restaurants, bars and cafés. And music for all tastes; Debaser and Strand with the latest, Folkoperan and Göta Lejon with musicals, jazz at the restaurant Louis and last but not least Mosebacke with its wide variety of music and theatre and a large open-air café, just to mention a few popular places.
There are also many art galleries, cinemas, theatres, museums as well as a wide range of small and big shops. You can walk along the water or up on the mountain side while enjoying the fabulous view of the city and the harbour.
Needless to say, Söder is a popular place to live. Many artists and actors, politicians and business people populate this district, as well as many other great and creative people. In total there are over 120.000 habitants.
In the past, Söder was the pronounced working class district of Stockholm, and was more densely populated. There were breweries, mechanical workshops, ship building industries, factories and a wide variety of different craftsmen shops.
This time era of the old Söder has been depicted by many Swedish authors, where probably the most famous description can be found in “The Stockholm Series” by Per-Anders Fågelström, which in a captivating way follows a family in Söder from the 1860’s and a hundred years on.
In the harbour quarters around Slussen, the classical figures Kolingen and Bobban by Albert Engström were often seen and there are many unvarnished tales and drawings about these life artists. In the neighbourhood around Zinkensdamm and further down towards Hornstull in the area called Knivsöder (translated Knife South), many peculiar figures used to frequent the streets. The artist Börje Dorch from Söder, has in his characteristic style immortalized famous Söder drifters such as Tattar-Olga, Vita Negern and Kalle Munter. Pictures of these eccentrics can be viewed in our lounge Mathilda by the reception.
The name Zinkensdamm is derived from a farm with fruit cultivations that up until the 1930’s was situated where the sports arena is found today. At this spot, one of the dams used for cultivation of carp was located. In 1899, the next door park Tantolunden was inaugurated. With its wide walking paths and lush green, it was an attempt to get the working class population of Söder to socialise according to European manners, namely walking the park in pairs and converse. This went so-so!
Feel free to take a nice long walk along the winding path walks of Tantolunden, and take the opportunity to have a look at the plantation plots, a memory from the First World War when the people from Söder needed to grow potatoes and other crops for themselves. Today, these plantation plots have turned into amazing cultivations and floral splendours.