Stockholm as a museum

I spent the day in Stockholm City today. For many Stockholm is the power house of Sweden. Political and economical power resides here. This is where trends are created. This is where tourists come. This is where Sweden excels.

Let me dare to give an alternative point of view. What if we were to view Stockholm as a museum? In this museum you can definitely see what Stockholm and it’s inhabitants strive to be.

Walking through the city today I see a lot of dazzling people. Young mostly. In proper, trendy attire. Going places. Wealth. Nice cars. Gadgets. The city in itself is full of glossy shops and public spaces have gone through re-vamping the last years.

What sticks with me is that there seems to be some kind of sub-conscious pretense going on. It’s as if the people on the streets know that this isn’t for real. That once the surface is scratched there will be nothing underneath. It is a brilliant exhibition. But what is it about?

Visiting other cities in the world I can’t recollect having this feeling. Is this city charade unique for Sweden? Or maybe just for Stockholm?

Fredrik Lindström, Swedish entertainer and writer, has recently run a TV-series with the title "The world’s most modern country" (translation). In it he proposes that Swedes are an anxious people. Anxious to please. Anxious to be modern. Anxious to do things right. And anxious to mean something in the world. It’s as if we’re trying hard to excape our history and our roots – and constantly looking back to if the gap is increasing or not.

Maybe that is why my walk through Stockholm today felt surreal. I could amost touch the anxiety.

Stuff in museums often feel dead or on show. The Stockholm Museum of Itself gave me a creepy experience today.