Södermalm


Södermalm

Infobox Islands
name = Södermalm


image caption = 18th century housing facing Riddarfjärden
image size =
locator
Location map|Sweden|width=175|float=center|lat=59.316667|long=18.066667
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location = Baltic Sea
coordinates = coord|59|19|N|18|04|E|display=inline
archipelago =
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country = Sweden
country admin divisions title = Borough
country admin divisions = Södermalm borough
country admin divisions title 1 = Municipality
country admin divisions 1 = Stockholm Municipality
country admin divisions title 2 =
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country largest city =
country largest city population =
population = 100,000
population as of =
density =
ethnic groups = Swedish
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Södermalm (often shortened to "Söder", "South"), is a district in central Stockholm. It covers the large island "Åsön", and commonly the islands "Reimersholme" and "Långholmen" are referred to as part of Södermalm. With a population of over 100,000 (2006)cite web
url = http://www.usk.stockholm.se/tabellverktyg/tv.aspx?projekt=omradesfakta&omrade=sdo12
title = Områdesfakta Södermalm
publisher = Utrednings- och statistikkontoret (USK)
accessdate = 2007-07-03
language = Swedish
(figure given for 2006 is 111 640)] , it is one of the most densely populated districts of Scandinavia.

Södermalm is connected to its surrounding areas by a number of bridges. It connects to Gamla Stan (Old Town) to the north by Slussen, a grid of road and rail and a lock that separates the lake Mälaren from the Baltic Sea, to Långholmen and Kungsholmen to the northwest by one of the city's larger bridges, Västerbron, to the islet Reimersholme to the west, to Liljeholmen to the southwest by the bridge Liljehomlsbron, to Årstaberg by Årstabron, Årsta and Johanneshov to the south by Skantullsbron, and, finally, to Nacka to the east by Danvikstull Bridge.

Administratively, Södermalm is part of Stockholm Municipality. It constitutes, together with Gamla stan and Hammarby Sjöstad, from 2007 the administratve district "Södermalms stadsdelsområde", often translated as Södermalm borough.

History

The name Södermalm ("suthraemalm") is mentioned already 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 of a mixture of working class housing, such as the little red cottages among which some are still to be seen on the northeastern side of Södermalm, and summer houses and pavilions of wealthier families, such as Emanuel Swedenborg's pavilion, which is to be seen in the outdoor museum Skansen. During this time, it was also the location of the perhaps first theatre in Scandinavia, Björngårdsteatern. Södermalm is often poetically referred to as "Söders höjder", the Heights of 'Söder', which reflects its topography of sheer cliffs and rocky hills. Indeed the hills of Södermalm still 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 there to the present day. 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 rural feeling to them, as for instance the landscape of tiny allotments that climb the slopes of Eriksdal.

For long Södermalm was mainly known as a working class area, renowned for its poverty and regarded as a slum. While there has been a romantic air about Södermalm for many decades, its slow ascendancy toward better reputation began as late as in the 1970s or 80s. Today it is considered a fashionable place to live or to go to, and it boasts prominent shopping districts and a wide range of cafés, restaurants and bars.

Also, rather than being known as a slum, Södermalm is now known as home of bohemia, 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 rather a district of the privileged. [Franzén, M. "New social movements and gentrification in Hamburg and Stockholm: A comparative study." Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 20 (2005): 51-77.]

Geography

Culture

In poetry and fiction

* The songs and poems of the popular 18th century poet and song-writer Carl Michael Bellman, born and raised on Södermalm, are filled with recurring references to names of places, perhaps primarily bars and meadhalls, on Södermalm.
* The celebrated first paragraph of August Strindberg's satirical novel "The Red Room" ("Röda rummet") describes Stockholm as seen from Mosebacke on Södermalm, where much of the story takes place.
* "City of My Dreams" ("Mina drömmars stad"), the first in a series of books by Per Anders Fogelström telling the story of several generations of Stockholmers, follows the young worker "Henning's" life on Södermalm.

Communication

References


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