Stockholm is an ideal destination for any student interested in the arts. Museums almost always offer student discounts, and straying away from the touristy Gamla Stan (Old Town) allows for an exploration of more alternative and budget friendly options. The city also has a thriving culture of vintage shopping and tattoos.
If you’re looking to get stuck into some contemporary Scandinavian art, the options are quite literally endless.
Must-sees are the Moderna Museet, which includes the ArkDes (The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design), and Fotografiska, one of the largest spaces in the world dedicated to contemporary photography. The Museum of Antiquities, which holds the collection of classical sculptures purchased by King Gustav III during his journey to Italy (1783–84), is open from May to September.
The main attractions aside, some more underground options (with free entry) are the Färgfabriken, a hub for contemporary arts and architecture, and Wip Honsthall, a gallery focused on discussion and work in progress between artists.
If you feel like venturing a little further out of the city head to Artipelag, a 20 minute train ride from the centre. Located on the peaceful Värmdo island, in the beautiful island setting, Artipelag hosts Stockholm’s largest art gallery, multiple cultural and musical events and options for scenic walks along the water.
Stockholm isn’t limited to high end Swedish design brands. The city boasts a strong culture of affordable vintage shopping, emulating a Scandinavian style that is sleek and classy with an original twist.
Södermalm is the go-to area for second-hand browsing, but the Östermalm neighbourhood also has its fair share of vintage stores. Humana Second Hand in Södermalm is a reliable option, with over 200 square metres of vintage picks, and all profits going to charity. The store even allows you to rent out clothes for 48 hours for any fancy event.
Modern Retro, also in Södermalm, sports a collection of items from the 1920s to 1980s. It might require some sifting through their huge collection to find the perfect item, but it will be worth it.
Siv & Ake is also a good option; though smaller than the typical vintage clothes store. Annie and Hoel, the siblings who run it, present a more curated selection of items with a range of accessories plus artwork for sale.
If you’re feeling it, Stockholm also plays host to some of the world’s best tattoo artists, with a range of talents and styles suited to anyone. Sweden is the second most tattooed country in the world, and 33% of Stockholmers are tattooed, making skin art more than a passing trend.
Finest Tattoos in Södermalm is a good place to start – owner Thomas Adolfsson calls tattoos ‘the oldest form of art’, and specialises in text, black and grey and simple designs. There are many in-house artists to choose from, but in recent years the ones that stand out from the crowd are Daria Shishkina, specialising in full colour floral tattoos, and Ellen Westholm, with her simple portraits in black and grey.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in August, stop by the Stockholm Ink Bash, a three-day tattoo convention and a chance to see the newest styles and celebrities of the tattoo art industry.