Lola A. Åkerström spotlights a rich resource and app that explores Stockholm’s history through the ages in realtime.
Imagine standing in the middle of Stockholm’s most iconic park, Kungsträdgården. You wonder what it would have looked like decades ago and if there are any interesting legends or stories tied to the park. In the past, a visit to either a local library in Stockholm or an online search would have been in order.
Today, there’s a wonderful resource called Stockholmskällan that lets you find out right on the spot through its app – Historiska Stockholmsbilder.
Earlier, I added this app to my list of Stockholm’s Best Apps for travelers, and I still feel it’s one of the coolest apps about the city. With this app, you can easily find historical photographs, artwork and drawings of Stockholm based on your current location. The images are retrieved from the cultural heritage site, Stockholmskällan, which is a collaboration between various archives, libraries, museums, and educational resources in Stockholm.
To get behind the scenes, I reached out to Frida Starck Lindfors, one of its coordinators, to learn more about the project. According to Lindfors, Stockholmskällan is a municipal cooperation between the City Museum, City Archives and Stockholm Library. “We also cooperate with the National Library, the National Archive, The Stockholm Transport Museum and The Center for Business History,” she adds.
The smartphone app was developed in 2011 to faciliate access to historical pictures when exploring the city. “Stockholmskällan as a whole was developed to give pupils (students) easy access to digitized original historical sources and to support learning with historical sources as its starting point,” notes Lindfors.
“I think the best part of Stockholmskällan is when different sources from different collections are put together to form a picture of something that happened on a specific place,” shares Lindfors. “For example, the beach of Hässelby, the first place in Stockholm were men and women could swim together. You can read the ad from the paper, read an article about what happened at the beach (and the dance floor), see the swimmers in their suits, and hear the music they danced to.”
She shares that these stories awaken the imagination. Another personal favorite is the story of Carl August Lundström (pictured below) who was always wearing women’s clothes when arrested several times by the police in the 1880s for vagrancy and being in fights.
So what’s next for the project?
According to Lindfors, they’re working on a responsive web design in addition to streamlining presentations and selections to make their descriptions of Stockholm’s history more heterogenous and to ensure as many people, experiences, groups, and aspects of society are represented.
More about Stockholmskällan
Stockholmskällan is operated by the City of Stockholm and is a collaboration between the Department of Education Department, The City Museum, Medeltidsmuseet, the Royal Library, National Archives, and more.
Its database holds nearly 30,000 photographs, maps, prints, books, drawings, videos, texts, audio files, objects, works of art and literature archives that tell the story of Stockholm through the centuries. Stockholmskällan’s primary mission is to make Stockholm’s history and heritage available to schools for their history, social science, geography, and Swedish classes.
But its app has made it an invaluable resource for travelers who would love to learn the history of various aspects of the city as they roam and travel around the city in realtime.