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Stockholm Travel Guide

Stockholm's Unsung Bastion of Knowledge

Posted: Jul. 2nd, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Unsung, Unrivaled
Holger Ellgaard Photo

It's totally understandable, after all Stockholm is a city full of fine dining, exciting events, artistic expression and just about everything in between, but Stockholm's hidden bastion of knowledge, the Stockholm Public Library is an oft unsung treasure that visitors to the Swedish capitol often overlook. Few places in the world can claim a superior wealth of knowledge and culture, and none of them so intimately linked with the past that brought Stockholm to it's cultural present.

When my husband and I were in Sweden last month, he wanted to see the Stockholm Public Library. Years ago, in architecture school, he’d read about the architect, Gunnar Asplund, and he vaguely remembered that the building was supposed to have a spectacular interior. It was a pretty day and I was happy to walk there with him. We stood outside the building. Completed in 1928, it is monumental but modest, a cylinder on top of a square base. We remarked on how democratic it is, with its plinth of street-level storefronts that include a McDonald’s and a convenience store.

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