“The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes” – Marcel Proust
When trying to predict how a future Stockholm might look we thought we should approach the subject in the spirit of Proust. And while we’re quoting former thinkers let’s throw in Abraham Lincoln and his memorable line: ”The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
We rounded up 50 creative Stockholmers to ask how their city will look, smell and sound in 25 years from now – what will we achieve and what do we want to become?
Welcome to 2039.
Claes Britton, publisher, journalist & author
If there is anything I have learned over the years it’s that it’s impossible to prophesize on the future. Furthermore I think it’s boring. I love history, I can’t get enough of it and constantly read new historical literature. On the other hand, I have never had any interest in theories about the future. It just gets technical and lifeless. But among few things that you safely can state is that Stockholm will be a damn sight bigger. In many ways diversity will increase but in other ways so will standardization. Americanization will surely progress even further. The selection and choice will increase, just like the information flow and the quantity of everything. I fear quality and the depth knowledge will decrease even more though. While a lot will improve, I dread the decline of poetry.
I’m hoping, more than anything, but I also believe that car traffic will decline. My vision is the inner city of Stockholm being car free!
Sofi Bonde, Artist/Singer & Songwriter
Stockholm 2039 – Back to Basics. But that’s only a few years away really. I think we’ll go back to our roots a bit more for each year and use technology and intelligence to save resources, rather than creating more stuff. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking but I think we’ll be forced to do so. Anyhow, I’d say we’ll travel a little less in person and more online, watch less TV and more on-demand, eat and play music to fill our soul rather than our nervous system and airplay lists – they’ll probably hardly exist anyway. Perhaps our kids will learn how to meditate in school since all major diseases are related to stress. Cancer will be eclipsed by something way more complicated. There is something sweet starting to spread over the world though – there’ll be more of that, in my world that’s true. What you focus on gets bigger. Something to remember regardless of what year it is.
Alf Tumble, Wine Writer
Stockholm is now an established destination for food tourists and gastro nerds. The reconstructed Swedish gastronomy has trickled down to neighbourhood and lunch restaurant level and the Stockholmer has never eaten as consciously before. Our drinking culture has followed the same path. We want to know exactly what we are drinking, why and who has produced what we have in our glass. Swedish wine gets international hype and Systembolaget has opened dedicated shops for beer and wine.
Pär Strömberg, artist and wine columnist
Stockholm has grown stronger and bigger in the sense of cultural and social understanding. We are now the big city we always pretended to be, not just in the minds of various free thinkers. We will see a more progressive secularism and the cultural sector will gain more power on behalf of organized religion. There is a more outspoken equality and respect towards each other, where care for the elderly and our young are prioritized over big and global corporate profits. Stockholm will have lot’s of local wine dealers (without the monopoly), open permissive bars and hang-outs and a great and more developed (independent) cultural scene.
Andreas Ribbung, Artist and co-founder of the artist-run gallery Candyland and Supermarket – Stockholm Independent Art Fair.
Climate change has led to a pleasant climate in Stockholm. Scandinavia is relatively spared from the major natural disasters that create so much chaos around the world, but the population has grown tremendously. The entire inner city is very homogeneous and focused on tourism, except the southern part which is cut off due to a huge urban development project that has been going on for the past 25 years, punctuated by appeals, political scandals and all sorts of planning mistakes. The densified suburbs are the new hot neighborhoods and residents move more between the suburbs. Abandoned mega-malls offer inexpensive facilities to artists and self-organised cultural activities.
Petter, hiphop legend
One of the things I love about Copenhagen is that in contrast to Stockholm, they preserved large parts of the inner city when the functionalistic architecture became popular. Here we demolished large parts of the city centre that could have been preserved, which would have given Stockholm a pulsating inner city core like Paris. At the same time you learn to accept the new face of Stockholm but I hope that we respect the look of the city when building in the future, and do it with humility and care. We live in one of the world’s most unique cities and it wouldn’t take that much to destroy that picture.
I hope we will have more pedestrianized streets, less traffic, more public transport and smaller shops who are not struggling because of large malls built outside of the city. The day restaurateurs are allowed to have bars without having a kitchen Stockholm will explode, especially since we have one of the strongest music scenes in the world.
I have lived in this city all my life and I’m extremely sensitive to how the architecture changes – probably more than most due to my father being an architect. And my sister is too, so I’ve got it in my blood, pure and simple.
AK von Malmborg, musician & artist
High up in the air, see-through tunnels are installed. They are used for walking, biking and skating, protection from wind, snow and rain, and offering stunning views of the city from above. A permanent surf-wave has been installed in the central Stockholm waters as well as free saunas for every neighbourhood along the quays. Street art, graffiti and guerilla gardening fill every corner of the city since this is now regarded as a civil right to perform and is appreciated by most people. What used to be billboards now serve to display contemporary art or good advice for problem-solving. All housing projects are built to make people feel good when they live there and to make the neighbourhood more beautiful as the top priority. Hundreds of artists from all over the world are invited to the Stockholm artist-in-residence-programme every year. Each night all lights go out so that we can see the evening stars and get an instant visual reminder of our history and the context in which we exist: universe. (No need to be afraid of the dark.)
Stefan Nilsson, trend expert at Trendgruppen
“Cities will be bigger and everyone will want to live in a city like Stockholm. Europe will get more isolated. We will focus on all our local stars, local fashion, local food, and so on. Travel will be more frequent and quicker. We will go to London just for dinner or a movie. But only within Europe (or “European” cities like New York). Asia and Africa will grow and create their own stars. Africa in particular is really happening, but we will build both cultural and commercial barriers so their lifestyle won’t be seen here. So, in Sweden Kikki Danielsson will still be a huge star…”
Ida Therén, freelance writer
In 2039 I hope that Stockholm is interconnected with a range of other metropolitan areas through fast underground trains. Plenty of people will have had enough of the fast pace of society and moved out of cities, to live off the earth. There will be a new wave of spirituality, people trying to find peace globally through meditation. Free time will be the biggest luxury and restaurants and spas will have a heyday. It’s hard to be optimistic but hopefully my daughter, then 25 years old, will have a place to live. If nothing else, she can stay with me on my vineyard in Skåne. At weekends we take the speedy train to Stockholm to enjoy arts and culture, maybe at an arts centre built by some tech billionaire, like the “Spotify Moderna Museet.
There is no Stockholm in 25 years. There are no cities, no countries, no money, nothing that disconnects humans from one another. As the world was about to collapse from the environmental disaster that we can´t avoid, the humans had to find a solution for saving the planet. And the only thing to do was to put down all the weapons, physical and mental, and live in peace, together, as one.
Yvonne Sörensen Björud, BERNS CEO
Stockholm will have grown exponentially by 2039 and become a more international cit,y both when it comes to architecture as well as culture. We will start expanding upwards with higher buildings and we will be able to enjoy a more cultural diverse city with areas like “Little Syria”, “Little Somalia” and many more. The tourism industry will adapt more to Asia and Africa with China, India and many African countries developing fast. Basically we will be the next tourist destination for many people in the upcoming third world. Sweden and Swedes as a people will continue to be very nature-loving and I believe that we will go back to our roots with more ecological food and way of living.
Erik Nordlander, Editor of guidebook Uncommon Stockholm
The recent commercial success of Swedish crime fiction might open up possibilities for alternative voices, not built upon or shaped by preconceptions of Swedish identity, to come through. Perhaps a larger amount of Swedish writers will be translated and some Swedish writers may choose to write in other languages such as English, Mandarin or Arabic. Stockholm may get warmer due to the greenhouse effect, but the winters will not be any brighter, so there will still be time for the novelist’s imagination to take flight and write. It is distribution, however, that is really hard to foresee.
Anders Rydell, author and journalist
2039, Stockholm has become warmer. The world is closer, yet further away. We can no longer, or cannot afford, to travel all over the world. But at the same time a part of the world has moved here. The greenhouse effect has given us a steady high-pressure climate and that’s honestly not entirely bad for the locals. The really cold winters are long gone and the French oyster farms have settled on the Swedish coasts. South of Stockholm the wheat fields are replaced by vineyards and olive groves. Stockholm might have gone back to being a provincial backwater in the periphery of Europe, but at least we can enjoy a self-produced glass of Sancerre.
Claes-Göran Bondelid, Owner of Claes-Göran Skor
To understand our present time, and indeed ones future, it’s interesting to look at history. Over the last 25 years, where I stand, both nothing and everything has happened. 25 years ago kebab felt new and exciting, at least for those who remained within our borders. Now most have realized that it’s quite disgusting. We thought mobile phones would make us more effective but instead we spend endless amount of time on instagramming our pimped up pyttipanna. In 25 years a lot of things in Stockholm will be much the same, but why would you want to know? You’ll just be disappointed. Fashion won’t have been revolutionized. 2039 still has its kebab, its photo album and the suburbs will be bigger than the inner city. I despair. So seize this moment, because nothing will improve.
There are no street magazines in 2039. The idea of printing on paper and selling magazines on the streets is since long gone. Due to advancing technology a magazine like Situation Sthlm has now become a journalistic platform that you can read/listen to/look at in either your media device or your computerized glasses. The journalists are writing or filming their stories in real time and you can subscribe to an access code and follow the editorial planning, research process, writing/filming as it happens, or get the completed article when it’s done and made public on the site. The subscriptions to the Situation Sthlm platform is sold by homeless people on the street, through different QR-codes that you buy and scan directly into your media device.
Joachim Granit, Creative Director Färgfabriken
Stockholm has developed in different areas that have their individual identities. Being close to Arlanda, the City of Kista is now a business area with high rise buildings. A futuristic city where the citizens who want to live in the global consumption context can enjoy shopping and visit artificial environments created with the latest technical solutions.
The Stockholm Experiment’ has a total different identity. People experiment with different alternatives. The rigid Swedish building regulation does not exist in these areas. Now there are housing areas where groups and individuals can express themselves. “Microfarming” and alternative transportation is widespread. The central part of Stockholm is intact. No changes whatsoever can be done because it has become a “museum” for tourism and conservative citizens.
Olle Wästberg, Former politician, editor and Swedish Consul-General in New York, currently sevenfold board member
In the end of the 2030s, June 6 has at last been established as a Swedish ”Thanksgiving”. We have adopted the American way of looking at new citizens. Sweden has become a country where you are a Swede if you have Swedish values of tolerance and acceptance. The Swedish king honours big holidays for all religions: Christian, Jewish, Muslim etcetera, just as American presidents have long done. And on June 6 we all thank each other for being in this country. As in America – when the pilgrims invited native Indians to the first thanksgiving dinner – Swedes now try to open their homes for other people – regardless of their background.
Marja-Leena Sillanpää, artist
In the dream someone told me to think of our future, 25 years ahead.We, who has already faced death under different circumstances, can imagine this reality even after a long absence.
The city is small compared to others and heedfully placed upon water. There you can hear the roar from the bottomless taking the path through a human. Even if the streets and houses are old, everything only weighs a couple of kilos and moves slowly, so slowly there is still time for the things that are deemed important.
We are accustomed to look through the rooms that have been inhabited, and in there were pleasant shadows worth keeping. That gives humanity comfort ahead of menacing times. In the end I went to get maps in the chest of drawers and I found that everything was messed up.
Måns Wrange, artist and rector of Kungliga Konsthögskolan (the Royal Institute of Art)
Dystopia: Not only the dwellings of the inner city, but also large parts of its public space have been privatized. The schools in the outer suburbs have gone bankrupt and its infrastructure crumbled away. The affluent villa suburbs are “gated communities” and culture is considered a luxury good, without public financing in the city that in 2010 was already one of Europe’s most segregated
Utopia: A radical campaign aiming for mixed housing for all types of income groups and households that isn’t solely based on the heterosexual northern European nuclear family. Quick and flexible forms of public transport in combination with an extended bike hire network and bookable auto-kinetic electric vehicles has tied together the centre and periphery of the city and positions of power within politics, culture and media represent the inhabitants of the city and not solely the white middle class.
Mattias Bergman, Editor Dagens Nyheter Lördag
Some not very science-based reflections: Urbanization will continue but clusters, consisting various lines of business, around Sweden will make Stockholm less important from an economic point of view. The typical Stockholm inhabitant speaks a rural dialect and works in the service industry. The class differences will increase; information gaps widen; the middle-class focus on the city centre will continue; more subcultures emerge. Healthy and well-off senior citizens are perceived as an important group of consumers. Awareness of ecological issues is essential in both business and politics and is identified as a unique selling proposition for Stockholm. Tourism is an important source of revenue, and how the Stockholm story is sold to the world is considered fundamental. From this, a more coherent “Stockholm image” might emerge, based on less anxiety and eclecticism than is the case today.
But of course, the really important changes are impossible to predict.
MyNa Do, member of the creative collective Mahoyo
My dream is that Stockholm has expanded in a positive way, the city has grown larger and less segregated. The privatization trend has slowed down and public transport is available for everyone, regardless of social class or economic situation.
Amber Watts, rapper in ANAYE and one of the founders of feminist community Equalizer
I’ll come at this from a positive perspective, imagining a world where politicians will have realized the significance of environmental sustainability and equality in time, and that Sweden’s not just the new Atlantis and everything has gone to hell.
On the outside I picture skyscrapers; Stockholm will be a larger city with a lot more diverse social climate than we have today. I imagine a female president (yes, we have gone republic by then) and I basically think our whole way of living is going to be different because of this. How? I don’t know, but I hope for the better.
Kristoffer Viita, freelance culture journalist and film critic
We probably have some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare similar to Manhattan in ‘Escape from New York’. But with the street gangs hiding in all the ruins of the huge arenas, Starbucks and offices of PR companies. We’ll get the future we deserve.
Pelle Tamleht, Web director and restaurant editor at Nöjesguiden
In 25 years, the housing shortage in Stockholm will be so disastrous that people won’t even have room for a tiny kitchenette at home, let alone a kitchen. Therefore, the desire for restaurants with a cosy dinner-party-at-home vibe will simply be insatiable. We are seeing that trend already and I predict that it will increase dramatically. By the same token, we will also see more cook-alongs, where you and your guests cook food alongside professional chefs. I guess the one positive outcome with the housing shortage is that ironically it brings us closer together.”
Nina Johansson, journalist Aftonbladet
Stockholm in 25 years will be just great. For me. There will be plenty of well-paid jobs, expensive restaurants, good doctors, exclusive schools and fantastic elderly care. For me. And for all of those living in my Stockholm – the city center. The other city, the one outside the expensive centre, look different. Schools are closed down, cars burning, racism and fear escalates, homophobia will spread. No expensive restaurants, no organic produce, everyone’s scared, everyone’s hating. I really hope that I am wrong.
Jan Carl Adelswärd, baron, investor, board member and entrepreneur within music and fashion
I hope Stockholm in 2039 will be a more creative, open-minded and unified city. Stockholm is fantastic in many ways, but only a few months ago I saw neo-nazis celebrate Krisalltnacht in my neighbourhood. I get frightened by increasing antagonism, a raised tone of voice, and with violence just around the corner.
Stockholm was one of the most prominent cities in the world when it came to innovations within internet and telecommunications in the 90s, a long article in Newsweek highlighted Stockholm as creative, competitive and world-leading. It proved to be a somewhat exaggerated picture and a lot of our visionaries failed to create substance from the hype. When the internet bubble burst, many of the companies collapsed like a house of cards.
But that time broke new ground and changed the attitude towards starting your own company and I think Stockholm is on its way to generate similar glory days.
We have companies like Acne, Spotify and King and we are one of the most successful cities in the world when it comes to producing music – not only measured in commercial success, but also when you’re considering artists with a more narrow appeal but with a high credibility. We have for a long time had a successful gaming industry and we are now rebuilding our good reputation in film.
Our wave of success when it comes to creative industries will persist into 2039. Stockholm will be characterized by high level of creativity, but also by tolerance. I think the two can merge in a positive spiral. Creativity requires curiosity, curiosity equals stepping into the unknown, and to step into the unknown tolerance is required.
This is where culture plays a big part. Today it’s too often viewed as entertainment and a pastime. But cultural education is a prerequisite for critical thought. To quote the distinguished Stockholmer Jan Gradvall: culture is an investment in your brain and a means for growth. The cultural mould is decisive for creative industries. In the future we have to better understand this and preserve arts subjects and aesthetics within our education.
A problem in the Stockholm of today is that the city is disseminated and segregated. The differences in between the various areas only increase which makes the city small mentally. We need car tolls, ring roads, cheaper public transport and car free zones. We can build more housing centrally and vertically. More people congregated in the centre make the cityscape denser and make people meet. But we have to create cheaper housing in the central areas to reverse the growing socio-economic segregation.
To reach there we need to keep two thoughts in our heads; freedom and equality. We need more equal conditions in our society. At the same time we need a greater tolerance for each individual’s peculiar nature. Equality doesn’t mean that we are all the same. Freedom doesn’t mean each and every one is left to his or her fate.
Sofia Hultin, artist and lesbian recruiter
In 25 years I think Stockholm will have turned into a place of solidarity and equality. People will have learned to see and to share their power, freedom and love so that everyone in the city can live decent lives. Fear of the unfamiliar will have been replaced by curiosity because everyone has understood the importance of listening, sharing and empathy. Also, Stockholm won’t be ruled by right wing politicians.
Isabel Hillborg, dramatician and theatre director
I nourish a vision that in 25 years, culture and expression is free from its shackles and is allowed to be round instead of linear and according to a template. In 25 years I want us to feed ourselves with fantasy and revel in the act of creation instead of living in capitalist castles in the air where everything is ‘light and fresh’. We have come to a halt, but not stagnated, and we see ourselves and each other for real, and in that clarity the small becomes so much bigger than we can grasp, and becomes all we really need. That thought does not seem fuzzy, but completely obvious – in 25 years.
Bruno Hibombo, musician
In 25 years Stockholm will probably look different. Bigger buildings, bigger malls, bigger complexes. The big question is if it will be different. Will it have a warmer climate for those struggling on the outskirts of society, will it encompass all of those things that the politicians in power claim Stockholm to already be? Will it make more room for those in need of it, or just give more room to those who already have it? Are they just empty promises?
Kawa Zolfagary, writer, commentator & humorist
Stockholm is a big city, but hopefully the distance between people will be considerably smaller. It will be easier to travel from the suburbs into the city and back out again. People from all over the world and all over the city, from all kind of different backgrounds, will be living side by side. Segregation and gentrification is a thing of the past and we take great pride in being a modern city where we have room for everyone, everywhere.
Lotta Ahlvar, President of the Swedish Fashion Council
In 2039, our city is highly advanced in sustainability. More and more politicians agree on its importance in our culture, economics, and environment. Stockholm leads the world as one of the least-impacting cities on the environment. Together with the other Nordic countries we have created an example for the rest of the world in how to achieve a sustainable lifestyle.
Fashion companies on a wide scale have also joined in the movement, with most now creating collections that concentrate solely on sustainable design. Large companies are focusing their time on creating collections that don’t negatively impact our surroundings and use less resources. Stockholm’s designers now use better and more effective eco-friendly methods for creating textiles and designs that have set an example for other designers around the globe.
Maria Georgieva, journalist
Does tomorrow belong to Stockholm, the presumed “capital” of Scandinavia? We have become genetically engineered and organic robots, similar to the rebel replicants in Blade Runner – visually indistinguishable from adult humans. We have become manufactured by powerful corporations due to our lack of diversity. We have become colonized by greed. We have to defy the inequality in society as a whole to manage the chronic poverty that is plaguing Stockholm, one of the world’s most segregated cities. The ongoing environmental crisis is evident, and continues to sustain itself unless we change our way of life.
Our welfare must become more like Ellen Ripley’s strength in Alien.Everyone needs to defend it. We will become robots unless we change the way we treat each other. Beyond the working-poor mentality that has so far haunted the 21st century. Every man is never for himself.
Karina Sarkissova, dancer and choreographer
The rules, the government and the culture is 50 times narrower than the current situation. The more regulated a society is, the more possibilities you find yourself navigating through, creating your own path. Autonomous structures. That path is for me free from neo-liberal dreams and hoping-for-the-best quotes.
Git Scheynius, Film Festival head honcho
Stockholm is now the cleanest city in the world, the world’s first eco-certified city and a model for other cities with similar ambitions. We are the first city in the world with direct democracy – it is possible, it is powerful and it is digital. Stockholm is a city of equality where the capacity of both sexes is taken care of on equal terms.
Every home is a media house. Every human being is a media producer with his or her own virtual tools and the ability to create his or her own universe. The media scene is both more individual and international. We use virtual screens where we collect and share information. We share more with people from the whole world and the information flow is more multifaceted which gives the medium a vitamin boost. The medium is democratized further, the diversity increases and we become even more creative. Do we get wiser? Of course we are more clever in 2039.
Jonas Kleerup, gallery owner and DJ
Architecture did it. After almost half a century of difficulties and pure nostalgia due to the implications that modernism had created during the 20th century, architecture slowly started to change people’s minds once again. It started suddenly around 2020 when some sublime skyscrapers by Swiss architects mistakenly had been granted permission by officials and they started appearing on the skyline. In an innovative way, they blended contemporary art with technologies created for a digital life that set a new standard.
At the same time, philosophers started to explore a neorealism, a digital and connected culture that finally adapted its own era. Those new tendencies inspired people and set minds free. Suddenly, the city’s urban centers were places where advertisements, architecture and contemporary art populated the spatial experience. Architects and artists were the new consultants that companies needed to be able to understand new ways of thinking. They helped citizens move through the city in a harmonious and futuristic flow. Public 3-D animations mixed with contemporary video art mixed with advertisements and that came to life in new spaces and cultures.
Historical facades everywhere blended with new architectural elements created by new digital composite materials. No-one noticed when the change started, but suddenly everyone understood that they were part of a new influential era. By 2039 Stockholm was once again the avant-garde of visual culture and was admired and studied by city planners worldwide.
Zacharias Blad, singer
With closed doors and streets that are empty…
With cold winters and even colder summers…
With strangers too afraid to look another stranger in the eye…
Walking like prisoners of their own self-centeredness…
Stockholm left to its own holocaust…
Most people will at this time understand that “the capital of Scandinavia” is no capital and probably moved down to Malmö or further south.
Henrik Norström, Creative Manager Lux Dag For Dag
In 25 years we will see more really simple restaurants in Stockholm where less is spent on interior and service but where the food is great. This will be a result of citizens in Stockholm doing less cooking at home and a demand to eat well-cooked good food. The influence comes from New York and Hong Kong where this trend is well established already.
I also think the Swedish kitchen with traditional Swedish tastes will grow even stronger. Instead of talking about the Scandinavian kitchen as we do at present – a very broad expression including many different kinds of food – we will be talking about different food regions and climate zones within Sweden, in the same way as we already are talking about different cuisines in Italy and Spain. The local produce will change a lot within Sweden since it’s such a big country.
Iki Gonzalez Magnusson, DJ and founder of Utopia, an organisation working to promote access for disabled people in the public sphere
I dream of a Stockholm that in 2039 is available to everyone, physically but also more generally. The “no borders, no nations” slogan is as widely known as Lill-Babs and to be critical of norms in society is considered natural for everyone.
Anthony Mills aka IAMTHEPINKBERRYGORDY, singer, songwriter and artist
In the year of our lord 2039 Stockholm will have self-destructed in it’s lagom ways. Largely due to it’s influx and per-mutations of culture. 30-somethings will finally recognize Stockholm as one of the most romantic and creative places to be seen, heard, or live. Touch everything. Super green. Stockholm will be a mecca for night people already harbouring transplanted cultures indulging in one of the highest qualities of life. Forest cuisine will be re-introduced for its ability to maintain youth and its vitamin D-rich nutrition. The woods will be ever plentiful and more purposefully nurtured. Swedish high life will forerun the decline of social networks, exposing it’s hidden agendas and suicidal promotions. And thus, Swedish society in 2039 will maintain it’s futuristic reputation with a super-human yet dramatically natural overtone.
Konrad Milton and Carl Jägnefelt, architects and founders of JÄGNEFÄLT MILTON
Stockholm in 25 years will be much less predictable – more of everything in, on, and under every possible and impossible place. Combined and crossbred in unforeseen and coincidental combinations. Apartment towers in the sea, bars in the royal castle, cows on the streets (the furry ones that can be out all year round), fast-food chains in churches and churches inside the same fast food chain, museums in the malls and outdoor corporate headquarters in the parks – they will eventually be joined by the cows. Just add more and skip the red tape.
Ulrik Peterson, culture journalist
Finally man can fly freely! No need for a crowded bus or underground, on this particular day I hover over Stockholm and land at Mynttorget to see when our newly-elected prime minister Lina Thomsgård states who she’s chosen to be included in her first government. In the afternoon I’ll watch a play via what we today call ‘the cloud’ where art shows, series and premieres at the opera roam freely. All culture producers are there, except the a few stubborn private theatres that refuse to share their plays.
I live in a spartanly concrete studio in the newly-occupied New Slussen area and enjoy the view over Saltsjön. Since the Swedish housing bubble burst in 2023 emigration has increased and I see when the Ship to St. Tropez boat, with necessities to former tax refugees, leave Skeppsbron. Otherwise everything is perfectly usual, on this day in 2039.
Jenny Grettve, fashion designer
The future holds my dreams, and for fashion that would mean a city where inhabitants feel free to be creative, not follow any trends and dress more personally. Stockholm will still be famous all over as the stylish city, but the distinct uniform is gone. Big cheap department stores have lost their control and instead we have change-stations where we all exchange items we no longer want with each other. All the youngsters of today have grown up, so your neighbour might be that fun lady with green dreads, your father in-law the hip-hop guy or your boss a Japanese punk Lolita. How lovely would that be!
Leo Forsell, In charge of music, bookings and PR at Under Bron
The future is only cool when you look back on it. To me, the future has never really lived up to my expectations – when I was a kid I thought we would’ve had flying cars by now! I don’t feel like I have been impressed at any particular moment, because as we develop with time, changes and inventions appear so subtly. But when I look back on the past 20 years, I realise that humanity hasn’t exactly been taking it easy…
With this in mind, it is not only the shade of green on your shirt, the type of wood on your coffee table or how many times marble has come and gone as the trendiest material that will have changed by 2039.
By 2039, I think that cars are forbidden in the city, people walk, ride their bikes or at most use public transport to get around. We will have had an eco-friendly, environment-conscious and anti-establishment phase for two decades where the generation born in the 90’s would be called ”The Countryside Generation” (everyone moved away from the city, had children early and became farmers and gardeners and carpenters), but now people want to live in the city again. However the city is different, when the cars were abolished there was a calm over Stockholm. All the stress factors disappeared and people started greeting each other in the street.
The boom of 3D-printing in the early 21st century has made all material things available easy, cheap and fast. The public accessibility (3D printers will be as widespread as mobile phones ) of the invention will have made brands unimportant and unlucrative businesses – if you see something you like, you can simply print it out. A t-shirt, a vase or a bouquet of flowers. Asserting power through material possession will be long buried. Because of this mass printing at home, most shopping malls and retail spaces have closed down and left space for apartments. Everyone will own fewer possessions and will move more regularly.
Printing at home will also make handcraft more valued and desirable – try printing a new haircut for example! Art’s importance in our society will if anything be extensive and widespread, people will search for originality and uniqueness, merely because they can print copies of anything they want. Stockholm will flourish with art galleries, museums and studios.
A high-quality lifestyle will no longer be a Friday night with your Teppanyaki stove and LED TV-screen, it will be about who you spend your night with. People will open their homes, have block parties and communal gatherings.
Ah, what do I know. No matter what, I’ll be strolling around in my tailored linen suit with a custom-made pocket for my 3D printer, telling my grandchildren that music was better back then, while putting on Abdulla Rashim’s ”Aksum” EP on my Iphone 27.
Jeanette Steinsland, gallery owner and curator
The art scene is BIG and hopefully vital… The big art institutions will contain a museum, a commercial gallery and an artist-run gallery. This is to “help” the huge crowd of people now consuming art, so that they can both see and be able to buy art.The gallery scene outside the institutions will be important spaces for the artists and the collectors to meet. Renting out art will be a trend, people do not necessarily want to own a piece of art, the important thing is to spend time with the piece.
As there is a strong conservative wind blowing worldwide and nationalism grows, art is threatened. Our biggest challenge the next 25 years is to vote for politicians that can see and understand the value of the arts.
Nidal Kersh, street food afficionado
Stockholm will have doubled its number of inhabitants, just come out on the other side of an economic crisis, and most of its people run their own business and invoice their own salary.
And hopefully a new Slussen is completed and Stockholmers can still swim in our waters.
Niklas Ekstedt, Chef-patron of EKSTEDT
In 25 years Sweden will be the only country with clean air, so I predict that we are going to have a huge boom in tourism. Restaurant menus will have changed dramatically by then with chefs having to source new ingredients and shift the focus away from fish and meat, which will have become increasingly scarce and expensive. I think food is heading in the same direction as the music scene and will eventually split into two distinct factions – a super-consuming mainstream and a more intellectual, independent school of thought.
Rick Falkvinge, Founder of the first Pirate Party
In 2039, the geopolitical power distribution will be quite different from 2013. Like the Soviet collapse was easy to predictin hindsight, the United States’ empire will collapse around 2020-2025 from financial and military overstretching, and much ofEurope will suffer in that collapse as well. Mass surveillance willescalate, and a whole generation will have grown up into a worldwhere they know nothing but endemic surveillance. The last people to cherish the copyright and patent monopolies will have died outfrom power positions, opening the path for creativity andinnovation for generations that loathed those monopolies and nowabolish them.
Pontus de Wolfe, singer/songwriter who soon premieres his first musical, co-written with Salem Al Fakir, loosely based on The Wizard of Oz, for Glada Hudik-Teatern.
It’s somewhat contradictory, because essentially you want nothing to change about the city you love. At the same time I want to be able to point out locations for my hypothetical future daughter and tell her what they used to be like in the old days. Slussen, maybe Sergels Torg, changed or gone. Perhaps the water has swallowed it all. Perhaps you’ll need to restore it constantly in order for it to look the way you remember it, as the old impression fades, as with movies or video games.
I’ll point at the sky and tell her ”There used to be airplanes with trails of smoke following them, like spider webs across the sky.”