10 August 2011

Marvelous Malmo

I had been to Malmo a few times over the years but only ever briefly. The first time was around 1997 when I was working in Denmark regularly for IBM and I popped across the water for a meeting and the other times were just to change trains. So I knew about the town square but beyond that was about it.

This time I stayed for two night as I travelled slowly back to England by train from my holiday in Norway. This gave me quite a bit of time to explore the central area despite encountering the only serious rain that I had all holiday.

The hotel was close to the town square, deliberately, and that's where the exploration began.

Actually there were several explorations as I went out on the evening I arrived, the next morning, that afternoon and that evening, and I passed through the square at least once each time.

It's lucky that it is so pretty then.

It's spacious, surrounded by delightful buildings, has the prerequisite grand statue of somebody important and (not in this picture) one of the most unusual water features I've seen.

And, as if that were not enough, short pillars of flowers are clustered around the square and behind the ones on the far left you can see a full sized Mini pretending to be a Matchbox model.

Leading the way South out of the square along one of the main pedestrianised streets is this joyous band of musicians.

There are so many statues and water features in Malmo that it was tempting to include several but I managed to restrain myself to just one and chose this for its sheer exuberance.

Some other statues were more traditional but there was also the large pebble, half buried deer, a de-constructed violin and a large serpent peering out of a cave.

There were plenty of other water features too, which seemed a little unnecessary in a city surrounded by water and with a river flowing through it, but they, with the squares and statues, helped to make Malmo a welcoming and friendly place.

Turning West from the old town takes you to the older town.

Here narrow cobbled streets are packed with cottages of different sizes and colours. Tradition dictates that large flowers are grown next to the houses and are left to do as they will even when that means blocking windows.


Continuing West takes you in to a large park. This is a mixed place with some parts looking like wild countryside with lakes and trees and others arranged more formally with planted flowers and, of course, statues.

On the North side of the park is Malmohus. Once this was a proud castle (though a fortified house is probably a better description) and now it has been relegated, like so many of its peers, to a museum.

Beside it is one of the formal gardens. This is arranged in sections, each one different. The effect is much like Chelsea Flower Show.

Emphasising that effect is this modern plot. The grey of the path and of the slate next to it are offset nicely by the bold red of the seat.

Elsewhere in the garden there is more water, avenues of trees and a windmill. This is a wonderful place to wander aimlessly (I refuse to admit that I was lost!), even in the rain.

Crossing more water to the North changes everything.

This is the West Dock that is a confusing mix of large industrial buildings, modern homes and offices, and a prodigious army of cranes that is slowly turning one in to the other.

The water has been tamed in to shallow channels with artificial waterfalls. What was once the commercial blood of the city is now just part of its decoration.

Derelict docks have been reclaimed with concrete and grass. People live and work in one while looking out at the other.

It's also rather hard to miss the centre piece of the redevelopment, the Turning Torso.

I like this. I like it a lot.

It was the beacon that guided me from the park, where it is clearly visible, through the desolation and construction to find out where it lived and why.


It is the asymmetry that appeals to me the most. The turning is nice but only because that turning exposes different faces of the building. Modern steel and glass construction is always a hit with me too and the Turning Torso has plenty of that.

When I planned my holiday Malmo was little more than a convenient resting place on the way home. When put to the test, Malmo showed itself well capable of entertaining me for a wet day and a half with its eclectic mix of the new, old and very old. It most definitely became part of the holiday rather than the journey.

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