Cosmopolitan Malmo will be in the spotlight this year as the host of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 on 18 May 2013. The third largest city in Sweden has industrial roots and is actually connected to Copenhagen in Denmark by the Øresund Bridge. Malmo has a wealth of cultural attractions from theatres, museums, 14th century architecture and even its own version of Oktoberfest!
Admire the mighty Øresund Bridge
The longest road and rail bridge in Europe, the Øresund Bridge, actually connects Malmo in Sweden to Copenhagen in Denmark, via an 8km (5 mile) bridge. Whilst Malmo has a vibrant cultural and nightlife scene, it’s worth remembering that Copenhagen is just a short hop away, for a change of scene.
Explore the Malmo Modern Museum
The newly reopened ‘Moderna Museet Malmö’, aka Modern Museum, has an impressive array of modern works of art. Situated in the old Rooseum building, the museum has just undergone extensive refurbishment. On display are works from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Henri Matisse amongst others. There are several other notable museums in Malmo, including the Malmöhus Castle in the old city, which was built in 1437 and today houses both a history and art museum as well as an aquarium.
Shop, eat and drink at the Square
There are actually three bustling squares at Malmo’s center; Gustav Adolf’s Square, Big Square and Little Square. This is the place to come to people watch and to grab a coffee or a bite to eat. There are also several notable buildings here, such as the monument to honour the former king of Sweden, King Karl X Gustav, who returned Malmo to the Swedish. The Malmö City Hall was constructed in 1546 and is also in Big Square.
Discover the local architecture
Malmo’s architecture dates back to the 14th century with St Peters Church hailed as the oldest building in the city. Crafted in Baltic brick Gothic style, St Peters Church has been rebuilt several times. Many of the early buildings in Malmo show the Danish influence, as the city was actually Danish until the 17th century.
Malmo is notable for its Jugendstil architecture, which translates as ‘youth style’ and is more commonly known as art nouveau architecture. The Malmo Synagogue (pictured left) is a fine example of Swedish Jugendstil architecture.
Catch a Swedish event or festival
As well as hosting the Eurovision Song Contest twice (1992 and 2013), Malmo also has a wealth of lively festivals throughout the year. Catch the annual Malmöfestivalen street fair which is held each third week of August. Each autumn Malmo hosts its very own version of Oktoberfest, which includes fashions shows as well as consumption of beer!
Chill out at one of the city’s parks
As well as a plethora of historical buildings, Malmo also has many green and open spaces. In fact, the city was named the fourth greenest city in 2007. Kungsparken, aka Kings Park is central, with the castle in the backdrop and offers a peaceful retreat for a picnic or stroll. Within the King’s Park sits Slottsträdgården, the Castle Garden, which has an organic community garden as well as a further eight individually themed gardens.
Soak up the theatre and music in Malmo
In addition to Sweden and Malmo hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time in 2013 (first time around was in 1992), Malmo has strong roots in local theatre and music. For instance, the much-loved Malmö Stadsteater, aka Malmö Municipal Theatre, opened in 1944 and regularly hosted opera, ballet and musicals. Ingmar Bergman was director of the theatre and brought such names as Max von Sydow and Ingrid Thulin to the mainstream. Today the theatre has three separate names to reflect the different disciplines; drama is held at the Dramatiska Teater, music is held at the Musikteater and dance is renamed the Skånes Dansteater.
Malmo has also attracted some heavyweight rock and pop stars over the years such as The Rolling Stones who played here in the 1960s. Morrissey and BB King appeared regularly and The Cardigans actually formed in Malmo.