Östermalm [østərˈmalm] is a borough in north-eastern Stockholm, bordering Norrmalm and Vasastan at Birger Jarlsgatan, one of Stockholm’s longest streets. The core of Östermalm consists of 19th century city-blocks, combined with vibrant tree-lined boulevards and upmarket shopping. The outer part of Östermalm contains several universities and colleges, as well as the harbour area with two cruise ship terminals, and Djurgården (with a separate article), a park island with many popular museums.
- I live on Sturegatan, so there is some importance in the things I say! – A telephone complaint to Swedish Television. Made in 1966, it later turned to a catchphrase to illustrate the self-image of Östermalm. Ironically, the TV studio is a short walk from Sturegatan.
Östermalm is rich with history. Since Medieval times, the lands were known as Ladugårdslandet (“the barn land”), and consisted of royal farms. With the rise of the Swedish Empire during the 17th century, the area was militarised, with army quarters, and a drill field, Gärdet [ˈjæˈɖet], clear and open until today. In the late 19th century, the bourgeois had palatial residence blocks built along the waterfront, and the name Östermalm came into use. During the 1930s, a part of the drill field gave way to a row of plain, square modernist apartment houses, which came to inspire similar projects around the world.
The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm University, and several smaller seats of learning (Royal College of Music, University of Dance and Circus, Defense Academy etc), are in Norra Djurgården.
The harbour area, consisting of Värtahamnen, Frihamnen and Loudden was built up from the late 19th century. Today the freighters are fewer, and the harbour mostly receives Baltic Sea ferries as well as international cruiseferries. The centre of the Swedish television and motion picture industry, much of it in decommissioned warehouses in the harbour, contributes to the timeless glamour of Östermalm.
Many cruise ships dock at Värtahamnen [ˈvæʈaˈhamnən] and Frihamnen (if not at Södermalm). The docks are barely within walking distance from the subway station Gärdet. Taxicabs usually line up at the terminal, and as usual in Stockholm, beware of rip-off fares, and check the yellow price tag!
- The red line of the subway has several stations in Östermalm. In the centre of Östermalm is the station Östermalmstorg [østərmalmstˈɔrj] serving the Stureplan [ˈstʉrəˈplɑːn] and Östermalmstorg area of the district.
- The tram Spårväg City [ˈsporˈvɛːg ˈsɪtʏ] runs from the Central Station (Norrmalm) along Strandvägen to Djurgården making it a very scenic way to travel with ease.