Why Gothenburg is the place to be for art and history buffs

Gothenburg is the largest city on Sweden’s west coast and is also one of the largest ports in Scandinavia. While it is best known across the world for producing Volvos, Gothenburg has managed to reinvent itself over the past couple of decades as a modern travel destination, due to its many offerings.
Today, Gothenburg is home to great museums, unique art and design studios that boast of the renowned minimal Scandinavian aesthetic, trendy interior design shops and hip cafes across the city. These art and design influences, however, aren’t simply restricted to museums and design shops, but can be noticed in various elements of the city itself. Be it the architecture, its houses, or the repurposed old historic buildings, every little element is reflective of the gorgeous Scandinavian design aesthetic that is widely talked about world over. 

Gothenburg’s former neighbourhoods are dotted with uniquely designed buildings, serving equally unique purposes. Old industrial buildings have been remodeled to serve as art galleries, the local dining scene includes Michelin-starred restaurants, food trucks serving gourmet meals, and trendy coffee shops are a regular feature through the many cobbled streets of the city. The best part of it all – the many cultural sights, tourist attractions and museums of Gothenburg are all within walking distance of each other and are complemented by the presence of gourmet eateries and lovely cafés around them!

1. Museums aplenty!

Like every other city in Sweden, Gothenburg is full of unique museums. These include a mix of eclectic art museums, ones that focus on the region’s industrial past, its proximity to the sea, and more. 
The most popular museum in Gothenburg is the Gothenburg Museum of Art. This museum features six floors of art ranging from the 15th century to the present. It is home to the world’s foremost collection of Nordic paintings, from the early 1900s, and features world-renowned artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt, and Louise Nevelson.

Another famous museum in Gothenburg is the Röhsska Museum – Sweden’s leading museum for design and applied arts. This museum was opened in 1916 and has continued to challenge common ideas about design and society through its many striking exhibits. The exhibits here include Asian ceramics, dating back to 2500 B.C.; extravagant fashion designed by Alexander McQueen, as well as other exhibits that showcase the museum’s design history till present day.

One museum unique to Gothenburg is the floating museum – Maritiman. With a fleet of 15 warships, this floating museum gives its visitors a glimpse into Gothenburg‘s maritime history.

Other museums include the Natural History Museum; Museum of World Culture; the Volvo Museum and the Universeum – The Nordic region’s largest science museum that brings the universe to you – through animals, nature, technology, and loads of experiments.

2. Art and design in Gothenburg

Gothenburg is also known for its all-enveloping art and design scene. Whether you are interested in viewing traditional paintings, avant-garde installations or just enjoy going to new art exhibit openings, there are plenty of exciting galleries to discover in Gothenburg.

For contemporary Scandinavian art, you must visit the Röda Sten Art Centre. Here, you can find everything from Swedish photography exhibitions to live music nights. Fun Fact – This art gallery was previously a defunct power station that has now transformed into an alternative arena for contemporary art in all forms. There is also a popular restaurant there – Restaurant Röda Sten that is famous for their Meat-free Sunday brunch, as they offer some great vegetarian and vegan meal options. Another reason you must visit this art gallery is for its amazing location beside the Älvsborg suspension bridge. So, be sure to make some time to enjoy an authentic Swedish meal with a great view.

For smaller art galleries, head to Vasastan. In Vasastan, there are galleries everywhere you look and, during weekends, an opening party is hosted at almost every other gallery in the locality. Galleri Thomassen and Galleri Backlund are two of the most prominent galleries in this area.

Other than that, Gothenburg is packed with local handicraft, iconic furniture, inspiring art and timeless and contemporary fashion. If you wish to take back a souvenir to put up in your home, Artilleriet on Magasinsgatan street has a great selection of furniture and some beautiful objects. You can also visit interior décor shops like Bebop Antik, Balders Hage, and Sintra for contemporary décor pieces. 

3. Interesting architecture

Start with the Haga District in Gothenburg, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. Haga is dotted with gorgeous, old-school houses called “landshövdingehus”. These well-preserved houses serve as the best touchpoint for a peek into the evolution of architecture and design in Gothenburg. The types of houses feature a typical kind of construction, where one floor is made in brick and the rest in wood. Today, they house plenty of independent shops and hip cafés that are excellent for fika. Fun Fact – Haga is also home to the famous Café Husaren which serves one of the most famous pastries in town – Hagabullen – a plate-sized cinnamon bun, which, if you miss, means your trip will be incomplete.

Other architectural marvels include Kuggen (Lindholmplatsen), located in Lindholmen Science Park. Not only is this building an architectural marvel because of the colosseum-esque built, but it also serves as a benchmark of successful green engineering. Another building that makes its presence known in the Gothenburg skyline is the Göteborgs-Utkiken skyscraper (aka The Lipstick) which also offers a breathtaking view of the entire city of Gothenburg.

You can end the day with a relaxing massage at the iconic Haga Bathhouse, which was established in 1876. Imagine enjoying a spa treatment, or a massage, coupled with some delicious food in one of Gothenburg’s most gorgeous historic monuments. Imagine an architectural marvel combined with a relaxing spa – what more can one ask for, really! 

4. Shop your hearts out in Gothenburg

Scandinavian design is world-famous for its clean lines and sleek, contemporary look. Naturally, Swedish products often fit this mold, be it furniture, house wares, handbags, or clothing. After all, Sweden is the land of IKEA and H&M! In Gothenburg, not only will you find flagship stores of renowned brands like H&M, Whyred, Nudie Jeans, and Acne, but plenty of exciting and inspiring interior design from local and famous Swedish designers also.

Gothenburg’s thriving fashion scene has drawn a lot of inspiration from the city’s culture and atmosphere. In fact, the great part about fashion in Gothenburg is the focus on sustainability. Yes, it’s true! Gothenburg’s focus on a sustainable living extends beyond green architecture and green hotels to sustainable and responsibly created clothes and other décor items.

For authentic, organic denims, you must visit Nudie Jeans. Nudie Jeans are known world over for their uncompromised focus on creating sustainable fashion. For more denim-based clothing items, you can also visit Göteborg Manufaktur. Göteborg Manufaktur offers several well-known brands along with their in-house brand. Their brand is produced in Sweden, as locally as possible. They focus on high quality denim clothing and pay as much attention to fitting as they do to production. To further the focus on sustainability, the store will also repair your favourite jeans and offer free repairs on all store-bought jeans, as well as hemming. Now, doesn’t that seem like a great deal? That too from a fashion apparel store, nonetheless!

If you’re looking for something more exclusive, head to shops like Beyond Retro, Broadway & Sons, and Emmaus Björkå Linnégatan. These stores offer handpicked collections of vintage clothing, as well as secondhand and retro-inspired fashion for ladies, gents and children. Fun Fact – Björkåfrihet secondhand contributes to a sustainable development and your purchase supports the charity projects in, for example, Palestine and West Sahara. You can also donate clothes and secondhand items in the store.

There you have it! The many reasons to visit Gothenburg in Sweden. A thriving arts and design scene, countless museums with a wide range of exhibits which teach you so much about the past, present and indicative future of design. Not just that, the city itself stands testament to the way art and design influence our lives. Right from the uniquely constructed houses, to the green hotels and buildings, and fashion brands, all come together to work towards a sustainable and bright future!

5. How to get there?

Now, that you have all the must-see places laid out, all you need to do is book your tickets to get there! Now, the next question on your mind must be – “How do I get there?” That’s simple! Qatar Airways recently launched a direct flight from Doha to Gothenburg, which flies 5 times a week. So, all you must do to embark upon this art and design escapade is, take a flight from India to Doha and then take the direct flight from there to Gothenburg! It’s an experience you will remember for life! So, without further ado, book those tickets right away!

6. Here’s what else you can expect in Gothenburg

Gothenburg – Sweden's most welcoming city!

Gothenburg in Sweden is not only home to some of the most friendly people, but is also home to scenic waterfronts, the freshest seafood, urban nature and a thriving arts and music scene. Visit Gothenburg and venture beyond the usual holiday! #GothenburgAwaitsTo know more about Gothenburg, visit – http://bit.ly/2lYdcKjTo explore flight options and book your tickets, visit – http://bit.ly/2lX7xEg

Posted by VisitSweden on Thursday, 26 September 2019

Rekha Jain

I have been travelling across India for a long time and I am using this blog to share my experiences with you so that you can see the tremendous beauty which India has to offer.
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