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Mosebacke Torg and the Mosebacke Monarki

A walkabout in Stockholm south hills, about culture, art, humor and romance.


Mosebacke Torg (Mosebacke Square) is situated at Katarinaberget (Katarina hill) in the eastern part of Stockholm often called "Söders höjder” (South hills). A very common question when people meet is: “Är du från Söder?” (Are you from the south hills?), as this tells a lot about someone's special background in Stockholm.

The square is located in the area of Mosebacke one block from the very long main street Götgatan. Mosebacke Square got its name from Mosis Mill, located on the hill in the 1600s and owned by Johan Hök. Right next to the mill is Hökens Kvarn (The Hawk’s Mill), another windmill also owned by Hök, who named the street Hökensgata, one of the small hilly streets connecting the square with Götgatan. In the 1850s Mosebacke was a small park east of Hökensgata and was affected by a large fire in 1857 when many houses were destroyed.
With this little history lesson in mind, I’m arriving at Slussen metro station (T) at Ryssgården and start my walk east along Götgata backen (the hill of Götgatan) toward Urvädersgränd. Huffing and puffing I go up the stairs that proceed in a curve toward Mosebacke Torg. The alley was named after the bourgeois Simon Uhrwäder who owned a house in the alley in the mid-1600s.

To my left in the alley I see Bellmanhuset, the “Bellman house” named after the poet Carl Michael Bellman who lived there from 1770 to 1774. Bellman’s two-bedroom loft is period furnished to this day and attended to by the Par Bricole Society, which has been caring for Swedish culture of the 1700s since 1774. Many Swedish drinking songs were sung in this building, like the following:

Fem trappor upp i Urvädersgränd,
där har jag bott och där bor jag än.
Hur mår du? Jag mår bra, du.
Du var full igår, men inte jag, du!

Five stairs up at Urvädersgränd,
where I have lived and where I live still.
How are you? I feel good, how about you.
You were drunk yesterday, but not me, you!

I continue my walk toward Mosebacke Torg and stop at a small stone wall where I sit down to admire the fantastic Stockholm city scenery. In the soft afternoon sun, fond memories come over me from a time much earlier in my life ... I and my new love sat on the stone wall ... I saw her warm smile ... the soft afternoon sun caressing her hair.... These are memories now, but the smile and the hair is still there after more than 50 years.

In front of me I see what is called the “Mosebacke Establishment,” which is conventionally a theatre but also includes a sports bar and an outdoor beer garden. From its elevation I can relax and enjoy the breathtaking sights of Stockholm. I’m also considering having lunch at the restaurant Erik’s at Gondolen, which overlooks Ryssgården, but I back out as I’m sort of squishy of high heights. I stop at the beer garden and have a glass of beer, while I am reminiscing about all the fun things associated with Mosebacke Torg, especially the hilarious Swedish Radio and later television program “Mosebacke Monarki.” It was a project inspired by the British film Passport to Pimlico, proclaiming the independent republic state of Mosebacke Torg as its capital with Mr. Sune as the king. The citizens are called "mosebasker,” playing on the word "monegasker” for the citizens of Monaco. When TV started broadcasting the series, the transmission was named Mosevision. The cacophony of a national hymn was based on three songs in parallel: Fäderneslandet, Hej så lyckliga vi äro and Hell dig, all presented in awe to the King Sune of Mosebacke Monarchy.
I can’t stop laughing when I think back to this totally hilarious entertainment, the brainchild of immensely popular duo Hasse Alfredsson and Tage Danielsson.

I continue my walk across the Mosebacke Torg and make a short detour to Östgötagatan 9 to visit the N.P. Ringström famous glass shop.
N.P. Ringström Glass was founded in 1886, in the corner property of Svartensgatan at Östgötagatan in the Häcklefjäll quarter, which is a name from the mid-1600s referring to the warm place of the Bible and supposedly somehow related to the Icelandic volcano Hekla—indeed a warm place. The name is known all the way back to the time when eight witches (“trollpackor”) were believed to have been executed at this place, in the 1670s.

N.P. Ringström is operating in the same place to this day. It has become known for glass painting, stained glass and blastings as well as the manufacturing and repairing of lead settings for windows — such as those in Visby and Skara cathedrals and Katarina Church after the fire in 1900. With everything I saw and learned I feel this was a worthwhile visit I recommend anyone to make.

On my return track from Mosebacke Torg, I’m choosing Hökensgata toward Götgatan and Slussen. Here I see a mix of wonderful Jugend style buildings from the early 1900s, but I am also able to keep a historic view in my mind of how it would have looked in the 1600s.
As I’m getting closer to Slussen (The Lock) and its many traffic junctions at the end of Götgatan, where it reaches the cross street Hornsgatan, I have to share something I recently learned. At Hornsgatan No. 1, there was a famous café called Feith Konsert Konditori. It was bought by my maternal grandmother in 1929, after returning from her touring with the “Four Diving Norins” (high divers of the world) in the U.S. and England. She decided to open a restaurant called the Göta Horn (Götagatan + Hornsgatan = Göta Horn). These days there’s the Göta Lejon Theater also on Götgatan near Medborgarplatsen further south and Göta Källare nightclub but alas, no longer a Göta Horn. She must have been a very enterprising lady, I must admit.
Reaching Slussen, I take the underground (T for Tunnelbanan) to downtown for an early dinner.

Bellman’s house at Urväders gränd
Bellman 1740-1795
Mosebacke Torg (Square) and Mosebacke Establishment
Katarinahissen (The Katarina Elevator) and Gondolen (ca 125’ up in the air overlooking Ryssgården (The Russian Yard)
Mosebacke Monarchy with King Sune and the parliament
N P RIngström
Hökens gata seen from Mosebacke torg
Historic picture of Hökens gata towards Götgatan
Feith Concert Konditori Hornsgatan 1, ca 1929


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