There is a circular park that most people pass without noticing hiding behind a portal on Fleminggatan on Kungsholmen in Stockholm. Welcome to Grubbensringen – a quiet neighbourhood with a church and two towers facing the promenade along the canal below.
Series: Hidden Streets in Stockholm. Area: Kungsholmen.
Bus 1 to Stora Essingen
Bus 65 to Fredhäll
Bus stop: Scheelegatan
Walk 20 min f/ Sergels Torg
Kungsholms strand promenade
Restaurants on Fleminggatan
History of the St. Erik area
The area of St. Erik once held both a brickyard, a mill and a hospital. It was owned by the Grubb family, hence the name Grubben. In the mid 19th century, an institution for the poor and unemployed was founded here in the rural outskirts of Kungsholmen. The mansion-like architecture was believed to invigorate the people and inspire them to a better life. The institution housed residents of both mental and physical illnesses. A separate asylum for the mentally ill as well as one for children waiting to be placed in foster care was built later on. At the turn of the century, the institute and the two asylums held over 2 000 people. In the 1920s the area was converted into a conventional hospital, St. Erik’s Hospital.
When the hospital was finally closed in 1986, the area was procured by the municipality of Stockholm to build residential housing. Between 1995-1998, 770 apartments and townhouses were built here, making it one of the largest housing projects in Stockholm around that time.
The portal entrance is located at Fleminggatan 24. Entering a circular park, Grubbensparken, you immediately notice the two horseshoe-shaped buildings surrounding the park. These are the two residential houses called Grubbensringen.
In the circular park, Grubbensparken, you find a small church building, the chapel of St. Erik. This was previously a funeral chapel for St. Erik’s Hospital. When the residential area was built, the chapel had to be moved 120 meters to the left to its present location. There are a few sculptures spread out in Grubbensparken. In the picture below you can see Duvan (The Pigeon), by Hertha Hillfon.
An area in transformation
Several older houses from the institution, the asylums and the hospital were kept and renovated into housing. Other houses were demolished to make place for new buildings. The lower buildings just outside of the circular buildings of Grubbensringen are old buildings carefully renovated and transformed into beautiful terracotta townhouses or blocks of flats.
One of the more remarkable buildings in the area is the old stable that has been turned into housing. The low building with grey stones is reminiscent of a farmhouse in the English countryside. What a dream house!
Art at Grubbensringen
Grubbens Trädgård, The Garden of Grubben, holds a set of bronze sculptures called Skådespel (Play) by Sivert Lindblom. From up here, you get a fantastic view over the promenade along the canal of Karlberg (Barnhusviken) and Kungsholms strand below.
Towers of St. Erik
The crown jewels of the area are the two towers of St. Erik. A large semi-circular staircase leads down between the towers from the adjacent Grubbens Trädgård to a mirror pond facing the promenade of Kungsholms strand.
The St. Erik area and Grubbensringen is only a short walk from Stockholm city centre. It is the perfect choice if you want a break from the city pulse and the shopping. Just stroll along Fleminggatan or the promenade and make a detour through the portal or up the stairs and breathe in the calming atmosphere of Grubbensringen. Hot tip: bring a picnic lunch, sit down on the stairs in Grubbens Trädgård among the bronze sculptures and have a meal with a view!
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