A few weeks ago I ended up in Hammerby Sjöstad, a relatively new housing area located at the south-east of Södermalm in Stockholm. For a moment I had a déjà vu like feeling: the area reminded me of the new parts of Amsterdam. The modern architecture, the water, the tram that passes through the middle of the street, it all gave me the feeling of being back in Holland.
Now, of course, these places are not identical twins, but it is not hard to imagine that the two pictures above have been taken in the same neighborhood. Globalization has blurred the identity of places, which are making space for hybrid forms of local and global trends. In other words, glocalization.
However, thinking about Gamla Stan, the old town in Stockholm, I changed my mind. This isn’t just a trend from today. Cultures have influenced each other throughout history and the signs can still be found in the older parts of Stockholm, Amsterdam and other western European cities.
Houses, like the ones on the two pictures below, can be found in several parts of western Europe and variations on these have been built ever since the 15th century. They are a nice example of international cultural influence in pre-modern times.
Why do I tell you this? Whenever I ever feel home sick in Stockholm, I can just wonder through these streets, with narrowed eyes, and pretend I’m back home.
(pictures source: google streetview)