A commonly heard complaint among visitors to Stockholm is that Swedes aren’t the free-wheeling sexpots they’re often portrayed to be. And it’s true, their formal, polite demeanor can be a hard nut to crack. Wait, I take that back: without alcohol, their formal, polite demeanor can be a hard nut to crack. In normal, daily life it’s rare to encounter any sexual spark in the population, as public interaction between strangers tends to err on the side of firmly uninterested. Then again, it could be a question of being attuned to it: my boyfriend Jan will occasionally nudge me as we’re walking around town, and insist that some guy we just passed was checking me out.
But recently I’ve been developing a new theory: the entire population of this city has managed to sublimate its massive, roiling libido into... *drumroll please*
Yup, it’s true: once you notice it, the city reveals itself to be a veritable orgy in verdigris. As proof, I’m pleased to present The Seven Sexiest Statues in Stockholm:
Number 7: Hottie Bound
Officially, this sculpture by John Börjesson is called ‘Fången Viking’ (‘Captured Viking’).
Bondage, indeed! This brawny fellow with the petulant slouch and glam-rock hair is located in Djurgården, just across the street from Liljevalchs Konsthall.
Number 6: Not a Business Meeting
When I first moved to Sweden, I would quickly stalk past this sculpture, dismissing it as annoying and hideous. But then at some point it dawned on me that these hulking bronze forms are actually representational—of a nude dude and naked lady, no less. Titled 'Möte' ('Meeting'), by Willy Gordon, this sculpture is probably better known among teenagers around Östermalmstorget as something along the lines of 'The Orange Penis Sculpture'. I doubt it’s original to the art piece, but at some point someone decided to decorate the man’s prominent member with a dollop of color. Understandably, the lady rears back in horror. (Or is it because he appears to be hurling a big bronze pillow at her?).
Then again, perhaps she’s, um, preparing herself for a very intimate meeting of, uh, souls. Hard to say.
Number 5: August Moon
This incredible hunk sure puts the sculpted in body sculpting. Who is this He-Man body-builder, this temple to rippling, bronze physical fitness? Is it Thor? Zeus? Superman? No, it’s this guy:
The hilarious 'August Strindberg', by Carl Eldh, is located in Tegnérlunden.
Number 4: Playing Hard to Get
Okay, this one maybe isn’t sexy, per se, unless you have a thing for domination. But at the entrance to the Palace at Slottsbacken, it seems odd that 'coercion of unwilling, barebreasted women' seems to be the statuary theme, a Royal Wall of Rape. (Except maybe in the case of that first lady. She looks like she’s just seen a friend.)
Were the palace decorators really so self-aware about Swedish imperial ambitions?
Number 3: Wet Dream
I’m not sure if he should be disqualified for being in Lidingö (oh, close enough!), but this huge, hubba-hubba fella showering himself in all his naked glory gets a free pass from me.
'Poseidon', by Carl Milles, is located in the sculptor’s amazing statuary park at Millesgården.
Number 2: Exhibitionist on Exhibit
“Hello, world! Love me!”
Another Carl Milles creation, this boisterous, gorgeous man is right where he belongs: smack in the very center of the city, high up on a pedestal. While it looks like he’s being closeted for modesty’s sake, this guy is only being shielded temporarily from renovations of the Medeltidsmuseet ('Medieval Museum'). Under normal conditions, he’s more visible from behind—a city view that was widely used to promote the EuroPride Festival last year.
'Solsångaren' ('The Sun Singer) can currently be admired from the bridge connecting Kungsträdgården with Gamla Stan (but bring a zoom lens!).
Number 1: Somebody Get This Lady a Cigarette
Far and away the Sexiest Statue in Stockholm, this lady tops them all. (She’s topping at something, at least!)
Oblivious to passersby—who avert their eyes—on the path below Waldemarsudde, she gives new meaning to the concept of 'rapture'. And from the way Jan talks about her, she seems to be the guilty pleasure of every 13-year-old boy in Stockholm. Cast by Per Hasselberg in 1896, 'Näckrosen' ('Water Lily') is one lily that has definitely been de-flowered.
See? With statues like these around, who needs flirting?