An interesting article in a recent Dagens Nyheter caught our eyes. In it Lars Linder takes a look at two of Sweden’s most famous artists ever: Author August Strindberg (1849-1912) director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). Both of them, Linder argues, seem to have turned quite cranky with old age.

This is what Bergman wrote in a note to his housekeeper: “This cheese is not edible. It’s dry and hard, tasteless. Do you try the cheese you buy?” And Strindberg was not much better. The first years the author lived in his apartment in the building he referred to as Blå tornet (the Blue Tower) on Drottninggatan 85 in Stockholm, he was really a boarder with the Falkner family, who lived in the apartment above. Strindberg put up five bullets for his servants:
“Do not carry down washed glasses etc at other times than meals,” was one of his rules. Another one was: “Do not let strange (workers) in without my knowledge, so that I do not risk being surprised by unknown people in my rooms.”


In a little booklet called “Strindberg i Blå tornet”, employers at the Strindberg museum give an insight into the author’s life and work during his last years on Drottninggatan. It is, again according to Linder, full of fun facts and lively details. It tells about what the neighborhood looked like in Strindberg’s days, how he moved in there, where he bought his furniture (which is rather dark and heavy), and how much the apartment cost. It seems Strindberg was a cranky man who wished to be left alone, those he wanted to come visit him, were taught a special kind of knock on the door, or he wouldn’t open. It also shows that Strindberg was a very modern man, he used the Blå tornet as a way of branding himself, before branding was even used as a term. Blå tornet has never been blue, as the name suggests, a common explanation as to why Strindberg referred to it that way, is that he borrowed the name from the prison Blåtårn, a tower at the royal Danish palace that existed from at least the 15th century until 1731. It was in that jail, that Leonora Christina Ulfeldt was imprisoned between 1663 and 1685 and it was here that she wrote her famous autobiography “Jammers Minde” ('Memoirs of my Wretchedness,' Christian IV's daughter, Leonora Christina's account of her 22-year imprisonment). Perhaps Strindberg was inspired by her book.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of author August Strindberg's death (1849-1912). Use our search function in the top menu to find out more about celebrations in the U.S..

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For a little view of August Strindberg’s apartment and a closer look at his photography, check out this youtube video: