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Dreams in Malmö of a 'Swedish Ellis Island'

Published söndag 25 januari 2015 kl 15.42
Malmö University is located in one of the relative new builds in the western parts of Malmö Harbour. Photo: Malmö högskola
Malmö University is located in one of the relative new builds in the western parts of Malmö Harbour. Photo: Malmö högskola

A real estate company and a local politician in Malmö are both dreaming about housing an immigration museum - a kind of Ellis Island in Malmö, the newspaper Sydsvenskan reports.

The real estate company Diligentia is currently planning five new housing and office blocks in Malmö's harbour. In one of them, the company hopes to house Sweden's first immigration museum. The company has sent a proposal to the town planners, outlining a Swedish version of Ellis Island outside New York, where most of the immigrant arrived to America a century ago.

Why does a real estate company want to build an immigration museum? asked Sydsvenskan's reporter.

"Because it is extremely 'right' to do so in Malmö in particular with its multi-culture, what a fantastic strength," said Anders Ivarsson, head of area marketing at Diligentia.

He said the location is right, the history is right, and culture was always something they planned for in the new, mixed, part of town that is not under construction.

In central Malmö, on the seventh floor in the city hall, Sydsvenskan met Green Party politician Nils Karlsson who has similar views.

"I could imagine a national research centre on migration, but also a democracy museum. To focus on the history of the new Swedes, the part of Malmö's history that has not been told," he said.

That his idea is echoed by a real estate company is something of a coincidence, said Karlsson, who claims he had no idea about Diligentia's plans.

"But two similar proposals at the same time should be a sign that the timing is right," he said.

Karlsson also wants to place the museum in the harbour, as there is a connection to the journeys people make to come here. But if it should be in the part of the harbour where Diligentia is building is too early to say, he notes. There are many people who would have a stake in such a museum, and Nils Karlsson hopes to make it a national museum.

Diligentia's Anders Ivarsson is hoping for a working group with the city of Malmö already this spring. He says according to their plans, the building could open for visitors sometime 2017-18. But of course, they are hoping for a long-term tenant in their space, like for example the city of Malmö, or Skåne Region.

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