Protests against new Nobel Center

3:45 min

Hundreds of people gathered in Stockholm on Nobel Day to protest against the planned construction of a new Nobel Center in downtown Stockholm.

The city of Stockholm and the Nobel Foundation started to discuss building a Nobel Center back in 2011. The new building is meant to house both the current Nobel Museum and future prize ceremonies, but both the design and proposed location of the building have been heavily criticized.

Proponents say the new center, designed by renowned architect David Chipperfield, would be a boon for the city as well as the Nobel Prize. Critics have said that it is too large, inappropriate for the area, and would involve the demolition of Tullhuset, a brick building erected in the 1870s that harks back to Stockholm's heritage as a port city.

Caroline Silfverstolpe, one of the speakers at the protest, tells Radio Sweden that while they feel that the design of the planned building is acceptable, the location is not.

"Stockholm is such a beautiful city, and it would be a shame if [the center] was erected at the expense of a 19th century building. Stockholm is growing and this center could be a huge tourist magnet for other areas," says Silfverstolpe.

Building plans for the center were appealed to the city's planning board last year, and since then a revised version has been submitted and approved. Unless these plans are challenged in court, the city council will likely vote to approve construction, but Silfverstolpe remains optimistic.

"I realize that the process is well advanced, and that there are many influential forces backing the project, but I really hope that the politicians will reconsider when they see this massive criticism," Silfverstolpe says.

Reacting to the protest, Susanne Lindh, Nobel Center CEO, told Radio Sweden that the planned center does in fact enjoy widespread backing. 

"We have very strong support from a majority of the political parties in the city of Stockholm, the scientific community, and people living in Stockholm," Lindh said.

“It [Tullhuset] has a sentimental value, but the building itself is not ranked as having a high cultural value," Lindh added.

Click on the link below for the full interview with Lindh.

Construction of the center could start as early as next year, and open in 2019, according to the Nobel Foundation.