I didn’t know much about August Strindberg – I’d seen one of his plays, Miss Julie, performed last year – but that was about all I knew. So I can’t say I was going to visit his old apartment because I’m a big fan. The real reason was because I’m nosey and love seeing how other people live.
Over the years, August Strindberg occupied 24 homes in Stockholm. He moved into the Blue Tower shortly after it was built and stayed for four years. Even though he didn’t stay long, this is the home he’s probably most associated with as it’s the only one open to the public.
As a new-build, the apartment was full of mod-cons like a toilet and central heating. He didn’t have a kitchen, but his building did have a lift.
The original lift is still there and taking it is quite an experience. There are no automatic doors here. The passenger (is that what you call someone who takes a lift?) is responsible for sliding and locking into position the doors and gates. The dark wood panelling, pull down seat and gold mesh made me feel as though I was a character in an old film.
The rooms of his apartment are pretty much as they were in his day with most of the furniture having been his own.
As the apartment had no kitchen he either ate out or had food delivered.
My favourite room was his study. If I love noseying around people’s homes, I love even more seeing their desks. Unfortunately, this was the only part of the apartment behind glass. I still got a good look though.
Even though electricity was included amongst the mod cons in the apartment, Strinberg didn’t use electric lighting. His lamps were powered by kerosene and he was partial to candlesticks in the shape of naked female bodies.
He used the highest quality writing implements – his pen nibs were made from British steel, his ink was French and his paper hand-made.
As well as writing plays and novels, he was interested in science, astronomy, occultism, painting and photography.
The apartment adjoining his also forms part of the museum and this is set up like a ‘real’ museum with lots of artefacts and pictures and plenty of information about his life and work.
The street outside his apartment looked worth exploring too, but I had other places to be. I think this is an area well worth coming back to though.