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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



Flag of Sweden


    Sweden is a modern country of about 9 million people with 24 provinces. Located north of Germany and Denmark and west of the Baltic states and Russia, part of the country lies north of the Arctic circle.

Map of Sweden

    Sweden is a neutral country that has enjoyed peace for all of the 20th century which has allowed the Swedes to achieve an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. One of the things you notice on the streets of Stockholm is the large number of people with cell phones. Even children can be seen with phones in hand or on their belts and everyone seems to be talking on them at once!

Prow of Viking Ship     Naturally one thinks of the Viking heritage of Sweden. There is a distinction between "Swedish" and "Danish/Norwegian" Vikings. The Danish and Norwegian Viking expeditions went westwards, concentrating on Western Europe and England. The Swedish, on the other hand, went mostly eastwards into modern-day Russia and further on to Byzantium.
    Runestones and archaeological artifacts found in eastern Sweden and on the island of Gotland show that the trade exchange between eastern Sweden and the Near East was very intense at this time in history. These expeditions often started from trade centres like "Birka", situated on an island in Lake Mälaren, not far from modern-day Stockholm.
The Vikings also settled in the Russian town of Novgorod, which they called "Holmgård". As time went by their influence on the economic and political life grew. According to a chronicle written in the 12th century AD, the Swedish Vikings were the founders of Russia. Although this is not very likely, the influence of the Vikings is still visible there.

Stockholm City Logo

The City of Stockholm

    Stockholm bills itself as "Beauty on water" and one is never far way from open water in the city. Large ships from all over Europe can be seen docked alongside the Skeppsbron and the Stadgrdsleden just steps away from the downtown core. The water is so clean in the city that it is safe for swimming and many Swedes can be seen fishing from bridges and the embankments along the waterways.

    Stockholm, a city built on a number of islands, was founded because of these waterways. Before the invention of locks and canals, goods such as tin and fur destined for the extensive Baltic trade had to be transhipped at Stockholm. Since Stockholm was located in such a strategic spot, and trade was an important factor, it became vital to fortify the islands of the inner city with a wall.
    The old Stockholm was located on Helgeandsholmen and grew up during the 13th century. It was not long before the city moved in between the bridges. Today we know this part of the city as the Old Town or Gamla Stan.
    The name Stockholm is first recorded in the chronicle of Eric (Eriks krönikan), probably written between 1322 and 1332. According to this chronicle, Stockholm was founded by Birger Jarl in 1252. It was named Stockholm, referring to the town between the bridges.
The city of Stockholm is a mix of modern architecture and amenities as well as the older and historical past. No matter where one goes there seems to be a photo opportunity around every corner. The Swedes have a tradition of public art and there are many statues, fountains, murals and squares that reflect this tradition.
Old streetlight in Stockholm


Quick Links to Report Pages

Stockholm Water Festival Report - Introduction
Sweden and Stockholm - Background and general information
The Site - Orientation to the show area and the challenges it presented
The Crew - The people who put it all together
Tech Specs - The equipment used in the presentation
The Music - An interview with the composer and MP3 file of the soundtrack
Smoke on the water - Covering a lake with smoke for beam effects
The Show - A description with many pictures
Animated Gifs - Gifs showing Palace projections and climatic beam effects
Stadshuset - Stockholm City Hall tour (very large page)
Show Diary - Day-to-day coverage of the trials and triumphs


DISCLAIMER: Some of the information in the Backstage area is provided by the persons or companies named on the relevant page(s). Laser F/X does NOT endorse or recommend any products/services and is NOT responsible for the technical accuracy of the information provided.  We provide this information as a service to laserists using the Backstage area. 

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