Björn Wetterling runs one of Stockholm’s leading art galleries. These are his artful recommendations for anybody visiting the city.
When Björn Wetterling was just three-years-old, he declared to his parents at home in the small village where they lived in Halland that “I’m not going to live in this flippin’ farmstead forever, I’m going to be a millionaire.” No doubt that here was a boy with a vision. But nobody really expected that his vision would one day lead him to become arguably the foremost gallery owner in Stockholm.
He started his career in a banking company, worked as a stock-broker, was a disc-jockey by night, and at the age of 29 he joined the prestigious Business and Economics programme at Handelshögskolan, from which he graduated after just one and half years and received a letter from his teacher saying that he was “professor material”. But instead, Björn Wetterling bought a painting that he couldn’t really afford and he soon owned a gallery. It was admittedly in a backstreet of Gothenburg where people mainly headed to use the toilet, but anyway.
In 1984 Björn Wetterling moved to Stockholm and opened Wetterling Gallery. More than 30 years later he still occasionally stops outside his own gallery and is amazed that it is actually his own name on the door.
After living in Singapore for five years and travelling all over the world with work, what Björn loves most about his home city is its openness, tolerance and “ordinariness”.
Operabaren (Opera bar)
“When I first moved to Stockholm 35 years ago, I already started hanging out at Café Opera. And I’ve been a frequent guest at Operabaren during my entire career. I’ve brought visiting artists, organised parties and often come here myself. I really like it here quite simply, with the people who work here and for its fantastically beautiful ceiling.”
I did my military service on-board the Marieholm ship, which was moored in Skeppsholmen. I often had to pass the Grand Hotel on my way to and from the city, and often thought that I would never stay at such a fine hotel. But it only took two years until I was able to stay there, and there’s something very special about walking into an old-fashioned top-end hotel that’s difficult to put your finger on.
“If you have never visited Stockholm before, and if you come here during the summertime, you really must get out to see the beautiful archipelago somehow. My best tip is to take the steam boat that goes out to Gripsholms castle.”
An art tour
“So much good stuff has happened on the Stockholm art scene during the last twenty years. Bonnier’s Art gallery at St Eriksplan is well worth a visit, as is Sven-Harry’s, a couple of blocks from there. And of course, there’s the Fotografiska (museum of photography) on Södermalm, to name but a few. Then I think that it’s absolutely worth taking a little excursion to Magasin 3 at Frihamnen port and to Artipelag in the archipelago. And one should never miss a visit to Moderna Museet.
“The walk from where I live at Slussen, via Skeppsbron, to the gallery at Kungsträdgården, which I do every day, is a fantastic walk. Sunrise over Saltsjön is an unbeatable view. Of course, Stockholm is famous for the water being such an important part of the city, and right here, more than anywhere else, you really feel the immediate closeness of the sea.”