Having explored the city centre, don’t miss the opportunity to wander into the Vasastan district, where the streets are lined with fine nineteenth-century and National Romantic architecture, and the cafés are cheaper, more laidback and much more charismatic than those in the centre. The area also boasts Gothenburg’s collection of applied arts, the Röhsska Museum, and several fine university buildings.
More about Sweden
Find out more
Along Vasagatan, the main street through the district, and parallel Engelbrektsgatan to the south, you’ll come across solid, stately and rangy buildings that epitomize Gothenburg’s nineteenth-century commercial wealth and civic pride. White-stuccoed or red-and-cream brick facades are decorated with elaborate ceramic tiles, intricate stone-and-brick animal carvings, shiny metal cupolas and classical windows. With the detail spread gracefully across these six-storey terraces, the overall effect is of restrained grandeur. Many of the houses also have Continental-style wrought-iron balconies; it’s easy to imagine high-society gatherings spilling out into the night on warm summer evenings. In contrast, interspersed among all this nineteenth-century swagger are some perfect examples of early twentieth-century National Romantic architecture, with rough-hewn stone and Art Nouveau swirls in plaster and brickwork; look particularly at the low-numbered buildings along Engelbrektsgatan.
The excellent Röhsska Museum is Sweden’s main museum of design, fashion and applied arts and an aesthetic Aladdin’s cave, with each floor concentrating on different areas of decorative and functional art, from early-dynasty Chinese ceramics to European arts and crafts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most arresting is the first floor, which is devoted to twentieth-century decor and features all manner of recognizable designs for domestic furniture and appliances from the 1910s to the twenty-first century – enough to send anyone over the age of 10 on a giddy nostalgia trip.