Stunning memory park for moved Swedish town

What happens when an entire town is knocked down and relocated? In Kiruna, Sweden's most northerly town, a 'memory park' has been created from the rubble as a monument to residents' feelings of loss.

Stunning memory park for moved Swedish town
/he snow-covered structures mark the foundations of the demolished town. Photo:Ricard Estay/Public Art Agency Sweden

The western side of Kiruna is eerily silent. A thick layer of snow covers structures which mark the outlines of houses, schools and shops which once stood there, but were demolished earlier this year. This is the world's first 'memoryscape' park, using debris from the demolition to commemorate a town which is slowly being moved eastwards.

The move is due to safety concerns that mining beneath the town could cause cracks in buildings and pose a safety risk to residents. Any areas of the city threatened by collapse are either being knocked down or moved 3km east, so that state-controlled mining company LKAB can continue its underground expansion.

Demolition of the first of buildings began in Kiruna in April this year, kicking off the start of a huge 20-year project, which will see 3,000 apartments, schools and businesses knocked down. 

When The Local spoke to some of the town’s residents last year, feelings were mixed. Some didn’t mind losing their houses. Many were pragmatic and acknowledged that the mine was a huge source of employment. But others admitted they would miss the streets they had grown up on once they were swallowed up by the mine. 

Meanwhile Public Art Agency Sweden, the city of Kiruna and LKAB came up with a solution to the feelings of loss in the form of the park. 

Three Swedish artists, Sofia Sundberg, Karl Tuikkanen and Ingo Vetter, have worked on the project, using demolition waste to recreate the old foundations of houses and buildings. By putting crushed bricks and concrete in steel cages, they have built a kind of ghost town.

For now, residents can walk through the park but, as the project goes on, it will eventually be closed to visitors when it is in the danger zone of the mine. The structures will remain visible for decades as a monument to the residents’ memories of their lost city.

Keep reading to see photos of the park being built and what it looks like now

Workmen start on the construction of the park.

Steel cages are filled with the debris left by the demolition.

The park forms a 'buffer' between the mines and the rebuilt city.

Under the snow, the sculptures look like forgotten ruins.

The sun sets over the sculptures.

The sculptures mark out the foundations of the buildings which once stood there.

Bricks and pieces of cement fill the cages.

All photos: Ricard Estay/Public Art Agency Sweden


Man found stabbed in neck in popular Malmö park

Two men were discovered lying severely injured in a central Malmö park on Saturday morning, with one of them stabbed in the neck.

Man found stabbed in neck in popular Malmö park
The men were spotted in the shrubbery outside one of the park's popular outdoor nursery schools. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
A passer-by spotted the two bodies lying in shrubbery near one of the park's outdoor nursery schools at around 11am on Saturday. Police and emergency services rushed to the spot to find both men still alive. 
“After further investigation, one of the wounded men was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of the other man,” the police said in a statement. According to the Sydsvenskan newspaper, police are treating the man wounded in the neck as the victim, although both were injured. 
Susanne Steinlechner, 57, who lives nearby, told the local Kvällposten newspaper that she had been woken by sounds of fighting in the middle of the night. 
“I always keep my door open and I was woken by angry shouting during the night. It was aggressive and I heard it several times during the night,” she said. 
Police spokesman Calle Persson said that the police were collecting forensic evidence from the bodies and clothing of the two men and from the area where they were found. 
“We will be securing evidence at the hospital and then there will also be evidence collected at the time of arrest. Both the victim and the suspect's clothing are those they were wearing when they were found.” 
Persson said that both the suspected victim and the suspected perpetrator were currently being treated in hospital.