(Exhibition text in English, referring to a QR code in the exhibition)


During the First World War, more people move to the cities. There is a huge housing shortage. Low-rise wooden buildings in the city centres are demolished to make way for large blocks of flats. Small, but modern flats with central heating and hot water are built in the new style – functionalism. Functionalism gets its big breakthrough in Sweden at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930.

Despite the large-scale migration, four of Sweden’s six million inhabitants are still living in rural areas in 1920. Ten years later, twice as many live in cities compared to the countryside. In rural areas and the cities’ outskirts, housing standards are low, with overcrowding, only cold or no running water at all, and outdoor toilets.


The time period that would eventually be called the “interwar period”, is in fact a “post-war period” in the 1920s. Hopes for the future are high. The League of Nations is founded with the ambition to ensure that there will never be another war.

Swedish democracy takes a step forward in 1921, when women are allowed to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time. Sweden is the last country in the Nordic region to give women the right to vote. But the political arena is unstable. Sweden goes through as many as nine different governments during the 1920s.

The world is facing major political changes. Polarisation increases as the labour movement gets organised and gains influence. In the early years of the 1920s, agriculture and industries go through a serious economic crisis. Major labour strikes are common.


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