The culture and attitude of Malmö is unique as far as Swedish cities go, and this is something other Swedes generally are quick to point out whenever they meet a Malmöite. From “continental” and “multicultural”, to “cocky” and “boisterous”—the people of Malmö have been called many things over the years, most of the time—but not always— in a tounge-in-cheek kind of way because, well… Malmöites can usually take it, and are usually at least some of those things.
To get a better sense of how people usually view Malmö culture, we can take a look at what European media generally write when they cover the city. According to a study by Malmö Näringsliv, they tend to describe the city as “bright and modern” with “substantial innovation, architecture, and creativity“—and I’d say that would be fitting for its inhabitants as well. Add a little too much confidence and a boat-load of ambition, and you have a Malmöit in a nutshell.
Swedish media seems to agree with their European colleagues according to studies by Malmö stad, often portraying Malmö as a good tourist destination with a “healthy business sector, good sustainability profile, and lots of creativity“.
Best Creative Spots in Malmö:
Norra Grängesbergsgatan NGBG Cultural Sound Zone
How About the Ugly Stuff?
Of course, the media also reports plenty of negative things about Malmö; most commonly about segregation, crime, safety, and failed city projects—bringing us to the less polished side of Malmö’s culture. There are areas in the outskirts of Malmö with notably higher unemployment, higher crime, and worse school results compared to the rest of the city, which certainly affects both adults and children in those areas.
Many Malmöites from many different backgrounds grow up in or around areas like these, and that tends to “roughen up the edges” a bit and shape their personality and the city as a whole.
Malmö’s Creative Spirit
The creative spirit in Malmö is a fundamental part of the city’s culture, and wherever you walk you’ll bump into creative outlets of different kinds. Art galleries, street art, public art, artists standing and painting, photographers snapping pictures, musicians playing music—whatever it may be, there is a strong creative pulse in the city.
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