ABBA poster gone from Arlanda Airport, Stockholm

ABBA no longer welcome you to their hometown, not via a poster at the airport anyway

ABBA’s poster proclaiming “Welcome to our hometown” has been removed from Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport arrivals hall at the request of Benny Andersson.

As followers of icethesite will recall, Benny vehemently objected to a proposed redevelopment of the Slussen area of Stockholm.

He rallied friends and supporters ahead of a vote by the city council in order to help try and ensure the favoured redevelopment plans were overturned.

In December 2011 opponents of the redevelopment attempted to stop the measure being passed by submitting a motion requesting it be sent back for further debate, but the motion was voted down 51-48.

Benny even joked that he would consider an ABBA reunion if it helped stop the plans.

As regards the poster at Arlanda Airport, Benny stated: “I do not want to be an advertisement for a city that can’t see reason.”

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter contacted the airport’s Chief Information Officer Jan Lindqvist to hear what happened to the portrait. Had it been removed?

“Yes, Benny Andersson contacted us, so we removed it. No one should have to have their image hang there against their will.”

The newspaper also asked if anyone else had requested to have their image removed.

“No, no one else,” said Lingqvist. “Most people seem to be happy to get to welcome visitors to Stockholm.”

What is there now instead of ABBA in the arrivals hall?

“So far, it’s just a generic picture, I think that it is an image of an island. We have agreements with all the partners involved at the airport and it takes a few months to organise a new portrait.

“We want to feature people who are representative of the region, like artists and athletes. On the other hand, we will refrain from having politicians precisely because our ‘poster people’ should be able to represent everyone, regardless of their opinion. As such, we thought it was very nice to have Benny and ABBA.”

Construction on the “new Slussen” is expected to start in 2013 and be completed by 2020.

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17 Replies to “ABBA poster gone from Arlanda Airport, Stockholm”

  1. While I understand that Mr. Andersson feels very strongly about the redevelopment issue, his response seems to me to be really quite childish. It’s too bad on both counts.

  2. I really don’t understand why Benny is so against the re-development of Slussen. The original plan unveiled looked awful, over the top and too much for the area, but the current plan looks okay. What’s there now is ugly, pedestrian unfriendly, and sinking.

  3. What a real shame for the visitors to Stockholm who will be wondering why the most famous Swedes are not represented and are not there to ‘welcome’ visitors. I understand he feels passionately about this but his personal feelings are not connected with ABBA in any way and ABBA probably did their fair share of promoting not just Stockholm but Sweden to the world. A great shame indeed. Surely they can find a picture of ABA to put up instead?!

  4. Perhaps they just could have changed the text beside the picture to ‘Welcome to Sweden’ as Arlanda (ARN) is the countries international airport?

  5. I can understand how Benny and Bjorn feel, I’ve just gone mental over what’s happened to the view of Tower bridge from Butlers wharf in London.
    But I think there should be posters of ABBA all over Stockholm, If I ever visit there its what I would expect.
    Maybe after they have made there demonstration , which I think is probably justified ,it could be put back.

  6. Since it is famous Swedes on display to Welcome visitors at Arlanda’s international terminal the other 3 ABBA members were stars in their own right in Sweden before ABBA so why not just replace the ABBA pic with individual pics of them?

  7. Benny, like everyone is entitled to his opinion, what ever others think of it or his actions. It may be a shame the Abba picture has been removed but if Benny is not happy and wishes to make a point he has every right. If he feels that passionately about his cause good for him.

  8. Now I have some comments about the comments!

    Benny does impress me!

    He feels very strongly about the plans for the Slussen area!
    If he can highlight the problem by wanting the ABBA poster removed from Stockholm Airport – great!

    Benny has said that Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and that he “would like it to stay that way”.

    I hope the current plans for the Slussen area will not take place and if Benny can make a difference nothing could be better!

  9. Benny is sooo wrong.

    I have compared both plans. The plan he was going for does nothing for the city where as the plan decided upon makes a nicer and greener area.

    Having been to Stockholm a few times now, Slussen needs this as in my eyes it’s the only part of the city that looks a mess.

  10. As beeing a resident in Stockholm the question is not just about how it looks on the map!

    There are some great views of Stockholm from Slussen and there have been great protest against building of houses which will block these incredible views of Stockholm. Although some houses have been removed in the new plans some views will still be blocked unfortunately!

    Although the Slussen area is very run down and something hasto be done the current solution is very good because there are hardly ever any traffic jams at the Slussen area even at rush hour.

    Benny says he hasto pass the Slussen area when he goes to his Hotel Rival and he says that when there are traffic jams in other areas in Stockholm there are never any traffic jams at the Slussen area!

    With the new solution no doubt there will be traffic jams. Benny´s wish is to keep the current – very clever – solution in the new plans for this area.

    The new plans also include a motorway which will pass the old town and this will no doubt spoil and alter this beautiful area of Stockholm.

    So the question is quite complex and although a decision has been made to go ahead with the plans there will still be a lot of protests which i hope will alter these plans.

    So I am glad Benny tries to make an effort in this matter. If he can make a difference by wanting the ABBA poster removed from Stockholm Airport I think it would be great!

  11. I believe the Slussen development and the ABBA poster are two completely seperate things and should have been kept that way.
    Fans have to save a lot of money over a long period to afford to visit Stockholm and it brings a smile to their faces when they see the big poster on arrival….and a big photo session. Such a small thing but it does bring a little joy and now he has taken that away. I think they should just replace it with a poster of Agnetha & Frida from the Abba years instead as they might not necessarily agree with Benny with regards to Slussen….

  12. As Ice states above Benny says “I do not want to be an advertisement for a city that can´t see reason”. So naturally the removed poster and Benny´s strong views about Slussen are connected.

    “I haven´t yet met anybody who says yes to a motorway through Stockholm” Benny says.

    Benny will continue the struggle to stop the plans for the Slussen area according to the newspaper DN 06 March and I hope he will suceed and that the plans will be altered.

    I understand ABBA fans out there are disappointed but this is an issue so much bigger than ABBA! I think many peolple in Stockholmare glad that Benny keeps on struggling with this issue hoping he will be able to make a difference!

  13. I find it terribly sad ..I’m glad I got my photos with it done back in 2009! Maybe just put one of the girls up instead? 😉

  14. This picture of ABBA, the most famous one ever taken, is something of a mystery. It was taken on the 4th concert of the 1979 World Tour in Portland, Oregon, USA (a concert I was trying to get to, but didn’t).

    The ecstatic euphoria of Benny and Frida make the picture, but the distress and awkwardness of Agneta and Bjorn are noteworthy. Agneta even uses a close-up of her in this picture in her book with the caption “The 1979 tour was a great success, but for me was awful…..” in reference to her recent divorce from Bjorn.

    There were so many other pictures taken of ABBA during the final bow that they did at the end of every concert, I always wondered why this one was chosen to become the most famous picture ever taken of the group. Perhaps it shows both sides of the ABBA story, and in that way perhaps it is a good choice.

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