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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