While we didn’t get to visit Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, where the term “Stockholm Syndrome” was coined, we did go to a building of equal importance. The Nobel Museum. This past weekend all eyes in America turned towards Hollywood as the year’s biggest award night, The Oscars, commenced. It strikes me as funny that we, as Americans, invest so much time and energy into making The Oscars the biggest awards night, crediting people for good storytelling. While across the seas, Sweden’s biggest award ceremony is recognizing people for actively and profoundly making this world a better place. I digress.
Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite, is the one responsible for dreaming up the idea of the Nobel Prize. A portion of the museum was dedicated to Nobel himself, and was he something else! Portions of his journal are on display to see, and (via a translation – he was Swedish) it contained the self-loathing and angst of a modern-day misunderstood teen. A line that made me literally guffaw was, “Alfred Nobel. Life accomplishments: none.” Coming from a young man who could fluently speak 5 languages, excellent at schoolwork and began uncovering explosives at a young age, I would say that his feelings of self-disgust were severely misguided.
“Alfred Nobel wrote in his will that physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace would each year receive a part of the revenues of his fortune” (Nobel Museum Literature). The museum itself was rather small, but with most of the exhibits housing monitors with short films, a lot of information was packed in.
Thanks to Lonely Planet and the odd-ball tips they pack in to their books, we were let in on a little secret about the museum and the more than 800 Laureates. Someone must have said to the winners something along the lines of, “before you go, please sign here” while holding up a cafe chair and pointing to the bottom. Quite an audacious and curious request to make of someone who just received one of the highest honors a person can get if you ask me! Nevertheless, it made for several perplexing looks cast our way as we entered the cafe without ordering anything, and began turning over chair after chair.
Though it is unlikely that either one of us will ever be signing the bottom of one of those chairs, and if there is anything we took away from our visit to this museum, it’s that we should live life as if we will. With Britt’s business savvy and my artistic creativity, we will continue to work hard and try to best utilize our strengths for the betterment of society. Who knows, perhaps one day in the far off future we will be returning to this 18th century building and be given a silver pen and the bottom of a chair.