Shopping – Luleå, Sweden - Atlas Obscura


The world's first purpose-built indoor shopping mall opened in Sweden in 1955. 


Shopping malls might be thought of as an American phenomenon that spread over the world. But in fact, this shopping mall in northern Sweden pioneered the way many people think of them today.

In 1955, a shopping mall called Shopping opened in the city of Luleå. The architect, Ralph Erskine, had a vision of city life moving indoors during the harsh winters in the area with temperatures down to -42 degrees Fahrenheit (-41 degrees Celsius) and meters of snow recorded. Erskine thus designed the world’s first purpose-built enclosed shopping mall, which was different from its American predecessors since it was built to work all year, regardless of the weather.

The mall’s opening was a success. It’s reported that 15,000 to 25,000 people attended—a remarkable feat, considering the city had fewer than 30,000 inhabitants at the time.

Although Shopping has been renovated and rebuilt multiple times over the years, it is still around. Few people visiting today know about the mall’s history and how it shaped shopping for decades to come.

Know Before You Go

Shopping is located in downtown Luleå.

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