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ESC Reporter | March 26, 2017

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The dark secret behind Stockholm's Eurovision countdown clock

The dark secret behind Stockholm’s Eurovision countdown clock
Kevin Lee

The mayor of Stockholm, Karin Wanngård, recently revealed the countdown clock on Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, counting down to the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.

Music engages, connects and unites across all borders – national, linguistic and cultural. The ability of music to unite is particularly important today. We are proud to be the host city for the 2016 competition and we would like to give Europe a warm welcome to Stockholm. The Eurovision Song Contest will be visible in the entire city, and will be an event characterised by openness, tolerance and equality of all people“, the mayor said as she began the official countdown.

 

The magical flower

The clock sculpture itself takes inspiration from this year’s logo of the dandelion and here are some facts about it:

  • The installation is a total of 8.5 metres high, of which the actual flower is 4×4 metres.
  • The fragrance from the Magic Flower comes from a system that follows the International Fragrance Association criteria for the production, handling and use of scents.
  • The fragrance is supplied by Uniscent ScentAir in Sweden.
  • The flower was drawn by MK Illumination and manufactured in Slovakia.
  • The sculpture is made of lacquered aluminum, frosted plastic cable ties and LED lighting.
  • 84 square metres of metal was used to make the flower.
  • There are 7280 points of light on the magical flower.

 

It Is Not All Coming Up Roses – The Dark Secret

However, there is a dark secret behind this beautiful installation and it involves the white building to the right with the large clock piece.

Dark Secret Behind The Clock

Dark Secret Behind The Clock

Today, you will find an Acne Studios store on the ground level of this building, but back in the 70s, this was the Kredit Bank. On August the 23rd, 1973, a criminal walked into this bank to attempt a robbery. Plans failed, the criminal panicked and took four of the bank workers hostage.

Eventually the criminal would convince the police to release his friend, another dangerous convicted criminal, from jail and bring him to the bank. The two criminals then took the four hostages and locked themselves in the vault of the bank.

One of the criminals with three hostages inside the vault. Credit: AFP

One of the criminals with three hostages inside the vault.
Credit: AFP

The hostage situation would keep the nation of Sweden on the edges of their couches as live TV news coverage, which was a newer concept then, kept viewers glued to the screen with dramatic updates on what was taking place.

A police sniper is set up next to a photo journalist. Credit: AFP

A police sniper is set up next to a photo journalist.
Credit: AFP

After six days of a dramatic stand off between the police and the criminals, the situation ended after the police gassed the vault. However, a strange empathetic relationship had developed between the hostages and the criminals. This strange liking and attraction the hostages had for the criminals gave birth to the widely used term… Stockholm Syndrome.

One of the criminals, Jan-Erik Olsson being lead out by police in gas masks. Credit: AFP

One of the criminals, Jan-Erik Olsson being lead out by police in gas masks.
Credit: AFP

So for those visitors coming to Stockholm for Eurovision, not only will you be able to officially countdown to the Grand Final by clock, you will also see the birthplace of the Stockholm Syndrome.

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