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Almstriden, Stockholm, Sweden


In 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden, a project plan was formulated to build a subway station in Kungsträdgården. According to the plan, the building of the ticket hall and entrance would require that the 13 elm trees growing in Kungsträdgården had to be cut down.

This plan was met with massive protests by the inhabitants of Stockholm (and elsewhere) and included land occupation, formal appeals to the plan, protest meetings, marches, a press campaign and petitions.

The culmination of the protest was on the night between the 12th and 13th of May in 1971 when workers arrived to cut down the trees. A large police force (including mounted police) were there to protect the workers. However, due to the number of people present, the police judged that it was not safe to cut down the trees and the protesters had thus succeeded in protecting the 13 elms.

The elm trees are still standing in Kungsträdgården, although a scar caused by a chainsaw can be seen on one of the trees. (1, 2, 3)

Basic Data

NameAlmstriden, Stockholm, Sweden
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsAccording to the project plan for the subway station, all of the 13 elm trees in Kungsträdgården would have to be cut down.

Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date1970
Relevant government actorsStockholm Stads Byggnadskontor, Stockholm Stads Gatukontor
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAlternativ Stad,

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Recreational users
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation


Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNegotiated alternative solution
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Thanks to the protesters, the elm trees were not cut down.

Sources and Materials


Helldén, Daniel. 2005. Demokratin utmanas: Almstriden och det politiska etablissemanget. Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen. Doktorsavhandling. PhD thesis. Abstract available:


(1) The battle of the Elms 1971,

(2) Almbladet,

(3) Almstriden, Alternativ Stad,

Media Links

Almarna i Kungsträdgården från 1971,


Meta Information

ContributorLinda Dubec
Last update08/04/2014