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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

Name of conflict:Almstriden, Stockholm, Sweden
State or province:Uppland/Södermanland
Location of conflict:Stockholm
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

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

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

According 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 of the conflict:1970
Relevant government actors:Stockholm Stads Byggnadskontor, Stockholm Stads Gatukontor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Alternativ Stad,

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Recreational users
Forms of mobilization:Development 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

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Thanks to the protesters, the elm trees were not cut down.

Sources and Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(1) The battle of the Elms 1971,

(2) Almbladet,

(3) Almstriden, Alternativ Stad,

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Almarna i Kungsträdgården från 1971,


Meta information

Contributor:Linda Dubec
Last update08/04/2014