The Ericsson Globe or Globen is the largest and most awe-inspiring hemispherical building, in the world, built within two and a half years. Globen, cast into a giant White Ball, is a throwback impression of the Colosseum Kino in Oslo. Except, this gigantic Globe is nearly 360-feet wide, 490-acre-feet long and 279-feet tall. To understand the magnitude of Globen, let’s just surmise that it seats, 16,000+ spectators for concerts and 13,500+ for ice hockey. It was built in 1989 for Melodifestivalen and once the Expo ended, the pavilion was transformed to become the first technological museum devoted to the energies of the future.
It soon became the most popular and visited foundation of the international concerts. Later, the building underwent a deep renovation to change from a pavilion to a museum, including full insulation of its entire envelope. The arena is solidified, in one of the most symbolic buildings, not only of the country’s capital Stockholm but of Sweden itself. In 2009, Swedish telecommunication giant Ericsson acquired the naming rights to the Stockholm Globe Arena, and it transformed into the Ericsson Globe.
To be at this enormous Globen ball, we left central Stockholm at 12.45 noon, and reached the venue in the next 15-minutes after a short, but, extremely picturesque drive. The two ends are linked, by a two-lane Centralbron Highway, fringed by astonishing water and cityscapes. I thought noon would be an excellent time to get a clearer view of Stockholm under natural sunlight. However, fate had other plans, as on this day the Swedish skies were extraordinarily breezy and stacked with mammoth clouds.
Ericsson Globe Arena
Nonetheless, the scenic drive and the adrenaline of approaching Ericsson Globe Arena scorned away the weather contingencies for a while. Soon after, our car neared the Arenagangen road into the Ericsson premises. On my left, were the massive corporate quarters of Ericsson, while on my right was the colossal ball of events. Be prepared to be left sedated by its giantness for a couple of minutes! Gradually, the focus drops to the large navy-blue numberings, marking separate entrances to enclosed venues.
There is Ericsson Globe, Tele2 Arena, Friends Arena, Annexet, Hovet and SkyView. This peculiar glass, steel and concrete building was designed by Berg Arkitektkontor, who took his inspiration from by the MERO space structure. In the scrutiny of a moment, Ericsson Globen represents the Sun in the Sweden Solar System, echoing the world’s largest scale model of the Solar System.
From the Entretorget, I secured myself a ticket for EUR 15, to ride the SkyView Gondola to see what Stockholm is like in a 360° landscape. Before the SkyView ride, a pre-flight video is demonstrated, on a large screen inside a small auditorium. This 15-minute movie renders first-hand perspicacity into every slice of the Globen Arena and follows a great-introduction for the first time visitors. The upper area of the Arena is home to a restaurant and 40 VIP boxes. I think the video also builds up plenty of drama for one to get excited to embark on the cool pod ride!
The extensive engineering in how they have got it to work is impressive. A trove of astronomy, Globen vies your attention from East to West and North to South, as you aimfully ride its translucent glass gondola, resembling a water droplet. It is a unique fun experience to ride up to the top to see the best of Stockholm. Two glass globes travel simultaneously on parallel tracks, each with a capacity of 16 passengers. Each pod departs at a gap of ten minutes, soaring gently to the top, allowing for a surround visuals experience.
The loop lasted approximately twenty minutes, and sweeping views of Southern Stockholm, atop were amazing. I’d say, do carry your camera! As we rode up the glass pod, we were assisted by one of the staff, who shared additional details about this largest spherical building in the world. Globen is invariably employed, for concerts, sports events and ice hockey tournaments for its utterly phenomenal lighting and acoustics. Ericsson Globen is the Swedish Hockey Team’s home stadium. It is here that Nelson Mandela held a speech in 1990 and Sweden won European handball championship in 2002 and hockey world championship in 2013.
In March 2016, a new WiFi network was fitted to intensify the user experience. Many international artists like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé have performed sold-out events at the Globen. The layout is wheelchair-friendly and comprises a bar-restaurant, a souvenir store and clean restrooms. It would take you about a few hours to tour the Arena. We know because we did it. There are more cafés, souvenir stores and anchor stores alongside Ericsson Globe Arena. SkyView is open between 9 AM to 6 PM so plan your trip accordingly. Easily accessible by train, this Arena is only 5 minutes walk from Globen Station.