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Nordic Noir

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Nordic Noir is, in its most general sense, crime fiction from, or set in, the Nordic countries. It has been appreciated outside its homeland for its spirit of cynicism, melancholia and angst. Most of the stories are set in real-life places, open to visit. The dark style and often brutal nature of the crimes described is arguably inspired by the wide open spaces with nary a person in it and the long dark cold winters at high latitudes.


The Nordic countries have had a prolific crime fiction scene since the mid-20th century. In the 1990s it got international attention, with cinematics of the Martin Beck stories, and the Danish Pusher series. Nordic Noir differs from British country-house detective stories and Hollywood crime fiction. While inspired by film noir, the exteriors are more often rural than urban, with the femme fatale usually replaced by an independent heroine. The stories are usually police procedurals, but in some cases (such as Pusher) told from the criminal's point of view. Nordic Noir enjoys a particular avid fanbase outside its native Scandinavia in Germany and both German language translations and works by German authors in a similar style (sometimes even set in the Nordic Countries) are widely available.


Map of Nordic Noir
  • 1 Stockholm, Sweden. Location of many Nordic Noir works, such as the Millennium (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) series, the Martin Beck franchise, and Let the Right One In.
  • 2 Blackeberg (Bromma, Stockholm). A generic 1950s suburb which used to be rather anonymous until it became the setting for the vampire film Let The Right One In.
  • 3 Ystad, Sweden. Home of Detective Wallander.
  • 4 Copenhagen, Denmark. Location for Nordic Noir works such as the Pusher series, The Killing, and The Bridge
  • 5 Nørrebro (Copenhagen, Denmark). A working-class neighbourhood which is the setting of the Pusher series and other works.
  • 6 Lillehammer, Norway. Setting of Lilyhammer.
  • 7 Öresund-Bridge. An important setting of the international crime drama "the Bridge" subsequently copied/remade as a French/English series with the Chunnel as its basis and a less successful US/Mexican version Øresund Bridge (Q297871) on Wikidata Øresund Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 8 Borgafjäll (Dorotea, Västerbotten County). Setting of Black Lake ("Svartsjön").


Södermalm, Stockholm is the setting of the Millennium series.

The Millennium series began as a novel trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) written by journalist Stieg Larsson (1954-2004), posthumously published from 2005 to 2007. A Swedish film trilogy was released in 2009, starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace. An English-language remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, was released in 2011. Authorship was transferred to David Lagercrantz, who has concluded the series with three books, released from 2015 to 2019.

Most locations in the books are on Södermalm or other parts of Stockholm. The films have, with a few exceptions, been shot on site. Some scenes were shot at the rundown traffic hub Slussen, which has been torn down during the 2010s.

  • 9 Bellmansgatan 1 (Södermalm, Stockholm). Mikael's home is reached from a public pedestrian bridge which has has a spectacular view of central Stockholm.
  • 10 Monteliusvägen. A walking trail not featured in the films; it provides an astounding view of Lake Mälaren and Kungsholmen, where Stockholm Courthouse is a dominant building.
  • 11 Lundabron (Södermalm). Lisbeth's miserable upbringing at Lundagatan is told in retrospect. Again, a pedestrian bridge provides a great view.
  • 12 Mellqvist Café, Hornsgatan 78. Mikael's regular café. Lisbeth meets him here, to lend 120,000 kronor for a high-risk investment.
  • 13 Götgatan 11 (Södermalm). Office for the Millennium magazine.
  • 14 7-Eleven, Götgatan 25. Lisbeth's corner shop.
  • 15 Kvarnen, Tjärhovsgatan 4 (T Medborgarplatsen). A 19th century beer hall. Lisbeth meets up the band Evil Fingers here, and kisses Miriam to get Mikael's attention.
  • 16 Mosebacke, Mosebacke Torg 3 (T Slussen). Lisbeth and Mikael cross Mosebacke square several times. Lisbeth and her lawyer Annika Gianini meet up for a drink at Södra Teatern in the third book.
  • 17 Fiskargatan 9 (Södermalm, Stockholm). Lisbeth's secret penthouse.
  • 18 Gamla Stan metro station. A man molests Lisbeth, who beats him down.
  • 19 Gamla riksarkivet. Interior scenes from various scenes (including Millennium meetings and the court trial) were shot here. The building is open only for special events.
  • 20 Great Synagogue, Wahrendorffsgatan 3B. Inspector Jan Bublanski belongs to Jewish Congregation, and uses the Synagogue for confident meetings. Stockholm Synagogue (Q619484) on Wikidata Stockholm Synagogue on Wikipedia
  • 21 Stockholm Court House (Stockholms Rådhus) (Kungsholmen). The courthouse from the turn of the century with its massive tower is regarded as one of the foremost examples of Swedish national romanticism architecture, with a successful 2000s restoration. Open to public at weekdays; security checkpoint at front door. Open to the public, in contrast to the nearby police headquarters.
  • 22 Gnesta. Gnesta stands in for the fictional town Hedestad in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
  • 23 Björkvik, Ingarö (Stockholm archipelago). Setting of the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Lisbeth's home at Fiskargatan.

Go next[edit]

As mentioned above, Germany also loves crime fiction and besides the affinity towards Nordic Noir, the domestic series "Tatort" and "Polizeiruf 110" (originally a GDR production in response to West German Tatort) are particularly popular and notable for their style where the setting is often rather central to the plot with local landmarks prominently displayed even when most of the actual shooting takes place in studios or other cities.

See also[edit]

  • Astrid Lindgren tourism; Astrid Lindgren authored Kalle Blomkvist, a boy detective whose name was lent to the Millennium protagonist, Kalle Blomkvist
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