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Stockholm City Hall

The Stockholm City Hall is the building of the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm in Sweden. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm, it houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls, the luxury restaurant Stadshuskällaren. It is one of Stockholm's major tourist attractions. In 1907 the city council decided to build a new city hall at the former site of Eldkvarn. An architectural contest was held which in the first stage resulted in the selection of drafts by Ragnar Östberg, Carl Westman, Ivar Tengbom jointly with Ernst Torulf, Carl Bergsten. After a further competition between Westman and Östberg the latter was assigned to the construction of the City Hall, while the former was asked to construct Stockholm Court House. Östberg modified his original draft using elements of Westman's project, including the tower. During the construction period, Östberg reworked his plans, resulting in the addition of the lantern on top of the tower, the abandonment of the blue glazed tiles for the Blue Hall.

Oskar Asker was employed as construction leader and Paul Toll, of the construction company Kreuger & Toll, designed the foundations. Georg Greve assisted in preparing the plans; the construction took twelve years, from 1911 to 1923. Nearly eight million red bricks were used; the dark red bricks, called "munktegel" because of their traditional use in the construction of monasteries and churches, were provided by Lina brick factory near Södertälje. Construction was carried out by craftsmen using traditional techniques; the building was inaugurated on 23 June 1923 400 years after Gustav Vasa's arrival in Stockholm. Verner von Heidenstam and Hjalmar Branting delivered the inaugurational speeches; the site, adjacent to Stadshusbron, being bordered by the streets of Hantverkargatan and Norr Mälarstrand to the north and west, the shore of Riddarfjärden to the south and east, allowed for a spacious layout. The building follows a rectangular ground plan, it is built around two open spaces, a piazza called Borgargården on the eastern side, the Blue Hall to the west.

The Blue Hall, with its straight walls and arcades, incorporates elements of a representative courtyard. Its walls are in fact without blue decorations, but it has kept its name after Östberg's original design, it is known as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony. The organ in the Blue Hall is with its 10,270 pipes the largest in Scandinavia. Above the Blue Hall lies the Golden Hall, named after the decorative mosaics made of more than 18 million tiles; the mosaics make use of motifs from Swedish history. They were executed by the Berlin, firm of Puhl & Wagner, after nine years of negotiations by Gottfried Heinersdorff for the commission; the southeast corner of the building adjacent to the shore, is marked by a monumental tower crowned by the Three Crowns, an old national symbol for Sweden. The tower is accessible by an elevator or by a stair of 365 steps; the eastern side of its base is decorated with a gold-plated cenotaph of 13th century Swedish statesman Birger Jarl.

Stadshuset is considered one of Sweden's foremost examples of national romanticism in architecture. The unique site, overlooking Riddarfjärden, inspired a central motif of the construction, namely the juxtaposition of city architecture and water that represents a central feature of Stockholm's cityscape as a whole; the architectural style is one of refined eclecticism, blending massive, North European brick construction and playful elements reminiscent of oriental and venetian architecture, such as turrets adorned with golden starlets, decorated balconies, wooden masts, statues. Stockholm City Hall has been the location of a number of cultural productions, including the 1991 music video Fading Like a Flower by Swedish pop duo Roxette; the small park between the building and Lake Mälaren's shore is adorned with several sculptures, among them Carl Eldh's ensemble representing the three artists August Strindberg, Gustaf Fröding and Ernst Josephson, as well as Eldh's bronze sculptures "Sången" and "Dansen".

To the south-east of the City Hall, facing Riddarholmen, is a pillar 20 meters tall with a statue of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson on top. Architecture of Stockholm History of Stockholm List of streets and squares in Gamla stan Geography of Stockholm Stockholm Court House Media related to Stockholm City Hall at Wikimedia Commons Stockholm City: Official city hall pages CityMayors.com: Stockholm City Hall Stockholm360.net: Virtual Tour of Stockholm City Hall — with 360 x 180 degree panoramas

Xenia Stad-de Jong

Xenia Stad-de Jong was a Dutch track and field athlete who competed in sprinting events. Born in Semarang in the former Dutch East Indies, her greatest success was winning the gold medal as the first runner in the 4 x 100 metres relay at the 1948 Summer Olympics, together with Netty Witziers-Timmer, Gerda van der Kade-Koudijs and Fanny Blankers-Koen, she took part in the individual 100 metres event. In 1950, she won another medal with the Dutch relay team when they finished second at the 1950 European Championships, she ran in the individual 100 m at the championships as well. Stad-de Jong died in the Dutch city of Zoetermeer in 2012, aged 90

Maurice Maeterlinck

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck known as Count Maeterlinck from 1932, was a Belgian playwright and essayist, Flemish but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911 "in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers' own feelings and stimulate their imaginations"; the main themes in his work are the meaning of life. He was a leading member of La Jeune Belgique group and his plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement. Maeterlinck was born in Belgium, to a wealthy, French-speaking family, his mother, Mathilde Colette Françoise, came from a wealthy family. His father, was a notary who enjoyed tending the greenhouses on their property. In September 1874 he was sent to the Jesuit College of Sainte-Barbe, where works of the French Romantics were scorned and only plays on religious subjects were permitted.

His experiences at this school influenced his distaste for the Catholic Church and organized religion. He had written poems and short novels during his studies. After finishing his law studies at the University of Ghent in 1885, he spent a few months in Paris, France, he met some members of the new Symbolism movement, Villiers de l'Isle Adam in particular, who would have a great influence on Maeterlinck's subsequent work. Maeterlinck became a public figure when his first play, Princess Maleine, received enthusiastic praise from Octave Mirbeau, the literary critic of Le Figaro in August 1890. In the following years, he wrote a series of symbolist plays characterized by fatalism and mysticism, most Intruder, The Blind and Pelléas and Mélisande, he had a relationship with the singer and actress Georgette Leblanc from 1895 until 1918. Leblanc influenced his work for the following two decades. With the play Aglavaine and Sélysette Maeterlinck began to create characters female characters, more in control of their destinies.

Leblanc performed these female characters on stage. Though mysticism and metaphysics influenced his work throughout his career, he replaced his Symbolism with a more existential style. In 1895, with his parents frowning upon his open relationship with an actress and Leblanc moved to the district of Passy in Paris; the Catholic Church was unwilling to grant her a divorce from her Spanish husband. They entertained guests, including Mirbeau, Jean Lorrain, Paul Fort, they spent their summers in Normandy. During this period, Maeterlinck published his Twelve Songs, The Treasure of the Humble, The Life of the Bee, Ariadne and Bluebeard. In 1903, Maeterlinck received the Triennial Prize for Dramatic Literature from the Belgian government. During this period, down to the Great War, he was looked up to, throughout Europe, as a great sage, the embodiment of the higher thought of the time. In 1906, Maeterlinck and Leblanc moved to a villa in Grasse, he spent his hours walking. As he pulled away from Leblanc, he entered a state of depression.

Diagnosed with neurasthenia, he rented the Benedictine Abbey of St. Wandrille in Normandy to help him relax. By renting the abbey he rescued it from the desecration of being sold and used as a chemical factory and thus he received a blessing from the Pope. Leblanc would walk around in the garb of an abbess. During this time, he wrote his essay "The Intelligence of Flowers", in which he expressed sympathy with socialist ideas, he donated money to many workers' unions and socialist groups. At this time he conceived his greatest contemporary success: the fairy play The Blue Bird. After the writing "The Intelligence of Flowers", he suffered from a period of depression and writer's block. Although he recovered from this after a year or two, he was never so inventive as a writer again, his plays, such as Marie-Victoire and Mary Magdalene, provided with lead roles for Leblanc, were notably inferior to their predecessors, sometimes repeat an earlier formula. Though alfresco performances of some of his plays at St. Wandrille had been successful, Maeterlinck felt that he was losing his privacy.

The death of his mother on 11 June 1910 added to his depression. In 1910 he met the 18-year-old actress Renée Dahon during a rehearsal of The Blue Bird, she became his lighthearted companion. After having been nominated by Carl Bildt, member of the Swedish Academy, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911, which served to lighten his spirits. By 1913, he was more socialist and sided with the Belgian trade unions against the Catholic party during a strike, he began to study mysticism and lambasted the Catholic Church in his essays for misconstruing the history of the universe. By a decree of 26 January 1914, his opera omnia were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the Roman Catholic Church; when Germany invaded Belgium in 1914, Maeterlink wished to join the French Foreign Legion, but his application was denied due to his age. He and Leblanc decided to leave Grasse for a villa near Nice, where he spent the next decade of his life, he placed guilt upon all Germans for the war. Although his patriotism, his indifference to the harm he was doing to his standing in Germany, do him credit, it damaged his reputation as a great sage who stood above cur