April 7th, 2017 is a date that affected us all and will be affecting Stockholm for a long time to come. It was a day when terror struck the Swedish capital, We were, however, lucky that the events that day only caused disruptions to our plans. Others were not as fortunate. Now a year afterward I guess that most people in Stockholm know exactly where they were and what they were doing that fateful afternoon. This is our story of the day that the terror struck.
Our Plans for the Day
April 7th started as a normal Friday in Stockholm. For Susann and I, it was, however, somewhat special. It was the last day in the office for Susann before her maternity leave. Our Little A was expected within a few weeks. It was also Susann’s birthday a couple of days later. So, after work, we were going to meet up at Mall of Scandinavia in Solna for dinner and a film. I think we were going to watch The Beauty and the Beast,
When the Terror Struck in Stockholm
The police got the first report of the events on Drottninggatan in central Stockholm at 14:53 in the afternoon. One man had driven a truck at high speed along the pedestrian street. He eventually crashed the truck into the wall of the department store Åhlens City. In its path, it had left death and destruction. Swedish media was soon reporting about the event and new information kept coming in.
I was still at our office in Arenastaden and followed the news reports together with my colleagues. Reports that told an increasingly scary view of the unfolding events. Fired shots? First at Drottninggatan, then Sveavägen and at Fridhemsplan? There seemed to be some kind of mass panic and no one knew what was actually happening. For me, it was mostly a worry about Susann, who was (and still is) working at Sveavägen in central Stockholm. Being so close to the expected date of the birth gives an extra need for control of the surroundings. This was far from that controlled environment.
Getting Back Home
Living and working north of Stockholm made it easier to get back home. With public transport closed down, I still had the possibility to walk back home, a walk of about an hour. In the end, I joined a co-worker who was driving back home and could drop me off along the way. When leaving the office the entrances were guarded by guards and we were told that Mall of Scandinavia had been evacuated. We were only allowed to access the parking garage.
It did take a lot longer time than normal to drive the short distance home. The roads around Stockholm were filling up fast with everyone leaving the center and heading back home. It really was like everything closed down and that everyone in and around Stockholm was going home at the same time. People came walking from the center and the cars were queuing. It was kind of surreal.
Getting Susann Home
With reports of shots being fired on the street where Susann’s office is located there was little hope of getting Susann home soon. Instead, it felt better to know that she was in the office together with her colleagues. Actually, they were not even permitted to leave the office for quite some time. During the afternoon and evening, new reports came that told a different story in regards to shootings. There were no confirmed shootings in those areas. The city did, however, stay shut down. The metro did not run, for instance. It was first late in the evening that Susann was able to leave the office. A co-worker living nearby accompanied her. They were both picked up by the husband of her co-worker and after a slow drive, Susann was back home.
In total 5 people lost their lives that Friday. Luckily there were no further events, only the attack with the truck. One man has been prosecuted for the attack and the trial is still ongoing. Stockholm is today back to normal, but the memory will take a long time to fade.
And how did it go for us? Little A decided to wait for almost four more weeks before she decided that it was time to come out. That is how our lives have changed since the terror struck Stockholm. We were the lucky ones, who did not spend our Friday afternoon on Drottninggatan. In the following days, we visited the site of the events to see the flower manifestation that the people of Stockholm created against terror.