Stieg Larsson: Behind the Dragon Tattoo - PICTURES - THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO

Uppsala and Lisbeth Salander Fiction Geography Film

Uppsala—Sweden’s fourth-largest city—plays a significant role in Lisbeth Salander’s life. This evening-view of Uppsala, featuring the Fyris River which flows through the city, is by Georgios Karamanis. Online via Flickr; License: CC BY-NC 2.0.


Mikael Blomkvist was born in Borlänge but never really lived there.  His family moved to a part of Stockholm known as Lilla Essingen - depicted on this map - where he attended primary school. 

Stockholm is a city built on an archipelago.  One of the city's islands is Kungsholmen, situated in Lake Mälaren.  Blomkvist attended a prep school on that island.  It also features prominently in other aspects of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

After military service, where he was a rifleman in Kiruna - Sweden's northernmost city (in Lapland) and home to the IceHotel (one of Sweden's "seven wonders" where everything, including chairs and sleeping rooms are made from ice) - Blomkvist established himself as a journalist. He owns an investigative magazine called Millenium. 

His office is at the corner of Götgatan and Hökensgatan.  Larsson says Blomkvist and his team have an upstairs suite, but in real life those floors are used as residential apartments. 

"Micke" (pronounced MEEK-eh), as Blomkvist is sometimes called, lives in a small attic flat on Bellmansgatan, near the part of Stockholm known as Gamla Stan (the old town).  He has a great view of the calming waters of Riddarfjärden, but life is filled with turmoil for him as Dragon Tattoo begins.  After a trial in the Stockholm courthouse, he has been convicted of slander and faces a three-month sentence.

Lisbeth Salander spent her early years (beginning at age four) in a Lundagatan flat (also located on the Stockholm island of Södermalm, not far from Micke's apartment).  Stieg Larsson doesn't give us a specific address, but we know there's a flight of city stairs nearby.  We also know a church - the Högalidskyrkan - is just down the street.  Occasionally, when a need arises, Lisbeth can be found inside.

During her teenaged years, Lisbeth no longer lived with her mother and twin sister, Camilla.  After a series of events, which Salander refers to as "All the Evil," she was forced to live in the town of Uppsala.  Known for its old-world charm, and beautiful architecture, Uppsala is filled with peaceful settings. 

Salander's life, in the picturesque town, was anything but peaceful.  Her "home" - until she turned fifteen - was a place which Larsson calls St. Stefan's Children's Psychiatric Hospital.  It's a fictitous location.

After living in a series of foster homes, Lisbeth retuned to her Lundagatan apartment when she turned eighteen.  Her original guardian - Holger Palmgren, who also lives in the Söder section of Stockholm - had leased it for her, while she was away.

When Palmgren is incapacitated, Salander gets another guardian - a corrupt lawyer by the name of Nils Bjurman.  His office is near the St. Eriksplan Tunnelbana (subway) station, and he has a five-room flat on Upplandsgatan, near the Odenplan station.  At the appropriate time, Lisbeth sets-up Bjurman in a way that she hopes will prevent him from ever bothering her again.

Before his disability, Palmgren had recommended Lisbeth for a job at Milton Security, located in the Slussen section of Södermalm.  Tasked with conducting a background check on Mikael Blomkvist, Salander (who has also read Astrid Lindgren's novels) investigates - then meets - the man she often calls "Kalle Blomkvist."  Soon they work together on a major project which will change both their lives.

As Blomkvist and Salander try to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Harriet Vanger, they travel to "Hedestad" on "Hedeby Island."  Neither place exists in the real world of Sweden. 

The best one can do - to find what Stieg Larsson had in mind for this location - is to take him at his word. Both places (the town and the island) are "about an hour" north of Gävle.  They are also close to Mikael's small cabin at Sandhamn ("Sand Harbor") Island, a lovely spot in Stockholm's Outer Archipelago.

To reach their destination - first by train, then by ferry - the pair pass by towns along the Norrland coast and homes along the Gulf of Bothnia.  Although it is a scenic journey, they are not traveling for the view.

Solving the Vanger family mysteries is not easy for Micke and Lisbeth, but they - especially Lisbeth - will face far greater challenges - and dangers - in the next installment of their story:  The Girl Who Played with Fire.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2011

Updated Last Revision: Oct 29, 2015

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"PICTURES - THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2011. Sep 20, 2018.
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