Contact person:
Pål Brunnström
  • Malmö stad kulturförvaltningen
Responsible at MaU:
Pål Brunnström
Time frame:
01 December 2023 - 31 December 2025

About the project

The first Muslims who settle more permanently in Sweden come with Karl XII after his failed campaign against Russia and the subsequent stay in the Ottoman Empire and the Kalabalik in Bender. Those who followed him were creditors, people who had lent money to the king, and now wanted to make sure he paid it back. The group settled in Karlshamn in Blekinge and were not allowed to move freely in Sweden, but at least one is said to have visited the Lund University Library to read books in Arabic. However, the Muslim group went home when the debts were finally settled – some had to wait as long as eight years for the king to pay what he owed. It will take until the 20th century before a permanent Muslim population is established in Sweden, and in 1930 there were probably only a couple of Muslims in Sweden, in 1950 they were estimated to be around 500, and in the early 1970s 9,000. Most of them live in Stockholm, but over time the Muslim presence also increases in other parts of the country. A large part of the increase came through immigration from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, and North Africa.


In this project, we investigate how the Muslim presence looked in Malmö during the period up to 1990. Since Malmö is a city that attracted a lot of labour migration from 1945 onwards, it is likely that Muslims also arrived during this period, for example, included in the groups that came from former Yugoslavia. We examine the associations and organizations built by Muslims as well as buildings, businesses, and cultural expressions. The focus is on both religious and non-religious cultural practices and phenomena, and we also include people who are secular but have a Muslim identity.

Ethical review

The project will undergo ethical review by the Ethics Authority before implementation.

Project in collaboration

The project takes place in collaboration between Malmö University, the Department of Urban Studies, and the City of Malmö, the City Archives (Cultural Administration), as well as in dialogue with idea-based organizations in Malmö that organize Muslims. The project is led by a project manager for the city of Malmö and one from Malmö University. The project will result in a guide map with places, events, and people that can be linked to Malmö, as well as a preliminary study on the history of Malmö Muslims. The project intends to form a starting point for a larger research project on the history of Malmö's Muslims.