Birthplace of Stockholm Syndrome: This Hotel was the Site of Twisted Psychological Torture

In 2011 The Nobis hotel opened its doors for the first time in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm. The fashionably outfitted hotel features the luxuries of modern interior designs, sleek accommodations and beautiful views of the city.

Within the walls of the hotel however is a dark and unexpected history.

The building that now holds The Nobis hotel is the former bank that became infamous as the birthplace of Stockholm syndrome.

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological reaction that occurs when people who are held hostage—usually for an extended period of time— start to sympathize with their captors. This bizarre phenomenon has become a mystifying area of study for psychologists around the world, since it was first observed at this Stockholm bank.

It was in August of 1973 when Jan-Erik Olsson walked into the offices of the Kreditbanken’s bank. He was armed with a submachine gun and demands for money.

When police arrived on the scene, Olsson opened fire on police, injuring one, and took four staff members hostage.

He held the hostages, and himself, in the vault of the bank for an excruciating six days—demanding that authorities give him what he wanted.

Olsson was the only lifeline to his victims, their lives rested in his hands and the outcome of his negotiations. He even made the hostages wear nooses, threatening to kill them any time police would not comply.

During the grueling six-day standoff with authorities, as Olsson negotiated with the police outside of the vault something strange was happening inside. The victims somehow bonded with Olsson and became emotionally attached to their captor. Offers of help were turned down, and the hostages began to defend Olsson’s actions. Instead of turning against him they eventually turned on police, accusing officers of firing the first shots.

This bizarre phenomenon—which became known as Stockholm Syndrome— had never before been seen in this type of situation, and would become a mystifying area of study for psychologists around the world.

Now, psychology junkies and history enthusiasts can actually book a stay at the exact location of the now-infamous bank robbery that started it all—hostage situation not included with your visit.

According to The Nobis’ website, the interior of the building was designed by the award-winning studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. The atmosphere evokes casual elegance with streamlined contemporary features in its 201 rooms.

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