A Vision in Reality
Fryshuset is often referred to as the largest youth center in the world – but it is actually much more than that. Above all it is a vision based on the conviction that encouragement, confidence, responsibility and understanding are necessary in order to enable young people to develop their innate abilities and find their way into society.
This is exactly what Fryshuset is trying to do and the place is therefore packed with all kinds of creative and constructive activities. Young people mix with grown-ups in order to participate, contribute and learn. Fryshuset is a meeting place where people share and develop passionate interests, social commitments, sports, entertainment, culture and innovative educational programs.
Fryshuset was founded in 1984 as a result of joint efforts by the YMCA of Stockholm and a couple of unyielding enthusiasts, among them Fryshusets legendary founding father Anders Carlberg. Initially the centre was located in an old storage building (Fryshuset means cold store in Swedish), but after a couple of years it was transferred to larger premises (24 000 square metres) on the south side of Stockholm.
At the outset, sports and music were the sole activities, but social issues made their way into the agenda as a reflection of young people’s wants and needs.
One such early example came in the summer of 1986 when violent riots occurred between differing teenaged groups in Stockholm. The Swedish government asked Fryshuset to step in and help relieve the situation. Fryshuset launched a campaign, touring around the country lecturing on constructive alternatives to violence. During the tour it became obvious that most teenagers deplored violence and had a lot of vital ideas on how to counteract it and how to a build a better future.
Fryshuset is constantly changing and developing. It is now as famous for its social work as it is for education, skateboarding, basketball, music and other leisure time activities.
Today Fryshuset runs several schools and programs for vocational training, seminars and conferences, courses in theatre, music, and sport as well as hosting events, concerts, parties and discotheques. It even has its own church, the Fryshus-church.
Formally Fryshuset is a foundation headed by the YMCA of Stockholm. Public funding covers around 5 % of the activities, the rest is financed by a mixture of grants, endowments and fees for services such as educational and social programs (fees that are not paid by young people or individual clients but by our co-operational partners and government agencies). Some of our activities are also running in Göteborg and Malmö – Sweden’s second and third largest cities. All in all Fryshuset employs around 500 people and receives around 40,000 visitors every month.
The activities at Fryshuset are usually divided into three main areas: