Malmö – Hippodromen

The circus legacy of the Hipp has sustained through time, despite the building also having functioned as entertainment venue, church and strip club over the years. Nowadays it is the main location of the Malmö City Theater.

Since 1997, guest shows from the circus group Cirkus Cirkör brought back the circus tradition to the Hipp, short for its original name Hippodromen. A tradition that dates back to the early 1900’s. Hippodromes were built at this time in metropolitan cities such as Berlin, London and Paris. Malmö city had big ambitions and the Hippodromen was to become a pleasure palace that put the city on the European map and to be seen as a big city.

The construction company Hippodrome was founded in 1898 to build a place where public circus performances could be shown. The Scandinavian climate made the use of a nice heated venue for circus in the winter time even more necessary for the circus owners.

Driving force behind this company was industrialist Daniel Hjorth junior and the builder Christian Lauritz Müller who came to stand as prime ministers for decades to come. Architect Theodor Wåhlin was hired. He traveled around Europe and studied circus premises. On November 1, 1899 one of the world’s most modern circus and theater buildings was opened, with many mechanical features, allowing for flexible switching of the facility for various performances, theater, circus, horse manege and a waterring feature. Circus Tanti was chosen to give the celebrated first performance.

In order for Malmö to achieve the status as ”metropole”, the circus was the most important feature of the Hippodrome. There were no biosalons yet, and the theaters did not host very large audiences. Entertainment activities were needed to raise Malmö’s attractiveness and on the circus everyone got the place – it was demand-less and classless.

The “Marble statues” on Hipp are very popular. It was young ladies who posed in stately-like positions seemingly bare naked. This was perhaps the first step in the circus’s transformation into dramatic activity. The last pure-circus circus was played on March 11, 1922. After that Oscar Winge took over the premises and rebuilt them into a theater. Operas, revues and comedy dominated the repertoire. In 1944 Oscar Winge was engaged as a lyric director at the newly formed Malmö city theater and the Hippodrome was taken over by his former wife Elsa Winge.

In 1950, the last theater performance in the building was given, the Elim Assembly took over the premises and turned the Hippodrome into church. Malmö city bought the premises in 1992 by a bankrupt property company and rescued the old cultural building with a renovation. The refurbishment and renovation were designed by Månsson & Dahlbäck Architectural Office. In 1994, the Hippodrome was reopened as a theater for the Malmö Dramatiska Teater which has been named Malmö Stadsteater since 2008.


The Hippogriffs Restaurant &
Stadstheater Malmö
Kalendegatan 12
211 35 Malmö