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Since our humble beginnings in March 1929, ARF has been a club for, and carried by, its members. A group of students from KTH, KI, SU and the veterinary school came together and formed ARF. By autumn of the same year, the club already had 50 members. There was some hope to unite students from different universities and courses at the Stockholm universities. Compared with the older universities in Lund and Uppsala, that have “nationer” and common eating areas as part of the system, Stockholm universities and courses have always been a lot more divided with their own traditions and common areas.

Today, we have students and staff from at least four Swedish universities not only in Stockholm, not to mention all the international students we are lucky enough to borrow for a year or two. ARF membership is not limited to university affiliated rowers, but our members continue to have strong links with the universities.

At first, ARF used a wooden house on the Vet school property, but fairly soon members took the initiative to get a new property happening.

The house itself is the result of an architecture competition that was an exercise for KTH students. The house we are now in was designed and built in 1934 by Folke Löfström, who later worked on Danderyds sjukhus and several other hospitals and schools.

The first women’s crew was formed in 1935, and until the start of the second world war the club enjoyed a bit of a glory era in the thirties with world champion coach Henry “Bert” Barry. Barry was world champion in single scull and was here for two years, during which the eight he coached did not lose a single race.

However, the second world war meant less activity in the club. One edition of the club magazine År-bladet notes that three Finnish members were recalled back to military service, resulting in a fragmented crew. I wasn’t able to find out what happened to them or if they were able to return to us. In 1941, the club’s chairman major Westerdahl chose not to stand for re-election due to military service demands.  In March 1942, a piece about the rowing ball ends on a slightly solemn note with greetings from Finnish members who were fighting at the Finnish borders.

In 1944, Danish, Dutch and Norwegian refugee students donated a prize to the Stockholm academic rowing clubs – “Sofflocket” – meaning the lid on a sofa, or the seat of a sofa. This was in honour of the sofa on which, supposedly, the Stockholm students always lay. The prize was a one-meter long miniature pinnsoffa, a sofa with thin poles, to be passed to the winning club each year. This was a tradition for several years; the last record of the prize I found was a letter from 1987 hoping to restart the tradition.

Records after this early heyday in the thirties and forties show a decline in activity in the club. Stats from SRF show a general decrease in membership of rowing clubs in the big cities between the 1950s and 1970s. ARF membership went down and many editions of the club magazine contain pleas for remaining members to pledge economic support to the club.

A memo from 1971 notes that no boats competed in any of the national regattas, but in 1978 things were starting to look up again with some older members taking the reins to get exercise rowing happening. The late seventies and early eighties involved a lot of work on the boathouse and materials. There were worries that the boathouse would have to be moved due to expansion plans for Skogshögskolan but thankfully this was not needed.

An upswing in membership in the early eighties was cause for some optimism, but the club was still struggling in the mid-eighties. A few members were able to keep the club afloat, among them Erik, Georg, Anders, Michael, Ian and Leif. Restoration of boats and maintenance of materials was key still, 1988 being dubbed a “restoration year” by chairman Sören Bondeson, and it’s largely thanks to these efforts that the club kept going.

Uppdaterad: 04 FEB 2020 19:28 Skribent: Camilla Rehn
E-post: Adressen Gömd



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Wed 06.30 19.00 (indoor)
Thurs 06.30  
Sat 09.00  
Sun 09.00 10.00




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