The Name is Bond (The Norrmalmstorg Robbery)

Narrated by Joe Sinclair [1]


The Norrmalmstorg robbery occurred in Sweden in 1973, where it achieved fame for being the first live action drama produced by Swedish television.  It also coined the term Stockholm Syndrome.

How it started

On August 23, 1973, Jan Erik "Janne" Olsson, on leave from prison, walked into a branch of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, central Stockholm. He was wearing sunglasses and an afro wig.  Pulling out a machine gun and firing it in the air, he shouted in English: "The party has only started".  Police were called in immediately, two of them went inside, and Olsson opened fire, injuring one policeman. The other was ordered to sit in a chair and "sing something". He started singing "Lonesome Cowboy". Olsson then took 4 people as hostages. He demanded that his friend and old cellmate Clark Olofsson be brought there, along with 3 million Swedish Krona (US$3 million at today's value), two guns, bullet-proof vests, helmets and a fast car.

Picture shows Clark Olofsson with three of the hostages

The saga continued . . . 

Olofsson was brought in by permission of the government and established a communication link with the police negotiators. One of the hostages, Kristin Ehnemark (not present on the photo), said she was comfortable with the robbers but feared the police might cause trouble by violent methods (this was the beginning of the Stockholm syndrome). The robbers barricaded the inner main vault together with the hostages. The doors to the vault were closed. The robbers were permitted to have a car to escape but were not allowed to take the hostages with them, if they were to leave.

The robber, Olofsson, called up the Prime Minister Olof Palme and said he would kill the hostages, and took a stranglehold on Elisabeth; she was heard screaming as he hung up.

The next day Olof Palme received another call. This time it was Kristin Ehnmark who said she was very displeased with his attitude, asking him to let the robbers and the hostages leave.

Olofsson walked around in the vault singing Roberta Flack's "Killing me softly".

The drama went on. On August 26, the police drilled a hole into the main vault from the apartment above. This was the hole from which the above picture of the hostages and Olofsson was taken. Olsson opened fire and threatened to kill the hostages if any gas attack was attempted. He attached small snare traps to the necks of the hostages which would cause them to strangle themselves in the event of a gas attack. These can be seen on the deposit boxes on the left hand side of the picture.

Some extremely bizarre suggestions for rescuing the hostages were proposed, while the world watched the Swedish TV broadcasts with an interest that far outweighed the dying hours of King Gustav Adolf VI which took place simultaneously at the Royal Palace. These included sending a swarm of bees into the bank vault or filling it with ping-pong balls to drive out Olsson, Olofsson and the hostages. Another idea was to send in inflatable dolls wearing police uniforms - Olsson would fire at them and run out of bullets.  On August 28 the gas was used anyway, and after half an hour the robbers gave up. Nobody was injured physically.

Both Olsson and Olofsson were charged and sentenced to extended imprisonment for the robbery. However Olofsson claimed he didn't help Olsson and was only trying to save the hostages by keeping the situation calm, and at the court of appeals he was freed of any charges. He was later to become friendly with one of the hostages, Kristin Ehnemark, and they met occasionally, their families also becoming friends. Olsson was sentenced to 10 years in prison and has not committed a criminal act since he was released. He got many admiring letters from women who found him attractive. He later got engaged to one of them (not one of the hostages).

The hostages still repeatedly claim they were more frightened of the police than the robbers during their six days of confinement. They clearly identify with their captors, the condition described as the "Stockholm syndrome", a term coined by criminologist Nils Bejerot.

Clark Olofsson has repeatedly committed armed robberies and acts of violence, both before and after the events in 1973, starting at 16 years of age. He was finally released from prison in 1991, but in 1999 he was arrested in Denmark and was sentenced to another 14 years of prison. He has spent some 24 years in prison.


Myths of the Norrmalmstorg Robbery

The most widely publicized myth about the robbery, or rather about the Stockholm syndrome, was that one or both robbers became engaged to their captives. This is simply not true, and may stem from the language barrier: the phrase "engagera sig i ngon" in Swedish, does not mean "to become engaged to someone", but rather "to care deeply about someone" a good example of a homonym or a linguistical false friend).

As stated above, Kristin Ehnemark and Clark Olofsson became friends, and Jan Olsson married one of his female admirers, but there were no engagements between anyone present during the events.


Apart from creating the Stockholm syndrome term, the robbery has inspired a feature film by Hkan Lindh named Norrmalmstorg aired on Swedish television on August 29th 2003.

At the date of the movie, two of the four staff held by Olsson still worked in banking, one had become a psychotherapist and the fourth changed her name and has lived a life of secrecy.

Olofsson went back to his criminal career and was in a Danish jail for drug smuggling.

And Olsson, who after the robbery said he dreamed only of a simple life in a cabin in the forest and a wife,  served eight years in prison for the raid, his last crime, and was living with his family in Bangkok where he was running a supermarket.

[1]   [Main source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia]