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If you’re interested in bike tours of Stockholm or you’re looking for short term bike rental, then Stockholm city bikes could be the perfect solution for you. Above all, it’s a great way to see the city, get fit and save some money on petrol or public transport!

 

One of the easiest and cheapest providers of bicycles are the Stockholm City Bikes and they are available for anyone to rent. The Stockholm City Bikes provide a great way to get from A to B and are a cheap way to tour the city on a sunny day. With the Stockholm city bikes you have two choices: you can either buy a Season Card or a 3 day Card.

How to use the rental system

The first thing you need to do is buy a card; this will give you access to the bikes (You must be 18 years old to rent a bike). There are about 100 bike stands throughout the city and they are open between 6am and 10pm every day. You ‘check out’ your bike using the monitor and card reader located at the bike stand. And now for the fun part: Exploring the city on wheels! As long as you check your bike into one of the bike stations every three hours you can continue to ride all day, in fact you can even trade-in your wheels for a walk at any point and then pick up a new bike at another designated bike stand.

Buying a card

There are several places to buy a bike card; your best bet is a 7-Eleven or Pressbyrån stores near the bike stations.

The SL Centers in the following T-bana underground stations will also sell them:

  • Stockholm Central (lower hall)
  • Fridhemsplan
  • Gullmarsplan
  • Tekniska Högskolan
  • Sergels Torg
  • Slussen

as well as a number of hotels and other retailers

Prices:

Season Card: 250 SEK on the Citybikes website / 300 SEK at retailers.

3-day Card: 165 SEK  (insurance is included)

Be safe! Pick up a helmet for free at Elektravägen 33, Västberga on week days between 07.30-16.00.


Further Info

The blog http://www.walkinstockholm.se has cycling and walking paths that may be helpful.

For more info head to: www.citybikes.se

 

Other Bicycle Operators

http://www.bikesweden.se/en

http://www.rentabike.se/

http://www.gamlastanscykel.se

http://www.bikehike.se

 

Featured Image: Werner Nystrand/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Whether you want to travel by train, bus or even boat – Stockholm’s public transport covers most of the city and its environs. However, for those feeling lost in the jungle of options – or just curious as to what the city offers –  check out the YLC guide to Stockholm’s public transport system!

The first thing to note is that Stockholm transport is operated by  Stockholms Lokaltrafik or SL as it is commonly referred to. The website is pretty informative, but note that when looking for train and bus times/routes on the site, all info is given in Swedish.

 

Local Trains:

Those who want to go by train when moving around in the capital have a few different options. For a good overview of all railway traffic in the city and its environs, click here.

However, they can easily be divided into four: Light rail, Tram, Metro and Commuter trains.

Light rail (Lokalbana – L)

  • Roslagsbanan - Stockholms Östra (Zone A) ->Kärsta, Österkär, Näsbypark (Zone B)
  • Tvärbanan - Alvik -> Nockeby, Sickla Udde (Zone A)
  • Saltsjöbanan - Slussen (Zone A) -> Saltsjöbaden, Solsidan (Zone B)
  • Lidingöbanan - Ropsten -> Gåshaga, Lidingö (Zone A) – Currently under renovation and replaced by buses

Tram/Streetcar  - (Spårväg -S)

Sergels torg -Waldermarsudde (Zone A) 

Metro/Subway  - (Tunnelbanan – T) 

Red, green, blue lines

Commuter train  - (Pendeltåg – J)

 

Buses:

Where to find them:

Where do they go from/to:

Zones A, B, C:

Stockholm county is divided into three transport zones. Although the whole of Stockholm city, the Metro system and several of the nearby suburbs are all in zone A, it isn’t that easy to work out where one zone starts and another ends. For a map over the Stockholm county zones, click here. Ticket prices can vary based on what zones that will be crossed.

Good to note before starting out:

The city centre metro station is called  “T-Centralen” but the railway station (for commuter trains)  is called “Stockholm Central”. The stations are connected by an underground tunnel and you can easily walk between the two, but they are different destinations.

Tickets:

Where to buy:

  • Ticket machines (at subway, some bus stations)
  • SL Centres (eg. Central Station)
  • Ticket agents (eg. Pressbyrån, some 7-11 stores and the occasional supermarket)
  • SMS – this requires pre-registering here and then you must text  076-720 10 10 with your journey details as advised here.
  • Note that tickets for the bus cannot be purchased on the bus itself!

Types:

  • 1 trip (price depends on zones) 
  • Short time periods: 24 or 72 hours 
  • Long time periods:1 week, 1 month, 3 months, summer (May-August), or annual
  • Visitor tickets (English): travel cards and zone tickets for short visits to Sthlm
  • Discounts: Reduced prices for students (over 20 yrs., min. 75% studies, has a student card) and seniors (over 65 yrs.), and special deals for beneficiaries
  • Kids : An adult with a child in a pram travels on Stockholm buses for free – but not on the metro or other rail. Children < 7 years do not need an SL ticket. There are special discounts on weekends for kids 7-11yrs.
  • SMS ticketsto use these one must register with SL, terms and conditions can be read here (Swedish):
  • Travelling to Bålsta,Gnesta, Uppsala: requires additional ticket, as these destinations lie outside Stockholm county 

Additional info on choosing the right tickets (in Swedish) can be found here.

Boats:

Stockholm is a city on water and therefore it is worth noting that often it is possible to choose to go by boat. With an SL ticket or Stockholm card, there are several boatrides one can take at no extra cost:

For timetables – look for boat times on SL as you would for a normal train ride or see the boat websites.

NOTE: These are free of charge when you have a period ticket (eg. 1, 3, 7, 30, 90 day tickets), NOT valid for single-trip tickets!

Railway:

If you plan on leaving Stockholm via public transit, chance are you’ll be on the railway. Swedish rail is operated by Statens Järnvägar (SJ). To purchase tickets online click on the link. These can also be bought in the SJ ticket machines at the stations, on your cell phone, or by calling SJ customer services. There are several types of tickets available; 1st & 2nd class tickets, last-minute tickets as well as  Arctic Circle passes.

Most stations will have lockers where luggage can be stored. SJ services also include booking hotels and rental cars.

Train trips:

Airport train – the Arlanda Express:

  • 20 minute train ride  to Arlanda airport (no stops)
  • Leaves every ½ hour from both locations (starting 5 mins. past the hour)
  • Tickets can be bought: at Central Station at tracks 1 & 2, at Arlanda Airport, online, on board the train (with 50kr surcharge), at Pressbyrån, at your travel agency
  • See website for timetables, fares, and discounts

 

Other YLC top tips for using SL services:

SL Parking (Infartsparking):

  • FREE (w/ exceptions)
  • Check under the different municipalities in the list for # of available parking spaces

Konståkningar’:

  • Guided tour of the artwork found in subway stations (Red, green, & blue lines)
  • No extra cost – just need a valid SL ticket
  • 1.5 hour guided tour (see the website for times and meeting places – Swedish)

Bikes:

Many choose to take their bike in and around town – not to mention using those that can be borrowed during the spring/summer season – but there are some pretty strict rules for bringing them onto public transport:

  • Bicycles are NOT permitted on buses, subways, and light rail
  • Specific rules on pendeltåg (commuter trains). For a full list of rules (in Swedish) click here.

 

Ikea Bus:

  • The Ikea bus is free of charge
  • Leaves Vasagatan 18 (outside Stockholm Central Station) every hour 10:00-19:00
  • Leaves Ikea every half hour starting at 10:30; last bus leaves Kungens Kurva at 19:30
  • Stops along the way back are: Hornstull, Fridhemsplan and Kungsholms-torg
  • Does NOT operate on weekends

 

Research: Carmel Heiland

Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/Imagebank Sweden

Stockholm is divided into many distinctive neighbourhoods, each with their own unique character. Not surprising, considering it’s a city spread across 14 major islands in an archipelago. The island topography of Stockholm is rich with historical architecture, out-door cafés, bohemian boutiques, gourmet markets, posh shopping boulevards, and thriving commercial districts. All of which is set against the backdrop of glittering blue water and gliding sailboats. The following is a list of the various neighbourhoods that make up YOUR living city – Stockholm.

Sweden_Relocation

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan (the Old Town), is the original Stockholm dating back to the 13th century. Here, ornate 17th-century preserved houses line narrow cobbled streets that splinter off into alley-ways heading in all directions. This area is packed with pubs, restaurants, kitschy souvenir shops, and spectacular harbour views – making this small section the most popular destination for tourists.It’s also conveniently located between, bustling Norrmalm to the north and hip Södermalm to the south bridging the two distinct areas. The bulk of Gamla Stan is on the island of Stadsholmen. Riddarholmen, the tiny island just to the west, is also usually considered part of Gamla Stan.

What not to miss: Mårten Trotzigs gränd - the narrowest alleyway on the island at only 90 centimetres across at its narrowest point.

Local’s tip: Stop for a while under the chestnut tree on Brända Tomten (crossing Kindstugatan/Själagårdsgatan) and feel the heartbeat of the old city. Then head to Gråmunken Café and fika in the cellars under the city!

 

Norrmalm

Norrmalm is an active and hectic district characterized by Stockholm’s buzzing Central Station, the shopping crowds in Drottninggatan, and an abundance of cultural facilities such as: Kulturhuset, the Royal Opera, St. Jacobs Church, Sweden House, and several ample parks.

The neighbourhood’s more modern areas are packed with a variety of retail shops, Stockholm’s largest department stores as well as government buildings. Despite the unavoidable tourist traffic, the vast majority of the crowds in Norrmalm are residents. This area is the beating heart of modern Stockholm.

What not to miss: Shopping in the very heart of the city. Sampling local produce on Hötorget square. The beautiful white structure of Adolf Fredriks Church, where late prime minister Olof Palme is buried.

Local’s tip: For the biggest slabs of cake and cinnamon buns this side of Uppsala – head to Café Egoiste in the MOOD Galleria. They are enormous!

 

Södermalm

Södermalm is a favorite borough among many locals. The island forms the southern part of the main city and is THE definition of urban Stockholm. A hipster revolution has turned this once working-class neighbourhood, into a hot-spot for artists, musicians, hip designers, bohemian cafés, edgy shops, and funky restaurants.

This area is home to some of the most diverse and sought after addresses in all of Stockholm, from the Art Nouveau apartments on Mariatorget to centuries-old cottages stacked on the cliffs above the sea on Mälarstrand and Fjällgatan.

Away from the major sights and museums, Södermalm is most enjoyed by locals. Further south in Söder, things become much more residential with wide streets, tall apartment buildings, and less glam stores.

What not to miss: Götgatan on a sunny day, for shopping and people-watching. The Nytorget area for the nicest and most hipster-friendly bars and cafés in the city. Kaffe on St Paulsgatan, for the best reindeer toastie the city can offer! (Mind they only take cash, though.)

Local’s tip: Walking along Monteliusvägen you get THE best view of the city! Hard to find for most that are not locals -it is a rite of passage to discover this walk!

 

Kungsholmen

Kungsholmen is an expanding residential area, situated between Södermalm and Östermalm. This is a calmer area of the city centre with plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars and is currently undergoing urban development in hopes of creating better access to its sprawling parks and waterfront trails. This project will make it possible to walk all the way around Kungsholmen.

What not to miss: Lunch at Mälarpaviljongen in the summer months, Taylor’s and Jones’ British-style Butcher’s shop on Hantverkargatan.

Local’s tip: If you haven’t met up in Rålis (Rålambshovsparken) with friends for a game of Kubb, then you haven’t lived. Used for all sorts of gatherings, from Midsummer to Guy Fawkes (true story) this is THE park for meet-ups in Stockholm.

ola+ericson-view+over+djurgarden

Photo Credit: Ola Ericson/Imagebank Sweden

Djurgården

This island  is ideal for walks and picnics and for families and tourists to visit the open-air museum Skansen or amusement park Gröna Lund. Kungliga Djurgården (The Royal Animal Park) – as it is officially called – is a forested island which serves as the summer recreation area of Stockholm. It’s easily accessible by bus or tram. But many Stockholmers would swear that there is only two ways to get there i the summer: by strolling down the lovely Strandvägen while eating an ice-cream or by enjoying the salty splashes of the water while journeying over on the ferry. The island is host to many museums, galleries and monuments and attracts 10 million visitors a year.

What not to miss: Liljewalchs art gallery (especially for the spring exhibition), the kanelbullar (or any other baked goods) from the little bakery at open air museum Skansen, the virtual dancing experience at the ABBA museum (of course), Rosendals Trädgård.

Local’s tip: In the back streets next to amusement park Gröna Lund, one can glimpse a view of what the area looked like before it was overrun by modern society. yet few people know where to look. Also, don’t miss climbing out onto the cliffs by the water at Waldermarsudde for THE best views.

 

Vasastan

Vasastaden (The Stone City) is marked by the massive stone buildings that line its city blocks and is made up of a fashionable bourgeois residential area located close to cafés, shops and IT and media offices.

What not to miss: Vasaparken, Observatorielunden, Vanadislunden and the Tegnerlunden park square, making this area perfect for a summer stroll.

Local’s tip: Café Ritorno on Odengatan next to the park. Just going in there makes you feel intellectual. Also it is one of the last old school Stockholm cafés left.

 

Östermalm

This is the most elegant and most exclusive part of town with some of the city’s most impressive buildings, high-end specialty shops and stately apartment blocks with flats that are sold for absurd amounts of money.

What not to miss: Humlegården and the National Library. The lovely Karlavägen boulevard and Karlaplan roundabout – the heart of Östermalm. The English Church near the water on Dag Hammarskjölds väg is by far one of the most beautiful in Stockholm.

Local’s tip: There is nothing that beats walking Strandvägen from Nybroplan to Djurgårdsbron. Make sure not to miss the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten) on your way. On sunny days half of Stockholm will be found lounging on its stairs.

ola+ericson-hammarby+sjostad

 

Suburbs

South of the City Centre, a large number of high-density suburbs spread out along the metro system and the three main highways leading towards Värmdö, Nynäshamn and Södertälje. Closest to the City Centre is Gröndal, Midsommarkransen and Hammarby Sjöstad, an ultra-modern large residential district built in an old harbour.

Northwest Stockholm consists of both expensive districts such as Bromma and of high-rise suburbs such as Rinkeby, Tensta and Akalla. Some other major districts close to the City Centre are Solna, Sundbyberg and Kista, the area home to the Swedish telecom and ICT industry.

Northeast Stockholm consists mainly of calm and affluent suburbs along the highways towards Norrtälje and Uppsala. Here one can find Djursholm, the home of Swedish billionares, and neighborhoods such as Sollentuna, Täby, Åkersberga and Österåker.

East of Stockholm the vast archipelago stretches out in all directions. Located in the middle of the archipelago is the large island Värmdö that can be reached by highway, and thousands of surrounding islands, of which several are permanently inhabited. Many of these islands can be reached by passenger ferries departing from Nybroplan or the Grand Hotel in the city centre, or from seaside towns out east such as Vaxholm, Stavsnäs and Dalarö. The archipelago is a very popular place to have a weekend/vacation house, so the population multiplies each summer.

 

Photo Credits: Ola Ericson/Imagebank Sweden and Nicho Södling/Imagebank Sweden

 

Plans to be healthy fading as quick as temperatures drop? No need – we’ve got just the thing for you! Last one in is a couch-potato!

Sweden is a nation that swims, whether it’s indoors during the colder months or outside when we have that window of warmth.  Stockholm has a number of great indoor swimming halls – some with water parks, as well as a few that are a bit further afield but that are well worth the journey.

Note that all swimming halls have lockers in which to store your things but most require that you bring your own padlock or purchase one (30 – 40 kronor) at reception. Most also have some sort of café or restaurant, usually serving burgers or similar fare and while you are welcome to bring your own food at most, some do have a ban on bringing your own food , so do check ahead if you’re thinking of a packed lunch. 

 

Eriksdalsbadet

This is the granddaddy of them all. Eriksdalsbadet is Sweden’s National Swimming Hall and depending on when you go you may just get the chance to watch one of Sweden’s top swimming stars train. Featuring a 50 m pool, a 25 m pool, a smaller 25 m pool with an adjustable bottom for kids, a dedicated diving hall, and a great water park that allows you to swim outside in the winter Eriksdalsbadet is really one of the gems of Stockholm. In summer it also opens four outdoor pools. Weekends are sometimes host to swimming meets, both big and small, so check ahead before heading over.

Where: Hammarby Slussväg 20

When: Mon-Thurs. 6.30-21.00, Fri 6.30-20.00, Sat-Sun. 9.00-18.00

Damage: Adults 90 SEK, Students, Senior Citizens 60 SEK, Kids Age 4-19 40 SEK. 2 adults + 1-2 kids – 220 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 130 SEK. Free entry for kids under 4, helpers for the disabled.

Contact:  08-508 402 50, eriksdalsbadet.idrott@stockholm.se

Website

 

Farsta sim- & idrottshall

Located just south of the city, Farsta is a great place to get your laps in with the kids, then have some fun in the adventure bath.

Where: Farstaängsvägen 3, Farsta

When: Varies, see site

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

Contact: 08-508 472 27, cilla.thungstrom@stockholm.se

Website 

 

GIH-badet

This swimming hall is part of the Swedish School for Sport and Health Sciences. It features a 25 m pool, sauna and classes at all hours of the day and night.

Where: Drottning Sofias Väg 20, Östermalm

When: Varies, see site

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

2 adults + 1-2 kids – 160 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 90 SEK.

Contact: 08-508 411 78,  tomas.persson@stockholm.se

Website

 

Skärholmens sim- och idrottshall

The pool at southern suburb Skärholmen is part of a larger sports complex. This one is for the more gentle swimmer, kids and also offers dedicated women’s time.

Where: Bodholmsgången 10, Stockholm

When: Mon-Thursday 6.30-21. Friday 6.30- 20. Sat 8-30-10 Women only, 10-17 open for everyone, Sun 10-17

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

2 adults + 1-2 kids – 160 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 90 SEK.

Contact:  08-508 488 00, moa.autio@stockholm.se

Website

 

Liljeholmsbadet

Liljeholmsbadet offers dedicated times for both men and women in it’s large pool and sauna, along with mixed swims and family-onlyl times.

Where: Bergsunds Strand 26, Stockholm

When: Monday 7-19 women only, Tues-Wed 7-16, Thursday 7-17, Friday 7-19 men only, Sat 8-14 family fun in the pool

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

2 adults + 1-2 kids – 160 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 90 SEK.

Contact: 08-668 67 80, imre.nagy@stockholm.se

Website

 

Forsgrénskabadet

Located in the heart of Södermalm this hall offers a 25 m pool, a teaching pool and a wading pool for the kids. It also has a swim school and offers ‘motionswim’ for those who want to get their aquatic exercise.

Where: Medborgarplatsen 6, Stockholm

When: Varies, see site

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

2 adults + 1-2 kids – 160 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 90 SEK.

Contact: 08-508 403 20,  zoi.bergstrom@stockholm.se

Website

 

Vällingby sim- och idrottshall

Not the most extensive swimming hall in town but it does have a pool for laps as well as an adventure bath for the kids (and the kid in you).

Where: Bräckegatan 5, Vällingby

When: Varies, see site

Damage: Adults 70 SEK.  Kids 0-3 free if accompanied by paying adult. Kids 3-19 20 SEK. Seniors, students, unemployed 50 SEK.

2 adults + 1-2 kids – 160 SEK, 1 adult + 1-2 kids – 90 SEK.

Contact: 08-508 418 20, vallingbyhallen.idrott@stockholm.se

Website

 

Further afield:

 

Actic Södertälje, Sydpoolen

A bit further afield, Sydpoolen in Södertälje is enormous fun, with an adventure bath featuring a wave pool, several slides and loads of strange little places to swim about.  It also has the obligatory lap pools for straight out exercise.

Where: Östra Kanalgatan 2, Södertälje

When: Varies, see site

Damage:  Adults 100 SEK. Kids, Seniors, Students 80 SEK. 1 Adult + 1-3 kids 240 SEK, 2 Adults + 1-3 kids 280 SEK.

Contact: 08-554 42 800

Website

 

Fyrishov, Uppsala

Nearly an hour from Stockholm Fyrishov is a daytrip to be savoured.  The water park is huge and features a number of slides, a pirate’s island, caves, tunnels and a smaller area for the youngest.  It also has a huge pool for laps, diving boards for the brave and a tunnel through which you can swim outdoors and have a snowball fight in your swimsuit. Summertime sees the outdoor pool open for even more fun.

Where: Idrottsgatan 2, Uppsala

When: Mon-Fri swimming pool 6.15-21, water park 9-21.30. Sat, Sun and red day pool 7.30-21, water park 9-21

Damage: Varies, see site

Contact: 018-727 49 50

Website

 

So there you have it folks, no reason to lounge indoors and blame the lethargy on the cold weather!  AND for those who are made of sterner stuff - THIS  and THIS is where to go for an icy outdoor swim! Missing the thrill but not ready for the chill of an outdoor dipin January? Most of us will probably wait until when the temperatures start turning upwards again, but when they do –  don’t miss out guide to the best Stockholm beaches and summer splashpools!

 

Click HERE for a complete list of  swimming halls in and around the city, and HERE to see them on a map! Haven’t listed your favourite pool? Write a note in the comments with your recommendation – we love hearing from you!

 

 

Research: Carmel Heiland

For more info on what is going on in Stockholm – follow YourLivingCity on Twitter!

Just moved to Sweden? Feeling like a fish out of water? There’s no need! Let the Global Expat Centre in Stockholm be your home away from home!

Named Best Practice in Talent Support by the EU’s BSR Project in 2013, the Global Expat Centre offers language training, cross-cultural services and job support, along with a wide range of social activities that will swiftly help you settle into your new life.

The centre was singled out for their exemplary work, being cited for their ‘total solution’ approach in covering the needs of international families and workers. At the Global Expat Centre, they don’t just teach you the language, they offer members a variety of activities to get you out and participating in the life and language of Sweden.

 

Language Courses: Swedish for Internationals

Learning the language is of course an important first step when arriving in a foreign country. Being able to communicate with people around you on a daily basis, whether it’s to order a meal or simply ask for directions, can’t be overrated. But when it comes to language training – what suits one, might not suit another – and that’s why the Global Expat Centre offers both group- and individual classes – tailored to the needs of expatriates and internationals.

All the teachers have experience of expat life themselves and can therefore provide students with the practical language knowledge necessary to make their time in Sweden more productive and enjoyable, both professionally and socially.

Lessons are built around day-to-day experiences, allowing newcomers to swiftly feel comfortable in everyday life situations.

Group lessons are kept small (8-10 students), giving students the benefits of individual coaching while not losing the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. However, private lessons are also available and can be booked at the time and place most convenient to the student, whether at the centre, in the student’s home or place of work. Intensive courses, tailored to the specific needs of the student, are also available throughout the year.

To secure your spot or to find out more, contact the centre HEREall group lessons start Week 6  (3rd – 7th February) 2014.

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The Global Expat Centre is located in Vasastan, close to Odenplan Metro Station

 

Cross-Cultural Training: Solving the cultural puzzle

Anyone who has relocated to another country knows that a new language must be put into context, and GEC therefore provides coaching in Swedish culture and social code. These go a long way in helping you avoid sometimes hugely embarrassing social or work faux pas.

You don’t want to be the one guest who shows up at a dinner party with flowers still in their paper, or waltzing into the living room with your shoes still on your feet!  

The Cross-cultural workshop Welcome to Sweden, Focus on Stockholm, helps answer questions and to introduce newcomers to the quirks (and irks) of daily life in a foreign city. If you have ever asked yourself questions like “Why do Swedes always remove their shoes indoors?” and “Why does no one want to chat to me on the bus?”– this is the course for you! The workshop is free of charge for Global Expat Centre members but is also open to paying non-members.

Whatever your particular needs – the Global Expat Centre provides its students with the tools to make the most of their stay in the city. To make your Stockholm experience one that will stay with you for a lifetime – HERE is where you join! For more information or to book an appointment contact Global Expat Centre Stockholm.

GEC2

Activities and get-togethers are all part of the learning experience

Full Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Global Expat Centre Stockholm.  At Your Living City, we only choose to work with partners that we feel would help our readers; these select few are chosen for our sponsored articles. 

We are one week into our training program. Hopefully you are motivated, feeling good and happy about what you are achieving – a healthier you!

mountain-real main

Making smart choices shouldn’t be a burden but a privilege, so be proud!. Speaking of smart – let’s set some smart goals for ourselves.

How often hasn’t it happened that you start a training program only to lose motivation and stop what you are doing only to repeat the process all over again? Let’s talk goals and how you can achieve yours. Here are some easy to follow steps:

 

 “What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

 

Here’s what I want you to do:

1)  Grab a pen and paper. At the top, write down “What I want to be able to do by 2015”. Write everything that comes to mind. Climb a mountain, pick up yoga, start running or find a gym friend. Bench press 100 KG or run your first marathon. Learn to do a handstand or just get your bum off the sofa 10 minutes a day. Go nuts!

2) Select three of these things and really think about them. These are going to be your primary goals.

3)  Break the goals down into something measurable. For instance, “Climb a mountain” could be to find the specific mountain outside your house (or maybe climb Kebnekaise on a foggy Sunday afternoon?)

4)  Break this down into smaller and more accurate goals. Such as, once a week I will go walking up the mountain behind my house. Progressively do it quicker and quicker.

5)  Finally, book a time for when you are going to climb Kebnekaise. Keep that date sacred and do everything you can until then to improve your athletic fitness. If unsure, consult a training coach or ask someone who is good at goal setting.

 

 Right! Now that that’s cleared out of the way let’s focus on your training regime!

 

Warm up:

Invest in a jump rope. They can be very cheap and allow you to do an amazing amount of work without having to go outside. You can buy them at any sports shop, such as Stadium or Intersport.

100 regular jumps

50 jumps back and forward from one leg to another

20 jumps left leg

20 jumps right leg

 

Monday:

10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 repetitions of Sit-ups

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 repetitions of Squats

 

Here’s what you do:  10 sit-ups followed by 1 squat. After you do 9 sit-ups followed by 2 squats. Eventually you will do 1 sit-up followed by 10 squats.

 

 Wednesday:

50 Jumping lunges

40 sit-ups

30 squats

20 push-ups

10 burpees

 

 Do this and I promise you that your butt, legs and upper body will get a good workout.

 

Friday:

Tabatta intervals:

(start a clock, do repetitions for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this for a total of eight rounds, which is four minutes).

Interval # 1

Jump rope (as many jumps as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeat 8 times)

Rest 1 minute

Interval # 2

Squats (as many repetitions as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeat 8 times)

Rest 1 minute

Interval # 3

Hold plank position (Hold for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeat 8 times).

Done!

 

Good luck everyone! Remember to scale the workouts if they are to hard or easy. You can regulate the intensity through changing the time requirement or the amount of repetitions or sets. Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to stretch after you have been training. (Perhaps add in the couch stretch video here). Have a great week, workout hard and let me know if you have any questions what so ever!

 

 

Karl Gullö

Karl is a licensed personal trainer based at Crossfit Södermalm. He works with private clients, as well as groups. For more information or to book a time contact him at Karlgullo@crossfitsodermalm.se

To keep updated on all things Stockholm – follow Your Living City on Twitter!

You survived the holidays but now your jeans are too tight and you feel like you’re carrying around an extra skinka. Well, it’s a new year, which means new starts and new resolutions – or maybe just the desire to get back that fabulous shape you had before multiple visits to the julbord and enough champagne to bathe in.

KarlGullö-Main-article1

For many getting back into our workout routine – or starting a new one – can be a hardship; you feel so out of shape that you never really get started. I mean, how many people didn’t say on the 31:st that they’re going to fit into their favourite jeans only to wake up with a pounding headache the morning after – and absolutely no motivation to get started.

Here’s the good news: the first of January is over and I am here to help you to get of that couch and into great shape, one step at a time. First off, training does not have to take up your whole life. It does not have to cost a fortune and, if you’re pressed for time like many of us, it can be done at home.

All I require is that you dedicate 30 minutes a day, three times a week for one month and you will see significant improvements.

Start off by asking yourself why you want to do this. Hang up a photo of your goal or set aside some money for when you have completed this one month challenge.  Every week we will post your daily regime. I will write Monday, Wednesday and Friday as your designated workout dates. These dates are not set in stone. Feel free to play around with the dates as long as you get one day of rest in between. It is best, though, that you decide specific times that work for you when you workout. Sit down Monday and plan your week. Schedule 30 minutes for these workouts and then let that time be sacred!

Week One:

Warm up: Put on a really motivational song (think: Eye of the tiger or whatever gets your heart pumping). Start jogging in place and pick out a significant part of the song to jump (for instance the “DUM” in the beginning of said song). Jump as high as you can and clap your hands above your head. Get psyched and pumped! You can even slap yourself in the face if you are hard core – or maybe not. The idea here is to get your heart rate up and start the blood coursing through your veins. Let’s get started:

Monday:

10 Lunges left leg

10 Lunges right leg

10 Knee to plank Push ups (or from your feet if you have the strength

Do as many rounds possible in ten minutes. Get your heart rate up!

Wednesday:

20 Squat Jumps

20 Sit ups

20 Walking planks (think of it as moving forward like a crab)

Try to do at least 4 rounds …but 5 are better!

Friday:

Burpee Squats

(Do as many rounds as possible in 7 minutes – or more if you can handle it!)

That’s it! Week one! On Friday I want you to give yourself a huge pat on the back, high-five the mirror (don’t break it) and relax! Be proud of yourself and start to feel the small changes you’ll already be experiencing.  These workouts do an amazing job of tightening your core, keeping your legs and butt toned and working that upper body. This is the first step towards getting your julskinka to disappear!

Next week we’ll take it up a small notch we’ll get you back in fighting shape in no time!

Karl Gullö

Karl is a licensed personal trainer based at Crossfit Södermalm. He works with private clients, as well as groups. For more information or to book a time contact him at Karlgullo@crossfitsodermalm.se

To keep updated on all things Stockholm – follow Your Living City on Twitter!

Ready to open your home for a small friend in need? Willing to take over responsibility for a cat in need of a home? Peter Vinthagen Simpson did just that this Christmas.

cat-kitten-xmas

“Yessssss!”

The reaction of a nine-year-old animal-lover when told that the homeless cat home had finally got in touch to say that they had a litter of four kittens and their nursing mum in need of a home.

girl-catsWe had signed up as a prospective foster home earlier in the year after having been resisting increasingly persistent requests from the kids for a pet, due to our somewhat transient lifestyles. The idea of looking after some feline friends for a few months seemed to suit us.

As the holiday season approaches one is typically reminded, to resist the temptation to buy pets as presents. The phrase “a pet is for life, not just for Christmas” is a mantra which is familiar to many people, and understood by most.

That our first period as cat foster parents happened to coincide with Christmas is just that, a coincidence, but for those looking to have a little furry animal company but who are unable to make the lifetime commitment, Christmas can come but more than once a year.

Our pending arrivals furthermore gave us the chance to visit that neighbourhood pet shop which we had walked past all these years and around 1,000 SEK  later we were equipped to feed (and collect the waste) of our little brood.

The idea is that the foster family falls in love with one or more of the cats and elects to keep them. With 11 weeks remaining of our little cat Christmas, the jury remains out on that. Failing that, the foster family’s job is to try to find suitable homes. Failing THAT the cats are returned.

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The home pays for veterinary expenses and all cats are delivered vaccinated, chipped, wormed and adult cats are neutered. Foster families are able to keep the cats after their “trial period” at no charge, others pay an adoption fee of 1,100 SEK for one, 1,800 for two.

If you feel ready to open your home for a cat in need or want to find out more,  click here. To discuss fostering or pets in general, head over to our forum!

 

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Peter is an independent writer based in Stockholm.

 

John Sjölund saves lives. Having co-created a device that makes life easier and safer for those with diabetes, he’s taking the medical world by storm from Stockholm and London. YLC’s Kirsten Smart gets the dose from the Timesulin creator.

John Sjolund 2 copyJohn Sjölund pictured with the potentially live saving Timesulin devices.

Approximately 388 million people have diabetes. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes is predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030, with total deaths from the condition projected to rise by over 50% in the next 10 years.

The two most prevalent types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. A vast majority of those living with diabetes fall into the Type 2 category, which is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin (needed to enable the body to store glucose) or builds up a resistance to it. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 can often be prevented through diet and exercise and those with it are frequently able to control it without the use of insulin injections. Type 1, on the other hand, is a result of the body’s flat out failure to produce insulin and those who live with it need to receive the hormone via injections or a pump in order to maintain blood sugar levels. Only about 5 -10% of those with diabetes have Type 1.

The problem

Swedish-born, US-raised ex-expat, Sjölund, falls into this minority.

Having lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 28 years, Sjölund takes over 1,500 insulin injections per year.

The worst feeling for him, though wasn’t the 42 000 odd needle pricks he has had to administer himself, but rather the feeling of panic associated with not being able to recall whether he had taken his insulin shot or not, as the practice had become so habitual. “It’s like forgetting whether or not you turned the coffee machine off or locked your front door.”  Sjölund explains, “I often found myself second-guessing whether or not I had taken my medicine.”

Sjölund isn’t alone in feeling this dosage dread. In fact it’s a common complaint amongst those with diabetes and the problem is twofold as the consequences of under or over dosing can be life threatening. “An accidental double dose can be extremely dangerous as your blood glucose levels will drop and this could lead to a coma, or even death. So I wanted a simple solution that would show me the time lapsed since my last insulin shot to help avoid an accidental missed or double dose of insulin – along with the dread of not being sure.”

“With a forgotten insulin injection you eventually get the symptoms of high blood glucose levels, but by that time you’re already feeling ill,” says Sjölund. To tackle this problem, he and his brother set about inventing a way in which one could track the time between injections in order to prevent potentially life threatening dosage mistakes. Thus the Timesulin device was born.

The Solution

Launched in 2011 by Sjölund and his brother, Andreas (a co-creator of Skype), Timesulin aims to make life with diabetes as simple and worry-free as possible for those who use insulin injections. The lightweight, battery-operated replacement cap fits on to the most common brands of insulin pens just like the cap of a pen. After administering a dosage of insulin, all the user needs to do it replace the cap on the pen and immediately the Timesulin device begins visibly to count the numbers of seconds, minutes and hours since you last took your shot. It’s simple, effective and easy to use and best of all it could just save lives. In a word, it’s genius.

Before inventing Timesulin, Sjölund worked for Acceleration E-Marketing in Cape Town, South Africa. The company enabled him fantastic opportunities to grow, learn and travel, as he worked for their offices in Cape Town, New York and London, where he eventually left to start up Patients Pending LTD, the company behind the product, Timesulin.

After founding the company in September 2010, the Timesulin team opened an additional office in Stockholm in January 2013, from where they cover the Nordic markets and manage all online sales.

“Stockholm has proven to be a great place, both to live and work from. We are surrounded by smart people who share the common value system of helping others.”

“The city is also a hub for innovation and design – both elements in which Timesulin shines. I feel very lucky to have been able to plant our roots in the UK and now blossom this tree over here in Stockholm.”

Little Fish, Big Splash

And blossomed it has.The Timesulin device is already a best-selling product in Europe’s largest diabetes charity organization, Diabetes UK, and the company has distribution partners in over 45 countries around the globe. Sjölund himself was listed as one of the TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young People) in Sweden in 2012 and was invited to meet British Prime Minister, David Cameron, at Downing Street to talk about being a Small/Medium Enterprise in the UK.

“To be honest we’ve been very surprised at the reaction we’ve received from the market for such a simple device,” says Sjölund.

“Most importantly for me, though, are the letters we receive from Timesulin users from all over the world saying that we’ve helped them live safer, more balanced lives with diabetes – that is my ultimate goal.”

But despite their success, it’s not always smooth sailing.

“We’re a small business in a land of huge, mega pharmaceutical companies and the barriers to entry in a new market with a medical device is high. But we’re thrilled with the support we receive from our customers and fans and we’re continuing to expand our relationships with bigger pharmaceutical companies and diabetes associations. We also have some exciting new launches planned for next year; including product ideas that we believe could make a huge impact.”

The prospect of making a bigger impact is certainly an exciting one. If a product like Timesulin could reach more middle and low-income countries where, according to the WHO, 80% of diabetes-related deaths occur, the effects would potentially be literally life altering. This kind of goal would take a lot of support and more years of hard work, but luckily for this young entrepreneur, time is on his side.

 

Check out Timesulin’s super funky, informative ad:

 

*Timesulin is currently looking for investment into the business to help improve the lives of those living with diabetes. If you’d like to be part of the next phase of Timesulin, contact them on +44 200 333 1879 or via e-mail at biz@timesulin.com. To find out more about Timesulin, visit their website, Facebook page or follow them on Twitter to show your support.

 

Kirsten Smart

Kirsten blindly followed her husband from South Africa to the land of snow and snus in 2011 and proceeded to procreate. When she isn’t discovering the 101st use of the humble wet wipe, she can be found writing adjective-laden articles for YLC.

me1 1 e1381346897680 Extraordinary Expats: Arno Smit of FundedByMe

 

Follow Kirsten and Your Living City on Twitter! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever feel like the sore thumb in Sweden? This week, YLC’s mental health expert, Lysanne Sizoo, discusses the difficulties associated with simultaneously adjusting to another culture and a new work environment abroad.

lena_granefelt-workplace_environment-2651Photo: Lena Granefelt/imagebank.sweden.se

So you’ve found a job in Sweden, made the move, and started work. Grattis! If everything is going swimmingly, then you’ve cracked the first few numbers of the cultural code. If not, you may be suffering from double culture shock.

Almost everyone feels anxious when starting a new job. We wonder whether we’ll be liked and if we’ll be able to handle the responsibilities and workload. On top of these normal anxieties, we are in a foreign country, struggling to learn a new language (as Swedish is often a requirement in the country’s workplace). Sometimes we have elevated expectations of the time it takes to be relatively  fluent, and other times we bend the truth at the job interview, hoping for the best. But, six months down the line, there’s one thing we don’t often prepare ourselves for: the clash between remaining true to your own culture and adjusting to the new, working environment and the country’s culture.

Company vs. Country Culture

Research from Randstad, the second largest HR company in the world, shows that more than two thirds of adult employees recognize the importance of adapting to their company’s environment in order to succeed in the organisation. But, when you’re working in a Swedish environment, it’s not always easy to see where the separation lies between company culture and the Swedish culture. So my advice would be to allow yourself time to sort out the ‘rules of engagement’ and get plenty of rest, because your mind is working overtime trying constantly to listen and observe.

Even if you’re working for a company that represents your own culture (like in an embassy or school), don’t expect things to be the same as they are at home.

Relating with co-workers is an important step in this process, but, in your enthusiasm to please, you may not notice how your own cultural conditioning on ‘getting to know people’ doesn’t fit in. “I came from New York with a very American ‘shooting the breeze’ kind of approach when I first started working here”, relates one of my friends, “but I seemed to meet a lot of resistance, and after a few months I was told that this is not how things are done in Sweden.”

One oft-heard piece of advice from recruitment companies is to ask a lot of questions. However, where in some cultures this would be seen as positive, curious and willing to learn, in others it may be interpreted as not being able to cope. If it’s the latter, you may find yourself being pushed from pillar to post, because no one wants to give you a clear answer and take responsibility for perhaps getting it wrong. So ask for help for the right reasons, because in the end, new culture or not, it’s always better to admit when we’re in over our heads.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to announce the fact that you are a newcomer and a foreigner and that you will be found putting your foot in it occasionally. If you can laugh about it, others will too.

I’ve frequently heard clients reflect with regret on the fact that new colleagues aren’t always forthcoming in including them in their lunches or after work engagements. Others hoped that they would have help settling in, but have instead been left to their own devices.  If these colleagues are Swedish, they might just be reluctant to intrude on your privacy; it might not be that they’re not inviting YOU as a person, they’re just letting time do the hard work for them and suddenly one day you’ll find yourself heading out of the door with them at lunchtime, without any explicit invitations ever being issued. On the other hand,  If your colleagues have a mixed cultural background, they may just be curious to wait and see how you fit in to the international melting pot.

Timing is Everything

Just as new boyfriends or girlfriends don’t want to be compared to the previous models, neither do new colleagues and managers. If they are  local to the host country they especially will not appreciate being told how things are done in your previous company or country. Of course, it’s natural for us to compare one with the other, but save your research results for discussions with those who sympathise and concur, or when asked for an assessment by your managers.

First impressions often only tell us something about the superficial layer of the new culture, so it’s probably wise to wait a few months before judging your new situation too harshly.

National recruiters generally advise clients to expect things to be tough for the first three months. With international recruitment, I would extend that to anywhere from six months to a year.

What we see when we coach international employees at Turning Point is that the first glimmers of a potential conflict between the ‘old me’ and the ‘new me’ begin to appear six to twelve months after the first day of work. Again, you have probably been fighting the culture shock on a private and corporate front, so you have been taking on a lot of messages about how to behave in order to be accepted.

There has also been time for the realisation to sink in that you are not on holiday, and that the way you used to do things may not work in your new environment. We miss the ‘mirrors’ from home that tell us who were are and how to act. But at the same time, our new mirrors show us a different side of ourselves and present us with the opportunity to grow. However, what often happens is that we end up giving ourselves an ultimatum: either I learn to become reticent or I have to leave, because that’s just not ‘me’.

As I wrote in the article on changing identities abroad, the challenge is not to become a different you, but to become more of you. My friend says “I now know that I can be both ‘American’ in my way of meeting clients and colleagues, and be proud of that, but I also know when to melt into the background and be more ‘Swedish’”.

“I am freer to be who I am, because I adjust, not to please others, but to help me perform better. The choice is mine.”

So the moral of the story is to enjoy the adventure of your new international workplace. Don’t be too eager to have it all together within the first few weeks, try to distinguish between the new culture in and outside of your new workplace, and sit on your comparisons for a while until you’ve seen the underlying motivations behind surface behaviour. Most importantly, though, is that you don’t lose who you are in the process; see your new situation as an opportunity to let go of parts of yourself that are no longer useful, and to embrace the new parts your host culture has helped find.

Copyright 2013: Lysanne Sizoo

Lysanne Sizoo

DISCLAIMER

These articles are a composite of my personal, my colleagues’ and

clients’ experiences in order to protect recognition. All therapeutic

meetings are Turning Point are confidential, and specific content would

never be shared in a public forum.

 

If you have any specific problem that you would like Lysanne to consider in her articles, please contact her here (anonymity will always be preserved). 

 

1375118842 header 290713 e1383221623981 Expats and mental health: YOUR questions answered

 

Lysanne Sizoo is the founder and director of Turning Point, the only international counselling centre in Stockholm. In 2008 she obtained her psychotherapy license from the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. She has been practising as a counsellor and psychotherapist since 1997, specialising in the field of cross cultural issues, as well as fertility, bereavement, parenting, anxiety and stress management.