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Whether you’re Scottish, a Burns fan or just in the mood for haggis and kilts, YLC has all the info you need to help you host a Burns Supper in Stockholm! Ye’re welcome!

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So, who was this Robert Burns chap anyway?

Poet, philanderer and champion of liberty and social justice, Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns in Scotland) was a pioneer of the Romantic movement. After his death, he became a cultural icon in Scotland, upon whose literature he has a profound influence. As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them and they live on today.

Below are a few immortal lines from the ‘Bard of Scotland’:

Rabbie Burns

The man himself.
Reproduced with kind permission from
East Ayrshire Museums and Galleries

The best laid schemes o’ mice and men

Gang aft a-gley;

And leave us naught but grief and pain

For promised joy.

To a Mouse, st. 7 (1785)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min’?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o’ auld lang syne?

Auld Lang Syne, st. 1 (1788)

The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,

The man’s the gowd for a’ that.

A Man’s A Man For A’ That, st. 1 (1795)

Oh, my Luve is like a red, red rose,

That’s newly sprung in June.

O, my Luve is like the melodie,

That’s sweetly played in tune.

A Red, Red Rose, st. 1 (1794)

 

OK, so what exactly is Burns Night?

St. Andrew’s Day is Scotland’s official national day, but Burns Night is often a bigger event in households. It’s celebrated on Burns’ birthday, 25th January, differing little in format from the very first one, held by his friends, in 1802. They decided to hold a grand dinner, or supper, in honour of the man who had done so much for Scottish literature, reading his best works out to each other in memory. This has been replicated through the years by Scots around the world, partly as a point of national pride.

Suppers will vary slightly in the order and ceremony, but this is our guide to a Burns Supper; follow this and you won’t be far wrong! A more formal Burns Night ceremony may require a black tie dress code of dinner jacket and bow tie or a kilt or Highland dress for the men and evening dress for the ladies. At the very least, it is expected that every guest will wear an article of tartan clothing such as a tartan tie, tartan skirt, tartan trousers or even tartan socks or tartan tights.

 

And the running order would be…?

General welcome and announcements

Everyone is shown to their seats, the more important guests being serenaded by bagpipes.

The Selkirk Grace

Whilst visiting the Earl of Selkirk, Robert Burn recited an old version of a traditional Scottish grace known as the ‘Galloway Grace’ or the ‘Covenanter’s Grace’, which he changed to his style of recital and writing.  The guests were impressed by this new Scottish toast and Burns published it as the ‘Selkirk Grace’ in their honour. Since then it has been said by many a Scots family before formal and informal meals, but especially on this night of nights.

Some hae meat and canna eat,

and some wad eat that want it,

but we hae meat and we can eat,

and sae the Lord be thankit.

 

What should I serve? And what will happen at dinner?

For starters, it’s a good idea to serve a a Scottish soup such as Scotch Broth, Potato Soup or Cock-a-Leekie Soup before the main event of the evening: the Haggis! If you don’t want to make your own, and I don’t blame you, the best place to get hold of one of these magnificent savoury puddings in Stockholm is Taylors & Jones.

A formal Burns Supper would consist of the haggis being ‘piped’ into the room by a Pipe Major on bagpipes, whilst the guests stand up as a sign of respect. It is usually brought in by the cook, who leads the way to the host’s table, where the haggis is laid down. Burns’ Address To A Haggis is then read to the appreciative guests. There are several key words which signify when the speaker should cut into the haggis. So when ‘His knife see rustic Labour dight’  is recited, the haggis cutting knife is raised; with the words ‘An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight’,  the knife is lowered:

 

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy o’a grace

As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin was help to mend a mill

In time o’need,

While thro’ your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,

An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like ony ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin’, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:

Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,

Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve

Are bent like drums;

Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad make her spew

Wi’ perfect sconner,

Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view

On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckles as wither’d rash,

His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;

His nieve a nit;

Thro’ blody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread.

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He’ll mak it whissle;

An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will sned,

Like taps o’ trissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o’ fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies;

But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer

Gie her a haggis!

A toast is then proposed to the haggis with Scotch whisky before the company can sit down to their meal.

The haggis is traditionally served with mashed potatoes (tatties) and mashed turnips (neeps). If you’re celebrating in Sweden, you should not forget the latter since a ‘neep’ is a rutabaga, called the Swedish turnip in Scotland, after King Gustav III of Sweden gave some seeds to a patron of Robert Burns.

Dessert should also use Scottish ingredients; perhaps Cranachan, a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey (preferably heather honey), and fresh raspberries with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little whisky. A traditional way to serve cranachan is to bring dishes of each ingredient to the table, so that each person can assemble their dessert to taste. Another popular Burns night dessert is Tipsy Laird, a whisky trifle made up of layers of  custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or jelly and whipped cream.

Whichever you go for, don’t forget to serve oatcakes and cheese afterwards before serving some coffee for the guests to imbibe whilst listening to the various speeches.

Speeches

Throughout the meal, there will have been a good amount of Scottish whisky (uisge beatha or ‘water of life’, as it’s known) drunk. But this is where the drinking gets serious, in a number of toasts:

  • Immortal Memory

It is a great honour to be asked to propose the Immortal Memory speech and toast. Generally, it is about the importance of Robert Burns to Scotland and it should truly inspire each guest to want to continue reading his works when they get home.

  • Appreciation

The host will thank the previous speaker and raise some points on his Immortal Memory speech.

  • Toast to the Lassies

This was originally intended as a thank you on behalf of the men to the women who had cooked the meal, but has evolved into much more. Burns was a great one for the ladies and this toast should be a humorous short speech on the ways of women, bearing in mind that they will get to reply! After this the speaker raises his glass, the men in the room stand, and the speaker says “Tae The Lassies!” and a dram of whisky is drunk.

  • Toast to the Laddies

The women now have an opportunity to reply, with one speaker chosen to present a light-hearted look at the ways of men. After this, the speaker raises her glass, the women in the room stand, and the speaker says “Tae The Laddies!” and yet another dram of whisky is drunk. Quite often the speakers giving this toast and the previous one will collaborate so that the two toasts complement each other.

Close

There may be more toasts and speeches and works by Burns read before the host brings the event to a close by calling on one of the guests to give a vote of thanks. After this, everyone is asked to stand, join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne, bringing the evening to an end.

If you know of any Burns Night Celebrations in Stockholm, please add the details in the comments box below or discuss in the forums. Bring a Scottish twinkle into the Stockholm night sky!

 

Photo Credits: freefotouk,  drewleavyEuan Slorach and  delphwynd

Streuth, is it that time of year already? Sunday is Australia Day and if you don’t fancy a snowy barbie on your balcony, there’s plenty of fun to be had in Stockholm!

oz-flag

Australia Day commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788. Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is now an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia.

Great things happen for the nation around this time. Firstly, there are the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, whilst on the day itself, the Governor-General announce the Honours List for the Order of Australia,  offering community recognition for outstanding achievement and service to the nation or humanity. There are citizenship ceremonies and addresses from the Prime Minister. But aside from all this solemnity, it’s also an excuse for a big party to celebrate everything Aussie! With community festivals, concerts and other fun events, Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia, celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation.

 

So, want to join the party? There are two fantastic venues that you can go to to get your Australia Day fix!

 

Boomerang Bar/Bagpiper’s Inn

171224_128069330593518_6646075_oStockholm’s only Aussie bar, Bagpipers Inn Stockholm and Boomerang Bar Stockholm will be throwing the biggest Australia Day party in the city! With ice cold beer, genuine australian food and, of course, TripleJ Hottest 100 playing all day long this is sure the hottest party this winter!

The doors will open at 2pm and it will be free entry all night long!  

Where: Rörstrandsgatan 21, 113 40 Stockholm

When: Sunday 26th from 2pm

Contact: 08-311855

 

The Liffey

Come and celebrate Australia Day at The Liffey and support Aussie Rules Football in Stockholm. 

the-liffey-irish-pub

The Stockholm Australian Rules Football Federation is hosting an Australia Day party at The Liffey. Starts 5pm Sunday 26th. All welcome!

Where: Stora Nygatan 42, 111 27 Stockholm

When: Sunday 26th from 5pm

Contact: 08-218025

DIY Aussie Day

If you can’t manage to get out to these events, Your Living City has 5 tips to host your own Australia Day celebration in your very own home:

  1. Don’t celebrate alone

    Invite all the Aussies you know in Stockholm to celebrate together! Don’t have any Aussie friends? Host your own citizenship ceremony and declare your friends Aussie for the day

  2. Get the Aussie beer in!

    This can’t be overstated and last time I checked there were 413 types of Australian alcohol in Systemet; you’ll surely find something you fancy.

  3. Drink Australian; eat Australian

    Australia has fabulous food and now’s the time to taste it, albeit with ingredients from ICA or the Coop. Mia Donovan, our very own Aussie in residence has shared her best recipes – we recommend your 3 course meal to consist of cheesy vegemite twists for starters, meat pie for main and a glorious pav for dessert.

  4. Dress up in Aussie colours

    Wave the flag, do some Aussie crafts with the kids and paint their faces or just wear some red, white and blue with some stars in your hair.

  5. Watch sports or listen to the countdown

    Australians are super sporty and good at both playing and watching them. It’s traditional to watch cricket or rugby, but  if sport really isn’t your cup of Milo, then another tradition is to listen to the top 100 hits.

Most important of all, pretend it’s summer! Make like these people below and bring sunshine to Stockholm!

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There you are! All set to celebrate? Have a very happy Australia day, cobber!

 

Photo Credit: Muffy Tyrone

Running around like a headless… chicken to get everything ready for Thanksgiving? Never fear – YLC has got the info on where you can buy your turkey and all the standard trimmings for the big dinner. Get your Turkey Day on in Stockholm!

 

Where to buy a turkey

Finding a turkey won’t be too difficult, as most large ICAs such as ICA Kvantum, Maxi etc. will have whole fresh and frozen turkeys in stock. City Gross usually has frozen options as well, though not always guaranteed to be in stock.  You can also usually place an order through the store manager. However, if your usual store fails to deliver – here are some additional options…

Ingelsta Kalkon

Ingelsta Kalkon have their own turkey farms and outlets with locations in both Östermalm and Södermalm. Check their website for exact locations.

Taylors & Jones

British butchers Taylors & Jones on Kungsholmen offers a variety of turkey options, such as whole turkeys, turkey breasts, turkey crowns, and boned and stuffed turkeys.  You can check out their downloadable price list on their website. Orders can also be placed via email (shop@taylorsandjones.com).

Where: Hantverkargatan 12

Open: Mon-Fri 10-18, Saturday 10-14

B. Andersson

Fågel & Vilt Specialisten

A supplier of wild birds and meats. This shop is particularly good if you need good quality pheasants, grouse and other wild birds.

Open: Mon-Thurs 9.30-18, Friday 9.30-19, Saturday 9.30-16

Where: Östermalmshallen

The Trussings and Trimmings 

For the most part you shouldn’t have any problem finding all the right ingredients for your Thanksgiving recipes at your local grocer, especially at large stores such as Daglivs, which have an American section. For those few items that can be hard to come by check these suggestions…

The English Shop

In addition to many English basics like Oxo cubes, Bisto, Marmite, Bovril, Branston pickle etc.

They also sell many Thanksgiving staples such as boxed stuffing, instant gravy and canned cranberry sauce.

Open: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm; Sat 11am-3pm

Where: Söderhallarna

USA Godis 

Stockholm’s largest range of American sweets, snacks and soft drinks. They also have a webshop if you don’t live nearby.

Open: Monday-Friday: 10:00-18:00, Saturday: 12:00 – 17:00

Sunday: 12:00 – 16:00

Where: Upplandsgatan 6.

 

Online Food Shops

Grays American Food store  

Grays is the American food supplier for all the large grocery stores in Sweden such as ICA and Coop.

They stock the American aisle with Stove Top Stuffing, Libby’s Pumpkin Pie filling, ready-made pie crusts, Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce, cake mixes and much more. You can also go directly to their website to order their products.

British Corner Shop  

The go-to online shop for British expats, BCS also have an American corner where you can get items like Libby’s canned pumpkin delivered direct to your door.

Amazon

It’s always worth checking out amazon as they will deliver some groceries to Sweden for free as long as you buy over £25 worth. Do make sure you are buying from amazon.co.uk themselves as otherwise the free shipping will not hold true.

 

For a detailed listing of international food markets in Stockholm check out our related article here. Check out our recipe section for some wonderful Thanksgiving dishes too!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Kristan Coleman and Amy Johansson

Follow Your Living City on Twitter!

YLC’s Amy Johansson on pilgrim selfies, potential potlucks and where to go if you are gagging for some pumpkin pie but find cooking just that little bit too much to stomach!

I moved to Sweden two years – and two Thanksgivings – ago. Though I am mad for the winter holiday season in my new homeland, when that last Thursday in November rolls around, my disproportionate longings for trussed-up turkey and parades come to a crescendo. So what are we as foreigners in the land of tomtegubbar, Christmas markets, and glögg supposed to  do to commemorate our vestigial longings for our second favorite Big Bird? Never fear – here are some YLC tips on celebrating Thanksgiving in Sweden!

 

‘Tis the Season to Meet Expats!

Use this time of year as an opportunity to meet your fellow expats. I live down in southern Sweden where the English-speaking expat community is more spread out than in Stockholm. I work with Swedes and mostly socialize with Swedes, but now in my longing for Thanksgiving, I have made an effort to reach out and get to know my fellow North American expats down south.Asking about local Thanksgiving celebrations via social media groups is a great way to break the ice and start chatting!

Online threads and conversations about where to gather things such as cranberry sauce (do you reconstitute dried cranberries or use frozen cranberries? Can’t you just substitute in lingonberries?) and canned pumpkin surface and where to buy turkeys in Sweden can spark memories and new friendships that lead to IRL get-togethers and new friends.

 

Do Try This At Home!

If you do decide to go all out and recreate the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, know that it’s possible with the ingredients found here. There are a few expat clubs doing Thanksgiving feasts and a few local restaurants offering up traditional American dinners (see below). You can also make a new tradition, why not gather a few friends and have a Thanksgiving potluck? Surely nowadays there is a way to stream in the Big Football Game and the Macy’s Parade in digitally.

The first Thanksgiving, after all, was about being newly landed immigrants to a new country, According to the story we learned as children, the holiday meal started when Pilgrims in New England befriended local native American tribes. The native Americans helped the Pilgrim expats get to know the local food sources, and shared their hospitality with the new arrivals.

While we all know now (sniff) that the reality of the first Thanksgiving was probably not all that cosy, it is nice to think that we modern day, newly-landed expats can enjoy the same ethos of making new friends amongst the natives and exploiting the new pantry for delicious inspiration.

I smile when I think of the Pilgrims and Native Americans chatting on social media, dreaming up collaborative menus, cute crafts, trading recipes  and proudly instagramming the results (Pilgrim selfie, anyone?).

 

Thanks & Tack, Sverige!

Lastly, take this opportunity to be thankful. Being thankful is a feeling we can experience regardless of geography. I personally feel thankful to live in Sweden when I think of the time I have with my family, and for the free education opportunities here, the healthcare system (I am American after all!) and the wonderful friends I have made here in the past two years.

 

Fancy a proper North American Thanksgiving meal this year? If you do not have the time or the desire to do one yourself, check out these alternatives in Stockholm:

 

Hard Rock Cafe Stockholm

We are family! Thanksgiving dinner served up on November 28, 2013

Menu

Small Caesar Salad

Turkey, especially made for Thanksgiving, served with herb mashed potatoes and herb sauce, sprinkled with candied cranberries.

Pumpkin Pie

Contact: Make your reservations by telephone at 08 545 494 00

Damage: 359 SEK per adult, 79 SEK per child

Where: Sveavägen 75 

American Table

Acclaimed chef Marcus Samulesson’s crew offer a traditional American Thanksgiving based on his restaurants in the USA from November 25-30, 2013. 

Menu

Butternut squash soup or Waldorf Salad

Roasted turkey with classic stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes and gravy

Pecan Pie

Contact: Reservations can be booked via the restaurant’s website.

Damage: 595 SEK for adults, half price for kids (incl. welcome punch)

Where: Östra Järnvägsgatan 35

 

Saints Food and Drinks 

From November 26-December 1, this pub will be offering a festive and traditional Thanksgiving dinner and drinks menu. The menu will be served buffet-style, and includes a drinks package.

Menu

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Vinaigrette

Slow cooked ham

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Gravy

Fresh Bread

Green Bean Casserole

Cranberry Sauce

Mac & cheese

Sweet potato Gratin

Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Brussell Sprouts with bacon

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Contact: To book a spot for Thanksgiving Dinner, you make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance via telephone at 08-314473 or  via email info@saintsbar.se.

Damage: 545 SEK per person, or 695 SEK for dinner plus drinks package (Drink package includes: 2 bottled beers or 2 glasses of wine, 1 glass of Brandy Alexander, hot chocolate & coffee or tea). 245 SEK for Children under 12.

 

WhereHagagatan 4, 11348 

 

Amy Johansson

 

Amy is one of Your Living City’s Associate Editors. When not penning or editing YLC copy, she can be found writing technical documents and stomping through the forests and cobblestones of southern Sweden with a laptop and her three children in tow. She harbours angst at not updating her blog more often!

Photos: Museum de Lakenhal , martha_chapa95thisreidwrites and VancityAllie

 

Put the thermal underwear down and drop that copy of Deepak Chopra because it’s not hibernation time just yet. Sweden’s most underrated season is upon us; here are five October traditions with which to celebrate the gorgeous golden season.

jonas_overodder-mushroom_picking-587Mushroom picking. Jonas Overödder/imagebank.sweden.se

As most of us begin to stock up on canned goods and reluctantly traipse to the storage room in search for puffy jackets and furry boots, we resign ourselves to the notion that the end of summer equals the end of fun. Yes, summer is over, Breaking Bad has aired its final episode and you may or may not fit into those shorts next year, but this doesn’t mean that October has to be spent in a dog hair-covered sleeved blanket watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model. 

We’re here to tell you to switch off your telly and put your fat lip away because Swedish autumn is awesome. And here’s why:

 1. Mushroom Picking

jonas_overodder-basket_of_chantrelles-588Jonas Overödder/imagebank.sweden.se

There’s something incredibly alluring about the thought of gathering mushrooms in the woods. The dappled sunlight filtering through the autumn leaves as you crunch around in search of a bounty that will likely be consumed that very evening.

It’s easy to see why the Swedes are so infatuated with mushroom picking; it has almost a meditative quality to it and it can be fun(gi) for all ages. Stockholm is littered with forests to pick from, just watch that you fill your basket with the edible varieties! If you’re a novice and can’t tell your hedgehogs from your orange trumpets, then you’d best take a gander at our mushroom picking for dummies guide before you set out.

2. Kanelbulle

bjorn_tesch-swedish_fika-1197Mums! Björn Tesch/imagebank.sweden.se

Yes, we’re aware that Kanelbulle Day has come and gone, but seriously folks, only eating kanelbullar on Kanelbulle Day is like only eating Quality Streets on the 25th of December. These scrumptious morsels deserve their own month. After all, Sweden is the presumed birthplace of the cinnamon roll, so it’s only fitting to pay it its deserved due. See our list of top five kanelbullar in Stockholm and get munching!

3. Apple Picking

miriam_preis-orelunds_gard-amorosa_-765An apple a day… Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se

And to burn off all the calories consumed through those cinnamon buns, why not get out into the crisp autumn air and do a spot of apple picking? That’s right, the apple harvest season has begun! Swedish apples are renowned the world-over as being some of the best in the world, so why not experience first-hand just why! Besides, who wouldn’t want to join in on such a wholesome, fibrously fun-filled activity? Bring the kids and make a family day of it, or create a date to remember with your sambo.

Here are a few places to get you started:

Rosenhill

Address: Nyckelbyvägen 22, Ekerö

Contact: 08 560 200 60 or visit their Website for more information.

Edeby Gård

Address: Edebyvägen, Drottningholm

Contact: 08 759 04 01

 4. Seafood

cecilia_larsson-crayfish-1785What a catch! Cecilia Larsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Did you know that a fear of fish is called ichthyophobia? If you are a victim of this particular phobia, steer clear of Stockholm restaurants this month! You see, autumn means seafood season, which in turn means that loads of restaurants in Stockholm have some amazing, fish-filled offers and specialities during October. If you have the guts, Vanity in Södermalm has an extremely popular and well-endowed buffet featuring crayfish, crab, oysters, shrimp, mussels, roe and all sorts of other fishy good stuff. Bockholmen Hav & Restaurant is another restaurant where fish is quite literally the order of the day. They feature a seven course tasting menu with both a hot and cold selection to choose from. Wherever you go, we’re sure you’ll have a whale of a time!

 5. Halloween

8398966844_6be3fb9903_cPhoto: Flickr (file)/ pandajenn1234

Halloween is still a relatively new tradition in Sweden. It’s been tough convincing the natives that it’s good, wholesome fun to dress up like a dead person and let your kids wander from door to door in the dark, collecting candy from strangers. But the flames of this tradition are being fanned and every year sees evidence of more Swedes joining in and having a lark. If you’re unsure where to celebrate this most spooky of days, check out our guide to Halloween in Stockholm this year.

 

So there you have it: five antidotes to early onset S.A.D.!

 

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

 

Follow Kirsten and Your Living City on Twitter!

 

Nasjonaldagen (National Day) is a momentous day in the Norwegian calendar. In neighbour capital Stockholm, 10,000 people participate in the festivities every year. Here’s your chance to be one of them in 2013!

Flaggborg_17mai

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Recipe of the Week: Fårikål

Recipe of the Week: Pannekaker

 

A Brief History of the Constitution

Norway was on Boney’s side in the Napoleonic wars, which meant, when the wars were over, it was handed over to Sweden by the Danes. Nothing daunted and bent on forging their own destiny, the Norwegians (headed by crown-prince Christian Frederik) declared themselves an independent nation and Europe’s oldest single-document national constitution was signed on May 17th, 1814. Norway was no longer to be treated as a Swedish conquest but rather as an equal party in a union of two independent states. Both the principle and substance of the Norwegian Constitution were accepted, and Norway retained its own parliament and separate institutions, except for the common king and foreign service. This was considered radically democratic in its day, taking its inspiration from the French revolution and the United States’ Declaration of Independence.

Nasjonaldagen (National Day), or more simply, syttende mai (May 17th), therefore marks a momentous day in the Norwegian calendar. It is markedly non-military, usually involving parades of children. The longest parade is obviously held in Oslo, where some 100,000 people travel to the city centre to participate in the main festivities and to hopefully get a wave from the royal family, who observe the spectacle from the main balcony. It is also common for Norwegians living abroad to gather and celebrate, particularly in Stockholm, where some 10,000 people participate every year. This is your chance to join in the fun in 2013!

 

Norwegian Day Programme in Stockholm

09:30 Music in Kungsträdgården from Stockholm’s Police band

10.00 Official opening by Norwegian Ambassador Anne K. Lund, greetings from the mayor and a speech from Norway’s Prime Minister. Sing-along to “Ja, vi elsker“ and ”Du gamla, du fria“. A message from His Majesty, King Harald V. 

11:00 The parade runs from Kungsträdgården to open air museum Skansen on the island of Djurgården (free entry to Skansen for all those in the parade)

12:15 Games for both children and adults at Tingsvallen,  Skansen. Opportunity to eat laks and pølse i lompe.

13.00 Folk dance with dancers from the Norwegian Folk Museum

14.00 The program ends, but the fun doesn’t! Go to Naprapathögskolan* (Take bus 40 or 70 to Albano) at 10pm for a whopping 17 May celebration!

 

 

*Register in advance here.

Article: Farrah Gillani

Stockholm is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so why not head out this Valentine’s Day for a romantic experience you’ll never forget!

blackwhitepetra

Romantic Restaurants

Restaurant Magic Bar

Want to do something a little different? How about treating your loved one to a 6 course meal with champagne and a 5-act show at the Magic Bar Restaurant?

08-667 25 00

Magic Bar, Karlaplan 6, 114 60 Stockholm (T-bana: Karlaplan)

Brasserie Le Rouge

Complete with French décor, this restaurant is full with personality, tradition, and warmth. The menu, composed of French and Italian food, is short, but the food is said to be made with the best quality ingredients. For Valentine’s Day, Le Rouge has prepared a special menu!

08-505 244 30

Brunnsgränd 2-4, 111 30 Stockholm (T-bana: Gamla Stan)

Gondolen

Well known for its spectacular panoramic view of the city (perched 33 meters above water), the elegant Gondolen serves classy Swedish and international cuisine, and has a very popular cocktail lounge.

08-641 70 90

Stadsgården 6, 116 45 Stockholm (T-bana: Slussen)

Andalucia

A Spanish restaurant with romantic candlelight and flower arrangements. Their specialty is fish and seafood, and there is a special menu for Valentine’s Day!

08-156660

Döbelnsgatan 79, 113 52 Stockholm (T-bana: Odenplan)

Fondueboden

A shared fondue is always romantic, especially when it’s a Toblerone one! Start with the cheese and end with chocolate.

08-339900

Vanadisvägen 42 113 31 Stockholm (T-bana: Odenplan)

Wijnjas Ostkällare

A favourite with all cheese lovers; try their spectacular cheese or shellfish buffet, along with a wine package perfectly matched to your meal. Five star service, five star food.

08-131420

Scheleegatan 3, 11223, Stockholm (T-bana:Rådhuset)

Nosh and Chow

Don’t share the same taste in food as your loved one? A recent newcomer on the Stockholm restaurant scene, Nosh and Chow prides itself on its versatility, sporting a menu inspired by South East Asia, North Africa, North America as well as the North European Karelia region.  Something for (almost) everyone in other words. And the restaurant itself is made for romance!

08-50338960

Nosh and Chow, Norrlandsgatan 24, 111 43 Stockholm (T-bana Östermalmstorg or Hötorget)

 

Strolls around Stockholm

Monteliusvägen

This walking path sits high up on the cliffs of Södermalm and offers magnificent views of Old Town, Riddarholmen, City Hall and Lake Mälaren, especially at sunrise and sunset.

The City Hall Gardens

One of the country’s leading examples of national romanticism in architecture, the gardens behind the City Hall (Stadshuset) building shuts out the noise of the city and are filled with sculptures and water views that create a unique atmosphere. Afterwards, you can continue your walk westwards along the shore.

The Royal Palace

There are great views around the Royal Palace. Not only is this Palace (one of the largest in Europe) itself stunning, but the views of the city and its reflection in the water is priceless.

Drottningholm Palace

Make a day trip to Sweden’s most preserved royal palaces and the permanent residence of the royal family. Take a walk around the romantic Baroque garden and visit the Chinese Pavilion along the way. (Don’t miss out on the waffles with jam and cream in the café!)

Djurgården

In any season Djurgården is a calm oasis, and taking a stroll along the canals and gardens is breathtaking. There are also many scenic cafes and restaurants along the paths.

Gamla Stan

The old city is where Stockholm was founded in 1252. As one of the largest medieval city centres in Europe, Gamla stan has a storybook atmosphere, with cobbled stones paths, and streets lined with cafes, bars, restaurants, places to shop.  Make sure not to miss Riddarholmen and the Riddarholmen Church.

 

Activities

Ice Skating in town

Ice skating in the middle of the city with your Valentine is a great idea, especially after a romantic dinner.

La Cage aux Folles

Why not say I love you in a more flamboyant way? Take your partner to see this fun show and spend Valentine’s night laughing?

Fish Pedicure

Nothing says love quite like fish nibbling at your toes. Induge in a Valentine’s pedicure in a private room with your partner, complete with chocolate covered strawberries for you to nibble.

 

Romantic Getaways

Yasuragi Hasseludden

We believe in love! Enjoy the silence with your loved one, and make time to be present with each other. There is an overnight package that includes a room, breakfast, 7 course dinner with champage, entrance to activities and Japanese baths, tea and fruit buffet, a Yukata (Japanese robe) and slippers. There is also an evening package,

08-747 64 00

Hamndalsvägen 6, 132 39 Saltsjö-Boo

Cruise with Silja Line

Silja Line has planned ‘love’ cruises during February! Enjoy a romantic experience together on a cruise in a premium or deLuxe cab to Tallinn, Helsinki or Turku.

 

 

Original Article by: Sarit Grinberg; Updated by Farrah Gillani

Photo Credit: Your Little Family Photography

Trick-or-Treat Your Swedish Street: Recruit your neighbors. You have until next weekend.

[Re]Create the Halloween trick-or-treating environment from your childhood right here in Sweden.

While the North American date to trick-or-treat is stuck on 31st October, the good news is that it’s much more flexible here in Sweden. Halloween is often considered the N. American version of the Swedish Alla Helgons Dag (All Saint’s Day) and that’s on November 5 this year. You still have time to recruit your neighbors if they aren’t home on the 31st.

Bring Halloween to your ‘hood’

Three years ago I decided if I couldn’t bring my young children to Halloween (I was seriously considering traveling to my hometown) I would bring Halloween to my children. Inspired by a Swedish friend who had arranged for the neighbors in their apartment building to dole out candy to their children I set out to recruit my own neighbors.

We were new to the street so I figured at the very least I would get to know my neighbors even if they weren’t too keen on a Halloween coup. I put on my best smile and started knocking on doors.

Recruit the neighborhood kids first

The first doors I knocked on were the ones with small children. This event was to be a ghoulish children’s block party rather than a theater to entertain my own. Armed with the emotive plan of opening doors to the whole street’s children I set out to win the hearts of the rest of the neighbors and to get them to open their homes.

Hope for the best

I went prepared that at the very worst there would be snide comments about the Americanization of the solemn Swedish holiday Alla Helgonsdagen, All Saint’s Day,  a day of remembrance when Swedes visit the graves of the departed and light a candle. At the very least I counted on some reserved skepticism. With these anticipated voices of protest we parents planned to provide the candy the neighbors would distribute.  One after another, each neighbor gleefully refused any offers of candy stock and assured me that they would take care of it themselves.

Pick a date

We took slight liberties with the actual trick-or-treating date. The 31st was a weekday, so we decided we would trick-or-treat on the Friday evening before the Swedish holiday. All neighbors received a notice stating the date and time the children would be coming round. They were asked to light a candle or make something cozy to indicate that the children were welcome.

Feel the love

As the 8-10 children hit the street we were met by lanterns burning and Halloween decorations adorning most houses. Each

neighbor who was home opened with huge smiles and the mother load of candy for the children. Some neighbors made individual candy packages which would have been enough in total, let alone as the stash from just one house.

Safety first

I was happiest knowing that I didn’t have check any of the candy the kids carried home. If it was unwrapped or homemade or a piece of fruit I could let them eat it! After all, who would tamper with it? Sven and Birgitta next door? I literally had greeted each and every one of them and they were my neighbors.

Do it again

The event has now become annual where everyone, young and old, look forward to Halloween. These days, I only knock on a door if it’s a new neighbor. It’s my annual opportunity to get to know the neighbors I haven’t met yet.

One elderly set of neighbors sent an Easter greeting to our children the following Easter. They said that they missed the Easter Witches and hoped we would send some children around the following Easter. At the next Halloween event they asked me straight out to arrange for Easter Witches. So I concurred and arranged for another door-to-door activity: This time, 100% Swedish.

Our street is looking forward to it again for the 2011 season and I get a feeling that we’ll have more neighborhood children from nearby streets coming by. But we know that trick-or-treating is free game for Swedish children throughout the first weekend in November, so we’re going to keep a stash for the drop-in trick-or-treater.

Don’t forget that you don’t need to live in a house to recruit your neighbor. I’ve heard of loads of people recruiting neighbors on the same floor or even the whole apartment building. And even if you don’t want to arrange for it for this year, start the recruiting process for next year and use the opportunity to get to know your neighbors.

Bus eller godis! (Swedish translation for trick-or-treat)

By Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius

In the lead up to our Love competition, we have searched the web on all topics to do with Dating in Sweden. We have asked people their thoughts on courting Swedish women and Swedish men and one thing for sure we have gathered …. most people feel the dating scene in Sweden is confusing to say the least …

“Swedish men and women seem pretty different to me, it seems that the men don’t have to do much work in getting ladies because the women seem to make most of the advances, I swear they are another breed :P, they are very strong women. In America the women usually sit back and wait for the guys, but in Sweden the men sit back and wait for the ladies.” Shana.

Read the full blogs on Dating in Sweden @ Lost in Stockholm >

Its true to say that the dating topic has no end and no beginnings. So to get the ball rolling, here’s a little taste of what people are saying about Dating in Stockholm. Just to whet your appetite ;-)

And so the stories go……

 

‘Just because you had a fika with a (Swedish) girl in a castle does not mean she will see it as a date.’ 

Ben Mack goes on to say, in his blog ‘True confessions of Swedish dating disasters’, “… then disaster struck. I asked her to dinner, assuming the answer would be an automatic “yes.” Instead, I received a text message explaining that dinner would feel “too much like a date.” Read the full blog >

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“Swedish women are HOT but not to be trusted!” Sean

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‘ONLINE dating is HUGE in sweden. It suits the reserved swedes who like to make those first moves from the safety of their own computers. I was initially skeptical until I found out its done by young and old these days, ranging from straight forward dating sites to more ‘social sites’ like www.finest.se and then ranging as far as sites like  www.victoriamilan.se  which is basically selling to the swedish people ‘discreet affairs’. I mean, WTF! This site was launched last year, because there is obviously a main stream market for such things! I do think however that online dating can get you through the cold winter months and make it easier for an interested swede to check off his/her list of criteria for the ideal mate: Education. Family. Background. Its true! But more commonly young stockholmers use it as a way to get to know someone first,  cyber flirt, get a mobile number, txt when drunk for a few months, and then meet for ‘discreet fun’!   Sam

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“He asked me out once but I couldn’t go as I was away. So am I now expected to ask him out. Being an English woman I just thought he would ask again if he liked me but am I wrong in that if his Swedish part is at the fore lol. Really its too confusing!”Emelie

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“Why do Swedes have to do all this pussy-footing around to find love and a relationship? Cant they just be upfront and honest and decent?! I bet deep down many Swedish men and woman cry at night in fear of an old age spent beautiful, lonely and alone!” Sarah

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“Girls here (Stockholm) are not unwilling to sleep with you the first night you meet them. And very often they already have a boyfriend when doing so. I think that is a reason why dating here is rather slow, you can never be sure if the other one is sleeping around or even already being in a relationshop while dating you”. Björn

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“You forgot one thing; if there’s anything a Swedish girl wants in a man, then its good looks. That’s why they usually settle with Swedish guys. Foreigners aren’t as attractive as Swedes (mostly) and we’re a shallow people”. Josefin

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“My Swedish bf is the most amazing man on earth … but he still says I  ‘like’ you … why s it that hard to say LOVE?” Roamingsoul

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HAHAHA!??! Whats wrong with you guys? Im from sweden and Wtf! You can’t write what swedish girls like and how they are like. They are people like everybody else? They are induvidiuals! DAMN! And not all swedish girls look like that, HAHA! It’s few that do. When I wen’t to Canada and the United States i saw a lot of far more beatufiul girls there then our pale white blond girls… boooring!’ Daniel

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“…what I’ve learned about my Swedish bf so far, well he is shy, kind, and well-mannered, has a heart the size of Jupiter, and is very thoughtful, smart, funny, and romantic. He told me that he’s happy I made the first move coz otherwise he would’ve been too shy to ever speak to me.” Magda

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“The best bet is not to sit around expecting things to happen. Make them happen!

Swedes are capable of carrying shopping and opening doors like the rest of us…you just need to yell at them and remind them sometimes,just like with the rest of the worlds guys!! :) ” Dano

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“… falling in love I find really difficult, and especially since i dont’ believe in love at first sight. But attraction is different, love is something that follows and grows over time.”Per

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“I just spent ten days in Stockholm after backpacking my way around europe and Id have to say that the rules here seem to work like anywhere else. Have self confidence, no what you want and treat the ladies well. Or mabye Im just on a lucky streak” ;-) Peter

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There are so many perspectives and experiences out there but we want to hear what it’s been like for YOU. Please feel free to comment as much as you like and if you have a lot more to say on Love, Sex and Dating in Sweden please enter our

   Love Competition! – entries close Dec 15th!

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it difficult to buy things for the men in my life (well, except the 19 month old – he’s happy with a stick). Techno-loving Conor Boyd has come to my rescue with his top 10 gifts, which he thinks should satisfy anyone who’s into gadgets, male or female. 

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1. Aerial reconnaissance

Take to the skies flying your own drone from the comfort of your iPad or iPhone. The best part? You get to see all of the action live. Parrot also provides virtual games to complete with the drone when you get bored of scaring the neighbors cat.

2. Even the pistons move!

I get it ladies, sometimes you just need some peace and quiet in the house. Well, if such is your need, this monster LEGO kit is the answer to your prayers. Depending on your partner’s mechanical ability, this bad boy can give you a clear 5-8 hours of almost silence. Warning: not for those men with a lack of patience; then all you will get is 5-8 hours of swearing.

3. That’s a keeper

The next best thing to having a new adventure is reliving an old one. Capture your supersonic ski run or mountain bike madness in glorious HD with the new GoPro Hero 3. Worst case, you will have a candidate for Funniest Home Videos.

4. Winding down with surround

After a hectic day there is nothing better than winding down with some soothing music. Stop faffing with wires and just pick up this little beauty, steal your spot and sit back. As long as it is in bluetooth or wifi range, you’re good to go.

5. Silence!

We all know the phrase ‘silence is golden’. In the modern world, it’s about as rare and expensive to reproduce too. These headphones cut out the crowd and are the perfect solution for anyone from the flying salesman to the jaded city commuter. Just don’t be lulled to sleep and miss your stop!

6. Phablet

Is it a phone or a tablet? We shall let you decide. One thing is for sure – it’s mighty capable at both if you don’t mind a little extra bulk.

7. TV be gone

Lets face it network TV is on the decline. Good as they are there’s only so often I can watch infinite Simpsons or Family Guy reruns. Combine this little beauty with a good VPN and you can be enjoying streaming video from all across the globe. The best thing is that you won’t get locked into Apple or Google specific options and enjoy a thriving developer scene.

http://www.roku.com/

8. Time for a brew

When it comes to coffee there are few ways to make a cup of bean juice that will be as interesting as this one. What goes up…

9. Keep it safe, keep it close

The worst thing about USB keys is finding them when you absolutely need to; for some reason, they seem magnetically drawn to the far reaches of your bag. Add this good looking chunk of metal to your keys and your problems will be solved.

10. Is that the time?

Too busy drinking awesome wakey juice and watching your Roku? Harness the power of your phone in a wristwatch. Useful for remembering everything from the milk to figuring out how fast you cycled to the chippie. Currently in pre-order only but guaranteed to be worth the wait.

 

Article by Conor Boyd
Photo Credit: starstreak007