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For those of you in the mood to go out and about this weekend to sample the best of Swedish Easter – here’s a selection of what’s on in the next few days!
There is no place where you can experience Swedish traditions to beat open air museum Skansen. This weekend you can enjoy the beautiful weather at the Easter Market – learn more about Sweden and about what makes Easter so special here.
Hunting for Eggs
For those in the mood for a good old fashioned Egg hunt – there are several to choose from. For a royal setting, head over to the Royal Palace for their Golden Egg Hunt, for the more arty approach, choose Millesgården and for the budding scientists – there is the Nobel Museum.
Enjoying the weather
Although today is a bit glum, the forecast for this weekend is absolutely gorgeous – so take the opportunity to get out and about on town on foot or on your bikes. For a detailed guide about the best walks in Stockholm, check out this site – or if you want to explore for yourself, check out our guide to Stockholm neighbourhoods.
Most expats say that Swedish Easter food is more or less he same as Swedish Christmas food or any other Smörgåsbord, but this isn’t strictly the case. To sample some Traditional Easter Fare why not check out restaurant Fåfängan, which is promising a traditional Easter Buffet in the evening and brunch during the day this weekend. Other places we like that offer an Easter menu include Långholmens Wärdshus and Långbro Wärdshus.
Whatever you choose to do – have a lovely weekend and a very HAPPY EASTER!
Featured Image: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se
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)
- Tekniska Högskolan
- Sergels Torg
as well as a number of hotels and other retailers
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.
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
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
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.
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
Sergels torg -Waldermarsudde (Zone A)
Red, green, blue lines
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.
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!
- 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 tickets: to 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.
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!
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.
- 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:
- FREE (w/ exceptions)
- Check under the different municipalities in the list for # of available parking spaces
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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 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 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 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.
Photo Credit: Ola Ericson/Imagebank Sweden
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.
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.
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.
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
Somewhat understated on the outside, Stockholm cathedral comes to energetic life with concert recitals, allowing for prolonged marvelling at the over the top interior fittings. YLC’s Danny Chapman visited the Cathedral and brought back his impressions.
Like so much in Sweden, the Stockholm cathedral, or Storkyrkan, looks, from the outside quite restrained and underwhelming. It has few distinguishing features and it is so small and, well, almost insignificant looking that it is hard to tell that it even is a cathedral. Frankly, it looks a bit boring. But then you step through the doors and that initial impression changes. Dramatically.
When you enter the Cathedral you are met by a blaze of riotous baroque furniture, about as opposite to restrained as you can get.
And the best time to take all this in has to be during one of the cathedral’s regular concert recitals. Indeed, during a recent Bach concert, the organ performance of the famous horror movie-like Toccata and Fugue in D Minor was nearly as unreserved as the royal pews!
Perhaps even more surprising than this un-Swedish like explosion of excess was that the excellent hour-long concert, which featured half a dozen Bach organ compositions amid some fine singing from the eight-piece cathedral choir, was free.
The Organ itself is quite a sight. It was actually built in 1960 but is housed in a 1789 casing. And it sounds wonderful, as do the cathedrals acoustics, with the out of sight choir’s voices complimenting the organ wonderfully, particularly during Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.
All of these baroque flights of fantasy make a wonderful compliment to the many pieces of art that you can wonder at from your pew. In particular the outlandish giant pulpit from 1700 with its golden angels, along the Royal pews (designed by Tessin the Younger in 1684, who along with his Dad seems to have built much of Baroque Stockholm) with their monumental golden crowns facing each other.
The cathedral is certainly small, even by Swedish cathedral standards, yet this is somewhat explained by the fact it was only given cathedral status in 1942. Before then it was the parish church of Gamla Stan. It is thought that the church was built by Stockholm’s founder Birger Jarl (1200 – 1266). The first written mention of the church was in 1279. For 400 years it was in fact the only parish church in the city.
So the Cathedral IS old by any standard but the interior, which is very unusual with its brick pillars and vaulted ceilings, gives a rather modern appearance, despite the brickwork being medieval. This was revealed when the plaster encasing it, which we are perhaps more familiar with in a cathedral, was removed in the early 20th century.
The greatest treasure inside though has to be sitting under a giant baroque painting of the Last Judgment: the George and the Dragon sculpture.
There is a bronze copy of this on Köpmanbrinken in Gamla Stan, but the wooden original inside the cathedral dates from 1489. It uses elk antlers and horsehair amongst other materials and is a unique fantastical creation that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the Lord of the Rings movies. You’ll have to see this before or after a concert as it is located to the left of the silver and ebony altarpiece and out of sight from the Nave. But this is easy to do.
There are regular free concerts at Storkyrkan, check the website for more information. If you are looking for English-speaking churches or somewhere to worship, why not check out our guide to these.
What happens when the weather throws a tantrum and ruins your picnic plans? Through gritted teeth and mumbled expletives, do you get online and Google “What to do when the weather is crap in Stockholm?” I sure do!
Being a class-A nerd, the Museum of Ethnography was the perfect solution for me. Located at the southern end of Ladugårdsgärdet, there’s a replica Haisla Nation totem pole by the door. The original – “acquired” in 1929 by Swedish explorers – was returned after much negotiating in 2007. The Haisla donated a replica for their…trouble.
This sets the tone as the museum delves into the pros and cons of historical anthropology (such as why you should not let grave diggers steal freshly deceased aboriginal bodies from Australia and ship them to Sweden and other stories of explorers behaving badly).
Cramming in 440,000 artefacts – donated, acquired and, as the captions remind us, pillaged from the days of colonialist expansion – the museum appeals to the inner Indiana Jones (or Lara Croft) in us all. Or is that just me?
The permanent exhibit on the first floor, With the World in a Backpack, showcases early Swedish explorations. A small shrine to Linnaeus displays the curiosities he classified such as a baby rhinoceros skin (even creepier than it sounds) and a horned dinosaur skull. There’s a section about a bunch of missionaries in The Congo in the 1920s.
It’s all fine and dandy until you reach the photographs of Congolese with both hands chopped off. And the whips used by plantation owners to flagellate their workers. That’s when you feel your lunch coming up for round two. I backed away in search for the Sven Hedin section. On a trip to China I gazed into the face of a mummy with the caption “Discovered by Sven Hedin, Swedish explorer.”
Who, you ask?
Turns out the man basically “discovered” Central Asia, unearthed ancient cities and was fluent in Chinese, Tibetan and several Persian dialects. (Feeling like an underachiever yet?) The museum is the headquarters of the Sven Hedin Foundation, and I hoped to see a mummy or two. But apart from a few personal artefacts, Buddhist statues, Hedin’s illustrations and some photographs, there wasn’t much to see. His adoration for Hitler and other questionable historical “heroes” probably hasn’t garnered him many adoring fans in Sweden, hence – not famous.
The Storage section, Magasinet, was my favourite, flaunting all rules of museum etiquette where objects are grouped together in beautifully planned chaos. Balinese festival gear shares space with lethal weapons and royal thrones.
You can even pull open drawers and find embroidered caps, hunting arrows and Chinese miniatures depicting ancient torture techniques.
There are no captions or labels (which is either genius or frustrating as hell) but you can listen to an audio guide or borrow a tablet to find out more at your leisure (oh so Swedishly diplomatic).
There’s a second floor with permanent exhibits from the Arctic, South America, Japan and America and their special exhibitions change regularly. While it may be small, one must admit this museum packs a punch. It will swallow up a good chunk of time and energy, so get there early and get a snack between exhibits!
Plenty of comfy seats
Short films for those too lazy to walk
No signage – its nice to know what’s located where since it sucks when you find a whole entire floor with only one hour left
No English – pick up a disorganized English guide to know what you’re looking at
Waterproof parka made from seal intestines
Human femur flute
How to get there:
Catch bus 69 to Museiparken.
80 SEK (no student discounts)
Free up to 19 years
Where should you go to listen to some new tunes, while sipping a good öl? Where are the places with THE right music and THE right atmosphere? We know – and we aren’t afraid to share with you!
The highest concentration of independent venues is on Södermalm, the rockers-island par excellence. It is arty, it is trendy and it is the home of the top 4 venues you may want to check out regularly, at least if you’re in the mood for a hot gig and the chance to see an up and coming band!
It is the most famous indie club in Stockholm and probably the first name you’ll hear about when looking for live shows. Named after the Pixies’ song, it was established in 2002 in the former flagship venue at Slussen (alas closed in late September 2013) and followed by the opening of two other locations, Debaser Medis, in Medborgarplatsen, which is the site for major events, and Debaser Strand, the newest club in Hornstull and located by the water, making it one of the top places for summer events.
Debaser puts on interesting live shows by both Swedish and international acts. More info can be found @ Debaser website
Among the best venues for live music, there’s Södra Teatern, the oldest open theater in Stockholm, and built in 1859. It is located on top of a hill that gives a breath-taking view of Gamla Stan. For long time it has been a cabaret venue, but since 1997 it hosts cultural events, from concerts to philosophical debates and seminars.
With seven stages, its program mainly focuses on international acts, with everything from rock, to folk and jazz bands, but both emerging and well-known Swedish artists are sitll given the chance to play there. More info @ Södra Teatern website
For the true indie-rock lovers, this quite intimate venue is a little treasure. Located right off Medborgarplatsen station, Lilla Hotell Baren is a very cozy venue for intimate concerts of newly discovered talents. It is the bar of the Scandic Hotel and mostly showcases independent and emerging Swedish acts. More info @ Lilla Hotell Baren website
If you are looking for a more experimental sound and unconventional events, you have come to the right place. Fylkingen, established in 1930, is an artist-based organization, located in the Münchenbryggeriet, a vast building which once was a brewery. Its program focuses on experimental works, both connected to the music and the performative arts worlds. Home of the EMS – the Swedish National Electronic Music Foundation – it also owns its own music label and magazine . More info @Fylkingen website
Go forth and enjoy!
Photo: Anna Huerta/Södra Teatern
The Royal Palace of Drottningholm (Note: Royals mentioned in the article are not in the canoe)
If you live in Sweden, chances are you’ve wondered a thing or two about its royal family. Who are they exactly? What do they do? Why is their last name French? Ask no more, the royal we of YLC present the Who’s Who of Swedish Royalty!
Let’s start off with the basics. Swedish Royals are a bunch of Bernadottes. Not to be rude, it’s just true.
Swedish monarchs have come from the house of Bernadotte since 1818. If the name sounds French, that’s because it is. King Karl XIV Johan was in fact French-born Jean Bernadotte, and he and his French wife Désirée Clary (briefly the fianceé of old Boney himself, we’ll have you know, before he jilted her for Josephine) were elected to the then-combined Swedish and Norwegian throne when several other options didn’t pan out.
Simply explained, it goes like this: the previous dynasty, died out with Karl XIII, who had no heir. The Swedish parliament then elected the prince of Denmark as heir to the Swedish throne, but he passed away the same year. As much of Europe was controlled by Napoleon Bonaparte at that time, the Riksdag then decided to elect a king of whom Napoeon would approve: so French marshall Bernadotte it was. And today the family is as Swedish as could be, whatever that means! So let’s go meet ‘em!
King Carl XVI Gustaf Folke Hubertus
Or just King Carl XVI Gustaf for short. He’s the man on the stamps. The one with the thin glasses and the skinny neck, and perfectly horizontal “smile” – you’ll almost never see his teeth. This king, like many Swedish kings before him, is named Carl. He was born on April 30, 1946, and became King of Sweden at age 27, in 1973. And it would seem he doesn’t plan on quitting anytime soon. Always very popular, in recent years his popularity has been somewhat shaken by scandals when his alleged early life was “revealed” in a tell-all book. However, the Royal Court has stayed firmly in denial of the claims made in the book and most of the brou-ha-ha seems to have blown over.
Queen Silvia Renate Sommerlath
…but you can call her Silvia, after all everyone else does. Silvia is the collected, graceful German girl who met King Carl at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. She may not have been competing, but she still won quite the prize: the hand of the Swedish king four years later. Apparently, when they met something went “click”, according to the smitten King.
Silvia is the ultimate “Dancing Queen” as the hugely popular ABBA song was first performed live at a gala celebrating her imminent wedding in 1976. Despite her popularity, Silvia too has been in stormy waters recently, due to allegations about her father during WWII, but the queen went to serious trouble trying to clear her father’s name. Some Swedes do complain that she still speaks with a slight German accent after all these years, but no one can deny her poise and style, even at 70 years old!
Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée
We wish we could have as many lovely princessy names as Victoria. What a shame she only uses one of them. Princess Vicky (she doesn’t actually go by that, be warned) was born in 1977, but wasn’t Crown Princess at the time. Not so long ago the crown could only go to male heirs, so despite being the oldest, Victoria was not in line. However, since 1980, Sweden has had fully cognatic succession, meaning that the first-born child of the monarch is heir to the throne, regardless of gender. Victoria is hugely popular, and has more than made up for any scandals – real or imagined – the previous generation may have been dragged into.
Prince Olaf Daniel Westling
While we’re making Cinderella references, we might want to mention Victoria’s husband – personal trainer-to-prince Daniel. They “got to know each other”, as the Royal Family’s official website states, in 2001, and announced their engagement in 2009. The wedding took place a year later with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance.
Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary
We now arrive at, undeniably, the cutest royal of them all! Princess Estelle is the first child of Victoria and Daniel, and just celebrated her second birthday. Not only is she adorable, but she’s already downright diplomatic, attending tennis matches and cultural events and featuring on innumerable family postcards displayed for all of Sweden. She’s got a goofy smile just like grandpa – but whereas his is in hiding, little Estelle flashes hers daily and warms our hearts!
Prince Carl Philip Edmund Bertil
Back to the king’s own kids, we have the only royal son of Sweden: Carl Philip. Born in 1979, he was the crown prince of Sweden for seven months, before the system was changed. A bit of a controversial lad, he is dating a model, he likes to ski and race Porsches, and indeed won the Porsche GT3 Endurance Scandinavia motor race in 2010. (What do you mean you haven’t heard of it?) He is also a military captain and did an internship with National Geographic. His passion is design and although that aspect of his career fell on rough times after accusations of plagiarism last year, he recently entered the fashion business when he and colleague Oscar Kylberg released a line of outerwear for brand A-One. With those wavy locks and valiant names and posh Porsches – he is rather damn princely, wouldn’t you say?
By the way, he’s 284th in line to the English throne.
Princess Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine
The king and queen’s youngest child, Madeleine was born in 1982. She resides in New York and was for a time known as the pretty, partying princess, but the girl’s got brains. She has studied art, law, and psychology, and has worked with UNICEF and the World Childhood Foundation, focusing on helping sexually exploited children. After a disastrous relationship with Swedish lawyer Jonas Bergström, ending in a broken engagement, Princess Madeleine finally found true love and married New York banker Christopher O’Neill in 2013, and in February 2014 presented Sweden with a new little princess. Which hopefully is enough to make the Swedish people forget she ended her engagement announcement with the little giggle “tihi” (“teehee”), which sparked a heated debate about Swedish female submissiveness and the state of feminism in the country.
Princess Leonore Lilian Maria
Leonore is the latest addition to the Swedish Royal Family, and while her father does not get the title of prince, Leonore is a little princess. But as she is not even a month old, we don’t have a whole lot to say about her. Yet.
So there you have it, go forth feeling more up to date on the Swedish Royals. And there is more to find out. For example, who was the Prince who renounced his title for love? Who were the little Princesses at Haga? And which Princess was seen in Vogue, was first married to an actor and later nursed wounded soldiers during WWII?
Featured Image: Royalcourt.se. All other images: Wikipedia
Shows, fairs, dance performances, festivals and cultural parties; YLC’s Danny Chapman has gone all in to give you THE BEST of what the city has to offer in March!
The family musical with Markoolio, Tobbe Trollkarl and others. Language: Swedish.
Where: Globen Annexet
When: Friday 7th March 18.00
Damage: 380-425 SEK
Art on Ice
The very best figure skaters and guest artists on stage with great live music, singers, an orchestra and dancers.
Where: Ericsson Globe
When: Thursday 13th March 19.00
Damage: 460 – 825 SEK
Musical Comedy written by Sheeba and Bengt Palmers and one of the eighties great successes. This revival at Cirkus includes amazing dancers and musicians, and a stage design that really spooks about!
When: Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd March and Friday 28th – Sunday 30th March
Damage: 270 – 720 SEK
Lost in Translation
The improv comedy show about the experience of living in Sweden as a foreigner. This hilarious show puts Swedes, foreigners and our cultural differences on stage in a forum where we can not only laugh at them, but also try and understand them better. The show is performed in English.
Where: Improvisation@Co, Hagagatan 48
When: Fridays 7th, 14th and 28th March 19.00
Damage: 200 SEK
Six dancers choreographed by Kenneth Kvarnstrom. What does the body do for us and how this is reflected in our facial expressions? What if the face disappears and is replaced with something else? What do we see?
When: Thursday 6th March 19.00 until 6th April.
Damage: 110 – 220 SEK
Nico – Sphinx of Ice
An art and music performance showing fragments of the life of Nico, the supermodel who became Andy Warhol’s muse and singer of the Velvet Underground
When: 20th – 28th March 19.00.
Damage: 100- 190 SEK
Tango Seminar followed by classic tango dance.
When: Tuesday 4th March 18.30
Damage: 80 SEK
Concert and dance performance
When: Saturday 29th March 20.00
Damage: 100- 140 SEK
Free instruction in traditional dances. All lessons start at beginner level but are appropriate for those with some experience. A very useful and enjoyable introduction to Swedish and Scandinavian traditional dancing.
When: Every Sunday from 6pm
An evening of Irish music, theater, song and dance.
When: Wednesday 12th March 19.30
Damage: 100-150 SEK
Celebrate the Persian New Years Eve in Ericsson Globe. The show contains some of the best and most well known Persian artists: Siavash Ghomeishi, Afshin, Rastin och DJ Farzad etc!
Where: Ericsson Globe
When: Saturday 22nd March 20.00
Damage: 163- 395 SEK
Music, talks, dance workshops, scavenger hunt, crafts corner and more.
When: Saturday 16th March 12.00 – 18.00
Damage: 80 SEK. Children under 18 free
Stockholm’s funniest and most prestigious music quiz.
Where: Debaser Strand
When: Wednesday 12th March 19.00
Damage: Free entry
Questions in the form of video and sound clips. Up to 4 people per team.
Where: Debaser Strand, Bar Brooklyn
When: Thursday 20th March 18.30
Damage: Free entry
Where: Saints Food and Drinks, Hagagatan 4 (near Odenplan)
When: Sunday 9th March and 23rd March 19.00
Damage: Free entry
Sweden’s annual Licorice feast. In 2014 the licorice festival will be an even more luxurious festival experience. This means more licorice activities with the theme “a world of licorice” and the increasing interest for licorice as a spice in cooking and baking.
Where: Globen Annexet
When: Sat 22nd March 10am-7pm and Sunday 23rd March 11am-5pm
Damage: 125 SEK
The first Korvfestivalen (Sausage festival) took place in 2013 at Nordiska Museet and was a great success with over 5,000 visitors. For 2014 the Korvakademien (sausage academy) have arranged a new festival, this time at Annexet in Stockholm, where lots of activities and tastings await
Where: Globen Annexet
When: Saturday 29 March and Sunday 30th March 10am-6pm
Damage: 125 SEK
Walks to sample the fantastic array of multicultural dining that Stockholm has to offer.
When: Until October
Damage: 695 SEK
This is the kind of exhibition where you can bring your children, as well as your parents or your friends – no one will be disappointed as it appeals to all ages. There are sculptures and paintings, installations and film clips. YLC were there at the opening – read more about it here.
Where: Djurgårdsvägen 60, Djurgården
When: Until 23rd March. Tuesday 11.00–20.00, Wednesday 11.00–17.00, Thursday 11.00–20.00, Friday-Sunday 11.00–17.00.
Damage: Adults 60 – 80 SEK. Under-18s free.
Premiere exhibition in Scandinavia by Mexian artist Orozco, one of his generations most acclaimed artists. Since the late 1980s, his work has grown in reputation and pioneered a new form of conceptual art, which does not shy away from depth or precision, using sculpture, photography, painting, drawing and installation.
Where: Moderna Museet
When: Until 4th May. Closed Mondays. Open from 10.00 – 18.00 all other days and until 20.00 on Tuesday and Friday.
Damage: Adults 100 – 120 SEK. Under-18s free.
Exhibition focusing on the fascination with machines, industry and everyday mechanisation. One gallery is devoted to Kraftwerk’s 3-D installation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (2013).
Where: Moderna Museet
When: Until 27th April. Closed Mondays. Open from 10.00 – 18.00 all other days and until 20.00 on Tuesday and Friday.
Damage: Adults 100 – 120 SEK. Under-18s free.
Exhibition presenting over 100 works from the 1970s to the present day by Roger Ballen whose powerful black-and-white photographs are profoundly existential.
When: 14 March – 7 June. Sunday – Wednesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Thursday – Saturday 9:00 am – 11: 00 pm
Damage: Adults 90 – 120 SEK. Under-12s free.
After having travelled across the United States for two years taking photographs, Robert Frank selected 83 pictures for his book The Americans. Published in the United States in 1959, the book provided a stark contrast to the media’s superficial image of American society. The critical response was savage.
When: 7 March – 18 May. Sunday – Wednesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Thursday – Saturday 9:00 am – 11: 00 pm
Damage: Adults 90 – 120 SEK. Under-12s free.
Comprehensive photo exhibition containing works from the last five years by twenty-one photographers. The point of departure for the exhibition is the changes taking place in photography during the 1990s.
When: Until 11th May. Tuesday –Friday 11 am – 4pm and Saturday – Sunday 11am – 5pm.
Damage: Adults 100 – 120 SEK. Under-19s free.
Major retrospective exhibition of the American cult artist Man Ray (1890-1976).
When: Until 8 June. Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Damage: 80 – 100 SEK. Under-19s free.
Art exhibitions by two Swedish artists.
Where: Lars Bohman Gallery
When: 1st – 30th March daily between 12.00 and 16.00
Guided walk with a licensed guide that will take you off the beaten track. The guide will tell you about the historical centre where Stockholm was born and about Swedish traditions and life style.
Where: Begins at the Royal Opera House, Gustav Adolfs torg.
When: Fridays from 7 March to 30 May (with a few variations).
Damage: 120 SEK – payment in cash to the guide. No need to book in advance, the walk will always take place, rain or shine. This walk is also in Italian same dates and time.
International exhibition with the world’s largest exhibition of computer games
Where: The National Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet)
When: Until 27 April. Open every day.
Damage: Adults 120 SEK. Kids under 7 free, between 7-19 40 SEK.
Kings Of Tennis
See some of the world’s greatest tennis legends play during Kings of Tennis. Kings Of Tennis is part of the ATP Champions Tour and only former champions will participate.
Where: Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre
When: Tuesday 11th – Friday 14th March
Damage: 495 SEK
All kind of collectibles, mostly vintage toys and dolls.
Where: Åsö Gymnasium
When: Sunday 30 March 10:00am
Damage: 60-120 SEK
Allt för Sjön (Stockholm International Boat Show)
The largest boat show in the Nordic region with boats and accessories.
Where: Stockholmsmässan, Mässvägen 1, Älvsjö
When: 1st-9th March, Saturday-Sunday 10am – 6pm, Weekdays 12am – 8pm
Damage: Adults 150 SEK, Children 30-70 SEK.
The northern region’s largest public event in wilderness and the natural meeting place for active outdoor people. Here you will find the Kit – the Places – the Experiences.
Where: Stockholmsmässan, Mässvägen 1, Älvsjö
When: Friday 7th – Sunday 9th March, Friday 12:00 – 20:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
Premiere of a new exhibition focusing on products and services for the outside of the house and/ or the summerhouse.
Where: Stockholmsmässan, Mässvägen 1, Älvsjö
When: Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd March, 09.00- 18:00
Scandinavia’s leading garden show. Seminars, open lectures and inspirational displays.
Where: Stockholmsmässan, Mässvägen 1, Älvsjö
When: Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd March, 09.00- 18:00
Sing-along for persons with disabilities (various times for different age groups)
When: Friday 7th March 19.30
Damage: 160 – 80 SEK
Featured Image: Annelie Elfsö/FotoAlle
YLC’s Judi Lembke has the lowdown on Sunday’s main event; Sweden’s biggest, baddest ski race, where thousands of participants take to their skis to follow in the footsteps of an ancient king.
Ah, yes, Vasaloppet, where thousands upon thousands of Swedes, along with people from all over the world, jump on their skis to race nearly 100 km from Dalarna to Mora, all in an odd mixture of competition, history and enormous amounts of mucus. It’s also the biggest, baddest and oldest cross-country ski race in the world, with the 2014 seeing upwards of 80 thousand people signed up for one of the Vasa Week events, including nearly 20 thousand for Sunday’s big race.
Over the years I’ve heard bits and bobs about the history of Vasaloppet and that bastion of truth, Wikipedia, backs up most of what I’ve heard so here’s a very fast and dirty tutorial, designed to arm you for the Monday morning quarterbacking you may well face.
Vasaloppet is held in honour of the young nobleman Gustav Ericsson Vasa, who in 1520 hopped on a pair of skis to escape the pursuing troops of Christian II, King of Sweden, Denmark and Norway (then known as the Kalmar Union). Along with much of the rest of the Nobility, Young Vasa was in opposition to the king, whose somewhat over-the-top bloodlust led to him not only killing large portions of the aristocracy (including Vasa’s parents) but also to being saddled with the unfortunate moniker Christian the Tyrant.
Fearing for his life, Vasa escaped the Stockholm Bloodbath (also known as the Stockholm Massacre) and headed to Mora, where he tried to interest the townfolk in supporting his calls for a rebellion. No one in Mora was much interested and with the King’s troops hot on his trail Vasa hightailed it towards Norway, in search of refuge.
While Vasa thought his fiery words of rebellion had fallen on deaf ears back in Mora it seems at least two men were suitably moved to catch up with Vasa in Sälen, where they now wanted him to lead the rebellion. Actually, it was hearing that Denmark was planning on raising taxes that changed the two men’s minds but let’s not quibble about the details; the important thing here is that the spark was lit, the rebellion was on and to make a long story short on 6 June 1523 Gustav Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, having defeated Christian the Tyrant and dissolved the Kalmar Unoin.
So now you’re asking how any of this has to do with an enormous amount of people skiing long distances across the middle of the country? It makes sense that Sweden celebrates its national day on 6 June, the anniversary of Vasa’s crowning, but the skiing? What about the skiing?
Well, here’s the deal: the race represents Vasa’s flight (along with Mora’s two most famous tax-dodgers) from the tyrant king and his henchmen, and live the Vasa motto, ‘In the footsteps of our forefathers for the victories of tomorrow’. It’s also a great excuse to slap some slippery bits of wood on to your feet and take part in what Sports Illustrated once called ‘one of the most bizarre, most foolish, most excruciating, most exalted human events of our time’.
Vasaloppet is televised live on SVT, where you can sit for literally hours watching as the crème de la crème of the international cross country world zoom towards the finish line. And then you can watch the other 19 thousand plus participants huff and puff for many more hours in what some see as an amazing display of sportsmanship and fortitude – and others see as an exercise in blazing stupidity. The jury’s still out on that one, to be honest.
90 kilometers, folks. NINETY KILOMETERS! That is a lot of time in the snowy backlands of middle Sweden, with the end result being that you’ll cross the finish line too tired to smile or even lift your arms in victory.
You’ll also most likely end up with frozen bogie icicles hanging down your face (don’t think I’m kidding about this) in full view of not only the thousands upon thousands of spectators, but of millions more watching from the comfort of their sofas. There’s a snapshot for the family photo album!
Now, that comfort of your sofa thing. SVT starts broadcasting the race at 8 am, which is tad early for a Sunday morning if you ask me. My suggestion is to flip on the TV, settle onto the sofa comfortably and if anyone suggests that maybe you could help with the vacuuming or ironing or maybe even do a bit of gardening work, lift a brow, nod towards the telly, and in low, reverential tones whisper, ‘Major Swedish tradition, darling. I’m trying to assimilate.’ Then get back to your shuteye, making sure to set your alarm in time to see who wins, which should be in under four hours.
Some interesting facts about Vasaloppet you might not be aware of:
- Vasaloppet Week consists of seven races over 10 days.
- Since 1922 more than 1 million skiers have crossed the finish line.
- Nils ‘Mora Nisse’ Karlsson has won Vasaloppet nine times.
- Bengt Erksson from Sälen has participated in more races than anyone: 59 to date, without a break.
- More than 98 thousand litres of blueberry soup, sports drinks, gruel and coffee is consumed at 7 food stations.
- The record for Vasaloppet was set in 2012 by Jörgen Brink, with a time of 3 hours, 38 minutes, 41 seconds.
See, you DO learn something new every day!
Judi Lembke is an international editor and writer who, when not shackled to her computer, enjoys reading, cooking and sometimes watching embarrassingly bad reality TV. Judi also works with communications and thinks coming up with clever ideas is about as much fun as one can have without taking off one’s clothes.
Featured Image: Rich Hoeg/Flickr (file)
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