14 Jul 2024
Skansen: the truly Swedish Experience
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Skansen: the truly Swedish Experience

If you want to read about Swedish culture, you should go to Your Living City. But if you want to live, breathe and feel it, you need to go to Skansen. That’s why we have teamed up with the best outdoor museum in the world for a reader giveaway!


Skansen is the place where traditions come alive, but it was a revolutionary act to create the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden. The idea then had been to preserve Swedish customs against the onslaught of industrialisation in the late 19th century. What the founder, Artur Hazelius, could not have known was the service he was providing for tourists and expats of the future, who want to see Sweden’s beautiful architecture and native animals in one place.

The attractions at Skansen abound. There is an entire replica of a 19th century town, complete with the workers in period dress. So you can watch the glass-blowers, bakers and shoe-makers using their crafts as they were over a hundred years ago. The zoo is another delight, with Scandinavian breeds of bears, bison, moose and other creatures to be seen. But an outdoor museum of all things Swedish doesn’t convey the living, breathing nature of Skansen; it’s simply THE place to experience and participate in customs that are happening all over the country.

Below is a taster of what you can expect from a visit to Skansen.

And Stockholmers know that Skansen is an all-year-round attraction. In the spring there is Walpurgis; in summer they flock to see the traditional Midsummer celebrations or participate in the widely popular singalong TV-show Allsång på Skansen, but the autumn and Christmas fairs are just as popular and there aren’t many Swedes who would miss Lucia or Christmas at Skansen or the New Year’s celebrations, whether in situ or on television.

That tourists love Skansen is not so surprising, but Stockholmers, young and old of all nationalities and backgrounds, keep returning there – to see the Scandinavian animals, share in the culture and traditions and to generate amazing memories for years to come.


Now – you can experience the joys of Skansen free with Your Living City!

We have 5 pairs of tickets to give away for you to enjoy a slice of Swedish life! All you need to do is to leave a comment in the box below on what Sweden means to you. It can range from a simple ‘meatballs’ to a longer piece on what you love about the traditions. We will pick the 5 answers we like best and the tickets are yours!

This competition is now closed.


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


  • Jessica Lehnhoff 3 Aug 2013

    Sweden means equality. Equality on love, health, and overall life. I have never lived in a country that believes so strongly in that word. And I can compare it to the other 3 countries I have lived in. Be who you are, because in Sweden you are accepted, respected and embraced no matter your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. Let’s hope for the rest of the world to follow in Sweden’s footsteps.

  • Rachel Brown 3 Aug 2013

    Typically, visitors to Sweden capture the country with ideas about equality. This is true but for me, unity is in fact the right word.

    I have come here to study for the year and in just a few days I have been bowled over by the generous kindness and help of the Swedes. You could never feel alone in Sweden!

    The locals in Uppsala are anchored to their city by an affectionate relationship with their city’s architecture and social history. And you can see why when we consider the contributions made to the city by genius architect, traveller and professor of medicine, Olaus Rudbeck or Uppsala’s intelligent (and pioneering!) women such as Queen Christina who we can thank for ensuring the important gothic text, Codex Argenteus (the silver bible) can be seen in the Carolina Rediviva library.

    The fika tradition also encourages people to make connections with one another; what could be nicer than drinking great coffee and enjoying sweet treats as you sit along the river Fyris, basking in the sun with cherished friends?

    This means Sweden is about having a sense of unity with the place you call home and the people you share it with. Sweden is more than equality, it is the union of place and people.

    • J. Andreas 4 Aug 2013

      I too feel that equality is something that Sweden (and other countries) strive towards. If anyone were to read about the problems with hate crimes in Malmo or the uprisings in Husby and other suburbs, they would see that we are far from unified. That being said, most of the population is still striving towards true equality and quality of life. I am an expat whose lived here for several years, and I feel that it is very easy to feel alone in Sweden when you are not in an academic/university system with built-in support. It’s easy to feel united when you are part of a system or cheering for the Eurovision song contest. But what I would contribute as a special quality of Sweden is that in every season (alone or not) you can be one with nature. The respect that Swedes have for this earth and its flora/fauna is unparalleled. And what better place to experience the harmony that can exist between man and nature, than at Skansen!

  • Wim Bussels 3 Aug 2013


  • Anne-Marie 9 Aug 2013

    Sweden to me firstly means high regard on human rights as well as animal rights. Sweden stands out in the way that it treats everyone equally. It is one of the few countries that doesn’t allow selling dogs and cats in pet stores, which is why it doesn’t suffer from puppy mill disasters like the rest of the world do. When do you see a stray dog or cat in Sweden?! Close to never. Apart from always looking out for its people and animals, Swedish traditions such as my baking pepparkakor for our Christmas festivities, and lighting the candles at advent, and watching my kids carefully walk with candles on their heads to celebrate Lucia all stand out. These traditions continued when the family moved to Central America years ago. We continued all of our traditions to this day, and are so grateful for Sweden and everything it has taught us.

  • Jinny Tee 10 Aug 2013

    Sweden means home to me, even if it might be temporary for now. My little girl is born here and here is where I started my family. I love how Sweden focuses on the family, from the number of days of parental leave to barnbidrag, to encouraging the involvement of dads in the process of raising up a family, and the öppna förskola! Sweden means convenient travel with a stroller and loads of family friendly places for a family outing like Skansen!

  • Lisa 10 Aug 2013

    Sweden means diversity. I embrace all the different cultures that go together to make Sweden what it is today. Yet with all this diversity and combinations of cultures, Sweden has a strong history and established traditions that are unite us all. Fantastic!

  • Lisa Strickland 25 Aug 2013

    Sweden to me means two things: To me it is both a mindset and a second home. Having a Swedish mother and an American father, I spent many summers in Sweden with my extended family. These summers were so defining for me and my connection to both Sweden itself and my family. So, when I think of Sweden, I am instantly relaxed. I can almost feel the slower pace, the appreciation of diversity, youth, tradition and history. And Skansen is a huge part of these memories I have!

  • Rayelene Govender 25 Aug 2013

    Sweden to me means many things:

    Freedom of movement but also conformity

    Love of nature but yet an uncanny dislike for the colder, longer winter months

    Practice of etiquette and respect however quiet undertones of disdain

    Historic and very evolved at the same time

    These are some of the things that Sweden means to me!

  • Stephanie Lundberg 9 Dec 2013

    Sweden means culture, tradition and music to me. A lot of great cultural events can be found in the City.

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