Stockholm is famous for it’s relatively cool and pleasant summers, but in the winter half of the year, the city at times transforms into a beautiful winter wonderland. While the snowy landscape can inspire you to dress well for the season for an Instagram-worthy photo, it can be bitterly cold since temperatures can drop to below 0°C from December to February. But even if snow continues to fall, the locals have found various ways to keep the city going and prevent snow from piling up, which can cause heavy traffic and accidents. Here’s what you need to know about the snowy months in Stockholm, and how the city deals with the winter season.
Snow Plowing First Thing in the Morning
Snow clearing is a matter that’s taken seriously in most cities since the presence of too much snow on streets and rooftops can endanger lives and private property. Moreover, cold weather conditions can impact businesses negatively since snow and ice can block routes to commercial premises. Employees and customers are also more at risk of falls and trips, which can lead to legal problems. This is why a lot of the snow removal is handled by the city in Stockholm, and it’s usually done first thing in the morning on the snowy days.
A snow plow is used to get rid of snow on the streets, and snow plowing is usually done at dawn. If you happen to live at the ground floor with a window or door that’s facing the street, you’ll hear the machine as it makes its way across the city. Stockholm has also adopted a gender-equal plowing strategy since it was found that women are more likely to walk through the snow than men. This strategy ensures that sidewalks and cycling lanes are prioritised during snow clearing efforts, and schools and daycare centres are serviced first over other establishments.
Sweep-Salting Keeps Bike Paths Clear
Riding a bicycle is one of the easiest ways to get around Stockholm, and the city has a well-established cycling culture. Since it can be dangerous to cycle during the winter season, bike paths are regularly sweep-salted to manage the snow. Sweep-salting involves using a tractor to sweep away snow from bike paths, then these paths are sprayed with brine to keep them free from snow and ice. It should also be noted that Stockholm has a few heated streets, but these areas are limited to shopping streets and city squares. Bike paths aren’t heated, but they’re sweep-salted often to keep cyclists safe.
Heated Buildings for Health and Comfort
Most of the buildings in Stockholm are properly heated and insulated. Even older buildings are designed to keep the heat in, which is why the locals make it a point to spend most of the winter season indoors. To keep warm, they wear layers and might light a fire, and while hot coffee is consumed in massive amounts, the Swedes also make a warm, alcohol-laced drink called glögg. To make it, the locals mix red wine with fresh fruit juice, sugar and spices, and sometimes they’ll add a little brandy or whisky to the drink. If they’re tired of staying indoors, they brave the cold to get some exercise, which can help to regulate body temperature. Typically, locals will go for a walk or they might spend some time skiing, then go to a cafe for their fika or coffee break.
The snowy months can be quite chilly in Stockholm, but the locals have found a way to deal with the snow and the freezing temperatures to have a lovely winter season. Snow plowing and sweep-salting keep the snow off of properties, business premises, and bike paths, and everyone makes it a point to stay warm indoors while they find ways to enjoy the winter months.
All photos by Karen Lundquist www.1-way-ticket.com