Friends back in Scotland have been happily pointing out 53 Reasons Living In Edinburgh Ruins You For Life. And while some of these are true, and Edinburgh is thoroughly wonderful (I lived in and around it for 25 years), I disagree with the premise that it ruins you for life. Perhaps if you stay in the UK, but not if you’re subsequently living in Stockholm.
And so, in response, I give you…
1. Because the subway art is dazzling.
Stockholm’s subways comprise the longest art gallery in the world. 110km of it. Some is hard-built into the station, some is display-cased on a rotating basis. But it’s there all year round, not just a temporary installation.
2. Because this is an average commuter journey
3. …and this is an average work night out
4. Because it’s 1/3 green space
Here are 6 parks to get you started:
5. …and 1/3 water
6. Because you’re 20 minutes Away From 30,000 islands
7. Because you live 5 minutes’ walk from this
8. Because of High Octane Boating Fun
9. …and gentler sailing
10. Because some boats are really old
11. Because Everyone has a boat
12. Because open air swimming is everywhere
You can swim in the lake. Or the sea. And never feel crowded (unless you want to). The water is clean enough to drink.
Our swimming spots.
13. Because bikes are everywhere
14. Because safe cycling
Cycle paths are universal and hard-separated from busy roads, even right out in the suburbs.
And road crossings are separated for pedestrians and cyclists (as are cycle paths)
15. Because multimodal, inter-linked public transport.
Buses and subway and commuter trains and trams and ferries. Oh my.
16. …and our trams work.
17. Because town planning is open and visible
18. Because of city centre fairgrounds all summer long
19. Because you haven’t ever really tasted Coffee yet
It is actually impossible to walk more than a few metres in Stockholm without running across a cozy café, serving the best coffee you ever tasted.
20. …especially at work
In the UK, you have instant coffee. In Sweden: constant coffee. And low quality just doesn’t happen. This coffee machine (supporting one floor of a not very busy office) served 30,000 servings in 2013.
21. …And I haven’t even STARTED on the Cakes
Cakes so good, they have specific days celebrating them, and are restricted to certain seasons, lest the population become addicted. Semlor should be a controlled substance.
22. …and Fika is a Way of Life
Everything – everything – stops for fikapause. It’s the hallowed ritual of Swedish life. Coffee and a cake and a chat.
23. Because bread is superlative, too
Hardly a surprise as every supermarket sells fresh yeast and Sourdough Starter
24. Because we have food markets, not just shops
25. Because StikkiNikki for icecream
26. Because New Nordic cuisine
27. Because Old Nordic cuisine
Cooking with fire at Ekstedt
28. Because lunch comes with a view at Gondolen
29. Because spring is welcomed with fire
30. Because Autumn is gorgeous
31. …but winter is coming
And yet, everything still works. But that’s because we get snow every year, rather than it being a special occasion that only lasts a couple of hours.
32. Because skiing. In (not near) the city.
33. Because our ice rink is bigger than yours
Every year, the world’s longest ice skating race runs from Uppsala, 80km away along Mälaren.
34. Because Christmas Markets need Snow
35. Because Christmas is candles and sparkles until February
36. Because Christmas lights
37. Because of the coolest bar in the world
38. Because: Colour
39. Because of rejection of racists
Subway poster… amended.
40. Because journalists are still worthy of respect
Even for relatively right wing parties, ‘journalist’ is not a reason to spit, cross yourself three times and perform other demonic outcasting rituals. It’s not a city where the idea of a righteous journalist as the hero of a set of books and movies is ridiculed.
41. Because Security Theatre is a polite notice
42. Because Stockholm is bursting with Pride
43. …even the buses
44. Because of quiet corners
45. Because these two photos are taken from the same spot
46. Because deer in your garden
47. Because you haven’t really achieved anything until the King of Sweden shakes your hand
48. Because of ABBA
49. Because your daughter can be the strongest girl in the world
50. Because of daily city centre opera
51. Because of outdoor gigs every week in summer
52. Because the world’s biggest IKEA is at Kungens Kurv