Edinburgh and Stockholm

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.

Wreath
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

Blue Line commuting

Slussen Commute
Slussen Commute

3. …and this is an average work night out

And now we're racing
And now we’re racing

4. Because it’s 1/3 green space

Photo: Ola Ericson/www.stockholmsfoto.se

Here are 6 parks to get you started:

5. …and 1/3 water

Gamla Stan

 

Photo: Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
Photo: Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com

6. Because you’re 20 minutes Away From 30,000 islands

Photo: http://www.stockholmarchipelago.se/

7. Because you live 5 minutes’ walk from this

Mälaren Boardwalk. 20C at this point
Mälaren Boardwalk. 20C at this point

8. Because of High Octane Boating Fun

Archipelago Rib Safari

9. …and gentler sailing

Skeppsbron Ships
Skeppsbron Ships

10. Because some boats are really old

Vasa Stern - sunk in the harbour on its maiden voyage, but amazingly well preserved by the clean, cool Baltic
Vasa Stern – sunk in the harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628, but amazingly well preserved by the clean, cool Baltic

11. Because Everyone has a boat

Boat clubs in Pålsundet, Stockholm
My boss has a boat. My boss’ boss has a boat. Most of my colleagues have boats (and the rest have summer cottages).
Is it a surprise that the local equivalent of B&Q has a boat section?

Boat Section, Bauhaus
Boat Section, Bauhaus

12. Because open air swimming is everywhere

Photo:Joel Jonsson
Note the city centre buildings right behind him.
Note the city centre buildings right behind him.

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

Photo: Derbeth/Flickr

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)

Road crossing, bikes and pedestrians cross apart.
Road crossing, bikes and pedestrians cross apart.

15. Because multimodal, inter-linked public transport.

Ferry from Slussen to Djurgården, covered by the standard travel pass.
Ferry from Slussen to Djurgården, covered by the standard travel pass.

Buses and subway and commuter trains and trams and ferries. Oh my.

16. …and our trams work.

Tram

17. Because town planning is open and visible

Sergelstorg future road changes. The kerb goes back in 2015/16 and again (the second dashed line) in 2017
Sergelstorg future road changes. The kerb goes back in 2015/16 and again (the second dashed line) in 2017

18. Because of city centre fairgrounds all summer long

Gröna Lund Rollercoaster
Gröna Lund Rollercoaster
Photo: Yanan Li/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
Photo: Yanan Li/mediabank.visitstockholm.com

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

Office Coffee
Office Coffee
Approaching Worship
Approaching Worship

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.

Semla
Semla
Photo: Frugan

Mmm... Cakes!

Photograph: Jakob Fridholm
Dear GBBO, this is a prinsesstårta. The colour is very specific.

22. …and Fika is a Way of Life

Raspberry Baked Cheesecake and Hot Chocolate
Raspberry Baked Cheesecake and Hot Chocolate

Coffee and Cinnamon Pastry

Fika with @sweden
Fika with @sweden

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

Sourdough Rolls, Södermalm
Sourdough Rolls, Södermalm

Hardly a surprise as every supermarket sells fresh yeast and Sourdough Starter

24. Because we have food markets, not just shops

Östermalms Saluhall

Round the corner from my office, this is stuffed to the gills with the best in fresh food – meat, fish, shellfish, fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes as well as preserves and tins.

Hörtorgshallen, only 5 minutes’ walk away
Foto: Lennart Johansson

25. Because StikkiNikki for icecream

26. Because New Nordic cuisine

Gastranomik

27. Because Old Nordic cuisine

Photo: Mathias Nordgren, Stureplansgruppen

Cooking with fire at Ekstedt

28. Because lunch comes with a view at Gondolen

Gondolen

29. Because spring is welcomed with fire

Valborg Fire
Valborg Fire

30. Because Autumn is gorgeous

Strangers on a bench

31. …but winter is coming

Photo: www.stromma.se

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.

Stockholm Winter
Stockholm Winter

32. Because skiing. In (not near) the city.

Photo: Joopey/Flickr

33. Because our ice rink is bigger than yours

Photo: Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
Photo: Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com

Every year, the world’s longest ice skating race runs from Uppsala, 80km away along Mälaren.

34. Because Christmas Markets need Snow

Christmas Market, Stortorget

35. Because Christmas is candles and sparkles until February

My place!
Christmas love

36. Because Christmas lights

Christmas time in Stockholm
Christmas time on Biblioteksgatan in Stockholm
Christmas time

37. Because of the coolest bar in the world

Absolut Icebar Stockholm
Absolut Icebar

38. Because: Colour

Gamla Stan Colours
Gamla Stan Colours

Orla Finishes

Stortorget

39. Because of rejection of racists

Foreign politicians will not control our country This is what we will work for in the EU parliament * Reduce EU power over Sweden * A clear NO to the Euro * Reduction in Swedish EU contributions * Protect the Swedish employment model * Stop organised begging * Protect and strengthen Swedish animal welfare * A meaningful immigration policy
“Foreign politicians will not control our country
This is what we will work for in the EU parliament
* Reduce EU power over Sweden
* A clear NO to the Euro
* Reduction in Swedish EU contributions
* Protect the Swedish employment model
* Stop organised begging
* Protect and strengthen Swedish animal welfare
* A meaningful immigration policy”

Subway poster… amended.

40. Because journalists are still worthy of respect

Send a stubborn journalist to Brussels EU will help families on the run, but won’t protect our parents’ insurance
“Send a stubborn journalist to Brussels”

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

Big Scary Security Barrier, Swedish Style. One knee high wire and a polite notice
Big Scary Security Barrier, Swedish Style.
One knee high wire and a polite notice keeps you out of the private part of the Royal Palace.

42. Because Stockholm is bursting with Pride

Pride Parade Stockholm 2013 / Prideparaden 2013

43. …even the buses

Rainbow flags fly from the city’s buses in Pride Week

44. Because of quiet corners

Shady Square, just off one of the city's major shopping streets
Shady Square, just off one of the city’s major shopping streets

Prästgatan I

45. Because these two photos are taken from the same spot

Östermalm Shore
Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen

46. Because deer in your garden

Look Very Carefully
Look very carefully… there are 3 deer here.

47. Because you haven’t really achieved anything until the King of Sweden shakes your hand

Nobel Medal

48. Because of ABBA

ABBA-Esque
ABBA-Esque

49. Because your daughter can be the strongest girl in the world

Visit Villa Villakulla at Junibacken

50. Because of daily city centre opera

Kungsträdgården Lunchtime Concert
Kungsträdgården Lunchtime Concert

51. Because of outdoor gigs every week in summer

Ultravox at Gröna Lund
Bo Kaspers Orkester på Gröna Lund
Bo Kaspers Orkester på Gröna Lund

52. Because the world’s biggest IKEA is at Kungens Kurv

53. Because interior design really is living and working in an IKEA catalogue

Stayat Breakfast Room

Avega Group Office
Avega Group Office

PC170391

54. Because Södermalm was hipster before you’d heard of the idea

Shop retro at Beyond Vintage

55. Because a has-been tennis star is now just pants

Shop for underwear in Sture Gallerian

56. Because Flea Markets are A Thing

Hornstull marknad, with plentiful food trucks too

57. Because it may be a Golf Ball, but Globen has a hell of a view

Illuminated Sphere

58. Because pampering is on hand

Sturebadet

59. Because, no matter how you look at it, it takes your breath away

Photo: Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
Photo: Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com

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