Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic countries; 952,058 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area.
The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago.
Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country’s GDP and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) is one of the most famous Stockholmers of all time. The prize that bears his name is known worldwide. His spirit of curiosity, creativity and entrepreneurship lives on, especially in Stockholm during an intensive week at the end of each year. The city is home to some of Europe’s top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). It hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city’s most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia.
The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and most of its agencies such as the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Minister’s residence is adjacent at the Sager House.
Stockholm is the second most prolific tech and start up hub in the world, second only to Silicon Valley. This means Swedes are rather smart, but more importantly it means Stockholm attracts the most innovative people from all corners of the world. What meets them is a capital known for its beauty and closeness to nature. You are likely to see people both riding horses and stand up paddling while you wander the streets of Stockholm.
Crisp bread (knäckebröd) is the other favorite among Stockholmers. Swedes have been baking crisp bread since the Middle Ages, and it is on the table at breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a matter of course, served with toppings such as hard cheese, ham, or leverpastej, which is a spreadfriendly liver pâté. In fact, crisp bread is what Swedes living abroad miss the most.
Fika – a common word in Stockholm, but what does it mean? Simply put, it is the Swedish word for coffee break. Together with friends, family or colleagues, we drink a cup of coffee and eat sweet baked goods, called fikabröd. Fika is a social institution in Stockholm; it’s a way of socializing.
To understand Stockholm’s coffee break culture, there are two primary guidelines to keep in mind. A cup of coffee isn’t enough. The trimmings are the most important part, and the most common fika sweet is the cinnamon bun. Sweden even celebrates “Cinnamon Bun Day” on October 4 each year.
Fika culture is strongly embedded in society, and in many workplaces, particularly in the healthcare and service industries, it is practically on the schedule. For fifteen minutes in the morning at 10 a.m. and for fifteen minutes in the afternoon at 3 p.m., crowds gather around the coffee pot at offices, colleges and universities in Stockholm.
Swedish business economists have even concluded that a coffee break together is important at workplaces. During the fika break, all forms of hierarchy break down; people drink coffee together regardless of power or position. This is when informal decisions are made and where an information exchange takes place among colleagues from various departments.
On this episode we visit a plane that has today been converted to a Hotel, The Jumbo Stay Hotel, we learn about the History at the Vasa Museum, the world’s only preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia, we take a tour on the Ocean Bus, a unique tour that takes you across both land and water, we learn about the history of Stockholm’s subway station’s art exhibit by visiting Kungsträdgården Subway Station and T Centrale Subway Station, we get a panoramic view of the City by taking a ride on the Skyview gondola and we taste some of the best local cuisine by taking a food tour with Food Tours Stockholm.
Boeing Airplane Hotel
Welcome to one of the world’s coolest stays! Here you can spend the night onboard a real jumbo jet – on the ground! Our different room categories can accommodate one to three adults in comfort as well as a quad dormitory bed option. Located next door to the airport guests can spend the night in a real, converted jumbo jet – on the ground! This is the perfect way to start your trip abroad. The plane is a used out jumbo jet model 747-212B from 1976.
Oscar Diös was getting ready to expand my hostel business in 2006 when I heard about an old wreck of an aircraft for sale at Arlanda. Since I had for a long time wanted to establish my business at Arlanda I didn’t hesitate for a second when this opportunity struck, Oscar explains.
The airplane, a decommissioned model 747-200 jumbo jet built in 1976, was last operated by Transjet, a Swedish airline that went bankrupt in 2002. It was originally built for Singapore Airlines and later served with legendary Pan Am.
In December 2007, Sigtuna authorities granted a building permit for establishing Jumbo Stay at the entrance to Arlanda airport. In January 2008, the aircraft was moved to a construction site parking where the first phase of the conversion has begun with the dismantling of the old interior, new paint and new decorations for the rooms. 450 seats are taken out and the plane is sanitized in its entirety. The hostel is built like any house, subjected to the same demands on climate control and isolation. It adheres to all common energy standards. Heating is achieved with an air-air inverter.
Summer 2008 the plane was towed to its final destination at the entrance to Arlanda where it was placed on a concrete foundation with the landing gear secured in two steel cradles. Here, Jumbo Stay are a spectacular landmark as a portal to Arlanda offering a view of the landing strip. No visitor to Arlanda will miss the new place to stay.
Brief facts about Jumbo Stay
Airplane type: Boeing 747-212B
Year of manufacture: 1976
Name: Liv (after owner’s daughter)
Number of rooms: 33
Number of beds in total: 76
Number of beds per room: 1-4 beds
Room size: Circa 6 square meters, 3 meters to ceiling
Phone No: +46 8-593 604 00
Address: Jumbo Stay | Jumbovägen 4 | 190 47 Stockholm Arlanda
Vasa Museum contains the entire Vasa warship which capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the World’s only preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
The Vasa Dynasty: Gustav II Adolf (1594-1632) was the son of King Karl IX and Kristina of Holstein-Gottorp. His grandfather was Gustav I, or Gustav Vasa as he is often called today, the first of the Vasa dynasty. Gustav Adolf and his wife Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg were the parents of Queen Kristina, the last of the Vasa dynasty to sit on the Swedish throne.
The Vasa family originally had a bundle of sticks, called a fascine in English and vase in Swedish, as their heraldic symbol, and it is from this that the ship gets her name. By the 17th century, the vase looked more like a sheaf of wheat, and Vasa’s stern carries a gilded sheaf between two cherubs on the stern as the ship’s name board. The stern also carries the king’s initials, GARS, for Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sveciae (Latin for Gustav Adolf King of Sweden).
What started with church services and a festive atmosphere ended in a watery grave. It was the 10th of August 1628, when Vasa, the most powerful warship in the Baltic, foundered in Stockholm harbour before the eyes of a large audience, scant minutes after setting sail for the first time.
It was mid-afternoon when at last it was time. After many delays, frustrations with the supply of guns, and a change of captain, the newly fitted out Vasa was anchored below the castle, with its cannon finally on board and the crew manning their stations. The quay was packed with people and the water teemed with small craft carrying people who wanted to watch the mighty war machine slip its moorings and sail from Stockholm.
The crew had been allowed to bring their families, as it was the ship’s maiden voyage. The guests, including women and children, would disembark at the fortress of Vaxholm before the ship continued to the summer fleet base on the island of Älvsnabben in the Stockholm archipelago. There it would be the flagship of the reserve squadron, awaiting further orders as to whether to reinforce the blockade of Gdańsk in the stalemated, bloody war against Poland-Lithuania or to join the Swedish squadron protecting the German port of Stralsund. Only then would the ship’s complement of marines, two companies of soldiers totalling 300 men and officers, come aboard. But the soldiers were never to set foot on the Vasa.
10 August 1628 was a Sunday, and many of the Vasa’s crew had received communion earlier in the day. Hopes were high as people bid farewell or followed the ship from the key, but some aboard the ship were worried.
Vasa cast off from the palace between four and five o’clock because the wind was from the south, the ship had to be warped, towed by cables taken to the shore, along the waterfront to the other end of the city island, to the place now called Slussen. Here, she could pick up the current that would take her down the harbour. As the ship found the current, the last warp was cast off, Vasa was freed from the land, four of the ten sails were set, and a salute was fired.
There was little wind under the bluffs of Södermalm, not even enough to pull the sheets of the sails taught, and Vasa drifted on the current, not answering her helm. A small gust filled the sails, and the ship heeled to port, but slowly, agonizingly recovered. As the ship passed the gap in the bluffs at Tegelviken, a much stronger gust pushed the ship so far over on its port side that water poured in through the open gunports on the lower gundeck. Vasa began to sink.
Pandemonium reigned on deck. The captain ordered the sheets cast off to spill the wind from the sails and the gunports closed. Vice Admiral Erik Jönsson ran below to make sure the cannon had not broken loose. Many threw themselves into the water, while those below decks struggled to make their way up wildly tilting ladders. Within minutes, the ship was on the sea bed at a depth of 32 metres. The masts stuck up above the surface, and many grabbed hold of them. Others were picked up by the small craft that had followed the Vasa’s shaky journey at close quarters. Some swam the 120 metres to the shore of Beckholmen.
The quick and the dead
All but 30 of the crew and guests survived when Vasa sank. Most of the dead were trapped inside the ship. We only know the names of a few people on board, mostly those who survived the catastrophe. The captain, Söfring Hansson, abandoned Vasa late, almost too late, as he was dragged under by the sinking ship and only barely reached the surface in his heavy, sodden clothes.
Erik Jönsson also survived, but his escape was even closer. Below decks checking the guns when the ship began to sink, the ladder on which was climbing collapsed and he was struck by a hatch cover. He was pulled from the water and lay near death for some time.
Among the dead was Captain Hans Jonsson. He had been named as Vasa’s original captain before being replaced by Söfring Hansson. He was still on board, as it was common to take a second experienced captain on the first cruise of a new ship. There was mourning in Stockholm for those lost, and relief among those who survived. There was anger among those who had built the ship, but the overriding emotion was astonishment: how could such a thing have happened?
English Speaking Tour Guide, Eva Wiebe, tell’s Catherine all about the History of the Ship and showed her to a few of the nicest parts of the ship, for example the beautiful stern covered with sculptures.
The Vasa Museum has become a natural part of Stockholm’s skyline. Its masts rising high above Djurgården have become a beacon guiding curious tourists and Stockholmers alike. Vasa has not always been housed in such splendour. From her salvaging in 1961 until 1988 Vasa’s home was a 27-year long temporary one at the Wasavarvet Museum. In 1981 a pan-Nordic competition to select the architect for the permanent Vasa Museum was held and 384 designs were submitted. The winners were the Swedish architects Marianne Dahlbäck and Göran Månsson with their design “Ask”. Construction began on 2 November 1987 when Prince Bertil inaugurated the building and laid the foundation stone in a dry dock from 1878.
Opening hours: 1 September – 31 May: Daily 10:00-17:00 / Wednesdays 10:00-20:00
Admission Adults: SEK 130 Students: SEK 110 18 years and under: Free
Contact Person: Martina Siegrist Larsson
Phone No: +46 (0)8 519 548 45
Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Welcome aboard the Ocean Bus – Sightseeing with a Twist as you can experience Stockholm from both land and water in one single vehicle – an amphibious bus! You will get see many of City´s most known attractions whilst our guide tells fun and interesting stories along the way. Experience the thrill when we drive a 10-ton bus into the water. The tour start on land at Stromgatan – close to the Royal Opera. When the bus did it’s first test drives, some people reportedly called the emergency number 112 and notified the rescue services of a bus that had fallen into the water. Now the Stockholmers have become accustomed to the new vehicle. The tour takes 75 minutes, starts at the Djurgårdsbron (the bridge entering the island of Djurgården) and is guided in English. On the tour you will get to see ten of the top Stockholm highlights.
Contact Person: Max Ekwall
Phone No: +46 708 879 854
Address: Strömgatan 3, 111 52 Stockholm
Art in the Subway
The Stockholm subway system is said to be the world’s longest art exhibit – 110 kilometers long.
Traveling by subway is like traveling through an exciting story that extends from the artistic pioneers of the 1950s to the art experiments of today. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings, and reliefs by over 150 artists.
Kungsträdgården Subway Station
One of Stockholm’s most stunning stations is unsurprisingly also one of its most photographed:
Kungsträdgården. Located in the middle of downtown Stockholm, it’s the terminus of the blue line, or at least until its southward extension opens in 2025.
Kungsträdgården is one of Stockholm’s oldest public parks. The name, roughly meaning “The King’s Garden”, is derived from the area’s royal history. Between 1643 and 1825 it was the site of the majestic Makalös Palace, and a beautiful French garden was built. After Makalös burned down, the site was used for military exercises. Finally, in 1875, the park landed in the care of the Stockholm City Council, which in turn opened it for the public. Almost everything on the station tells the story of the site above ground.
The color scheme – red, white and green – is a reference to the old French formal garden and statues around the station are actually replicas of Makalös Palace’s exterior art. Another unique feature of Kungsträdgården is its unique fauna. The station is the only place in Northern Europe where the cave-dwelling Lessertia dentichelis-spider can be found.
Metro Tour Guide Eva Palmqvist tells Catherine all about the History of the Art in the Subway
Station’s + Kungsträdgården Subway Station.
Contact Person: Sannia Ali (MTR Tunnelbanan AB – Stockholm Metro)
Phone No: +46 (0) 76 641 1320
Address: 111 47 Stockholm, Sweden
T Centralen Subway Station
T-Centralen, the main hub of Stockholm’s subway, opened up for traffic in 1957 and was the first station to feature artwork. The blue line-platform, quite literally “the blue platform” is hands down one of the public transport system’s most recognizable places. But it didn’t open until 1975 when the blue line to Hjulsta was completed.
Painting a platform on the subway’s blue line almost entirely in, well… blue might seem a little on the nose. One of the Art guide’s at the station theorizes that the artist Per Olof Ultvedt not only chose the blue shades based on their aesthetic values but also their relaxing effect – I think Per Olof Ultvedt wanted to create a calming atmosphere because this is a station where people are in a hurry. They are changing trains to another metro line or another commuter train. So I think that his idea was that the blue color together with the simple motifs – stylized flowers and leaf creepers – gives passengers pause and a chance to clear their mind.
Metro Tour Guide Eva Palmqvist tells Catherine all about the History of T Centralen Subway Station.
Contact Person: Sannia Ali (MTR Tunnelbanan AB – Stockholm Metro)
Phone No: +46 (0) 76 641 1320
Address: 111 20 Stockholm, Sweden
Address: 37 Customhouse Quay, Wellington Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SkyView is the world-class attraction that takes you to the top of the world’s largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe, a Stockholm landmark. From the apex 130 meters (425 feet) above sea level, you’ll get a fantastic view encompassing all of Stockholm.
The two SkyView gondolas depart every 10 minutes, and the entire visit takes about 20 minutes.
Restaurant, café and souvenir shop are adjacent to SkyView.
SkyView was inagurated in 2010. The roof construction of Ericsson Globe was reinforced with 42 tons of steel and then mounted a further 70 tonnes of rails on the arena’s facade. The specially designed glass gondolas were built by ski lift manufacturers in Östersund and there is no similar attraction anywhere in the world.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10.00-18:00 / Saturday-Sunday: 10:00-16:00 (Last departure is 10 minutes before closing time.)
Contact Person: Gunilla Wallin
Phone No: +46 77 181 10 00
Address: Globen, Globentorget 2, 121 77 Stockholm.
Gamla Stan (Old Town)
Gamla Stan, the Old Town, is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.
All of Gamla Stan and the adjacent island of Riddarholmen are like a living pedestrian-friendly museum full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars, and places to shop. Gamla Stan is also popular with aficionados of handicrafts, curious, and souvenirs. The narrow winding cobblestone streets, with their buildings in so many different shades of gold, give Gamla Stan its unique character. Even now cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages can be found behind the visible facades, and on snowy winter days, the district feels like something from a storybook.
There are several beautiful churches and museums in Gamla Stan, including Sweden’s national cathedral Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel Museum. The largest of the attractions in the district is the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world with over 600 rooms. In addition to the reception rooms, there are several interesting museums in the Palace, including the Royal Armory, with royal costumes and armor. Don’t miss the parade of soldiers and the daily changing of the guard.
Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan are the district’s main streets. The city wall that once surrounded the city ran inside these streets along what is now Prästgatan. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm. Stortorget is the central point from which runs Köpmangatan, the oldest street in Stockholm, which was mentioned as early as the fourteenth century. Mårten Trotzigs gränd (Mårten Trotzigs alley) is hard to find. It’s the narrowest alley in Gamla Stan, only 90 centimeters wide at its narrowest point. Make sure not to miss Riddarholmen and the Riddarholmen Church. The church is a royal burial church, and was built as a Franciscan monastery for the so-called Grey Brother monks in the thirteenth century.
Visit Stockholm (Tourism Board)
Contact Person: Birgitta Palmér (Press Officer)
Phone No: +46 (0) 8 508 285 05, +46 (0) 73 097 8531
Food Tours Stockholm
A “food walk” or “food tour” with us at Food Tours Stockholm is a guided culinary promenade between carefully selected restaurants, bars, cafes and / or specialty stores. At the stops included for the day, we sample delicious food and enjoy stories from enthusiastic bakers and chefs with a true passion for flavours and high quality ingredients. We season the walk with anecdotes from some of the exciting places we pass.
We want to offer you a unique way of experiencing Stockholm through its food. We believe that sharing good food can bring pure happiness and that one of the best ways to understand another culture is to eat its food.
Fredrik Linse – Founder and food guide
Since I can remember, I have always had a passion for good and well-prepared food. When travelling, both in Sweden and abroad, local food experiences have been the most memorable highlights of my trips. My mission is to show the quality, diversity and the inventiveness of the Stockholm food scene.
Favorite food: Swedish traditional food (husmanskost) is very close to my heart but I also have a soft spot for much of what the different Asian cuisines have to offer. Generally, I love genuine, well cooked food that tastes good!
Background: I have been running businesses within experience and service sectors for over 20 years. I was born and raised in Stockholm. I started Food Tours Stockholm in 2013, something that I’ve dreamed about since I experienced a food tour in Bangkok more than 10 years ago.
Gunilla Blixt – Food guide and recipe reviewer
All the knowledge I have acquired about food during my professional career is great to have as a foundation when guiding Food Tour guests. My special interest is Swedish and Nordic food.
Favorite food – As a child I got to help my grandmother frying freshly caught Baltic herring on the iron stove. This was when I first gained my interest in fresh and seasonal produce. I prefer to eat according to the season, because I love to long for food cooked from ingredients when they are at their best.
Background – Food and service has been my livelihood throughout my professional career and I have been a food writer for over 20 years. I am specialized in Swedish and Nordic food and also devote myself to scrutinize recipes for magazines, recipe databases, and book publishers. I have been guiding food walks since 2014, and Food Tours since 2015.