• Sweden edition
 
July in Sweden: Clock off, tune in, chill out

July in Sweden: Clock off, tune in, chill out

Published: 01 Jul 2009 14:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2009 14:17 GMT+02:00

Short sleeves, bare midriffs, ice cream, fishing in a country lake. To counterbalance a life of functioning infrastructure and technological modernity, people are nostalgic for the primitive, rural life. Five weeks’ vacation is the minimum. Every fourth employee works less than 40 hours a week, although there is a growing army of young ‘no-clock’ workers — mostly in IT — in an increasingly skills-based economy. Women’s wages are 86 percent of men’s in the private sector, 84 percent on the public side.

On a hot July Sunday afternoon, you can walk the streets and hear only the singing of birds. Manufacturing, enterprises and organisations take a break, earned or not.

Meanwhile, the countryside is humming with activity. Often literally — music festivals and performances waft tunes to the winds. The Hultsfred Festival, a rock n’ tent happening, draws big-name acts. The Lake Siljan folk music week is famous for innovative sounds and soft kisses in moonlit parks. Stockholm has its jazz and blues week on a harbour island. Choir week on harsh Fårö Island. Arvika for electronica week.

Every tenth Swede has played a musical instrument in the last seven days. Four percent have sung in choirs in the last month. People swoon at the sound of an accordion if there are waves and seagulls in the background. The accordion and much music came from the south through Germany. The neighbouring Norwegians, behind a mountain range sometimes called Kölen, the keel, interacted with the fiddles of the Scottish isles instead.

It’s a good month for bargains, with more than 2,000 flea markets in country seats and city suburbs.

Parliament is closed, but on the first week in July representatives of the major political parties can be heard speechifying in the same park. Almedalen Park is in Visby, the mediaeval capital of Gotland, Sweden’s island province. The island’s flat, open roads bring families while Visby’s lively bars draw party-makers. The speechifying started in the late 1960s when the Social Democrats brought in the charismatic (later mysteriously murdered) Olof Palme to add to the appeal of summer seminars. Now all parliamentary parties clamour for speaking slots. The casual setting of the park helps when clarifying ideologies.

In the far north, the midnight sun still shines. Kiruna, the main city of the northern wilderness, doesn’t see a sunset from May 30th to July 15th. On the flip side, the entire region above the 72nd parallel will suffer through four months of total darkness when winter comes.

Keen to get a head start on the rest of the year? The Year in Sweden by Kim Loughran is on sale now at the AdLibris online bookstore.

Kim Loughran (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Swedish man beats bus in video challenge
Busses in Sundbyberg could be targeted by copycat runners. Photo: TT

Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

UPDATED: A Swedish runner who filmed himself beating his bus in Sundbyberg in north west Stockholm over the weekend is now planning to a similar challenge on the capital's Metro system. READ  

National
Sweden's benefit agency website down
Sweden's Social Insurance Agency is experiencing problems. Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency website down

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website was out of action on Monday, as officials promised that the technical fault would not delay benefit payments. READ  

Elections 2014
Budget headache for new coalition partners
Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson with Per Bo from the Green Party. Photo: TT

Budget headache for new coalition partners

UPDATED: The Social Democrats have been holding talks with the Green party to try and agree on a future coalition budget. But questions remain over how they will work together on issues including defence and nuclear power. READ  

National
US runaway forced to keep fake name
'Wanted' photograph of David Hemler used by US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Hemler lives and works in Uppsala. Photo: Shutterstock

US runaway forced to keep fake name

A US airman who deserted from the military three decades ago and moved to Sweden has failed in his bid to get his old name back, because a Swedish court says he can’t prove his identity. READ  

National
Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden
Stockholm experienced heavy rain on Sunday. Photo: TT

Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden

After heavy rain broke off the September sunshine in eastern Sweden on Sunday, forecasters warn more bad weather is on the way. READ  

Tech
World car record on Malmö bridge

World car record on Malmö bridge

The longest electric car parade on a bridge between two countries was formed on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark on Sunday, with environmental campaigners breaking several other world records in the process. READ  

National
Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash
The damaged ferry is being inspected on Monday. Photo: TT

Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash

UPDATED: A ferry crashed into a pier in the port of Helsingborg in southern Sweden on Sunday night, with two people taken to hospital following the collision. READ  

National
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

849
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN