• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden Floods
Flood chaos continues with more rain forecast
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Flood chaos continues with more rain forecast

UPDATED: Sweden's floods are set to continue over the weekend with the national weather agency predicting more showers for some of the affected areas. READ  

Elections 2014
Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's hopes for remaining in office has been given a boost after more Swedes said they had greater faith in him handling a crisis compared to election rival Stefan Löfven. READ  

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits
Actor Robin Williams. Photo: AP

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits

The internet search giant has revealed what Swedes googled for most over the summer period with the top 10 made up of diverse search topics ranging from sport to wasp stings READ  

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons

A man in central Sweden was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault on Friday after doctors noticed that both his twin sons had sustained serious and unexplained injuries. READ  

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money. READ  

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job
Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/TT

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job

Three Swedish soldiers risk prison after they were found to be drunk while guarding Stockholm's Royal Palace. The men, who were all armed at the time, were charged on Friday. READ  

Stockholm
What do the Swedes do when summer's over?
Photo: Isabela Vrba

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?

The heatwave is well and truly over, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. With this in mind, The Local's Isabela Vrba chatted to ten Stockholmers about how they plan to tackle the autumn. READ  

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend

Swedes are spending more than ever on makeup - and a growing chunk is going directly to their fingernails, new figures showed on Friday. READ  

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops
The pharmacy section of a grocery store. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops

After a drastic increase in the number of paracetamol poisonings in Sweden, authorities have said the drug should only be available in pharmacies. READ  

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden
File photo: Andreas Hagerman/Flickr

Listeria fears prompt meat recall in Sweden

After finding traces of listeria in ham sold in Sweden, food companies decided on Friday to recall several Danish cold cuts. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

729
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