• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Why is this Swedish town the world's capital of fika?
Cinnamon rolls and Alingsås. Photo: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se/DavidJ/Flickr.com

Why is this Swedish town the world's capital of fika?

Emma Löfgren · 24 Mar 2016, 16:36

Published: 24 Mar 2016 12:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Mar 2016 16:36 GMT+01:00

Situated 40 kilometres north-east of Gothenburg, Alingsås may not be the first place that jumps to mind when international readers think about Swedish tourist hotspots, but the picturesque town boasts one thing that speaks directly to the Swedes' famous sweet tooth: it has the most cafés per capita in the country.

Tourism bosses and cafe owners now hope that their new English slogan, 'Alingsås – The Capital of Fika', launched this week, will help attract foreign visitors to the west Sweden municipality of around 39,000 residents and the 30-something cafés lining its cobblestone streets.

"Our fika tradition in Alingsås dates back until a time when we had a lot of industries in the town and workers didn't have time to bake themselves, so they ate out at cafés," Sandra Grönkvist, co-owner of Nygrens Café in Alingsås, told The Local of the three-centuries-old tradition on Thursday.

What's fika? Well, if you've lived in Sweden for more than five minutes you'll be well aware of the almost-daily coffee-and-something-sweet routine. But the phenomenon has also been going global in recent years, with more and more Nordic coffee shops popping up abroad.

READ ALSO: Is Sweden's fika trend going global?

Tourism chief Gunhild Reteike, one of the people behind the 'Capital of Fika' campaign, told the regional GT tabloid that she is already fielding questions from global media about the hype.

"I have visits by journalists from the US, Germany, England and Norway booked in this spring," she said.

Grönkvist meanwhile says she would welcome more visitors from near and far, adding that she has already noticed that her town and Swedish fika are attracting more attention.

"We already have a lot of foreign tourists and the fika concept is only getting more and more popular, both among Swedes and internationally."

"I've told them [the tourism bosses] that the best thing about this is that we're getting journalists from all over the world visiting us to write about this. If you know that people have got their eyes on you, you want to become better and better. I hope we live up to their expectations," she said.

 

Kärt återseende, vår afternoon tea buffé är nu tillbaka. Varje onsdag och torsdag från klockan 15. Varmt välkomna!

Ett foto publicerat av Nygrens Café (@nygrenscafe)

A new addition to the Alingsås calendar are the regular 'fika tours' between April and October, where participants walk from café to café to munch on Swedish goodies such as cinnamon rolls and marzipan cakes (it's essentially like a pub crawl, but with the difference that you can bring your kids).

Story continues below…

"I'm a pretty boring person, I think a really good bun is hard to resist. I'm not much for other Swedish fika pastries like 'kladdkaka' [a sticky chocolate cake] or carrot cake. A good cup of coffee and a bun that has been baked with love, that's perfect," said Grönkvist.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Löfgren (emma.lofgren@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

US election
What Americans in Sweden think of Trump and Clinton
The Local spoke to Americans in Sweden after the first US presidential debate. Photo: David Goldman/AP/TT

The Local spoke to four US voters based in Sweden about who they are planning on voting for in the November election, and it looks like it's complicated.

Presented by Emirates Center for Strategic Studies
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
File photo: sanjitbakshi/Flickr

As Sweden prepares to take a seat on UN Security Council next year, Abu Dhabi-based scholar and author Dr. Jamal Sanad al-Suwaidi argues for a greater UN role to fight extremist ideologies like those that fuel Isis and other terror groups.

Video
Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Should a condom be sent into space? It's the burning question some Swedes have posed. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Craig Rubadoux/AP

'We can't be sure what alien sex organs look like.'

Mum gives birth on toilet after being told to take paracetamol
File photo of a baby not related to the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A woman has described how she was told to take a painkiller when she phoned a hospital in Ystad, southern Sweden, in pain. Just moments later she gave birth to a baby in the toilet.

Indians in Sweden told to be wary of travel document scam
File photo of a man using a phone not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Embassy of India in Stockholm has urged Indian citizens in Sweden to be wary of scammers who ask for money to fix fabricated errors in travel documents.

Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Best not to look at the price tag.

Witnesses 'afraid to talk' to police about Malmö shooting
Police investigating the shooting in Malmö. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Police are appealing for witnesses to a shooting which killed a man and injured three in a residential street of Malmö – but it is an uphill battle.

Opinion
Swedish leaders need to be prepared for tech challenges
Will robots take over your jobs? Photo: Eric Piermont/AP

Will your job still exist in ten years' time? How will society and businesses adapt to the advancements that are on their way?

Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape'
Tech star Tayyab Shabab, who is being threatened with deportation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish politicians are keen to talk up the country's startups – but their migration rules threaten to strangle them, argues The Local's managing editor James Savage.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,961
jobs available