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PRESENTED BY THE INNER CIRCLE

The Inner Circle: Stockholm’s secret dating scene

Stockholm is a city for singles.

The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
Stockholm is a city made for singles. Photo: The Inner Circle

When you think of dating and single living, you might think Manhattan – Sex and the City style. Or perhaps Paris comes to mind.

But actually, Stockholm is where it’s at.

Statistics released a couple of years ago found that Sweden has the “highest proportion of single-person households in Europe” – and in Stockholm, singles account for a whopping 58 percent of households.

Cynics might say that the root of this singularity (pun intended) is the reserved nature of the Swedes.

But optimists – or perhaps opportunists – see the grass much, much greener. Plenty of fish, indeed. (The city is built upon a bunch of islands, after all – and fishing is allowed!)

But how does one tap into this massive pond of eligible young cosmopolitans – especially with a culture which doesn't necessarily encourage mingling with strangers?

“For us it is all about creating genuine connections between compatible people,” says Michael Krayenhoff, cofounder of dating app The Inner Circle.

He says the app is the perfect solution to the conundrum. It first launched in Amsterdam and then hit big in London and, in 2016, The Inner Circle came to Stockholm.

“Stockholm is an international city full of well-travelled, attractive and interesting people, so it was an easy decision to prioritise Stockholm,” he says.

Alright, so the name might sound a bit pretentious. But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. For many young professionals, it’s actually working.

“On Tinder I kept meeting students who were still ‘looking for themselves’,” Sara*, a young American working in Stockholm, tells The Local.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I wanted to meet other professionals; people who were motivated and were doing something with their lives already.”

She stumbled across The Inner Circle accidentally while browsing dating apps one day – and quickly became a fan.

“Over the course of a few months I met a Swedish doctor, a French banker, and an MIT researcher,” she says. “All in my age range, intelligent, motivated, and, well, yeah, attractive too. So bravo, Inner Circle!”


Photo: The Inner Circle

Join The Inner Circle

That’s the thing about The Inner Circle: each member is approved by hand to make sure it’s the cream of the crop. It’s about quality, not quantity, which really streamlines things in a city as big as Stockholm.

But don’t worry – the selection process isn’t done in a haughty elitist way like certain other dating services which actually require you to state how much you make. Actually, they just look for cool people.

“We look for real, genuine people who are thriving in all aspects of life, whether they're hip creatives, corporate high flyers or anything in between,” Krayenhoff says. “If someone is kicking-ass in life, whatever it is they're doing, then they fit what we are looking for.”

 Admit it, you’re curious.

Try out The Inner Circle and experience Stockholm in a new way.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by The Inner Circle.

*name has been changed for privacy

DATING

Top ten expat complaints to their Swedish partners

From ketchup to driving skills, when The Local once asked what expats complain about most to their Swedish partners, the responses were mixed.

Top ten expat complaints to their Swedish partners
Why do you love your tech gadgets more than me? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

1. Ketchup on… well, everything!

Swedes have an obsession with ketchup. They dollop it all over their pasta, their lasagne, their mashed potatoes – you name it. And it's not just a little splodge either, this is a true dousing. Strange, right? I mean, Swedes wouldn't put jam on their meatballs, would they? Oh that's right, they do.


Ketchup line up. Photo: Don Ryan/TT

2. Texting while driving down Vasagatan? No problem.

It's nothing strange to see a Swede talking, or even texting on their phone, while driving. And do you know why? Because for years it was pretty much perfectly legal, although this is beginning to change


Just watch out for red lights! Photo: LM Otero/TT

3. Passive aggressive notes

Swedes tend to avoid conflict, but only of the verbal kind. If you've left a little bit of lint in the laundry room's dryer, or if you've left a mug in the office sink, then you'd better be prepared to face a passive aggressive note the next day. In the picture below a Swede is complaining in very colourful language about garbage disposal etiquette.


'Keep your sh*t in your own apartment!' Photo: Petter Palander/Flickr

4. Too much coffee and no decaf!

The biggest problem is the lack of decaf, some Twitter users suggested when we once asked what rubbed people the wrong way about their Swedish partners the most. In a country where coffee is (probably) consumed more than water, you're in the minority if you prefer yours without caffeine. And if you don't like coffee, then you'd better rectify that immediately. It's easier than saying “No thank you, I don’t drink coffee” and then explaining yourself 14 times a day.


Mmmm… fika time… Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

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5. Tradition over spontaneity, no exceptions!

“You'll be here next Christmas, too, right?” your Swedish mother-in-law will ask as the last present is unwrapped on Christmas Eve (yes, presents are unwrapped on the 24th). Tradition triumphs and spontaneity is dead, that's the fact in Sweden. Expect raised eyebrows if you don't commit early to birthday celebrations, Easter, crayfish parties, and of course, Christmas. You will be there, and you will enjoy it. And we dare you to try to plan a weekend away with friends instead!


A silly Christmas Chihuahua. This is not a Swedish tradition, we just liked the picture. Photo: Mary Altaffer/TT

6. Laundry comes first…

Swedes will sometimes use their laundry time as an excuse. “I'd love to come out with you tonight, but I have a laundry time reserved – I really can't miss it.” In Stockholm, at least, most people live in apartment blocks with a communal laundry in the cellar. Reserving a good laundry time (like a Sunday morning or Tuesday after work) can be treated as the holy grail of weekly achievements.


No time like laundry time! Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

7. ‘Did you really pass your driving test?’

Nescience of road rules is one of the complaints we heard the most. More specifically, people we asked were peeved at the lack of indication when turning corners or using roundabouts. Others moaned that Swedes don't know how manage traffic flows on motorways. One even said Swedes drive just like a Volvo, which, upon checking the online urban dictionary, apparently means the driver is, in short, conservative and ‘boring’. 


No Volvos in this picture! Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

8. “Let me drink!”

A complaint we heard a few times was that Swedes often turn a disapproving eye when it comes to having a casual drink on a school night. “You're having a glass of wine? On a Tuesday?!” This could have something to do with the fact that alcohol is hard to come by in Sweden, as it is only sold in the monopoly chain Systembolaget at certain times of the day, and drinking is an exclusive weekend activity.


How is he holding that wine glass? Photo: Gorm Kallestad/TT

9. Too much snus

A quick explanation of snus in case you're unaware: snus is a moist snuff packet (imagine a tobacco teabag the size of a piece of chewing gum) that you wedge between your lip and teeth. Well, maybe you don't, but the Swedes do. A lot. If you think a snus packet sounds familiar, it's probably because you've seen one dangling from a Swede's upper lip mid-conversation, or perhaps you've seen a used one in the gutter or in the toilet, spat out and forgotten.


The snus-ing shadow… Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

10. “I can't find a Swede to date… and then complain about…”

Yes, complaints about Swedes aren't just for those dating them, but for those still looking. And meeting new people might be hard, especially if you refuse to use popular dating apps such as Tinder. Then you just have to rely on a classic ‘Hollywood-romance’ meeting, which isn't necessarily easy in a country not exactly known for its open and sociable citizens. Good luck!

READ ALSO: How to never be single again in Sweden


Romance in the moonlight. Photo: Charlie Riedel/TT

This article was first published in 2013 in our old gallery format and was revamped in 2017.

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