Five alternative ways to celebrate Swedish Midsummer
Lee Roden · 23 Jun 2016, 06:59
Published: 23 Jun 2016 06:59 GMT+02:00
1. Add some Latino heat to the occasion
Modern Sweden is a mixture of many different cultures, and among those are the country’s Hispanic community. Many thousands of people of Latin American descent live in the Scandinavian country, with over 50,000 of Chilean origin alone estimated to be present in Sweden. Hispanic-Swedes have duly created their own take on traditional Swedish culture, and Midsummer is no exception.
Experience it for yourself at the Chilimundo Latin Midsummer event at Järva Folkets Park, north-western Stockholm on June 25th, where there will be a whole host of South American musicians performing, as well as DJs doing sets between midday and 1am.
Instead of the usual herring and potatoes, you can sample more exotic dishes like pescado frito (lightly fried fish), empanadas, churrascos (grilled meat) and of course, the greatest Hispanic guilty pleasure, churros – a kind of fried dough pastry, usually dipped in chocolate.
Tickets are 90 kronor ($10) for adults, with reductions for minors and free entry for kids aged 10 and under. More information available here.
Chilean Swedes celebrating a football victory at Stockholm's Sergels Torg. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
2. Flowers and thrills at Liseberg
Perhaps a full break from the maypole and other Swedish standards is too much for you, but you still want to mix things up a bit? Liseberg – arguably Sweden’s best amusement park – may just have the answer. On June 24th the Gothenburg favourite will have Midsummer music, singing and dancing at their main pavilion, while their restaurants will also be serving all the traditional dishes, which means potatoes, salmon and herring aplenty.
Once you’re bored of that however you can take to the park’s best rides, including Balder, one of the biggest wooden rollercoasters in the world, and Atmosfear, the tallest free fall attraction in Europe. It may be a good idea to let that Midsummer meal settle in your stomach first, though.
Admission requires the standard general ticket for entrance to the park, which starts at 95 kronor ($11) for adults. More information (in Swedish) available here.
Eat herring and ride Balder at Liseberg... though perhaps not in that order. Photo: Liseberg
3. Find a friend over free fika
Stockholm can be an incredibly lonely place during Midsummer – not least for newcomers and tourists – as most of the residents flee en masse to the countryside with their families and friends.
In response, Olas Kaffebar in Vasastan are offering free fika on Midsummer’s Eve between 11am and 2pm, with the hope that those who come along will strike up a conversation and provide some company for one another.
In a country where people can often be a touch reserved, this may just be the best way to make a new friend in Sweden. You can find the café at Odengatan 106 in Stockholm, and check out their Facebook page with more details here.
4. Celebrate with Swedes abroad in London
Not everyone can be in Sweden for Midsummer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out on the celebrations. London has a sizable Swedish community, and in recent years they have made the British capital one of the best places to celebrate the festival abroad, providing a little slice of Scandinavia in the heart of The Big Smoke.
First up, The Nordic Bar near Oxford Street is hosting a Midsummer party complete with Swedish beer and aquavit on Midsummer’s Eve. If you manage to make it out of your bed after a long night, then Hyde Park is the location of choice for singing and dancing from 11am on June 25th. More information on the latter can be found on the London Swedes Facebook page here.
5 Have a traditionally non-traditional Midsummer at Södra Teatern
For outsiders, finding somewhere to party on Midsummer’s Eve can be a tricky task even in Stockholm, where the majority of clubs are closed due to the absence of many residents. Fortunately, Södra Teatern is one exception, and for the second year in a row the Södermalm venue is hosting its own unique take on Sweden’s biggest summer festival.
The '(Un)traditional Midsummer celebration with Miss Inga' will see Södra Teatern take the best elements from the classic Midsummer celebrations and add their own tricks to the occasion. As such, there will be dancing and singing out on the venue’s Mosebacke terrace (which happens to provide one of the best views of Stockholm), while at the same time you can also expect a drag show from the inimitable Miss Inga.
For those not tired of dancing, the nightclub and its champagne bar will be open until the small hours of the morning, with a mixture of traditional Midsummer music like... hip hop and techno. Traditional Södra Teatern Midsummer music, that is.
The celebrations start at midday and run until 2am, and admission is free, so what’s not to like? Information available here.
Södra Teatern will have a creative takes on Midsummer. Photo: Conny Fridh/imagebank.sweden.se