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FITNESS

Five great ways to kick off July in Stockholm

The first weekend of July will soon be upon us, and as summer rolls on, the Swedish capital only becomes a better place to spend time. From visiting Vikings, to walking with ghosts and late night shopping, The Local looks at five of the best ways to kick off July in Stockholm.

Five great ways to kick off July in Stockholm
A ghost walk in Gamla Stan is one way to kick off July in Stockholm. Photo: Jeppe Wikström/Visit Stockholm

1. Watch the world’s finest triathletes do the unthinkable

Triathlon is one of the most grueling tests of endurance around, and this weekend the finest competitors from the sport will take to Stockholm for the sixth stage of the ITU World Triathlon Series. Athletes will start out at the iconic City Hall, from where they will swim through the Riddarfjärden bay before exiting the water for a tough 38.4km bike ride. As if that isn’t enough, they will then dismount and set off on a 9.9km run which includes three loops of Gamla Stan before ending at the Royal Palace.

Sound painful? It is, but don’t worry, you don’t have to take part. Instead, turn up anywhere along the course and watch it all unfold for free on July 2nd. The women’s elite competitors start at 16:06pm, while the men get going at 18:51pm. More information available here.


The world's best triathletes do battle in Stockholm this weekend. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

2. Do some late night shopping at Hötorget

During the day Stockholm’s central Hötorget square is a bustling market filled with vendors selling flowers, vegetables and more, and in a continuation of that the meeting point now has its very own night market. An entirely different experience to the daytime affair, Designmarknad Stockholm brings together local designers selling everything from clothing and accessories, to jewellery, prints, and interior fittings, so there should be something for everyone.

Have a look at some of their wares by heading over to Hötorgsterrassen on Sveavägen 17 between 18:00 and 23:00pm on July 2nd. Late night shopping still isn't easy to come by in Sweden, so this will be a unique experience.


Hötorget has long been a busy market during the day, and now it has one at night too. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

3. Meet the ghosts of Stockholm’s past in Gamla Stan

The turn of July marks the start of the Stockholm Ghost Walk, where guides take guests on a history-filled tour of the city’s 13th century Old Town, packed with tales of legends, diseases, murders and the all-important ghosts themselves.

Over 105,000 ‘souls’ have taken part in the walk since it first launched in January 2008. If you fancy being the next to tempt fate with the supernatural, there are tours on both Friday the 1st and Saturday the 2nd of July. Places require advanced booking, with tickets available here.


Gamla Stan: old, spooky. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

4. Take in some free jazz in the park

Throughout the entire summer Parkteatern organizes musical events, theatre and dance performances around the Swedish capital’s parks, and this weekend its time for some jazz. Things kick-off on Saturday at 14:15pm with a child-friendly workshop event, before continuing with jazz trios and DJs.

With six hours of free jazz on offer, it's a perfect opportunity get a quick taste of the genre. Head over to Galärparken on Djurgården to take a look. More info here.


Parkteatern holds a variety of free events throughout the summer. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

5. Be a Viking for a day at the Swedish History Museum

Worried the rain could ruin any hopes of outdoor jazz or nighttime markets? Try something just as interesting indoors. Tens of thousands of visitors come to the Swedish History Museum’s Viking exhibit every year, and they can’t all be wrong. Why not take the chance to see what all the fuss is about and learn about the lives of the Nordic forefathers by examining the thousands of artifacts, ranging from intricate gold finery to weapons and art.

The museum, located in Östermalm, is open from 11:00am until 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Best of all, it costs absolutely nothing to enter. More information here.


Learn about the Vikings for free at the Swedish History Museum. Photo: Anders Ahlgren/SvD/TT

 

 

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CULTURE

‘Don’t wear bright colours’: Eight tips on how to dress like a Swede

Swedes have an international reputation for dressing well, with Scandi style a popular trend outside Sweden. The Local asked Swedes and foreigners living in Sweden to try and figure out the best tips and tricks for how to dress like a Swede.

'Don't wear bright colours': Eight tips on how to dress like a Swede

Black is best

When asking several Swedes their top-tips on how to dress like a Swede, many agreed – wear black.

Young professional Tove advises to keep it “all black, minimalist”. Uppsala newspaper columnist Moa agrees: “Wear a lot of black clothes and DON’T wear sneakers or ‘comfortable’ shoes, like running shoes, with dresses.”

Black is a neutral colour and, in general, if you get the neutral colours right you have got a long way in following the Swedish style. 

Neutral colours and a lot of knitwear is a good starting point. Photo: FilippaK/imagebank.sweden.se

Stay neutral 

Sweden might be saying goodbye to hundreds of years of neutrality by joining Nato, but Swedish fashion maintains its strong neutral stance when it comes to colour combinations.

Generally speaking, in autumn and winter Swedes tend to wear darker colours, as Sharon put it: “lots of beige, grey, black and ivory knits or wool. Jeans black or any shade of blue. Black tights with white sneakers for skirts and dresses”.

“Swedes in general will wear black and navy together which I’ve not seen before,” she added.

However, as the weather gets warmer, things change, as half-British half-Swedish Erik explained: “in summer/late spring Swedes change shape and personality,” adding a bit more colour to their wardrobe.

“Lots of colours yet still somewhat monochrome,” he said.

Most Swedes don’t wear a tie at work. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Follow the news trend, drop the tie

Nils, a reporter and presenter for public broadcaster SVT in western Sweden, does not always wear a tie in front of the camera – and he said his colleagues on national news don’t wear ties either.

“It’s not a must,” he said.

A blue shirt, no tie, top button open, beige chinos and a grey dinner jacket is the look he chose when presenting the evening news a few weeks ago.

Nils Arnell presenting the news on SVT Nyheter Väst. Photo: Nils Arnell/SVT

On a day to day basis Nils, who stressed that he’s “not a fashion expert”, gave the following advice: “As long as you manage to dress in a neat style, you can get away with quite a lot.”

“A white t-shirt and an overshirt work well in most situations and look stylish.”

Stay classy, even in class

Engineering student Erik (not the same Erik quoted previously) recently returned to Sweden from a one-year exchange at Birmingham University, where he noticed a big difference in student style between the two countries.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that on university campus there are so many people wearing work-out clothes, at least where I was”, he said.

“In Sweden, it’s more common to wear jeans than tracksuit bottoms, compared to the UK”. 

It’s also common to see a difference in styles even between departments at Swedish universities. The law and economics departments, for example, tend to wear more formal attire with a higher number of students wearing shirts and polos than, say, social sciences or engineering students.

Many students seem to wear a toned-down version of what they might be expected to wear in their future workplace.

When in doubt, think Jantelagen!

Equality and conformity are important concepts when it comes to many aspects of day-to-day life in Sweden, including the clothes you wear.

This doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same as everyone else, but more that being too flashy or over-the-top can be frowned upon.

This can be traced back to Jantelagen, “the law of Jante”, a set of 10 rules taken from a satirical novel written by Danish author Aksel Sandemose in the 1930s, which spells out the unwritten cultural codes that have long defined Scandinavia.

Jantelagen discourages individual success and sets average as the goal. It manifests itself in Swedish culture not only with a ‘we are all equal’ ethos but even more so a ‘don’t think you are better than anyone, ever’ mindset.

And this is seen in Swedes’ attitude to clothing, too. Flashy, expensive clothing with obvious logos or brands designed to show off your wealth breaks the first rule of Jantelagen: “You’re not to think you are anything special”.

‘Stealth wealth’

This doesn’t mean that Swedes don’t wear expensive clothes, though. They’re just not in-your-face expensive.

Felix, a podcaster from Stockholm describes it as “stealth wealth”, saying that Swedes would have no problem buying and wearing “a black jacket without any tags for 10,000kr”. 

Despite living in Sweden his whole life, he said that it’s not always easy to get the style right.

“I’m struggling myself,” he admitted.

He suggested taking a look at fashion blogger and journalist Martin Hansson for inspiration on how to dress. 

“Do NOT use bright colours,” Felix added.

Birkenstocks with socks. Photo: Carl-Olof Zimmerman/TT

Footwear

Most of those we asked said that Swedes are a fan of white trainers, most commonly Stan Smiths or Vagabonds.

With the shoes being popular all year round for men and women, this can cause issues at house parties – as Swedes take off their shoes when they come inside.

This inevitably results in confused guests at the end of the night trying to figure out just which pair of white trainers belongs to them – and trying to find one missing shoe the next day because someone accidentally walked away with one of yours is more common than you might think. 

Vans trainers are also popular amongst more alternative crowds (black of course). At work, dress shoes are popular in the winter and loafers or ballerinas in the summer.

In the summer months, you’re likely to see Birkenstock sandals on men and women. Most Swedes wear Birkenstocks without socks – unless they’re off to do their laundry in their building’s tvättstuga.

Birkenstocks are also popular as indoor shoes all-year-round, both at home and at work. It is common to have a “no outdoor shoes” policy in gyms, schools and some offices. This is to avoid bringing a lot of dirt indoors, especially in the winter months when there is snow, rain, grit and salt on the streets.

H&M’s then-CEO Rolf Eriksen wears colourful socks at a press conference in 2006. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/SCANPIX/TT

Don’t forget the socks!

As you often take your shoes off indoors in Sweden, your socks are visible.

This has led to an unexpected trend for colourful socks with interesting patterns, which are a great way to break the monotone of neutral colours and conformity by expressing your personality – in a lagom way, of course.

A pair of colourful socks or a playful pattern will get you noticed and likely be a conversation starter at a dinner party.

What’s your best advice for dressing like a Swede? Let us know!

This article is based on the responses we received from Swedes and foreigners in Sweden on what they think you should wear if you want to follow Swedish fashion trends.

If you have any tips of your own which you think we’ve left out, let us know! You can comment on this article, send us an email at [email protected], or get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @thelocalsweden

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