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Six hopeful signs spring is finally on its way to Sweden

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
Six hopeful signs spring is finally on its way to Sweden
It's April, so come rain or snow, Swedes will dine outside. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/Scanpix

There's a hint of spring in the air in Sweden, and that's all it takes for everything to change. Here are six signs that the switch in season is well on its way.


1. People are willing to freeze in order to dine outside

Cafes and restaurants with al fresco seating are as anxious as anyone for winter to end. So giddy, in fact, that they often set up tables and chairs when the mercury shows a hint of creeping above freezing.

More shocking perhaps is the fact that customers can’t pass up the chance to sit outside and sip a drink while shivering in an effort to will spring into existence.


2. Påskmust and other Easter treats are virtually given away

Love it or hate it, påskmust is a Swedish favourite at Easter time, with supermarkets stocking shelves to the brim full of bottles of what in reality is just the same carbonated beverage sold at Christmas as julmust, but with different packaging.

One consequence of that is that once Easter is over, the same stores virtually give away the stuff, cutting prices to a crazy extent in an effort to get someone to take all the left over bottles of the sickly drink off their hands. The same goes for Easter eggs and paraphernalia, all longingly looking for a home.

3. A never-ending flurry of spring news stories arrive

Journalists in Sweden are no exception to the general desperation for the winter to end, and it's a certainty that a host of stories looking at spring from any possible angle will appear. See: "Long wait left for spring", "Spring weather headed to Sweden" and "Early signs of spring detected in Skåne". Admittedly, we're guilty as charged. Half a year of cold weather takes its toll.


4. No one is talking about Melodifestivalen

Depending on your tastes in TV, the onset of spring may also provide blessed relief from a staple of water cooler talk in Sweden: debates over the country’s annual Eurovision qualifying competition. The discussions start around Christmas and drag on to the grand finale in March, but once the fat lady sings (or more often than not, skinny, young person sings), small talk moves on to other topics. A solid sign that spring is on the horizon.

5. Kids soak up the last remains of the snow

Kids are the best at showing us how fun winter can be, and at this time of the year the combination of longer days with the last remains of the snow mean you’re more likely to see them out after dinner attempting to make one last snow man. That said, if you live in Sweden's furthest north then the spring isn’t likely to be the final death knell for the snow – sometimes not even the summer is.

6. The dreaded collective spring clean

Spring cleaning is a custom that exists well beyond Sweden’s borders, but in the Nordic nation there’s a unique twist on it thanks to city living in the country often being based around cooperatives who collectively own apartment blocks.

That in turn means collective cleaning of the building’s gardens and facilities, two times a year, which in spring produces the unwelcome task of brushing away piles of gravel laid in the winter to provide traction, as well as actually having to talk to your neighbours. On the plus side, there may be hotdogs.

Article first published in 2018


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