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VIKING

How to be a Viking in Stockholm: Where to go and what to do

Want to get the full Viking experience in Stockholm? The Local has compiled a list of strapping, burly places for you to check out during your day with axe and shield.

How to be a Viking in Stockholm: Where to go and what to do
Viking for a day at the Swedish History Museum. Photo: Katarina Nimmervoll

The Swedish History Museum

Want to bathe in your curiosity of the Viking Age for little to no cost? At the Swedish History Museum, there are exhibitions and projects running that will teach you all you need to know.

The Viking exhibition itself, managed by curator Gunnar Andersson, is full of many artifacts and objects from the Viking Age. The Local recently had the privilege of talking to Andersson about the exhibition and other ones traveling the world.

“I think what people really appreciate with this exhibition is that you get to see a lot of objects, original ones, fantastic pieces of handicraft and of smithery,” he says.

The Swedish History Museum currently has two exhibitions running around the world under the name, “We Call Them Vikings”. They have been in North America, and are now in Australia and France.

READ ALSO: Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm

If you’re a newcomer to Viking culture, and you would like a more well-rounded idea of who they were (not brutal robbers with horns on their helmets), Andersson suggests that it may even be a good idea to pick up some books. His catalog, “We Call Them Vikings”, would be a great place to start – which you can find at any of the museum's Viking exhibitions traveling the world, or inside the museum itself.

For more information on the museum, click here.


Viking for a day at the Swedish History Museum. Photo: Jens Mohr

Aifur Krog and Bar

Stomp your feet, clap your hands, and bang your mug of mead against the table as you listen to live music by Aifur's very own “electronic bard”. Filling the hall with Nordic, Celtic, and folk rhythms and tunes from the Middle Ages, Aifur aims to give you an experience like Scandinavian ancestors might have had as you eat prawn soup, deer steak, boiled mussels in cream, and lamb rack lubricated in honey and garlic.

Aifur Krog & Bar is named after the Viking ship, Aifur, which hangs from the ceiling as you eat and drink in the spacious hall. Fifteen years of research have been put into making the hall’s atmosphere as close to the Viking’s as possible through the use of modern archaeological findings.

So sit back and soak in an atmosphere of hearty laughs, great beer, and “Middle Ages” staff. You may even be given a shield, axe, and helmet to make the experience surely a night to remember (if you don’t already have some of your own).

Check out their menu and event listings here.

Birka-Hofgården

Commonly known as Sweden’s first city, Birka is a Viking village built in the mid-late 700's at Björö on lake Mälaren, presumably to control trade in the Scandinavian region. It is also one of the fifteen sites in Sweden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

This historical Viking settlement of, at its best, one thousand inhabitants, flourished for about two centuries until its inhabitants began to head off to Sigtuna and other settlements for mostly unknown circumstances.

On the island, there are Viking houses and a town, built just as it looked when the city flourished. There are even craftsmen that you can visit on certain dates during the summer inside the town who use the same techniques and tools that people did back then.

READ ALSO: Why these Viking burial clothes had inscriptions to Allah and Ali

There’s always something to do in Birka, whether it’s a lecture, a live musical performance, a fire show, or an archaeological excavation. Also, don’t forget to try out Café Eldrimner and Särimner Restaurant while you’re there. They will be sure to fill you with beer and mead if you give them the chance!


Birka. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Vikingaliv

Vikingaliv is dedicated solely to teaching people about Vikings. If you are dedicated to learning all you can about the era, it is dedicated to revealing the true story of the people, culture, and life of the time period.

Completed with a restaurant, shop, and multiple exhibitions, the museum surrounds you with Viking culture. Based on historical findings, the museum has even put together a journey called Ragnfrids Saga, where the participants begin following a 10th-century family from their farm to witnessing looting in the West and trade in the East.

IN PICTURES: Inside Stockholm's new Viking Museum

Be sure to pay a visit – and not just because you want to see their amazing recreations of real men and women from the Viking era!

Vikingaliv in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/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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