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#MySweden: Many Swedes don't know this area exists

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#MySweden: Many Swedes don't know this area exists
David Hurtado. Photo: Private
08:14 CET+01:00
Every week a new reader takes over The Local's Instagram to show us their Sweden. Today, David Hurtado Gomez from Colombia shows us one of Stockholm's hidden gems.

How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?

I am 35 years old. I spend the first three days of the week working as a cello teacher at El Sistema Sundbyberg, an initiative of Sundbyberg KulturCentrum in Hallonbergen. The goal of these programmes all over the world is to provide children with a free opportunity of finding a voice through music. We provide instruments and lessons for them at no cost. The programme is inspired by a programme of the same name (El Sistema) created in Venezuela over 40 years ago by a man called José Antonio Abreu.
 
Millions of children around the world have benefitted from these initiatives and the best example of it is Gustavo Dudamel who used to be the conductor for the Gothenburg Symphony and the reason why El Sistema found a place in Sweden. 
 
The rest of the week, I take care of my son, Matías, who just turned six months last week and help around the house so my wife can work in her dissertation for her doctoral programme (she is also a musician).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hey everyone! My turn now! My name is David Hurtado Gomez and I’m from Colombia, the land of coffee and one of the world’s best biodiversities (number 2 behind Brazil, actually!). I live in Sundbyberg in a brand new area called Stora Ursvik. It used to be mostly a forest but now there is some areas that have housing. Throughout the week you might see lovely sunrises (or sunsets), a Colombian guy with a big head (huge avocado for scale), my wife, music (I’m a music teacher and cellist), my son M and some images of surrounding areas, as Stora Ursvik is pretty unknown even to some natives. It’s the perfect combo of nature and urban as you can see (that snowy forest and the buildings are just a block away from each other). Expect that and much more about Sweden, from how healthcare works passing through the immigrant experience and navigating a country SO different to mine in likely every single way. Hope you will enjoy it! #MySweden #TheLocalSweden #Sweden #Colombia #Sundbyberg #Stockholm #Music #StoraUrsvik #Sunrise

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When and why did you move to your neighbourhood?
 
We moved to Stora Ursvik in September, a VERY new area in Sundbyberg which is right next to Stockholm and it's part of Stockholm County. We moved here from the United States (Boston) where we met while in music school during our graduate degree programmes. As I mentioned, we just had a child and after he was born there, we moved here to start a new life and so far it's going great! I could do without the snow and the darkness, though. I can manage the cold but snow and ice? As someone who LOVES to bike, ugh, I hate it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ok, so by popular demand, you guys want to learn about recycling in Sweden. This is a very interesting topic as Sweden is great at using trash as they burn it to produce energy with very little carbon foot print. They have done it so well, that in several occasions, they had to buy trash from other countries as they run out of it. As the area were we live is very new (only 2 years old), the recycling system here is pretty cuutting edge. In picture 1, you will see our garbage tubes, which are divided between general trash, compost and paper. I have to use a hub key to open it and every time I use it, there’s a register that it was me who threw that particular set of trash in. If I threw something I shouldn’t have in the wrong place (say compost in general trash), I could get a fine from 1000 sek to up to 30000 sek, but as our facilities manager put it: it would have to be the wildest of mistakes. In these 3 images you will see the general recycling room, where you can throw away from a sofa to a can of soda. I have to explain that you need to separate your trash every time. It is very important and it demonstrates the social commitment that every person should carry towards being eco friendly. Sadly, some people don’t think it’s that important and they do as they please. These two are images of the area’s garbage processing plant (I took the pictures at night because I love that building in the dark! It looks like an Empire base out of Star Wars). Remember the three tubes? They actually have a suction system that transports the garbage to this plant, about 4 blocks away from our home and does the burning and such I mentioned before. Finally, these last two images are of the compost bags that our Housing Coop (SKB) provides us to get rid of the trash. This whole system has been to me on my top 3 culture shocks since I moved here. Seeing as things are with pollution and the need to act to improve the natural conditions of our planet, I cannot imagine myself getting rid of my trash any other way from now on. #MySweden #TheLocalSweden #recycle #recycling #StoraUrsvik #SocialConsciousness #ItAintEasyBeingGreen

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What do you love the most about your neighbourhood?
 
That is SO unknown. Many natives I talked to about it don't even know where Ursvik is and I love that. There's a feeling of city mindset but at the same time, Stora Ursvik used to be just a big forest and now it's a perfect combo! I live right next to a forest and I love looking out the window and seeing foxes, wild rabbits, the endless trees! There is also some really good restaurants around and soon they will build a big plaza with a mall and an extension to the tram line. I am both excited and concerned about this. I feel this development could make or break the really nice feel this area has!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

So I have rebelled against your previous wishes and forced on you bike paths and biking as a mean of transportation for today’s topic. Bear with me hear because this topic IS super important. Pollution, high volumes of traffic leading to rush hour jams and insurmountable amounts of stress are some of the things that deterred me from continuing my life in the US (and I lived in one of the cities that supposedly had good public transportation 🙃). In Boston, faced with an area that had terrible bus schedules, I decided to pick up the bike as my main vehicle. I got so attached to it that “a day I don’t bike is a day I don’t like” became my motto. When I visited 🇸🇪 for the first time I was impressed by how structured the bike paths were and how the combo of that plus efficient public transport leaves a city center with barely any traffic, even in rush hour (the highways do get some but never at the level I saw in 🇺🇸). Now that I live here and I had the chance to use them more, I can’t imagine living in any other way. I can go from my home to Vasastan in about 32 minutes (9 kms) sharing the road with cars for maybe only 5% of the trip, and remember there’s barely any traffic. Now, if I am biking parallel to a highway, in 9 out 10 times there will be an underpass that connects the lane on both sides of it so I can ride safely. In the center, as you see in the pics, it can get a bit trickier because the lanes aren’t as good but still pretty great in comparison and the biking/driving around bikes culture is quite good (not as good as 🇩🇰 and 🇳🇱 but still). There are stop signs specifically for bikes and also areas where you share a path with pedestrians and it works really well for the most of it. Biking is a lifestyle and a decision that’s win-win for all involved (less polluting, a healthy lifestyle and it’s also fun!). I think given the way the planet is now, environmentally conscious decisions like biking those 3 kms to work instead of driving them are vital. Oh, and biking through the winter? There’s not bad weather, just bad choice of clothing. What do you think about 🚴? #MySweden #TheLocalSweden #biking #stockholm #adayIdontbikeisadayIdontlike

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What annoys you the most about your neighbourhood?
 
ICE! Gosh, this winter we had basically an ice rink all over our side walks. To be honest, it's the only thing I have really disliked. Although there is not so much to do here given that this place is so new (my building is only two years old and they are building like crazy all over the place) I feel very happy here to be honest.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s topic? Integration. This is the 3rd country I have lived in and in paper is a seemingly “perfect” place (minus the weather 🙃). Ever since I moved here I have been surprised by the amount of opportunities State institutions provide me to learn the language. Literally every library I’ve been to has a “språkkaffe”. Here, you meet people from all over the world and get free coffee and cookies while you practice your “Svenska”. There is also SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) where you get a more structured learning of the language with levels and exams. Once you’re done, you get certified and in my case, as a teacher, I can do a further course for Swedish for education, get my teacher license (Legitimation) and be able to teach in the school sector. There’s also tons of help on how to look for a job, homework, manage finances and so on. All this info is provided in different languages from Spanish to Arabic. Before I moved here, many people said to me that it was very homogeneous and that it was segregated and I thought it was an issue related to ethnicity and perhaps racism (🤷🏻‍♂️) but I have come to understand that it looks more like the extremely complex housing system we have here might be the culprit. I also feel cultures mix well here. I mentioned I live near Rinkeby and it’s a place that unfairly gets a bad rep. Yes, they have a higher amount of social problems but every time I go there, I can only see a highly diverse and thriving community. Also, there you can get P. A. N. flour (Yellow AND white) and if you are either Colombian or Venezuelan you’re probably nodding and saying “that’s the stuff”. My country can’t be any more different from Sweden. As you can see in the two pics, even our landscape is different. I don’t think Sweden is perfect as many people tend to say but I do think that is an amazing place. At times I can’t believe the amount of great things this government provides for its citizens and I cannot for the life of me understand how other countries don’t follow its lead. Finally, you need an example of integration? Kebab Pizza. Enough said. What do you find attractive about Sweden? #MySweden #TheLocalSweden

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How should I spend a day in your neighbourhood?
 
We are surrounded by several neighborhoods that have been around for a while (Hallonbergen, Kista, Lilla Ursvik, Rinkeby and Rissne). I love walking around and looking at the houses! Especially the ones in Lilla Ursvik because they are usually very beautiful. One day I would like to have one for my family but I know they are very sought-after so we'll see. There is a beautiful reservation next to Lilla Ursvik that you can walk around and get your dose of "Allemansrätten" (Sweden's right to roam) or visit those neighborhoods that I previously mentioned, especially Rinkeby, that always gets a bad rep, but it's a lovely place with so many cultures in one place! I have even found ingredients there to make Colombian food! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today I want to talk about Stora Ursvik, the place I live in! It’s a fairly new residential area. Ursvik or formerly Lilla Ursvik it’s only 11 years old and we are right after going north and it was “founded” just two years ago. This place is SO unknown even Google Maps has outdated pics of it. Many natives I talked about it with don't even know where Ursvik is and I love that. There's a feeling of city mindset in some areas but at the same time also very suburban. Stora Ursvik used to be a big forest and now it's a perfect combo! I live right next to a small forest and I love looking out the windown and seeing foxes, wild rabbits, the endless trees! There is also some really good restaurants around and soon they will build a big plaza with a mall and an extension to the tram line. I am both excited and concerned about this. I feel this development could make or break the really nice feel this area has! We are surrounded by several neighborhoods that have been around for a while (Hallonbergen, Kista, Rinkeby and Rissne). I also love walking around and looking at the houses! Especially the ones in Lilla Ursvik because they are usually very beautiful and one day I would like to own one for my family but I know they are very sough after so we'll see. There is a beautiful reservation next to Lilla Ursvik that you can walk around and get your dose of "Allemansrätten" (if you don’t know what this is, you should) or visit those neighborhoods that I previously mentioned, especially Rinkeby, that always gets a bad rep but it's a lovely place with so many cultures in one place! I have even found ingredients there to make Colombian food! I think this is a lovely place with lovely restaurants (Italian, Sushi, Kebab, a lovely cafe!) and pretty good transportation that it's about to get better! We have it all here! Have you ever been to Stora Ursvik? Let me know in the comments! #MySweden #TheLocalSweden #Sundbyberg #Ursvik #StoraUrsvik #Nature

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What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your neighbourhood?
 
That is exists! Haha, I think it's a lovely place with lovely restaurants (Italian, Sushi, Kebab, a lovely cafe!) and pretty good transportation that is about to get better! We have it all here! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

So you remember I told you I am a musician, right? I am also a teacher and have been for quite a while now (maybe 16 or 17!). Currently I work in the Rissne Center neighborhood. The area has a high influx of immigrants and it has a diversity to it that I truly love. The program I work for is related to @elsistemasweden and it’s called El Sistema Sundbyberg and It’s part of the Sundbyberg KulturCentrum. El Sistema itself, was a music program created in Venezuela over 40 years ago by José Antonio Abreu and the goal is to provide high quality music training to kids, free of charge but with the actual main goal of building a sense of social justice, to give kids the opportunity to find a voice and a community within their community where they can thrive and help their environment thrive. To this day, there several different programs in over 40 countries all over the world looking to continue Abreu’s mission of changing children’s lives through music. I think EVERYONE needs to play an instrument and be in touch with their artistic side! Do you play an instrument? Let me know in the comments! #MySweden #TheLocalSweden #Cello #Violin #Music #ElSistema #Teaching #SundbybergKulturCentrum

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Follow David Hurtado Gomez on Instagram here. To find out how you can become The Local's next #MySweden host, click HERE.
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