This map reveals Sweden’s cleanest swimming spots

As Sweden starts to get the first proper heat of the summer, there's good news for fans of open air swimming: close to 90 percent of Sweden's bathing spots are ranked as good quality.

This map reveals Sweden's cleanest swimming spots
Swimmers enjoying last summer's heatwave at Stockholm's Tanto Strandbad, one of those rated excellent in a new report. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A total of 356 Swedish beaches were rated as being of ‘excellent’ quality for swimmers. This figure was up from 353 in 2018 and 333 the year before.

That’s according to a new assessment of the country’s so-called ‘EU beaches’, which means they are part of the union’s clean bathing water scheme and get their water quality assessed on a regular basis. In total, 94 percent were considered to be of excellent, good, or satisfactory quality, while in 24 cases, the tests were insufficient to be able to get a ranking.

Only one of the EU swimming spots in the whole country was classed as being of poor quality, down from two last year. That was Björkängs havsbad on the eastern coast, between Varberg and Falkenberg.

It’s possible to find out the classification, algae levels, and even the water temperature of the swimming spots near you by looking at an interactive map provided by HAV.

Click on the map to see the full list of beaches. Screenshot: HAV/Lantmäteriet

“We take tests continuously to be able to have these labels,” said Mats Svensson, department head at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (HAV) which put together the ranking together with the Swedish Public Health Agency.

The tests look at the presence of two bacteria, E coli and intestinal enterococci, which may indicate pollution, for example from sewage or livestock waste.


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Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English.