What's the best way to make friends in Malmö?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
What's the best way to make friends in Malmö?
Being sociable on Malmö's 'gågatan' shopping street. Photo: Karolina Friberg/

For those who come to live in Sweden, it can be frustratingly hard to make friends. While Malmö is generally seen as more friendly than Stockholm, it is still quite rare for work colleagues to socialize together. So how do you make friends? We asked some locals for tips.


Whether it's Swing Dancing, Salsa or Sensual Bachaza, dance classes or meet-ups are a great way to make new friends as nothing breaks the ice like getting hot and sweaty to good music. It also avoids the difficulties of engaging a Swede in conversation. 
The Salsa 4 Ever dance social put on every Wednesday by Moe El Qutt is a good place to start, as are the courses put on by his Salsa Dance Company and rivals such as the Love Dance Academy
For Swing fans, the Cats' Corner dance club puts on the Wednesday Night Hop at the Moriska Pavilion in Folkets Park. 
In the summer, there are frequent  dance socials on the open-air dance floor at Ribban beach. 
Why not make your weekly exercise a bit more sociable by joining a running club?
Malmö Gerillalöpare (or Malmö Guerilla Runners) has 2,500 members and their website features a list of group running events in Malmö. In June, July and August, the Mikeller pop-up brewery outside Moriskan in Folkets Park runs the Mikkeler Running Club. The post-run drinks at the bar are a good place to cement the friendships made on your run.
There's also the Super Social Tuesday Run hosted by Malin Mola, a German running fanatic, which starts and ends at the Brewdog pub. 
Join a co-working, Maker Space or Hackerspace
If you're a freelancer, you could do worse than to join one of the many co-working spaces in Malmö.
For journalists and other creatives, co-working spaces include Svarta Lådan and Söderhavet, Barbro, and Blenda.
For more arty types, there are spaces such as Rehab, and Signal. The Malmö Maker Space at STPLN in Västra Hamnen has a long list of events and courses, and also has a drop-in co-working space called Elbow Room, which, remarkably, is absolutely free.
For more techy types, the Forskningsavdelningen (Research Division) at Norra Grängesbergsgatan 26, is a decent Hackerspace. 
Join the resistance
Malmö boasts an impressively well-organized counter culture, with the Kontrapunkt social centre and culture house standing out, with a performance space, rehearsal studios, soup kitchen and food bank, study circles, a resource bank lending out things like a van, record decks and a PA, and an 'engagement bank' which allows members to quickly join together for social ventures. 
It's highly active, pretty unique and always looking for volunteers. 
There's also Underverket, an arty shared office space which also hosts institutions such as Re-Bike, which will teach you how to fix your own bike. The green action group Extinction Rebellion is also starting to get going in Malmö and, as you'd expect, has a good mix of Swedes and internationals. 
Get up on stage
Malmö's English-language theatre scene is surprisingly vibrant. Richard McTiernan started On Stage Skåne, an English-speaking community theatre, in 2016. It now has 25 members from 15 nationalities. The last performance Marian, or the True Tale Of Robin Hood, was sold out in June.
Then there's Guanabana Productions, founded by a Swede, Dan Malm, and a Brit, Fraser James MacLeod. The Anglo-Swedish cast have so far put on six plays in English and one in Swedish. 
For the more musically inclined, the Mässingshornet pub has an excellent open night for singer-songwriters on Tuesdays, and what is probably Sweden's best blues jam on Thursday. 

If you ever were in any doubt of how much fun we have in our theatre group- then look no further and have those doubts erased! . Taken backstage before the opening of act 2, with our actors clearly having the time of their lives. ? . If you want to know more about our upcoming productions, or just want to find out how you can join, whether as an actor or working behind the scenes- then please don't hesitate to contact us! . . #marianorthetruetaleofrobinhood #backstageantics #onstageskåne #actorslife #backstagefun #funbackstage #theatrelove #theatrelife #joinourgang #behindthescenesfun #drama #malmö #malmø #skåne #englishspeakingtheatre #communitytheatre #theatreinenglish #teaterlivet #teaterimalmö #teaterpåengelsk

A post shared by On Stage Skåne (@onstageskane) on Jun 12, 2019 at 1:02am PDT

Go to a pub quiz
English-language pub quizzes in the Pickwick Pub or Fagans Irish bar, both in the city centre, are a better way to meet people than just propping up the bar, and you might even win a prize! 
Have children
Malmö is a great place to have small children, and children are a good route to making friends. If you have a baby, go to one of the city's drop-in baby groups or 'Öppna Förskolor'. The most popular with expats are probably the one in Familjens Hus opposite the entrance to Folkets Park or Kompassens öppna förskola in Södra Sofielund. Drink endless cups of coffee and chat as your infants crawl around beneath you, and then sit down for a sing-a-long to Swedish children's songs (which will soon be forever lodged in your brain). 
For those with slightly older children, hanging out in the city's playgrounds is a good way to make friends. Folkets Park is fantastic, and if your children start playing together, even Swedish parents are quite likely to spark up a conversation.
Other good playgrounds are Rörelseparken in Annelund, Sollekplatsen in Västra Hamnen and Teaterlekplatsen in Pildams Park. 
A complete map of playgrounds is below. 
When your children are older, there is a huge list of more organized activities, but football is perhaps the most sociable. Lilla Torg FF, which runs kids' football sessions in Slottsparken seems very friendly, with kids and parents bonding over fruit squash and sticky buns after each session. There is also Malmö City FC, which runs sessions on the astroturf pitch next to the Sorgenfriskola school.
For dancing, Malmöflickorna (The Malmö Girls) runs an all-girls dance gymnastics programme accompanied by real pianists. It's like a throwback to the 1950s, but many girls seem to love it. 
Get a dog 
When their dog knows someone else's so well that they've gone well past bottom-sniffing, even reserved Swedes start to engage in small talk. The dog-walking area between the Ribban beach and Västra Hamnen is a great place to meet other dog owners, as are the scraps of ground for dogs to poo in scattered around the city. 

If you are shy, let your more sociable friend (the dog) take the lead. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Apps and groups 
There's a growing number of apps to help foreigners find friends, one of them home-grown. 
The Malmö-based American filmmaker Melanie Aronson got so frustrated with her struggle to find like-minded people in Malmö that she launched a Tinder-style app, Panion, which links together people with common interests. Or you could use it's Stockholm-based rival  
The Malmö Internationals group on Meetup has 3,700 members, and the Malmö Night Out group, which meets every second Saturday in a different bar, has 2,500. 
There's a small but active community on Girl Gone International
The monthly events put on by the international Internations group in Malmö is a good place to meet other expats. 
The American Women's Club Malmö, a small but tight-knit community for American women, holds a meeting every month. 
Although commonly seen as more of a hook-up app, if you're gay, Grindr is a good way of meeting people, with some new arrivals in Malmö confessing that it's been the source of most of their new friends, both Swedish and international.
You could also join The Local's own Living in Sweden group on Facebook and ask if there is anyone else based in Malmö. But please remember not to send unsolicited DMs to people in the group.
We would also love to organize more events in Malmö for Members of The Local. If you can help out, please get in touch with our editor.


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