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

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.

What's the best way to make friends in Malmö?
Being sociable on Malmö's 'gågatan' shopping street. Photo: Karolina Friberg/imagebank.sweden.se
Dancing
 
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. 
 
Running
 
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 GoFrendly.se.  
 
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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HOUSING

Moving to Gothenburg? The best areas and neighbourhoods to live in

Whether you're moving to Sweden’s second biggest city for the first time or are looking for another neighbourhood, The Local talks you through some of your best options.

Moving to Gothenburg? The best areas and neighbourhoods to live in
Which neighbourhood of Sweden's second city is right for you? Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

First of all: where to look? The city of Gothenburg suggests on its website that sublets, houses and townhouses to rent all across West Sweden can be found on Blocket, a popular digital marketplace (in Swedish).

Other alternatives for rentals include the sites Bostaddirekt, Residensportalen and Findroommate, as well as Swedish websites like Hyresbostad and Andrahand. Note that some of the housing sites charge a subscription or membership fee. There are also Facebook groups where accommodation is advertised. An example in English is Find accommodation in Goteborg!.

If you’re buying, most apartments and houses for sale in Gothenburg and West Sweden can be seen on the websites Hemnet and Booli. Local newspapers often have property listings. Real estate agents (mäklare) can also help you find a place.

Majorna on a hot summer’s day. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Majorna

Majorna is a residential area in Gothenburg that has transformed from being a classic working-class district to becoming a hip and restaurant-dense cultural hub in Gothenburg. The buildings typical for Majorna are three storey buildings with the first storey built in stone and the topmost two built with wood — the houses traditionally called Landshövdingehus. This neighbourhood just west of the city center, beautifully positioned between the river Göta älv and the park Slottsskogen, is hugely popular with young families.

Majorna was traditionally populated with industrial workers and dockers. The area is still supposed to have a strong working-class identity, with many people living in Majorna seeing themselves as radical, politically aware, and having an ‘alternative lifestyle’.

This doesn’t mean, however, that one can live in Majorna on a shoestring. The average price per square meter here is approximately 55,000 kronor as of May 2021, according to Hemnet.

Eriksberg on Hisingen. Photo: Erik Abel/TT

Hisingen

From the centre of Gothenburg it’s only a short bus or tram ride across the river to Hisingen. It’s Sweden’s fifth largest island – after Gotland, Öland, Södertörn and Orust – and the second most populous. Hisingen is surrounded by the Göta älv river in the south and east, the Nordra älv in the north and the Kattegat in the west.

The first city carrying the name Gothenburg was founded on Hisingen in 1603. The town here, however, was burned down by the Danes in 1611 during the so-called Kalmar War and the only remnant is the foundation of the church that stood in the city centre.

Hisingen housed some of the world’s largest shipyards until the shipyard crisis of the 1970s. Over the last 20 years, the northern bank of the Göta älv has undergone major expansion. Residential areas, university buildings and several industries (including Volvo) have largely replaced the former shipyards.

Hisingen comprises many different neighbourhoods — Kvillebäcken, Backa and Biskopsgården are only some examples. At Jubileumsparken in Frihamnen, an area bordering the Göta älv, there is a public open-air pool and a spectacular sauna. Further inland you’ll find the beautiful Hisingsparken, the largest park in Gothenburg.

Apartment prices are still relatively low in certain parts of Hisingen, while the housing market in other neighbourhoods is booming. The average metre-squared price on Hisingen lies around 41,000 kronor.

Gamlestaden

Gamlestaden or the Old Town was founded as early as 1473, 200 years before Gothenburg’s current city centre was built. You can take a seven-minute tram ride towards the northeast to this upcoming district (popularly known as ‘Gamlestan’) which, like Majorna, is characterised by the original Landshövdingehus in combination with an international atmosphere.

What was once an industrial centre, mostly the factory of bearing manufacturer SKF, is now rapidly turning into something new, as restaurants and vintage shops move into the old red-brick factory buildings.

The multicultural neighbourhood is also close to the famous Kviberg’s marknad (market) and Bellevue marknad, where you can buy everything from exotic fruits and vegetables to second-hand clothes, electronics and curiosa.

The Gamlestaden district is developing and should become a densely populated and attractive district with new housing, city shopping and services. In the future, twice as many inhabitants will live here compared to today, according to Stadsutveckling Göteborg (City development Gothenburg). Around 3,000 new apartments should be built here in the coming years. The current price per metre squared in Gamlestaden is 46,000 kronor.

Södra Skärgården. Photo: Roger Lundsten/TT

Skärgården

It might not be the most practical, but it probably will be the most idyllic place you’ll ever live in: Gothenburg’s northern or southern archipelago (skärgården). With a public bus or tram you can get from the city centre to the sea and from there, you hop on a ferry taking you to one of many picturesque islands just off the coast of Gothenburg.

There are car ferries from Hisingen to the northern archipelago. Some of the islands here are also connected by bridges. The southern archipelago can be reached by ferries leaving from the harbour of Saltholmen.

Gothenburg’s southern archipelago has around 5,000 permanent and another 6,000 summer residents. The archipelago is completely car free and transportation is carried out mostly by means of cycles, delivery mopeds and electrical golf carts.

Most residences here are outstanding — wooden houses and cottages, big gardens — and always close to both nature and sea. Finding somewhere to live, however, is not necessarily easy. Some people rent out their summer houses during the other three seasons. When buying a house here (the average price being 5.5 million kronor) you have to be aware that living in a wooden house on an exposed island often comes with a lot of renovating and painting.

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