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LIVING IN SWEDEN

13 local hacks to make life in Malmö even better

One of the draws of living in Malmö is that, compared to Stockholm or Copenhagen, life is a little easier, with property cheaper and everything within cycling distance. Here are some tips to make it even better.

13 local hacks to make life in Malmö even better
A woman photographs Malmö's Turning Torso tower. Photo: Aline Lessner/Imagebank Sweden

There’s a lot of hype internationally about the “five-minute city”, cities designed so that all the important amenities are never more than five minutes’ cycle ride away.

Well, Malmö’s more or less there already. As the city’s slogan has it, i Malmö är det löjligt nära till det mesta (“in Malmö most things are ridiculously close”).

Whether you go for the area around St Knuts’ Square or Nobeltorget, or Slottstaden, or Gamla Väster, or Västra Hamnen, it’s gloriously convenient to be little more than a five-minute cycle from the Central Station and the main shopping district. 

Here are some tips on how to making living in the city even more convenient. 

Loan your transport pass

If you make a journey regularly, either from somewhere else in Skåne to Malmö, or from Malmö to Copenhagen, the monthly passes from the regional travel company Skånetrafiken are a godsend. 

Best of all is the Sommarkort, or summer card, which for a bargain 669 kronor gives you unlimited travel across Skåne from June 15th until August 15th. 

But something many don’t know about the Skånetrafiken passes is that you can lend them out or borrow them once a day for four hours or more, simply by sticking someone else’s phone number in your Skånetrafiken app. 

This has led to lots of groups springing up on Facebook where you can borrow a card, or rent one out, for a lot cheaper than it would cost to buy a train ticket for the same period, such as here, or here, or here. This group, where people buy and sell commuter tickets across the bridge to Copenhagen is also very active. 

Barnloppis in Folketspark 

If you have small children, the children’s fleamarket or barnloppis in Folketspark (outside pandemic times) is an amazing way to stock up on clothes, toys, and picture books (not to mention prams, potties and the like). Most items go for as little as five kronor a piece, saving you a fortune. 

Once your children have outgrown them, you can set up your own stall and sell them all back.

Moderna Museet has some great art and often arranges activities for children too. Photo: Mirian Preis/Imagebank Sweden

Annual museum passes

For parents or for expats expecting lots of visitors, the årskort, or annual pass, for Malmö’s museums is, at 150 kronor, excellent value for money and will mean you always have something to do on rainy afternoons and weekends. Both Malmö museum, with its aquarium and old-fashioned collection of stuffed animals, and the city’s technical museum are a winner with children (who go free). 

Explore the diverse food options

Malmö is probably the Swedish city with the most integration between locals and immigrants, with the area around Möllevången square, in particular, offering something for everyone. Take advantage of this.

It means you can get a delicious falafel roll for as little as 25 kronor, which is probably cheaper than you can prepare a meal for yourself at home. 

It also means you can eat lots of other incredible and very good value food — say, the tasty sesame breads at Nansis bageri just off the square, delicious Syrian shakriyyeh or foul at Shamiat, or filling and meaty Arab breakfasts at Rotana. 

The vegetable market at Möllevången is also a cheaper place to buy fruit and veg than Coop or ICA, particularly if you do your shopping about an hour before it closes on Saturday afternoons. 

It’s also worth checking out the supermarkets run by and aimed at first and second-generation immigrants, like Özen Allfrukt, Orient Food, or Lucu Food.

They are usually cheaper than Sweden’s big supermarkets, and have most of the basics, arguably better fruit and veg sections, and, if you’re curious, lots of interesting ethnic foods to try. 

It’s not a supermarket, but IndoPak, the South Asian food store in Dalaplan is a great place to pick up rice, pulses and spices in bulk, as well as African and Caribbean staples. 

Avoid summer crowds by using the last pier at Ribban beach 

Ribersborg, or Ribban, Malmö’s beach, is one of the best things about the city in the summer. But it can get crowded.

If you go out to the last pier, in front of the Öresunds Funkis handicapped swimming area, it’s considerably quieter than the piers closer to the city centre. 

Join local Facebook groups 

Joining local Facebook groups is a great way of getting to know other foreigners in the city, but also for finding fellow enthusiasts for every sort of interest imaginable. 

The Malmö Expats group, where foreigners share tips, is very active, as is the more anglocentric English-speaking, Malmö-dwelling Society

For people who commute back and forth to Copenhagen, there’s the BroenLive group or the Öresundspendlare group. 

Get on all school and kindergarten waiting lists 

Whether you agree with Sweden’s system of parental choice for schools or not, it is a reality, and, for now, it operates on a queue system, so it pays to apply to all your local kindergarten cooperatives and all the local free schools pretty much as soon as your child is born.

Even if you want to send your child to a municipal school or kindergarten, you can never guarantee you will get a place at a good one, and if you’re in a lot of queues for private or cooperative alternatives, you have more options. 

Use Malmö’s excellent libraries, particularly the book delivery service 

Malmö’s libraries are fantastic, providing places to study, write novels, to read paper newspapers from around the world, for parents to take their small children, and for slightly older children to hang out. 

While the main city library is wonderful, the smaller, satellite libraries are even better, or at least more innovative. 

There’s Garaget, which is more of a lovely airy hangout or social space than a traditional library, with a place where children can do art projects, a play area, tool hire, a good cafe, and lots of events. There’s Stadsarkivet, which as well as a place for those researching local and family history, is a central quiet place to study.

And anyone who thinks that Rosengård isn’t worth a trip should visit the library there and see how much studying and general self-improvement is going on. 

One of the best things about Malmö’s libraries is that you can log into the catalogue and order any book you like to be delivered to the one closest to you. 

Photo: Werner Nystrand/Imagebank Sweden

Take up skateboarding 

Malmö has invested so heavily in skateboarding infrastructure that it really pays off if you start skating, or at least encourage your kids to. There’s the fantastic Bryggeriet indoor skate centre (with its Old Bastards session on Saturdays for you ageing skaters).

There’s the Stappelbädsparken skatepark in Västra Hamnen. There are skate ramps in Folketspark and Rörelseparken, and more, and benches and other street furniture in Värnhemstorget and Nobeltorget that has been specially designed with skaters in mind. 

The city even employs an official skate coordinator, who runs the SkateMalmö website and organises the busy schedule of local and international competitions. 

Get a Malmö by Bike pass

At 250 kronor for a year’s pass, Malmö by Bike is also a total no-brainer. Even if you own a bicycle (and if you don’t, why not?), it’s so useful if you’ve left it at home to be able to just grab a bike almost anywhere in the city centre and then drop it off wherever you’re going to. 

Know where the city’s electrical bicycle pumps are 

Malmö is a cycle city and the municipality has installed more than 30 bicycle pumps at strategic places around the city, most of them electric. You can see where they are on the map here, and then plan your trips so that your tyres are always pumped to perfection.

There are also two free cycle service stations, one on Pildammsvägen near the old Malmö IP stadium, and one in Västra Hamnen where Stora Varvsgatan meets Hallenborgs gata, which have basic tools and water jets to clean your ride. 

Sign up for all the rental waiting lists as soon as you can 

Whether you are single and only planning on staying in Malmö for a few years, happily married and the proud owner of a new property, or renting second hand, it’s almost always worth signing up to Boplatssyd, Malmö’s main rental waiting list, even if it’s just as a sort of insurance.

For just 300 kronor a year, you are on the waiting list, so if you unexpectedly fall in love and want to stay in Malmö, or, less happily, separate from your partner, and need your own apartment, you’ll be glad if you find that you’re suddenly eligible for a property. 

Head to other parts of town to get good deals 

It can really pay in Malmö to head out of the city centre to make the most of the smaller businesses based there, often run by first- or second-generation immigrants. 

It’s often much cheaper and easier to get your car fixed by a mechanic in Rosengård or the area around Norra Grängesbergsgatan than it is to take it to a chain like Mekonomen. 

Getting your car washed on Norra Grängesbergsgatan can cost as little as 99 kronor. The same goes for a lot of other services, like getting your bicycle fixed, clothes mended, or hiring a van and some help when moving house. 

Norra Grängesbergsgatan has in the past been raided by the police, and the local Sydsvenskan newspaper has run a long-running investigative campaign against Den Svarta Malmö, or “the black (under the table) Malmö”, looking at how some companies don’t pay tax, give employees proper pay or contracts, or otherwise abide by the law. 

But when the street was raided in March this year, police spokesman Nils Norling was at pains to point out that most businesses on the street are not breaking the law. 

“Norra Grängesbergsgatan is full of businesses and most of them are legit,” he said. “But there’s a little clique that are not interested in laws or rules.”

Member comments

  1. Just be aware the “last” pier at Ribban is usually full of nudists, if that’s not your thing!

  2. Good tips ale always highly welcome, but trying to save on relatively cheap public transport is really sad in my opinion. If we want to use good quality transport services we should avoid tricks like „paying someone to lend his ticket”. Sorry to say.

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For members

ECONOMY

EXPLAINED: Sweden’s rising prices and what’s being done to stop them

Sweden is experiencing the highest inflation in 30 years. What's behind the price rises and what can the government do about it?

EXPLAINED: Sweden's rising prices and what's being done to stop them

What are the factors behind the increase in prices in Sweden? 

The biggest single factor has been the rise in oil and gas prices, which has pushed up transport and manufacturing costs across the world, pushing up prices more or less across the board. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has also disrupted the production and transportation of goods, leading to shortages as the lifting of restrictions releases pent-up demand. 

Finally, most countries have been running expansive fiscal and monetary policies. The US, for instance, has so far sent out $1,400 cheques to 127 million households. 

SEB’s senior economist, Robert Bergqvist, told The Local that Sweden if anything faced slightly lower inflationary pressure than other countries. 

“One reason why Sweden has lower inflation is that we still have slower wage growth, because we have wage agreements that last for three to four years,” he said. 

READ ALSO: 

What has the government done to help people in Sweden? 

Quite a lot. 

In January it offered an electricity rebate of up to 2,000 kronor per month to all those hit by high electricity prices.

On March 14th, it launched a package of subsidies for car-owners. 

This included a pay-out of between 1,000 to 1,500 kronor to every car-owner in the country, which has cost the government 13.9bn kronor. 

It also included a temporary reduction in tax on petrol and diesel to the lowest level allowed by the European Union. The government said that this would reduce the price by 1.3 kronor per litre. This will reduce the government’s tax intake by 3.8 billion kronor. 

Finally, it has also a temporary increase in housing benefit for families with children, which could provide up to 1,325 kronor in extra benefits a month between July and December this year. 

Are the other political parties satisfied? 

Of course they’re not. This is an election year.

The Moderate Party are pushing for a tax cut that will reduce the price at the pump by five kronor a litre for diesel, and “several kronor” for petrol.

The Sweden Democrats party has proposed a package it claims will reduce the price of diesel by 9.45 kronor and petrol by 6.50 kronor, at a cost of 34bn kronor. 

The only party that is against reducing fuel tax is the Green Party, which instead wants to pass 20bn kronor to households living in the countryside to help them deal with the additional costs. Subsidising fuel, the party argued, meant “filling Putin’s warchest”. 

What about economists? 

Robert Bergqvist said that Sweden’s relatively strong government finances meant that it could easily afford to be this generous to lessen the pain for citizens. 

“It’s nothing that will jeopardise the very strong government finances that we have,” he said. “Sweden can afford a more expansionary fiscal policy.” 

The only risk, he argued was that having what he called a “slightly more expansionary fiscal policy” could end up pushing prices up even higher. “It could be a bit inflationary,” he said. 

What can Sweden’s central bank do? 

Controlling inflation is one of the key purposes of a central bank, and Sweden’s Riksbank is instructed to aim for inflation of two percent. 

The Riksbank’s current position is that there will be no increase in interest rates until the second half of 2024. But the prices rises of the last six months will almost certainly force it to act sooner. 

In an interview with Sweden’s state broadcaster SR last week, the bank’s governor, Stefan Ingves, said that the bank would need to change its position. Most economists in Sweden now expect a rate rise in the second half of this year, or at the start of next year. 

Ingves’s deputy, Anna Breman, said in a speech on Wednesday that it, now “now looks like it would be reasonable to bring forward a rise in interest rates”. 

Will Sweden manage to get prices under control? 

Bergqvist said he believed that the Riksbank had a relatively short window in which to act if it was to avoid the risk that high inflation expectations become firmly established among companies and wage earners. 

“We have new wage negotiations which will start at the end of this year, and you will have new wage deals in the first quarter of next year,” he said. 

If the unions expect higher inflation in the coming years, they are likely to push for more generous wage hikes, which could in turn lead to rising costs for companies, and so increase inflation still further. 

“When I talk to companies and households, everyone says that we have an inflation problem, that prices are going up, and I think we haven’t seen the worst yet,” he said. “I think inflation will continue to rise. Companies say costs are rising and that it’s also quite easy to raise prices right now.” 

If the Riksbank does not take action soon, he argued, then high inflation expectations will become more too established to reduce much higher interest rates, which could cause a recession.  

“And that will make it much more difficult for the Riksbank to bring inflation down to two percent,” he said. 

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