Opinion and Analysis For Members

When will Sweden have daylight again? 

Chiara Milford
Chiara Milford - [email protected]
When will Sweden have daylight again? 
The sun rises above Stockholm Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Congratulations, you survived the longest night of the year in one of the darkest countries in the world. 


Remember daylight? 

Daylight is shy; it starts creeping back slowly, almost imperceptibly.

During December, the sun’s path dips lower and lower each day. If you didn’t know any better you might think that it could drop below the horizon and disappear forever. 

On December 21st, Stockholm had 6 hours 4 minutes and 48 seconds seconds of daylight according to this page. The next day was three whole seconds longer. And by the end of the year, the city will have one and a half minute more daylight than the day before.

It’s not much, but it’s something. 

If you’re wondering why you live in a place with such little winter daylight, remember summer? It’s easy to forget in the height of the long Swedish summer days that winters are so miserable. But it’s just as easy to forget that summer’s marathon days will return when you’re deep in the darkest days in one of the darkest places during one of the darkest times. 

In the northern parts of the northern hemisphere we’re forced to compensate with 10,000 lux light therapy lamps, trying to artificially photosynthesise while we wait for the daylight to return. We light candles, trying to squeeze the most mys out of these extra long nights. Mammals go into hibernation and so do we, in our blanketed Netflix dens, barely seeing the midday sun. 

While January comes with a few precious extra seconds of daylight, it can feel darker than ever. House plants might be losing their leaves, and your vitamin D levels are waning. We cling to each glimpse of sunshine that vanishes like sand in an hour-glass. 

But at last, the days are getting longer again. 

March 20th will mark Stockholm’s vernal (spring) equinox, when the hours of daylight and nighttime are equal. From there, daylight hours increase every day by about five minutes in the Swedish capital.


If you live in Kiruna, Sweden’s most northern city, you will first see daylight again on January 2nd. From then on, every day will get longer and longer until the sun does not go down again, a phenomenon which starts at the end of May. 

At the other end of Sweden, in Malmö, there’s now seven hours of daylight. By midsummer, Malmö will get 17 and a half hours of daylight.

The exact moment where the northern hemisphere is furthest from the sun varies from year to year due to a slight misalignment between the Gregorian calendar and the actual rate of the Earth’s rotation around the sun, but it usually falls on December 21st or 22nd. It’s called the “solstice” because from a human perspective, the sun seems to literally stand still in the sky.

We tried to interview some daylight for a comment on this story but they were busy in the southern hemisphere. Right now, Antarctica – the coldest continent on earth – has more daylight than Sweden.

READ ALSO: Facing the January blues as an immigrant family in Sweden


Pagan winter solstice festivals were referred to as jul long before the birth of Christ was celebrated. Even hundreds of years ago, we knew to comfort ourselves with festivities, with candles and fires, with family and friends, with food and drink. And we knew to celebrate the coming of a new sun. 

That new sun marks the beginning of the end for winter. From now until June 21st 2022, every tomorrow will be lighter than the last. And then Stockholm will be bathed in 18 hours 37 minutes and 8 seconds of daylight. 


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