Like most Swedes, the stockholmers has a lot of rules, habits and customs. None of them deadly serious, but it might be fun to know before coming. Here’s ten things you should have in mind before you visit Stockholm.
1. If you’re using the metro’s escalators, it’s custom to stand to the right in them. Left is used for walking, always! Not everyone follow, however they will most certainly get the “mean eye” thrown their way if they stand still to the left in the escalator.
2. For many, somewhere between 14.00-15.00 time is reserved for ‘fika’, meaning a break from work for something sweet and coffee. There’s no point in setting an appointment or meeting at 14.00, in other words. Unless you want to fika, that is.
3. Most places take cards now-a-days, however, many stores/cafés/restaurants don’t take cash anymore. Sweden’s currency is SEK, a few places takes euro (for example H&M-stores), but it’s better to be prepared with SEK if you need to use cash.
4. Swedes are quite introvert, at least if you have a look at how people are quiet and keep to themselves in the metro. However, most of them are polite – if you hear the word ‘ursäkta’ (excuse me), a Swede might have bumped into you without you even noticing. While ‘on the buzz’, on Friday or Saturday nights, the metro can be filled with life.
5. If you come during summer, you should know that you can practically go swimming anywhere in the inner city, due to the closeness to water as well as ‘allemansrätten’ (freedom to roam). The water on tap is also often called the yummiest in the world.
6. Perhaps beer is not your cup of tea, but if it is, you should know that it’s more common to order / drink a ‘stor stark’ – a 40 cl glass – than a pint (however, if you go to an English pub, you’ll probably get a pint anyhow). One of the more popular brands is Carlsberg ad Norrlands Guld, but Sweden is also home to many great smaller breweries, for example Gotlands Bryggeri.
7. Whilst Sweden may not have ‘siestas’ or similar, the clothing stores instead close quite early. In the inner-city, it can be as early as 19.00. Most malls outside the city is open til’ later. Most grocery stores are open until 22.00.
8. Swedes eat their dinner early. When going to restaurants, they might adjust the time, but otherwise it’s approx. 18.00-19.00 that’s due to most people.
9. Wine is quite pricy in pubs/restaurant. However, if you go to Systembolaget (the government owned chain for liquor sales in Sweden), you’ll find a huge selection of price-worthy wines.
10. Wednesday is often referred to as ‘lill-lördag’ in Sweden. It directly translates to small Saturday. This day, you can be sure you’ll always find some Swedes in the pub or restaurant, celebrating that the weekend is soon here and that they have passed half of the working week.