The must-have guide to Stockholm & Sweden | Undutchables

The must-have guide to Stockholm & Sweden

Categorie: Guest article

Alison Allfrey is a British writer, has lived in Sweden as an ex-pat. Here she shares some of her experiences about living in Sweden.

Living in Stockholm was a total change, a breath of fresh air, an adventure which stirred up feelings of excitement, nervousness, and confusion! When my husband said we would spend three years there with his Ericsson posting taking our two small boys with us, I have to confess to feeling daunted. Despite being a linguist and having travelled widely, I didn’t know Sweden at all, let alone ever having contemplated living there. So when we arrived in August 2012, there was everything to discover.

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One enormous problem was finding good information to guide our way and, as an ex-pat, I felt like an innocent with no clear idea of where to find out what I needed to know. So we simply went about it by adventuring as much as possible, being energetic, and taking things at face value. This was a voyage of discovery and hugely fulfilling, with lots of mishaps on the way of course, but I have written Stockholm- Sweden at your Fingertips with an expert guide to Stockholm, Jessica Dölling Gripberg, because we wanted to make the experience of discovering Stockholm and the Swedish way of life so much easier and more inviting. We also wanted to share our love of Stockholm and our knowledge – both native and ex-pat – of some of its best secrets, places to visit, places to inspire, and the more mundane information which makes adapting to Swedish life, the climate, its particular DNA and the idiosyncrasies of its work environment simpler.

Sweden is like nowhere else – beautiful, spacious, surprisingly unknown, freezing, independent, at one with nature but challengingly modern. Driven by personal experience, love of Stockholm, and awareness of how alien Sweden can initially feel, we hope the guide will inspire newcomers to dig beneath the surface of one of Europe’s most stunning cities, discover the archipelago and an array of beautiful castles, venture into the great outdoors in summer and winter, navigate the Swedish workplace and find amusement on long winter days. From the thrill of dog sledding to the exhilaration of boating or skating in untold space, the unique charm of Swedish Midsummer to the magic of its winter wonderland, the vagaries of winter tires to the heady scents of cinnamon buns, the guide has it all. With a wealth of detail, humor and honesty, we hope it is just what every newcomer to Sweden needs to get started, understand how to fit in, and discover the special places that make Sweden unforgettable.

My most favourite places in Stockholm are:

  • The Waldermarsudde art gallery on Djurgården – a fabulous building with exquisite views over the water, stunning autumn colour, fabulous exhibitions often featuring my top Swedish artist and master of bird painting, Bruno Liljefors
  • THE ABBA Museum – I have visited more than six times, sung my heart out in the karaoke booths, danced away on stage as the fifth member of ABBA and wondered at the incredible assortment of gold boots and whacky costumes on display – all whilst my son could never quite get over the helicopter!
  • Sturegallerian in Östermalm – the perfect, glamorous bolt-hole for a winter’s day where you can feast on cinnamon buns at Gateau and indulge in the gorgeous clothes shops
  • Some of the fantastic places which just make childrens’ eyes light up like nothing else – the beautifully rendered houses of Pettson and Findus the mischievous cat from the classic childrens’ books by Sven Nordqvist at Junibacken, the answer to all childrens’ museums; the idyllic Postmuseum with its miniature streets where every aspiring young postman can make his deliveries after a pretend drive in the beguiling yellow post van; and the unique Polkagriskokeri in Gamla Stan, where you can watch Sweden’s trademark red and white candy sticks being made before your eyes.
I love Sweden for its space, its pride in a beautiful country, its closeness to nature and the sense of having escaped to take a breath from the modern world – even though its innovation often makes it more modern than anywhere else. It’s truly somewhere different!

Alison Allfrey is a British writer, linguist, and communications consultant who lived in Stockholm from 2012 to 2015. She published So Sweden – Living Differently, a memoir of her time in Sweden and inspiration for ex-pats living there in October 2019, available online via links below. She has also had articles published about Sweden in The Local, Nordic Style Magazine, Sverige Magasinet, and fika-online.com. Alison lives with her family near Winchester in the UK. She is an avid traveller and loves exploring other cultures.

Interested in buying the book! Buy it online via this link if you are in Sweden. If you are in the UK use this link. Her other book So Sweden also comes highly recommended!

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