8 Trivia Bits to Know About Stockholm, Sweden

Visit Stockholm old city

Visit Stockholm old city

Stockholm is a gorgeous capital city in Scandinavia and you could take a thousand postcard-perfect photos on a visit here. You get ancient architecture and a long history, plus this is a thriving and electric city with a great food, music, and nightlife scene. Stockholm often shows up on lists of the “most creative cities in the world” and its people often rank themselves as some of the happiest.

You’ll learn a lot from a guidebook or tour guide during your visits to museums and waterways, but here are a few surprises to get you started before you book a hotel and map out your plans.

You Probably Have Something From Here in Your House

Those Swedes aren’t real braggarts, but they’ve got an eye for business opportunities. Here are just a few brands that have rolled through Stockholm on the way to your house or garage: Ikea, Absolut, Volvo, Saab, Abba, Spotify, Electrolux, AstraZeneca, Skype, H&M, Fjällräven, Minecraft, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Abba museum Stockholm
Costumes at the Abba Museum

The Nobel Peace Prize Founder Was a Bomb Maker

Alfred Nobel is now known as the man who left his fortune for the establishment of the Nobel Prizes, including the Peace Prize. The way he made all his money though, was developing explosives. He invented dynamite and held the patent on it. Along the way though, he blew up several of his family’s factories and one blast ended up killing one of his brothers.

More #1 Hits By Anyone Not Named Lennon or McCarthy

You’ve probably never heard the name Max Martin, but unless you’ve been living in a cave for three decades you’ve heard a few of his songs. He has been behind #1 hits recorded by Katy Perry, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, and lately The Weeknd. (If you now can’t get “Oops, I did it again” “Bad Love,” or “I Want It That Way” out of your head, blame him.)

Stockholm is Really a Collection of Islands

There are 14 islands connected by 57 bridges in Stockholm, for a city of 2 million. Roughly one-third of the city is green space and one-third of it is water. While the whole country of Sweden only has 7 million people total, it’s the 5th largest country by land mass in Europe.

King Gustav Was Killed at a Masked Ball

On March 16, 1792, Swedish King Gustav III arrived at a masked ball in costume. While most participants were incognito, he couldn’t help but show off his identity through a large star symbol on his vest. A captain planning a coup could easily tell it was him and shot him in the back. Gustav lived but ended up dying 13 days later from a resulting infection. This story eventually became an opera by Verdi, now known as The Masked Ball.

Boats Have to Come Out of the Water Each Winter

Marina and couple at sundown in StockholmThere are a lot of boats in Stockholm: an estimated 7% of Swedes own a boat and the waterways are lined with marinas. They can’t stay there when the water freezes in winter though, so most get moved to storage facilities up on the land.

The Country’s Most Famous Ship Was a Failure

The Vasa Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Stockholm, a giant wooden ship rescued from the harbor after lying at the bottom of it for hundreds of years. It sailed a little more than a kilometer on its maiden voyage of 1628, then toppled over and sank. It took three years to build and the carvings are grand, but they apparently neglected to budget for an experienced engineer to make the plans. It was poorly designed and top-heavy. If it hadn’t sunk near the shore, it would have sunk at sea.

Royal Palace in Stockholm

The Heir to the Throne Married Her Personal Trainer

Princess Victoria is next in the line of succession for one of the world’s oldest monarchies. In 2010 she married her former personal trainer, giving hope to gym rats around the world as 1,200 attended and half a million watched on TV. He’s gone from pumping iron to being called Prince Daniel of Sweden, Duke of Västergötland. We can only assume he also gets to hear, “Yes your highness” on a regular basis.

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Article and photos by Tim Leffel, editor of Perceptive Travel online magazine. See his story there on biking the Kattegattleden Trail in Sweden

Djurgarden, an Island Escape from the Bustle of Stockholm, Sweden

The island of Djurgarden is a wonderful place to escape the city, near Stockholm, Sweden.
The island of Djurgarden is a wonderful place to escape the city, near Stockholm, Sweden.
The best things in life are free, right?  Luckily, in Sweden, you don’t have to go far or pay a lot to experience the Swedish countryside and its beautiful scenery. One of the top most visited destinations in Sweden is the island of Djurgarden, located near the city center.

The reasons why the island is so popular amongst tourists and locals alike is very obvious, as it has dozens of museums, Rosendals Garden, Skansen, and biking and picnicking areas. The island is accessible via public transportation (ferries), as well to travel on foot across numerous bridges that connect to it from Ostermalm.

Picture the island as one giant park, like a green sanctuary. But there’s more, the island also has an aquarium and amusement park, perfect for families with children.

If you’re more the type of person who enjoys relaxing, (aren’t we all?), then there are several places in Djurgarden you can unwind in and just hang out. The island has numerous coastal and canal pathways you can stroll along, and even a lake area called Isbladskarret where many birds and cattle thrive.

Eateries are scattered throughout the island, but visitors recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the greenhouse cafe at Rosendals. So pick up some lunch, kick your feet up, and enjoy nature and all its glory.

The pretty city of Stockholm, Sweden with its many islands.
The pretty city of Stockholm, Sweden with its many islands.
There are so many hidden treasures to discover on the island, depending on your interests, there is something to do (and find) for everyone. Whether that be exploring artwork in one of the museums or music halls, looking at the historic and modern architecture throughout the mini city, or even visiting some Scandinavian animals in their natural habitat.
The best way to fully experience Djurgarden is by walking. Yes, this does require some effort, but it is totally worth it. Djurgarden is completely free to adventure throughout, and a simple walk through the island’s greenery is enough to make you feel like you are in a green oasis.
In order to get to the island, you can take the ferry from Slussen or get off at the Kungstradgarden metro station and walk to the Djurgardsbron bridge that takes you to the island. The island is most populated during the summer months and is open 24 hours a day.
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