No 1 for quality of life
April 9, 2014 9:46 PM   Subscribe

 
I'm sold. Deal me in.
posted by Kerasia at 10:11 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


We went on our honeymoon there. It is super-annoying how nice it is. After visiting I think almost everyone goes through a star-struck period of looking at real estate listings and trying to figure out how to move. Which, hah, no you can't do that. The reason it's so nice is because YOU don't live there, silly.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:21 PM on April 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


He does promotions with iPad magic too.
posted by unliteral at 10:30 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a friend moving there from the US this summer. I'm more than a little jealous.
posted by cali at 10:35 PM on April 9, 2014


I love Stockholm. Right now I'm concentrating on getting my mom over there in a couple of years so she can see her cousins again. If I can go myself, too, I will.

I'm not currently in contact with any of them myself, but I am with some half-cousins, a branch of the family that moved to Australia. They can't stand the suffocating (to some) Swedish groupthink, I gather.
posted by dhartung at 10:51 PM on April 9, 2014


760 km of bicycle lanes, and no helmet law? That must be paradise.

I would bike everyday if I lived there.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 10:52 PM on April 9, 2014


Stockholm?

Lulea is where it's at.

Or anyway, it's closer to Lapland.
posted by notyou at 10:57 PM on April 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


To all the people who think they're being brilliant and innovative in communicating dry statistics by sketching out an infographic in 2014 or using a software tool to auto-generate one, this is what actually being brilliant and innovative in communicating dry statistics looks like.

(Though I should note that if I had to communicate some dry statistics I'd probably end up auto-generating an infographic too, because I'm not brilliant and innovative either.)
posted by XMLicious at 11:36 PM on April 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am currently dating a Swede. I guess I win.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 11:37 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


uh, WIN-TER! - DARK at 2:30PM. No thanks! (and long summer nights don't make up for it)
posted by Vibrissae at 12:21 AM on April 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Stockholm resident here.

This video is part of a marketing campaign "The Capital of Scandinavia" which no one who lives here would actually say. Yeah, Copenhagen and Oslo are ugly, boring places compared to Stockholm, but it is very un-Swedish to trumpet one's superiority.

He claims a lot of things which are general to Sweden - parental leave, child care, free university - and not specific to Stockholm. You have all of this in Luleå too, but very few people are migrating there.

The climate is harsh and it is cold all the time. Summers - both weeks of summer! - are absolutely glorious, but by August you usually have to wear a coat in the evenings. Last year was a great summer, but some years you get no summer at all.

Winters are dark, depressing, and long. At 60 degrees north latitude you are as far north as Anchorage Alaska.

The air is indeed clean. This is in large part because homes are heated using "fjärrvärme" central heating plants which burn rubbish and have high smokestacks sending the pollution over the Baltic towards Finland. Sorry about that Finland.

The water is also quite clean, but this is the natural result of having Lake Mälaren - a huge freshwater lake to the west of us - draining out through Stockholm into the Baltic. You can go swimming in the middle of the city - as my children and I do both weeks during the summer.

This is not, however, a bicycle friendly town. I do not have a car and use my bicycle daily to ride from Vasastan to Gamla Stan and hardly a day passes that some motorist doesn't try to run me down. Those bicycle lanes are mostly painted lines between rows of parked cars and moving traffic. If one of the moving cars doesn't try to kill you, some idiot opening the driver's side door is sure to.

50% singles I can certainly believe. There is a huge number of children in this town and most of them are single. For adults it is more of an a indication that couples don't stay together for long enough to land in the statistics as a couple.

Dating is non-existent here (as in the rest of Sweden). For an outsider like myself being single was at times extremely lonely.

Housing is lovely. Most of the city was built in the late 19th and early 20th century. I live in a small flat built in 1895 which has a "kalelungen" wood burning oven for heating and outside toilets - both of which were in use until 1970, but no longer.

The suburbs are horrible Soviet style concrete high-rises built as part of the "million" program in the 1960s and 70s when this was all but a Soviet state. Once you get outside "tullarna" you could be in Moscow - or Helsinki.

Housing in the city is staggeringly expensive and very hard to get. There is no ordinary rental market due to still existing Soviet rent controls. People coming from out of town have a very difficult time finding affordable housing. Kids live with their parents until they are 30 because they cannot afford housing and you need to wait 25 years in the queue to gain access to a rent-controlled apartment. There are few alternatives.

The city is indeed growing by something like 30.000 people a year. Mostly due to the poor economic climate in the rest of the country. This is where the jobs are. This places an even greater pressure on housing, but still not much affordable housing is being constructed.

Yes, there is a lot of entrepreneurial activity. it is not easy, but it is not hard to run a business here. I have run my own company for 15 years and it is a struggle like anywhere else in the free world.

Schools are mediocre (PISA test results show Sweden way behind other OCED nations).

The city is bursting with children. The parks are full of under ten year olds and everywhere you go you see men and women pushing prams. As the father of two small kids, this makes Stockholm a great place to raise children. We ran from London back to Stockholm when my daughter was born.

Stockholm is staggeringly beautiful. There are plenty of parks and I have the world's best commute to work, past the royal castle and along the waterfront into the medieval old-city. (Pity that the automobiles don't permit me to enjoy it.)

So that is the other side of the coin so to speak. I choose to live here, and all in all, I would not live anywhere else and am really proud to be a "Stockholmare."
posted by three blind mice at 12:23 AM on April 10, 2014 [55 favorites]


I guess we've all come down with (puts on sunglasses) Stockholm Syndrome. AWWW YEAH. (guitar riff)
posted by JHarris at 12:33 AM on April 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


Great perspective tbm. Thanks for sharing!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:38 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's a gorgeous city. Gamla Stan in particular is jaw-dropping. I spent a couple summers there and miss it fiercely.

Though I know I never could live there, as I need LA-levels of sunshine year-round.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:59 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Winters are dark, depressing, and long. At 60 degrees north latitude you are as far north as Anchorage Alaska.

Uh uh. I fold.
posted by Kerasia at 1:06 AM on April 10, 2014


Cool link uniliteral, thanks!
posted by evil_esto at 1:29 AM on April 10, 2014


Stockholm looks amazing, Swedish life looks amazing, yet I have more than one friend here in London who seem to be refugees from all that quality of life, who have lived abroad in Rome, London, NYC, in search of something grittier or messier or in flight from uniformity or an upper-middle class mindset or something, I don't really know.

But one of them seems to have taken a vow to never go back and the other is leaving London to live in Norway, her husband's native land.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:10 AM on April 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


This video is part of a marketing campaign "The Capital of Scandinavia"

What a stupid slogan. Scandinavia doesn't need a capital.

If Stockholm is so great, why do so many Swedes move to Norway?
2012: "A Swedish town is addressing its unemployment problem by paying out of work residents to move to Norway."
2013: "Swedes drawn across the border by the promise of higher salaries now make up a fifth of all young people working in Oslo, new figures from the University of Oslo's Frisch Centre have shown."

Using statistics is not always easy. According to the video, Stockholm is the fastest growing city in Europe. According to this BBC article (January 16, 2014), Oslo is "is Europe's fastest-growing capital". Others claim that Istanbul, Moscow and Paris, Bologna, Galway etc is the fastest growing city in Europe. In real numbers, not relative growth, London, Paris, Moscow etc has more population growth than smaller cities like Stockholm or Oslo.

Other statistics appear to be cherry picked. The video refers to a study done by Price Waterhouse Cooper that "recently compared 27 cities at the center of the world economy". It seems to be this report from 2012. The European cities in the study: London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Milan, Stockholm, Moscow and Istanbul. Why this selection? Cities like Frankfurt and Munich are more important in European and world economy than Stockholm or Berlin.
posted by iviken at 3:02 AM on April 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


WHY IS NOBODY TALKING ABOUT THE AWESOME MAGIC
posted by archagon at 3:28 AM on April 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Half the year below zero? My toes vote no.

Also the best commute in the world is the Sausalito ferry to and from San Francisco - nice view, no cars to fear, and beer.
posted by vapidave at 3:48 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Relevant SatW.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:17 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The water is also quite clean, but this is the natural result of having Lake Mälaren - a huge freshwater lake to the west of us - draining out through Stockholm into the Baltic. You can go swimming in the middle of the city - as my children and I do both weeks during the summer.

...and skating the other 50 weeks!
posted by fairmettle at 4:24 AM on April 10, 2014


Half the year below zero?

Not really.
posted by iviken at 4:26 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


My partner is Swedish, and I lived in Stockholm for a few months. It's a beautiful city, and the bike paths are significantly better than most of the world, though not perfect. The public transport is easy and reliable (but not what I'd call cheap). There are lots of public parks, and even though housing is very dense high-rise apartments in much of the city (which I find unusual) there's still plenty of space. I didn't feel crowded there.

Summer is glorious beyond belief. Winter is cold and dark, but I didn't mind that so much.

It's just a city, and it has some wonderful aspects that it should rightly be proud of - I don't think anyone who lives there would be as outright 'we're the best!' as this ad does. Most Swedes I met were a bit embarrassed by the 'capital of Scandinavia' thing.

The magic was excellent though.
posted by twirlypen at 6:06 AM on April 10, 2014


I'm pretty sure I'd buy whatever you're selling if you present it with close to 4 minutes of well-constructed sleight-of-hand.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:13 AM on April 10, 2014


Magic is Satan's work. Anyway, Stockholm is home to pink unicorns? I guess pink unicorns are Satan's work, too, so it all makes sense.
posted by waving at 6:33 AM on April 10, 2014


The climate is harsh and it is cold all the time.

Climate data says Stockholm winters are slightly milder than Boston, Chicago, or western NY and only a little colder than NYC.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on April 10, 2014


The USA is God's country, so we trump you, ha!
posted by waving at 6:35 AM on April 10, 2014


Yeah, Copenhagen and Oslo are ugly, boring places compared to Stockholm

A brief rebuttal
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:15 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


480 days of paid child leave?

In America, Right-Wingers hear this and their heads explode.

"So you mean to say that a woman could have baby after baby, averaging one every 1.25 years, and she'd always have income, like some sort of Welfare Queen?"

"Yes Sir, that's right!" says the swedes.

"SOCIALIST!" says the right-winger.

"Actually we value families, and want to pay stay-at-home moms what their time and energy is worth, to them, and to us-as a society, to guarantee happy, healthy, productive families, giving us the best possible future citizens we, as a patriotic country can have. We are so Pro-Family, that we've made it the number one priority." says the swedes.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:49 AM on April 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Noll-åttas. They have no smog, but they do have smug.

(I came for the zero-tolerance drug policy, but stayed for the state booze monopoly and the church burning!)
posted by Devonian at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2014


The climate is harsh and it is cold all the time.

Climate data says Stockholm winters are slightly milder than Boston, Chicago, or western NY and only a little colder than NYC.
I visited Stockholm this past Thanksgiving, and did not find it any colder than Boston, and think that any New Englander, northern Midwesterner or Canadian could deal with those temperatures just fine

Having the sun set at 3:30, though? That was weird. I kept leaving museums or shops and think that I had to go find some dinner only to remember that I just had lunch a couple of hours ago. Friends of mine who live there say that even if you grow up in Sweden, you never quite get used to the early winter nights and it definitely has its psychological demands. Though, with that said, one side bonus of the short days and having the sun constantly low on the horizon is that it makes the city glow in the daytime. It's like the photographer's golden hour for the entire length of the (shortened) day.

I like living in New England, but if I had to move to Sweden, I wouldn't mind that at all. The only thing that I would not agree on is Sweden's approach to pizza, which is less of a flatbread than it is a vehicle for channeling alcohol abuse into bad decisions.
posted by bl1nk at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2014


It was -26 C when I got up today. Sign me up.
posted by ODiV at 9:11 AM on April 10, 2014


Average price of beer in Stockholm: US$ 7.45

No, thank you.
posted by Wet Spot at 9:11 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh god I'm a sap. I actually teared up when he put the queens and kings together. I need a nap.
posted by jph at 10:13 AM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


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