Stockholm: The Land of the Lagom Lifestyle
My second trip to Sweden brought me to the capital of Lagom. The brewers of Fika. The manufacturers of style. The architects of art and design. The heart of all things Scandinavian.
What follows here should be considered a mere introduction the Lagom lifestyle — as a week long stay is not enough to even substantially extract how Swedes lead their everyday lives. However, what I did take away from it is a permeating, lasting sense of hospitality and compassion that makes the Swedish lifestyle so enticing, so captivating. Ready to #StrapIntoFreedom with me and enjoy a leisurely stroll across Stockholm with me?
Let’s get one thing out of the way — Stockholm is a beautiful city. And that’s a fact. It is impeccably manicured and preserved — one of the more important hallmarks of what makes this city so special for me. They love preserving and enhancing existing architectural landmarks, as opposed to demolishing them for profit and commercial gain. Stockholm’s unrivaled commitment to preservation often makes headlines. Aside from its natural and architectural beauty, it is a city that is simultaneously modern and proud of its Nordic origins. One quick stroll and glance in the sea harbor neighborhood of Skeppsholmen, and you’ll see instantly why it is so easy to fall in love with Stockholm.
Stockholm, like most of its Scandinavian counterparts, takes its cuisine very seriously. I had the opportunity to dine at many fine establishments during my time there, but one that really stood out is Oaxen Krog right by the waters of Djurgårdsvägen. The carefully prepared halibut, garnished with a potato foam and a gently-mashed potato puree is a celebration of this versatile starchy vegetable. In fact, there is such a buzzy tradition about the first potatoes of the season — affectionately known as Färskpotatis — that each batch could yield up to 80,000 kr (roughly $9,000). What Swedes excel in doing is taking advantage of its seasonality and local ingredients. So local that they grow it in communal gardens on the city streets of Stockholm. Yes, that is some fine Tuscan Kale you see coming out of that beautiful bush of floral and fauna. A true testament to how committed the Swedes are to sourcing from the ground to the table. Even if it’s directly from the street.
Yes, the ten-thousand-dollar question that always gets asked. As someone who prefers cooler climates, I love Stockholm for its milder temperatures even through the summer season. Usually the best times to visit are during the Spring and Summer months, when the weather conditions are more favorable and less intense to deal with. But no matter the season, I am always prepared for an unexpected downpour in my Teva Ember Mocs and Ember Lace Up boots. The are the perfect companions when traveling to destinations that typically have more outdoor environments, such as Scandinavia. And they were — literally — my solemates on this particular trip when tackling the slipper pavements due to the occasional rain.
The People & Society
Swedes are synonymous for being hospitable and moderate when it comes to temperaments. Always willing to lend a helping hand and to make sure your stay with them is cozy and relaxed, they epitomize the Lagom way of living. They are all about balance. Here’s a real definition, as defined by the Swedish furniture juggernaut IKEA:
Lagomer is: 'A person who is working towards living a more lagom lifestyle – making small changes to their everyday life to minimize environmental impact, being thrifty with resources and enjoying a fun, happy and balanced life.'
And this truly describes Swedes to the tee. I have a personal anecdote, too, from my friend Sanna who works as a designer at GANT. She has access to universal healthcare, takes her Fika (coffee) breaks very seriously at 3pm everyday, and even goes to the gym in between work hours. It’s no wonder that Swedes are naturally taller, slimmer and healthier, due to more balanced habits that won’t cause extreme stress and anxiety. Now that’s something we could all get with in a jiffy!