Stockholm

ABOUT THE CITY

The City of Stockholm is one of the world’s most beautiful capitals. The city is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which flows into the Baltic Sea.  The city is known for its beauty, its buildings, its water and parks. Stockholm is one of Europe’s leading economic regions with its high concentration of information technology, health care industry and research. The vast majority of Stockholmians work in the service industry, which accounts for roughly 85% of jobs in Stockholm. The almost total absence of heavy industry makes Stockholm one of the world’s cleanest metropolises. The last decade has seen a significant number of jobs created in high technology companies. Summer includes plenty of events.  The Stockholm Marathon takes place on a Saturday in early June each year.  Where the Action Is Tour is a 2-day music festival held in Djurgården in June. Stockholm Jazz Festival is one of Sweden’s oldest festivals. The festival takes place at Skeppsholmen in July.   Stockholm Pride is the largest Pride event in the Nordic countries and takes place in the last week of July every year. The Stockholm Pride festival always ends with a parade and in 2007, 50 000 people marched with the parade and about 500 000 watched.

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    About Stockholm

    Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state. Stockholm is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, splendidly spread out over fourteen islands in the interlock between Lake Mälaren and the magnificent Stockholm Archipelago seascape with its over 24.000 islands, islets and skerries. Stockholm is the Nordic regions largest city with historic and cultural grandeur unparalleled in Northern Europe.

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    History

    The location appears in Norse sagas as Agnafit, and especially in connection with the legendary king Agne. The earliest mention of Stockholm in writing dates from 1252, when the mines in Bergslagen made it an important site in the iron trade. The first part of the name (stock) means log, while the second (holm) means islet, and refers to the islet Stadsholmen in central Stockholm which for centuries constituted the main part of Stockholm.

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    Economy

    The vast majority of Stockholmians work in the service industry, which accounts for roughly 85% of jobs in Stockholm. The almost total absence of heavy industry makes Stockholm one of the world’s cleanest metropolises.

    The last decade has seen a significant number of jobs created in high technology companies. Large employers include IBM, Ericsson, and Electrolux. Arguably one of the world’s leading IT centers is located in Kista, in northern Stockholm.

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    Climate

    Month Avg. High   Avg. Low   Avg. Precip.
    January 30.7° F -1.0° C 23.0° F -5.0° C 1.50 in 4.00 cm
    February 30.9° F -1.0° C 22.5° F -5.0° C 1.10 in 3.00 cm
    March 37.4° F 3.0° C 27.1° F -3.0° C 1.00 in 3.00 cm
    April 47.5° F 9.0° C 34.0° F 1.0° C 1.20 in 3.00 cm
    May 60.3° F 16.0° C 43.3° F 6.0° C 1.20 in 3.00 cm
    June 69.3° F 21.0° C 52.3° F 11.0° C 1.80 in 4.00 cm
    July 71.4° F 22.0° C 56.1° F 13.0° C 2.80 in 7.00 cm
    August 68.7° F 20.0° C 54.9° F 13.0° C 2.60 in 7.00 cm
    September 59.2° F 15.0° C 48.2° F 9.0° C 2.20 in 6.00 cm
    October 49.8° F 10.0° C 41.5° F 5.0° C 2.00 in 5.00 cm
    November 40.1° F 5.0° C 33.3° F 1.0° C 2.10 in 5.00 cm
    December 34.0° F 1.0° C 26.2° F -3.0° C 1.80 in 5.00 cm

    By Car

    When driving in Sweden remember these basic rules; always keep to the right side; always wear the seat belt; always have the head lights on.

    Speed limits are clearly marked on traffic signs, on all Swedish roads. You will be fined if caught driving too fast. When driving 30 km/h or more too fast, your driving license will be withdrawn. The speed limits are often set in view of animal crossing on highways and larger roads outside urban areas.  Also, accidents occur frequently due to animals crossing the main roads.

    Drinking and driving is a serious business in Sweden. A concentration of 20 milligrams or 0.10 milligrams/liter in breath tests will lead to paying a fine, as well as imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months. Moreover, the driver will lose his license for at least 1 month and for a maximum of 3 years.

    A concentration of 150 milligrams in the blood or 0.75 milligrams/liter in breath tests will lead to imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year. In addition, the driver will lose his license for at least 1 year.

    Public Transportation

    Public transportation is a big thing in Sweden and you can expect to go most everywhere with it. All towns have local or regional bus services, those on railway lines also have commuter trains. Gothenburg and Norrköping have trams and Stockholm also a subway system with 100+ stations. All airports are serviced by some sort of public transportation – at the smallest places it may be a shared van or other form of taxi.

    AB Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL)
    Postal address:
    105 73  Stockholm
    Street address:
    Lindhagensgatan 100
    (46) 8 600-1000 
    www.sl.se

    You can travel with SL throughout the County of Stockholm. The area covers a distance of several kilometers outside the actual city centre and includes all services on the Metro, commuter trains, suburban railways such as the Roslagsbanan, Saltsjöbanan, and the Lidingöbanan trains, and hundreds of bus lines.

    Bus
    Board the bus through the front doors and show your ticket to the driver. At certain locations in Stockholm’s city centre there are inspectors that admit passengers through the rear doors too.

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    Air Transportation

    Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN)
    Luftfartsverket Arlanda
    S-190 45 Stockholm Arlanda
    Sweden
    (46) 8 797-6000
    www.lfv.se

    The airport is located 42 km (27 Miles) north of Stockholm city centre. Annual passenger numbers exceed 13 million.

    Stockholm Skavsta Airport (NYO)
    PO Box 44
    S-611 22 Nykoping
    Sweden
    (46)15 528-0400
    www.skavsta-air.se

    The airport is located 6mk (4 miles) northwest of Nykoping and 95 km (59 Miles) southwest of Stockholm. Airlines Served: Gohandeflyg, NTD, Ryanair.  Skavsta airport started life as a military airport in 1940 but was developed into a civil airport during 1984. The airport is south of Stockholm next to the Swedish Motorway E4 and is within easy access of Stockholm and Norrkoping, Linkoping and Sodertalje.

    Stockholm Vasteras Airport (VST )
    S-721 31 Vasteras
    Sweden
    (46)2 180-5600
    www.vasterasflygplats.se

    The airport is 6 km (4 miles) east-southeast of Hasslo, the city center and 86 km (54 miles) west-northwest of Stockholm.

    Local Phone Numbers

    112 for emergencies

    Lost Credit Card
    American Express: (46) 8 729-0095
    Diners Club: (46) 8 655-8585
    Master Card: (46) 8 790-2390
    VISA: (46) 8 790-5005

    Hospitals
    Cityakuten
    (46) 8 412-2961

    Sophiahemmet
    (46) 8 406-2000

    International Calls
    011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of U.S.A., when placing the call in the US.

    001 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Sweden, when placing the call in Sweden.

    46 is the international code used to dial to Sweden.

    8 is the local area or city code used to dial to Stockholm.

    Family Attractions

    Gröna Lund
    (46) 8 587 501 00
    At first it was a leafy garden; hence the name Gröna Lund (“green grove”). In the eighteenth century, it was a pub numbering Carl Michael Bellman among its regular guests. Since 1883, it has been an amusement park.

    Gröna Lund is as pretty and as unusual as its name would imply. Situated on the island of Djurgården, the park’s reflection glitters on the waters of the Baltic at the gateway to Stockholm. Put into Gröna Lund’s guest harbor in your own boat or take one of the larger boats that stop at the park’s seaside entrance.

    Skansen
    (46) 8 442 80 00
    www.skansen.se

    An open-air museum for the whole family.  Founded in 1891, Skansen is Stockholm´s largest and most popular outing destination and the world’s first open-air museum.

    The Vasa Museum
    Galärvarvsvägen 14
    102 52 Stockholm
    (46) 8 519 548 00
    http://www.vasamuseet.se/

    The Vasa ship from wreck to restoration.  When the Vasa set sail in 1628, she was probably the world’s most powerful warship. With 64 cannon and 300 men, she was sure to put the fear of God in the enemy, but she sank on her maiden voyage. When the Vasa was raised in 1961, a new adventure began – one that is still under way

    Museums

    The Museum City of Stockholm parades around 100 museums. From large well known museums like the National Museum and The Museum of History to smaller cultural pearls like the Hallwyl Palace, the Museum of the Post Office and Ulriksdal´s Orangery.

    Kulturhuset
    (46) 8 508-31508
    www.kulturhuset.stockholm.se

    Stockholm’s centre for photography, art, multimedia, fashion, music, dance and theater. Kulturhuset at Sergels torg in Stockholm opened its doors in 1974. With its central location and striking seventies architecture, Kulturhuset has become a symbol for Stockholm and the growth of modernism in Sweden.

    Hallwyl Collection
    Hamngatan 4
    111 47 Stockholm
    (46) 8 519-55599
    www.hallwylskamuseet.se

    The Swedish Museum of Natural History
    Frescativägen 40
    104 05 Stcokholm
    (46) 8 519-54000
    www.nrm.se

    National Museum of Cultural History
    Djurgårdsvägen 6
    115 93 Stockholm
    (46) 8 519-54600
    www.nordiskamuseet.se

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    Shopping

    Shopping Areas
    The biggest shopping areas stretch from Hötorget to Gamla Stan, via Drottninggatan, and from Hamngatan, Kungsgatan, and Biblioteksgatan down to Stureplan. Normal business hours are 10 AM to 6 PM M-F and around 10 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays. Many stores are also open on Sundays. If you want to buy a lot and are short on time, go NK, Åhléns, PUB, Debenhams, Gallerian or Sturegallerian. They stay open 7 days a week, with longer hours during the week than on weekends.

    Shopping Centers
    Åhléns City
    Klarabergsgatan 50
    111 21 Stockholm
    (46) 8 676-6000
    www.ahlens.com

    Gallerian
    Hamngatan 37
    111 53 Stockholm
    www.gallerian.se

    NK
    Hamngatan 18-20
    111 47 Stockholm
    www.nk.se

    PK-Huset
    Hamngatan 14
    111 47 Stockholm
    www.pkhuset.com

    PUB
    Hötorget
    111 71 Stockholm
    (46) 8 402-1612
    www.pub.se

    SalénHuset
    Regeringsgatan 48
    111 43 Stockholm
    (46) 8 796-9737

    Sturegallerian
    Grev Turegatan 9
    114 46 Stockholm
    www.sturegallerian.se

    Sports

    The most popular spectator sports are football and ice hockey. The three most popular football teams in the Stockholm region are AIK, Hammarby IF and Djurgårdens IF. In ice hockey, Stockholm’s highest rated team is Djurgårdens IF.

    Historically, the city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics. From those days stem the Stockholms Olympiastadion which has since hosted numerous sports events, notably football and athletics, and is the current home arena of Djurgårdens IF. For the ice hockey team, the home arena is Stockholm Globe Arena, one of the largest spherical building in the world, but it is also hosting concerts and other events.

    Stockholm also hosted all but one of the Nordic Games, a winter multi-sport event that predated the Winter Olympics.

    AIK
    Mailing address: Solnavägen 45, 16951 Solna
    Stadium address: Solnavägen 45 (Råsunda Fotbollstadion, south stand)
    (46) 8 735-9600
    www.aik.se/ishockey

    Hammarby IF
    www.hammarbyfotboll.se

    Djurgårdens Idrottsförenings
    Valhallavägen 104
    11441 Stockholm
    (46) 8 545-1580
    www.dif.se/english

    Stockholm Globe Arena
    Globentorget 2
    121 27 Stockholm
    (46) 8 508-35300
    www.globearenas.se

    Sport and culture arena with seating for 16,000 spectators. Its contrasting profile makes Globen stand out from the rest of the Stockholm skyline. It had already become a symbol of the city during its construction. Globen is the world’s largest spherical building.

    Currency & Banking

    1.00 USD = 6.98111 SEK

    The Swedish monetary unit is the Swedish Crown, abbreviated to SEK. One Swedish Crown is 100 öre.

    Coins from the lowest to the highest
    50 öre (half a crown)
    1 krona (crown)
    5 kronor
    10 kronor

    The paper money is
    20 kronor (crowns)
    50 kronor
    100 kronor
    500 kronor
    1,000 kronor

    Most banks are open Monday to Friday 10.00 to 15.00 hours. On Thursdays some banks are open from 10.00 to 18.00 hours. On Saturdays and Sundays the banks are closed.

    All banks provide for exchange service. There is a variety of banking houses so compare the buying and selling rates when exchanging money.  There are two types of automatic cash dispensing machines. The trade bank and the saving bank model. The trade bank model is blue with the white text; “Bankomat”, whereas the saving bank model is red and green with the text; “Minuten”. For foreign VISA card, either of the two types will do. Accepted cards are marked on all of the automatic cash dispensing machines.

    Sweden’s major banks:
    Handelsbanken
    Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken
    Föreningssparbanken
    Nordbanken

    Dining

    Swedish cuisine has a solid and traditional foundation: Husmanskost, essentially home-cooked food or everyday fare. It’s the stuff that generations of Swedes have been weaned on, and, as a cursory glance at any modern Swedish menu will tell you, still is.

    The internationally most renowned Swedish meal is the meatball, or köttbullar.  One of the most traditional Swedish soups is the pea soup, or ärtsoppa. It dates back to the old tradition of peas being associated with Thor. This is simple meal, basically consisting of yellow peas, a little onion and often pieces of pork. Potatoes are the main complement to most dishes. Only in the last 50 years have other side dishes such as rice and spaghetti become standard on the dinner table.

    Smorgasbord literally means “bread and butter table.” A Swedish smorgasbord offers the diner a variety of dishes generally meant to be eaten in a particular order. Also, for each trip to the smorgasbord, a clean plate is often used. Smorgasbords can contain numerous different types of foods, but they usually always include Swedish meatballs, Janssons frestelse (Jason’s Temptation), and various herring dishes.

    Many Scandinavians and Scandinavian-Americans have at least tasted lutfisk, or “lye fish.” Lutfisk is cod soaked in lye. It is made placing dried cod into a wooden tub and soaked in water for about a week. The water is changed every day, and when the week is up, the fish is removed. The tub is then cleaned and a quarter of a pound of slaked lime is placed inside. The fish is returned to the tub and then covered with water and lye (the lye is prepared from birch ashes or washing soda).

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    Economy

    Sweden is an export oriented market economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Sweden’s engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP and employment.

    Sweden’s industry is overwhelmingly in private control; unlike some other industrialized Western countries, such as Austria and Italy, publicly owned enterprises were always of minor importance. Eighty percent of the workforce is organized through the trade-unions which have the right to elect two representatives to the board in all Swedish companies with more than 25 employees.

    Since the late 1960s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota (as percentage of GDP) in the industrialized world, although today the difference between other high-tax countries such as France, Belgium and Denmark has narrowed. Sweden has a two step progressive tax scale with a municipal income tax of about 30% and an additional high-income state tax of 20–25% when a salary exceeds roughly 300 000 SEK per year. The employing company pays an additional 32% of an “employer’s fee”. In addition, a national VAT of 25% or 18% is added to many things bought by private citizens, with the exception of food (12% VAT), transportation, and books (6% VAT). Certain items are taxed at higher rates, e.g. gas/diesel and alcoholic beverages.

    Embassy & Visa

    Embassy of the United States of America
    Dag Hammarskjölds Väg 31
    SE-115 89 Stockholm, Sweden
    (46) 8 783-5300
    The American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section provides information and assistance to U.S. citizens in Sweden. This unit deals with U.S. passports, citizenship issues, social security numbers, tax information, voting assistance, notarization of documents, children’s issues, emergency services for American citizens etc.

    Phone hours: (46) 8 783-5375, 1 – 3PM, Monday through Thursday
    Opening hours: 9 – 11AM, Monday through Friday, except for American and Swedish holidays.

    Official Registration with the U.S. Embassy
    http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/Consulate/index.html

    The State Department has launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency.

    Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

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    Mail Delivery

    The major post offices are basically open Monday to Friday 09.00 to 18.00 hours and Saturdays 09.00 to 13.00 hrs. Sundays are closed. There are local variations, especially on the countryside.

    Stamps can be bought in the post offices, as well as they can be bought in a variety of shops. Packages and larger letters must be sent from a post office.

    Postboxes
    Green postboxes – for domestic economy class mail.
    Blue postboxes – for letters within a region or a larger city.
    Yellow postboxes – for all other types of letters and post cards, domestic, as well as international.

    Healthcare

    Foreign citizens with residence permits valid for one year or more that has a national registration number are entitled to reduced costs for medical care and medications. If you are staying for more than a year and paying taxes in Sweden you also have access to the benefits provided by the social insurance office, including reduced dental care costs.

    Pharmacies are often in or nearby the hospitals, as well as there are additional stores. In some major cities there are pharmacies which are open 24 hours a day. Look in the local telephone catalogue in the red section and be sure to look for APOTEKSBOLAGET: Apotek, Jourapotek.

    Etiquette

    Conservative dress is appropriate. For business appointments, men should wear suits and ties, while women should wear suits or dresses.   Swedes are usually fashionably well-dressed in public.

    Do not ask personal questions or be offended if Swedes do not inquire about your family, work, and so forth.

    Swedes avoid arguing over sensitive topics in general, especially with visitors. If a discussion of this kind begins, don’t be offended if a Swede abruptly puts it to a stop.

    Expect to address a person by his or her first name. Swedes like to establish relationships on an informal, but not familiar, level. Once a relationship has been formed, they move to a more familiar level.   Titles are not important in Sweden.

    The handshake is common. It is done swiftly and firmly between two men, but not as heartily between men and women or between two women. Smiling and other nonverbal forms of communication should not accompany the handshake when it is between people who have not met previously. Men should wait until a woman extends her hand before reaching for it, and women may take the lead in extending their hand or not. Men must remove their gloves when shaking hands with a man. If a woman is in a group, she is introduced first.

    With the exception of the handshake, Swedes do not like physical contact with anyone. Do not backslap, embrace, or touch a Swede.

    Remember, even in public, formal is always better than informal–no gum chewing, slouching, or leaning against things.

    Taxes

    U.S. Tax Information
    Internal Revenue Service

    P.O. Box 920
    Bensalem, PA 19020
    (215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)
    Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office serving Sweden is located in Philadelphia, and provides U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans in Sweden.

    The IRS Home Page, www.irs.gov , has a lot of information available to answer many questions. Go to ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Overseas Taxpayers’ you will find a section of FAQ, which will take you to IRS Publication 54. Many questions of overseas taxpayers can be answered from that source.

    One point to remember for all overseas taxpayers is that the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. Even though they may be eligible to exclude a certain amount of their earned income from their income tax computation, they must file a US tax return in order to claim that exclusion.

    American Citizen Services
    8 783-5375
    Tax assistance volunteers are often available at the U.S. Embassy between April 10 and June, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, to assist taxpayers in completing U.S. income tax returns. Appointments are required for this service and must be made by calling the American Citizen Services unit at tel. 08/783 5375, between 1:00 PM-3:00 PM, Monday-Thursday.

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    Local Information

    Electricity
    The voltage is 230V in Sweden. All new buildings erected from January 1, 1994, will be in compliance with EU standards. That is, all sockets are grounded. In every public milieu there will only be grounded sockets. In all other buildings erected before the date of January 1, 1994, grounded sockets will be found in bathrooms, as well as in kitchens. Otherwise there are simple sockets. In case one needs an adapter it can be acquired in an electricity store. There are no transformers for 130 volt to 230 volt to be found.

    Time Zone
    The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Stockholm and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:

    Stockholm Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC+1 hour = 1:00 am
    NYC Standard Time Zone: GMT/UTC – 05:00 hour = 7:00 pm

    Stockholm is on Central European Time CET and does observe Day light Savings time.   Local time in New York is 6 hours behind Stockholm.

    Holidays
    1-Jan New Year’s Day
    6-Jan Epiphany  – 13th Day of Christmas
    6-Apr Good Friday
    9-Apr Easter Monday
    1-May Swedish Labor Day
    17-May Ascension Day
    6-Jun Swedish National Day
    22-Jun Midsummer Eve
    23-Jun Midsummer Day
    3-Nov All Saints’ Day
    24-Dec Christmas Eve
    25-Dec Christmas Day
    26-Dec 2nd Day of Christmas
    31-Dec New Year’s Eve

    Compulsory Education

    British International Primary School of Stockholm
    Östra Valhallavägen 17
    182 62 DJURSHOLM
    (46) 8 755-2375
    www.britishinternationalprimaryschool.se

    Engelska Skolan Norr
    Roslagstullsbacken 4
    114 22 STOCKHOLM
    (46) 8 441-8580
    www.engelskanorr.com

    Engelska Skolan Söder
    Lingvägen 123
    122 45 ENSKEDE
    (46) 8 447-5030
    www.engelska.se

    International School of Stockholm
    Johannesgatan 18
    111 38 STOCKHOLM
    (46) 8 412-4000
    www.intsch.se

    Higher Education

    The number of students in higher education has increased substantially during the last decade — since 1991 by approximately 50%.  Almost 50% of young people in Sweden go on to higher education within five years of completing their upper secondary schooling. First-time enrolments every year total about 83,000.

    Research and higher education in the sciences started in Stockholm in the 18th century, with an education in medicine and various research institutions, such as the Stockholm Observatory. The medical education was eventually formalized in 1811 as the Karolinska Institute. The Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, or KTH) was founded in 1827 and is currently Scandinavia’s largest higher education institute of technology with 13,000 students. Stockholm University, founded in 1878 with university status granted in 1960, has 35,000 students as of 2004. It also incorporates many historical institutions, such as the Observatory, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and the botanical garden Bergianska trädgården. The Stockholm School of Economics, founded in 1909, is one of few private institutions of higher education in Sweden.

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