Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hunkering Down for the Swedish Winter

Fall has come to Stockholm, Sweden. I decided it today as I stood outside shivering even though I had a vest, hat, and gloves on. With the fall, and the impending winter, the nights keep getting shorter. We’re coming up on the only 12 hours of daylight mark. Always an exciting time. Suddenly, half of the day will be enveloped in darkness; actually the majority of the day will be pretty soon. I’m pumped.

Most people don’t like this at all. Understandably I suppose. I don’t mind so much, in fact having spent quite a bit of time in ridiculously rainy winters where the sun doesn’t come out for two weeks I much prefer the darkness. At least the sun is out for a little while and when there’s snow on the ground it feels so bright. So even though by December there will be about 6 hours of light I’m kind of excited. The Swedish winter has this eerie, exciting, romantic feel to it. Even though the darkness tries to take over, the city fights back by lighting everything up. It’s beautiful. Hopefully I still think that by the time February rolls around.

When the darkness falls, quite a few Swedes decide that they are suffering from SAD, a cute little acronym that stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which basically means they are sad because it’s winter. Cute huh? Anyway, because of this there is a booming fake tanning business. It almost seems addictive to a lot of people. I’ve never understood, but of course I’m the guy who walks outside shirtless in the middle of summer to get the mail and come back sunburned. I’m probably the wrong person to endorse this but for some people it seems to work.

Some people drink more. As I’ve already mentioned, the alcohol culture here in Sweden is a bit different than in the US. The winter seems to ramp up alcohol sales, part of that probably has to do with the university students being back in class but I think the darkness definitely plays a roll. So, to fight SAD they drink. Whatever floats your boat I suppose.

I’m just going to hunker down at home and enjoy the experience. Next winter might be a different story, but for now everything is pretty exciting.


  1. Ojdu! Vilken grej, vilken erfarenhet & upplevelse :)

  2. enjoy it while it lasts! hahaha! I acquired SAD after three wet winters in Göteborg. However I don't resort to drinking as booze is expensive. I try to write sad songs instead. Up north is definitely much better as the snow tend to stay on the ground for a much longer time.

  3. yeah the winter must be an expensive time for those people who do turn to the alcohol. I'm really hoping for a snowy winter though. should really help ease me into this darkness I think.

  4. My Stockholmer friend says to pass time during the winter the Swedes build things...

    ...i almost felt like he was alluding to something else entirly. ;)