Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sweden Suffer from a Lack of Vitamin D

Sweden is dark. Damn dark during the winter. And it’s been a miserable winter. Not even snow. Just dark, cold rain. They kind that soaks you through the bone and leaves you feeling angry at having to go outside. It’s like Oregon. Except on the same latitude as Alaska. That’s not a good mix.

Well it turns out that this has been an especially miserable winter. And, seeing as how I just finished a big ass book that had me so enraptured that I kept collecting newspapers in my briefcase, I did some catch-up. When I say newspapers I really just mean the free ones that you can get in the subway. But they have news. And are made of paper.

What I found in one of the papers was shocking. Staring back at me from page 13 was a “Mörk start på vintern,” “A Dark Start to the Winter.” They weren’t kidding. Right under this depressing headline was the proof. A city in southern Sweden, Växjö, received 0, as in zero hours of sunlight in the month of December. Now this is actual sunshine. Not the hours that the sun is up. Just the hours that a person can walk outside and soak up some vitamin d. Zero hours. They average 23. The article that accompanies these numbers actually admitted though that of the 744 hours of potential sunlight, Växjö got 22 minutes. Hence the 0 when looking at hours.

Luleå, which is up north usually averages five hours of sunlight in the month of December. They got one. Of course that’s not even that much of a drop for those crazy northerners. It must take a special person to live up there. I am clearly not special enough.

Stockholm got a solid 25 hours. WOOOO! Over a day of sunshine in one month. This is down from the average of 33. The big winner is those lucky bastards in Borlänge who got 62 hours of sunshine. I can’t even imagine. Think of how tan they must be.

I wrote in this blog about the misery that is a Swedish November. And I stand by that statement. But December didn’t really come riding in on a gallant steed to save the day. Instead it kind of waddled in like a fatty Al Gore trying to save the world, making a lot of noise but not really doing all that much.

On a plus note though, every day sees just a little bit extra daylight. Now if we could lose the rain.

Here’s to hoping for some snow.


  1. This is the reason why I decided to leave the country. I've had enough Swedish winters to last me a lifetime. The two weeks I had being back for the Christmas holidays just proved to me that I made the right decision. Miserable doesn't even start to describe it.

  2. lots of candles and romance during those dark days/nights! wonder if there will be a baby boom 9 months from now?

  3. Down hill from here!
    I have to say, after spending 3 weeks in Anchorage, which is a little higher latitude than Stockholm, I don't mind the dark cold days when there is snow. But let me tell you it was COLD. Never about 20F and it got below -4F.
    Best of luck.

  4. So typical! Im from Borlänge and ofcourse I wasnt there this December...darn...:P Although NYC prob. beat them by faaaar anyway! :)

  5. over here in gothenburg we got a peek! at the sun yesteray, which lasted about 5 minutes...craaaaaaap. it's so depressing here!

  6. Thank you for changing my mind when it comes to moving to Sweden! Well actually I've only been to Sweden in the months of Dec-Feb anyways so I shouldnt be complaining but it just seems soooo cold when I am reading your blog in Houston, TX!!!!
    Oh fyi, Sweden plays the United States in soccer this weekend in sunny California!

  7. Well, Swedish winter is not the most light and fun thing you can experience but on the other hand a really great Swedish summer is hard to top. Like the ones in 2003 and 2004, I think it was.... But that fucked up last year too and so did this winter so it's been a little depressing lately... That's why I say thank god for the Caribbeans! Going there soon!

    I couldn't help to notice your little Al gore commeny in the end there and I just have to answer it. First of all if Al Gore had become the president when he should have the world would have been much better off than we're now in terms of the global warming-situation. Now that he didn't get to be a president he has taken the job to enlighten and get people to see the seriousness of the global warming, not to stop it. He's not superman, what's he going to do? He don't have that much power, unlike George Wanker ("typo" intended) Bush who unfortuantely chooses to completely ignore the threat.

    Apparently, both the rainy summer and the warm pretty much snow free winters are both consequences of the global warming. On the north half of the globe the summers will get rainier and the winters warmer (and rainier too...) so don't criticize the one guy who tries to do at least something. This is the fault of guys like George Bush... I'd say December came waddling in like USA in Iraq and well... What's really happening there? Not much... Just like this year's December, and winter...

  8. hairy swede - I know what you mean man...

    travis - yeah, i heard about that. The team that's gonna play against you is of course not our best team, actually I don't think there's one ordinary player who's playing, except for Alexandersson. I wonder what team USA will put up against us... But whatever team it is, you just know we're gonna kick the living crap outta you! :P

  9. Yes Sweden will be without superman (zlatan) Ljunberg, Mellborg and like you said all of their first choice squad. Sweden will primarily use players in Allsvenskan because they are on break.
    Same goes for the U.S. because most of our top players are unavailable for the same reason as the swedes.
    If we have to lose I guess its ok to lose to Sweden (like we did in goteborg back in august)!

  10. Yeah, well a lot of the players in the team on this training-tour in America (both South and North) actually played their first game for the national squad in the match a week ago against Costa Rica. and I don't think that more than three or four tops of them will be chosen for the squad for the euro 2008. I appreciate your answer man. But I heard that you'd still have a couple of players from MLS, right? It's good you know what you're up against but I think it will be a pretty even match actually. Not like the Göteborg-match. You remember which day it is btw?

  11. Too many comments to respond to each one. So just thought I would make my presense known, and also mention that the sun made an appearance today. But it was still unseasonally warm. Which is a bummer. But it happens.

    And in response to the Al Gore comment, I just couldn't help myself. He's just not really my favorite. As I've discussed, so there's no reason to beat a dead horse.

    And also in regards to the soccer discussion. I'm cheering for the US on this one. And here's my philosophy on which team to cheer for when it comes down to Sweden and the US. Always pick the underdog. And the exception to this rule that proves it to be true is ice hockey. I always cheer for Sweden.

    When it comes down to it though, until they prove otherwise, Americans are underdogs when it comes to soccer. And that doesn't happen all that often to the Americans so I find myself cheering for Sweden a lot. So I leave you with:

    USA! USA! USA!

  12. Yes game is on Saturday in SoCal. Our lineup will be 90% MLS and a few players that are playing in the Scandinavian leagues. We will have Charlie Davies who plays for Hammarby and I believe is one of the highest paid players in Allsvenskan.
    On the roster we have four players that appeared in the 2006 World Cup...
    Normally I would say Heja Sverige (especially when they play england) but not against the yanks!!!

  13. travis - you live in sweden and know what swedish tv-channel the match will be shown at?

    the ahiry swede - in hockey when it comes to sweden-usa games usa is always the udnerdog as well... but i think usa has a good chance in this football-match, i mean MLS is probably a little better than Allsvenskan right? or is beckham the only star?

    btw. HEJA SVERIGE!

  14. No I do not live in Sweden.
    The game time is 5:30pm California time which means it will be on in the middle of the night in Sweden.
    MLS is probably slightly better then Allsvenskan but not by much...some of our younger players choose to get to Allsvenskan or Norway because they get paid better.

  15. Look at Travis coming through with all of the soccer knowledge. I love it. Because I've got nothing to contribute really.

    And about me still cheering for Sweden in hockey over the US even though the US tends to be the underdog. Like I said. It's the exception that proves my rule.

  16. hairy swede - a jag såg de nu, jag tänkte fel helt enkelt...skitsamma

    travis- rally? wow, then you must get really paid over there. I mean the wages in Allsvenskan or Tippeligan (norways league) is nothing compared to la liga, premiership, serie a or hell even the romanian leauge...

  17. @ göteborg - ingen problem

    heads up - the US beat Sweden 2-0 in the soccer game.

  18. congrats, you beat our "ö-team"...

  19., when I was moving to Sweden, I met a Swedish friend who was about to move to istanbul, I could not understand why? Then she moved to istanbul, and she is living there. I see at least one reason for that, since the weather here is terrible. No sun, no fun:( so pessimistic. Regards:)

  20. Hmmm...I didn't see my post go up (I signed in with wordpress) so here it is again. lol.

    I will bring the sunshine Hairy Swede! And if not, we will sing a long december together; over and over and over...

  21. no sun no fun indeed

    and a long november, and a long january...

  22. its going to get lighter. 5 minutes every day.

  23. Living that far north you need vitamin D supplements. The Canadian Cancer Society over 18 months ago recommeded that everyone take vitamin D to prevent cancer. take a look at for the data. They also have an offer to supply children free of charge with vitamin D

  24. I seem to manage ok with my intake of a multivitamin. But that seems like an idea that Sweden should look into.