I recently had an opportunity to visit Stockholm, Sweden. I tell you, what a wonderful and interesting city to visit, with so much on offer for us tourists! Its not a city that immediately rolls off someone’s tongue when asked which European destination they would like to visit. But in my opinion, you would be missing out if you didn’t make plans for a future visit.
In that vein, let’s do some basic research and quickly study the city of Stockholm, and in general, the country of Sweden, to start off the Stockholm Mini Guide. It’s always a good idea to learn the basic facts about the cities you visit. I feel that this helps in “connecting” you to the city. You understand how it grew to become the city that it is today, to understand the people and their ideas, culture and heritage. But first, let’s review what I’ll be talking about in this Stockholm Mini Guide.
With no disrespect to Rick Steves and his fabulous guidebooks (I use them – see the Resources page for my recommendations of some of his books), I will provide you with some supplemental material – my own practical insights and tips for visiting some of the Stockholm sights. Over the course of the next little while, the following articles will contribute to this Stockholm Mini Guide.
- 5 Free Things To Do in Stockholm With the Family
- How to Get to Slussen T-Bana From Stadsgarden Port Area
- Free Wifi Around the Stockholm Stadsgarden Port Area
- 8 Practical Tips for Visiting Stockholm’s Subway Art
- Photo Series: Stockholm Subway Photo Series
- 15 Fascinating Things To Do and See In Gamla Stan
- Photo series: Gamla Stan
- Photo Series: Stockholm’s Changing of the Guard
- Stockholm City Hall Garden – A Garden with a Killer View
- A Stroll Along the Strandvagen Promenade in Stockholm
- Photo Series: The Stockholm Archipelago – A Photographic Tour
Geography of Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and it’s the largest city among the Nordic countries. What most people don’t realize is that Stockholm is actually built and spread across 14 islands. To reach Stockholm by boat, you would have to enter the Stockholm Archipelago from the east. This Archipelago is composed of approximately 24,000 islands and islets, which makes it the second largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea.
History of Stockholm
In order to appreciate and understand what you are sightseeing in Stockholm, you need to be aware of one man in the history of Sweden, King Gustav III. Not that he is their only notable historical figure, but his legacy and fingerprints can be seen throughout Stockholm. As the King of Sweden from 1771-1792, he single-handidly advanced and built Sweden into a strong country to be reckoned with.
The King wrested the seat of power from the aristocracy back to the monarchy, won some wars, and set Sweden on a path to growth, enlightenment and peace. Among all these political achievements, he was also a great benefactor to the arts and literature.
Many of the sights in Stockholm has some kind of connection back to King Gustav III. Among the highlights, these include The Royal Opera House, The Royal Dramatic Theatre (where the King’s own dramas where performed), The Swedish Academy (where the Nobel prize for literature is decided and announced), the Royal Armoury (which houses the King’s uniform worn on the night of his assassination), and the monument to King Gustav himself at Gamla Stan.
Economy of Stockholm
Economically, the services industry accounts for the majority of jobs in Stockholm but recently, the burgeoning high tech sector has been a significant contributor to growth as it has become one of Europe’s hottest cities for technology start-ups. Stockholm has almost no heavy industry and no power plants burning dirty coal and oil, making it one of the world’s cleanest cities.
At the country level, Sweden has one of the EU’s lowest level of debt, but also with one of the highest tax rates. This high taxation rate, however, does provide many social benefits for their citizens. For example, Swedes do receive subsidized healthcare, parental benefits, free education, and even a guaranteed personal pension. This broad social safety net probably explains why Swedish people are ranked as one of the happiest in the world.