How to Get Through a Case of Stockholm Syndrome

Swedish fish in Stockholm

When this captivating city takes you hostage, there’s not much to do but identify with it and embrace its tastefully whimsical culture. Take a dose of each of the following to work through a traveler’s case of Stockholm Syndrome:

Meatballs for the People

  • Meatballs

Served with gravy, lingonberries and mashed potatoes, this is a tasty traditional dish. For a particularly fun experience, check out Meatballs for the People, a hip and cozy restaurant where you can choose from a varying selection of meats for your meatballs, such as moose or wild boar.


Fika to go at Arlanda Airport

  • Fika

In other words, a coffee break or the act of taking one. In Sweden this is a way of life, as you may have suspected if you’ve read the Millennium series. You can fika to take a break from work, to get together with friends, or even take your fika to go. Enough said.


Kungens Kurva Ikea

  • Compact living

There’s something so satisfying about practical and efficient design. Ikea’s impact and functional design in general can be seen inside every building in town. Visit the Nordic Museum to learn – among many other things – about the history of homes and interiors in Sweden, or take the free Ikea bus from the Central Station to shop at the largest Ikea in Sweden (second largest in the world).


ABBA: The Museum

  • ABBA

Or really any Swedish pop music (think The Cardigans or Ace of Bass). Listening to this upbeat fluff can pick up any mood. Stockholm is home to ABBA: The Museum, a cute and interactive experience involving history narrated by the 70s singers themselves, props and costumes (including men’s and women’s platform boots), and karaoke for hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo.” As it says at the museum’s entrance: “Walk in, dance out.”


Fermented Herring Festival

  • Fish

This is a city of islands so fish (not just in gummy candy form) can be eaten at any time of day. If you thought you’d never be interested in eating fish for breakfast, you’ll be surprised by how appetizing a freshly smoked salmon can be. The same even goes for pickled herring and, of course, seafood stew for lunch or dinner. Go fish!



  • Say “hej!”

Pronounced “hey,” there’s probably nothing weirder or more disconcertingly freeing for an English speaker than addressing a stranger this way. In Sweden, it’s not as informal as it sounds and can even be used to say good-bye (similar to greetings like ciao or aloha). So “hej!” away.

Get well soon!


P.S. Later this week I write about the Sami, an ethnic minority group in Sweden, originally nomadic reindeer herders.


2 thoughts on “How to Get Through a Case of Stockholm Syndrome

  1. Love the Swedish fish on the map! My grandmother & your grandmother each would make thin pancakes with butter & jelly or butter & sugar. And they both liked pickled herring! The rest of us, however, never developed a taste for it. Those family recipes are laid to rest, but humorous memories of pickled herring survive!

    Simple designs….Jean returned from Sweden with a lovely border for her Takoma Park kitchen. It looked great! Within a few years, they were relocating to Kansas City. Not wanting to leave her Swedish border behind, Jean carefully peeled it off the wall & took it to her house in Missouri!

    Walkable city or public transportation?

  2. Thanks Mom, great memories! I was never a fan of pickled herring either but the one I tried here in a creamy sauce was surprisingly very tasty.

    A lot of the main sites and museums are in walking distance from each other, but there’s also a great subway system throughout the city called the Tunnelbana. Each station is uniquely designed – I imagine each to be the final project of an art student based on the funky and/or artsy looks.

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