Ampersand takes you to a city in Scandinavia where ancient history meets fashion, style and technology.
Story and Photo by Helio Qendro
Few cities around the world have as rich of a history as Stockholm, and even fewer cities have managed to evolve into more than just a museum piece. With dynamic streets, trendsetting shops, modern coffee houses and quirky aesthetics, Stockholm is the place to visit if you find yourself traveling around Europe. Through a student’s perspective, here is a quick guide to navigating the rich culture and stunning streets of the Swedish capital.
HISTORY AND MUSEUMS
Founded in 1252, Stockholm holds an immense amount of history waiting to be explored. With plenty of museums, most within walking distance of each other, the Swedish capital is the perfect place for those who want to learn more about the history of Vikings and the evolution of Swedish culture. Don’t worry if you aren’t too big on history. Most museums offer interactive stations so that it is nearly impossible to get bored, even though you are walking through 800 years of history. When you want to move away from the museums, Gamla Stan (Old City) is a popular area of Stockholm that has as much history as the museums.
The narrow streets and small alleys make this one of the most charming areas in the city. Get your cameras ready, but make sure you don’t go there hungry – there are plenty of tourist traps here with excessive prices.
Whether you prefer taking the subway, bus or tram, Stockholm has it all. Like most European cities, it also offers commercial options like Uber to get around, but with such a developed transportation system there is no need to spend extra money. One unique thing about the subway stations is that each one has a unique “theme,” and the city welcomes artists to show of their skills by branding each of the stations. Because of this, every station has a unique look, but they are all easy to navigate and regularly updated. Many tourists prefer to purchase a Stockholm pass before they get to the city, allowing them access to all public transportation and select museums.
When you think of some companies that came out of Sweden, you might envision Volvo, IKEA, Spotify, etc. These companies are well-known for their quality and also the refreshing take they have on style, comfort and current trends. This feeling carries over almost everywhere you look in Stockholm. There is an overwhelming sense of style everywhere you go, and the designs and architecture are clean cut and minimalistic. Sweden has always supported artistry and eccentricity, and you can see that in Stockholm. The city has so many Instagram-worthy moments, from its fashionable natives to random neon signs illuminating the streets.
Let’s get one thing straight: Stockholm is not a cheap city. However, it offers many opportunities to save money. From student discounts in museums to lower-end restaurants that still have amazing food, Stockholm has offerings for every budget. One great thing about this city is that it has some of the best hostels in the world, which are very reasonably priced. So while going out and shopping may be costly, you can make up for it by paying less for boarding.