Just like all progressive, forward-thinking companies operating in the year 2016, we own (jokes, he’s free to leave whenever he pleases) a devastatingly handsome Swede who goes by the name of Adrian.
Ladies: soz, he’s spoken for.
Gents: yes, he’s available to give advice on hair/general grooming.
We picked Adrian’s brain about what summering in Sweden’s all about, and how Australians can embody these traits and traditions to get the most from our hotter months. BEFORE YOU GET YOUR PATRIOTIC KNICKERS IN A KNOT: in no way are we saying that Australians don’t know how to summer – c’mon, it’s our noise – we just reckon that adding a pinch of Swede to your seasonal routine will lead you to achieve near-euphoric heights of enjoyment.
I mean, why *WOULDN’T* you want to summer like Alexander Skarsgård…
… Or Noomi Rapace?
Image: Ian Gavan / Getty.
SAH. MUCH. COLLECTIVE. BEAUTY.
If you have the pleasure of meeting a Swede, or have the chance to visit the country, there’s two things you should be aware of if you value your life.
A) Don’t insult their strawberries. In fact, just save yourself the hassle and claim that you eat Swedish strawberries exclusively.
B) Take your shoes off at the door.
“No one wears shoes in my house. Why would you wear shoes inside?”
It’s worthwhile getting to know what summer’s all about in Sweden before getting stuck into the populations’s habits and rituals.
Most folk in the country take their MANDATORY five-week holiday over June to August which gives them plenty of time to prepare for Midsummer’s Eve (or Midsommarafton if you wanna be hella authentic) – arguably the nation’s largest holiday. The festivities used to always fall on the 23rd of June but was changed so that it always takes place on a Friday, ensuring there’s no clashes with the work-week.
“Midsummer is like Christmas reversed. It’s the longest day of the year – basically 24 hours of sunlight depending on where you are in Sweden,” says Adrian.
“The thing with Sweden is – because we’re so deprived of sunlight – when the sun comes out everyone’s in the best possible mood. Everyone’s promiscuous, everyone’s super happy and everyone consumes every ray of sunlight they possibly can.”
Unlike Christmas, Midsummer is usually celebrated with friends and not family – meaning you won’t have your ear chewed off by Aunt Marge about the current dramatic crisis sweeping her knitting circle. You stay up all night with your pals (’cause bulk light etc), take your kit off to go for a dip in your preferred body of water (would it really be Midsummer without a frolic in a fjord???????) and then indulge in a cheeky cider.
Image: Jerker Andersson / imagebank.sweden.se.
The idea of escaping the big city to your not-so-distant summer abode is pretty standard for several locales (think abandoning Manhattan for the The Hamptons), but the Swedes have been doing it for yonks. Our mate Adrian told us there’s two types of families in Sweden – the family that summers at their summer house, and the family who travels Europe. The latter group usually doesn’t belong to the 20% – or 1.8 million people – who own a summer property in the Stockholm archipelago, Skåne islands, Öland, Gotland, the West Coast or Småland.
Image: Fredrik Broman / imagebank.sweden.se.
With housing prices what they are in Australia, owning a summer house – let alone a permanent residence – is a pretty foreign concept. Thanks to businesses such as AirBnB, though, taking-off for an extended period during summer isn’t an impossible affair. Embrace your most offensively beautiful Swedish self by gathering your friends and fleeing to the countryside for some R&R. Don’t just go for a couple of days – you’ll be more stressed than you were when you left – but bail for a couple of weeks. You’ll thank yourself for the rest of the year.
Another alternative that works well with the ‘Strayan way of summering is camping. For the Swedes who don’t own a summer house, camping is a common and viable option. If you’re a tad short on coin in the coming months then go forth and pitch a tent in our great southern land.
Image: Helena Wahlman / imagebank.sweden.se.
Image: Per Pixel Petersson / imagebank.sweden.se.
The geographical layout of Sweden shelters it from severe weather and rough seas, making sailing in its surrounding waters a flamin’ breeze. Many Swedes participate in a Sailing Week – seven days of boating with friends. They stop off at a different township each day, all of which are home to both permanent and pop-up summer clubs so that their visitors have the chance to rip the lid well and truly off.
For the youngsters out there, you get the chance to go ape a week before the older, yet equally gung-ho participants, do. It’s just how they do, and tbh, it’s a pretty great idea. Those who are freshly 18 generally don’t love to party with the 30-year-old crowd, and vice versa. Sweden really has their crap sorted.
Image: Per Pixel Petersson / imagebank.sweden.se.
Our weather conditions and oceanic behaviour isn’t what you’d call a super chill time, so replicating this exact scenario does pose a bit of a challenge. HOWEVER, if you’ve got a mate with a boat who’s a decent helmsman then what in Christ’s name’s stoppin’ ya?
Alternatively, you and your pals could just hire a boat, never leave harbour and just get a lil’ bit rowdy for seven days.
Swedes loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee crayfish, they really can’t get enough of the stuff. In 2013 they harvested a casual 186,000 kgs of the damn things – DAS A CRAY-CRAY AMOUNT OF DA CRAYFISH. To honour the crustaceans, individual citizens hold a kräftskiva (which roughly translates to crayfish party) for their nearest and dearest.
Adrian’s informed us that some scandal always emerges at these blowouts (e.g. someone’s neighbour slept with their partner and the whole community is ablaze with shock). Whether it’s a barbecue or a festival, us Aussies have a knack for spilling our secrets when we’ve hit the sauce a touch too hard, so we’re really on the same page with the Swedes on this one.
Image: Cecilia Larsson / imagebank.sweden.se.
Australians, as luck would have it, are also hardy appreciators of crayfish. Common sense therefore (obvi) dictates that it’s a great idea to host your very own celebration of the cray.
And while we’re on the topic of cray AF shindigs, why don’t y’all enter the comp below so you can grace us with your presence at our Pedestrian x Rekorderlig Sounds Of Summer Australia Day Party? Just tell us in 25 words or less what you would bring to an Australia Day party to ensure it was the BEST PARTY EVER.
Best of luck, party people.
Photo: Andreas Sjodin / ELLE Sweden.