April 15, 2014

Easter in Stockholm- 2014

Photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
(EDIT- for updated information for 2015, click here!) To start off with... the Swedish word for Easter is Påsk (good to know when visiting the city this week). While Sweden is one of the least religious countries in the world, it has loads of bank holidays that are religious in origin. On Easter weekend we have two bank holidays (besides the obvious Easter Sunday, or Påskdagen): Good Friday (Långfredag) and the Monday following Easter Sunday (Annandag Påsk). Even Thursday (Skärtorsdag) is somewhat special as many office workers take a half day off ahead of their 4 day holiday. Once upon a time this meant that the city came to a standstill for 4 days... but these days it isn't that bad. Banks, liquor stores, cafés and smaller shops will be closed or have changed opening hours. Many restaurants, most larger department stores and shopping centers will be open as normal. Though perhaps with shortened opening hours. The Rival Bistro, Bar and Café are all open all weekend long!
Easter Lunch!
Photo by Marie Andersson/Skansen
As for museums... the big ones (Vasa, Fotografiska, ABBA, Skansen and Moderna) are open as normal. Some others are closed on Friday (April 18th); these include the Royal Palace, The Royal Armoury, Maritime (Sjöhistoriska) and Army museums. The History Museum (Historiska) is closed on both Friday and Saturday. While these closures can be bad news, there is some good news as well. Monday is a day in Sweden when many museums are closed, however some of these museums are staying open on Monday, April 21st, as it is a holiday. They include Army, Artipelag, History, Medieval, Millesgården, Natural History, Stockholm City and Drottningholm Palace.  Keep in mind that I haven't checked ALL the museums in Stockholm... just the top 20 or so of the 85 museums in the city. Talk to me directly, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, or check the individual websites if you are interested in other, smaller museums. Sightseeing tours operate as normal.
Children dressed up as Easter witches (påskkärringar)
Photo by Marie Andersson/Skansen
If you want to experience Swedish Easter traditions then you should definitely visit Skansen (open-air museum, park and zoo). Don't be surprised if you see little children dressed up as cute witches (påskkärringar)! Here you can learn about, watch, listen to or partake in traditional Easter activities. These are all of special interest if you have children with you. They also have an Easter Market, open (11am to 4pm) from Thursday to Monday, where you can purchase traditional Easter handicraft, decorations, toys and food. For a full calendar of activities at Skansen... click here. I did mention that Sweden isn't a very religious country, but that doesn't mean that it is devoid of religion! There are, of course, many churches (mainly Lutheran and Catholic) that have special Easter services and masses. Contact me directly, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, for service/mass times at different churches. Several churches offer services in languages other than Swedish. More Easter tips! And even more tips...
Scene from Skansen. Photo by me!

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