February 22, 2018

Secrets of Couture at Sven Harry's Art Museum

This past weekend I visited Sven Harry's Konstmuseum (art museum) with a friend to see their fashion exhibition "Secrets of Couture" (running until April 2nd). This is one of my favorite of the smaller museums in Stockholm. Sven Harry's has a great location in the Vasa Park, in the Vasastan neighborhood, and they generally have an interesting variation of exhibitions (modern art, photography, sculpture, fashion, etc.). No visit to the museum is complete without a visit to their rooftop sculpture terrace and to see the replica of Sven-Harry's home there (with private art collection). They also have a nice café and restaurant which are worth a visit.
But back to their current exhibition which looks at the world of haute couture fashion, how it fits into today's world of red carpet events and what the future of couture might look like. In the exhibition there are historic and current designs on display from Swedish and international designers (like Balmain and Balenciaga) as well as pieces designed by students of the Swedish school Beckmans College of Design.
Many of the pieces on display have been worn by famous Swedish women, from historic figures like Selma Lagerlöf to our royal family to Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, and worn at major international events like the Academy Awards or Nobel Prize ceremonies. Many of the pieces are on loan from major fashion houses, private collections and the Swedish and Danish royal houses.
On the walls of the exhibition are images, taken from various magazines and other media, showing the above mentioned women wearing the creations and said events. This helps bring the dresses to life. What I particularly liked about this exhibition is that you are able to get close to these fantastic creations so that you can really see the intricate work with beading, boning and structure that goes into making these handcrafted pieces.
3 of the student creations
11 students from Beckmans College of Design here in Stockholm, under the guidance of designer Pär Engsheden, each designed a piece for the exhibition. Due to a generous donation, they were able to work with exclusive materials and design their pieces following the rules of haute couture. They were each given a theme to work from as a starting point... Pioneers/Strong women, Celebrity/Media and Sustainability/Simplicity.
The easiest way to get to Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum from the Rival Hotel is to take the subway (green line) from nearby Slussen. The museum is located just in between the stations Odenplan and St Eriksplan, the Vasa Park. The building that houses the museum is faux gold plated and hard to miss from the park! Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays! Click here to see other current art exhibitions in Stockholm.
Vasa park with museum on the left (note gold color)

February 20, 2018

Stockholm Restaurants in the Michelin Guide 2018

Press image from Michelin
At a press conference yesterday in Copenhagen, the Michelin Guide for restaurants in the Nordic countries was announced. It was great news for Stockholm with several new star restaurants, including Sweden's first three star restaurant ever: Frantzén. Congratulations! Frantzén was a two star restaurant for several years but closed a couple of years ago to reopen in a new locale last year. In accordance with Michelin rules, they had to re-earn their stars. So it was a bit of a surprise (albeit a very happy one) that they immediately gained three stars. Besides this, two Stockholm restaurants gained their first star: Aloë and Agrikultur. Congratulations! I was recently at Aloé and the star is well deserved (my visit). There were also a few new restaurants on the Bib Gourmand list. Here is the full list for 2018...
Press image from restaurant Frantzén

3 stars ("exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey")
2 stars ("excellent cooking, worth a detour")
1 star ("a very good restaurant in its category")
Restaurant Aloë
Bib Gourmand (no star, but "exceptional good food at moderate prices")
Please keep in mind that the Michelin star restaurants usually need to be booked a few weeks in advance and often guaranteed with a credit card. If I had a dollar for every guest who has come to me on a Friday late afternoon and asked me for help in booking a table at a star restaurant for the same evening (only to be disappointed), I would be a rich man! If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, please contact me ahead of your visit for any assistance in booking a table. Of course, the Michelin guide isn't the end-all of restaurant guides and recommendations. There are plenty of other great restaurants in the city as well as other excellent guides
Dinner at Shibumi

February 16, 2018

Calendar of Events and Festivals 2018

Stockholm Views, photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
I am now back from my vacation with my batteries recharged! I thought that my annual calendar for events and festivals in Stockholm would be a good first post-vacation article. Hopefully this will help you in planning when you want to visit or, if you have already booked your trip, what to do during your visit. In the list are the main events and festivals. There are of course a myriad of smaller sporting events, concerts and other happenings that aren't listed. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly and I can let you know what else is happening during your stay. Keep in mind that even though a certain event is going on during your stay which you are not interested in... it may affect your stay nonetheless. For example, a large sporting event (i.e. marathon) will mean road closures and traffic problems, a popular concert or convention will mean fully booked hotels & restaurants and a bank holiday will mean banks, liquor stores and certain shops will be closed.
Misty Morning, photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
It is still early in the year and I will be adding events as they are announced, so make sure to check back now and again ahead of your visit. Some of the links might not work yet for later events (or they direct to last year's information), just keep checking back to see when they update their websites. I have put in some of the larger fairs, but there are a plethora of them going on, covering all sorts of interests from gardening to design to boating. Check the Stockholm Fairground's website to see if anything piques your interest. The amusement park Gröna Lund has a series of concerts all summer with some great artists, like Billy Idol, Ziggy Marley, Macklemore and Europe. Click here ofr the full list.


  • 2nd- Joan Baez concert at the Waterfront.
  • 3rd- Kendrick Lamar concert at the Ericsson Globe Arena.
  • 10th- Melodifestivalen Final at Friends Arena. Song competition where the winner represents Sweden at Eurovision. 
  • 16th & 17th- First Aid Kit concert at the Waterfront
  • 18th- Harry Styles concert at Ericsson Globe Arena
  • 24th- Sweden vs Chile soccer match (friendly) at Friends Arena
  • 25th- clocks "spring" forward one hour (Daylight Savings Time). 
  • 29th to April 2nd- Easter weekend. Skansen is a good place to celebrate a traditional Swedish Easter. Friday and Monday are bank holidays!
    Easter market ladies at Skansen. Photo: Maria Johansson/Skansen

This is always a slow month with events and festivals as it is when most Stockholmers have their summer vacation and tend to leave the city. But there will be concerts/entertainment at Gröna Lund and Skansen. The World Cup in football (soccer) will be going on in Russia between June 14th and July 15th. You can expect viewing parties, especially if Sweden makes it through the initial group phase! 
  • Start on the 27th- EuroPride (Europe's Gay Pride week), see below. 
December (a month filled with Xmas themed events and happenings, more info when the season approaches)