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SWEDEN

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Christmas Markets
24 Nov - 23 Dec 2014 - main markets During advent, Christmas markets can be found around the city and in the archipelago, with Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, reindeer meat, glögg (mulled wine) and a range of handicrafts and decorative arts.

Smaller markets dates to be confirmed, below are examples of previous programmes

Steninge Palace Cultural Center Christmas Market
Palace north west of Stockholm, close to Arlanda Airport and the town of Sigtuna. The old hayloft is filled with handicrafts and Christmas decorations. Opening hours; Monday to Friday 11 am - 5 pm and weekends 10 am - 5 pm. www.steningeslott.com,


Gröna Lund Christmas market
Gröna Lund, the Tivoli of Stockholm, offers a lot of fun; carousels, an ice-skating rink, food and Christmas shopping. Open during weekends. www.gronalund.se


Old Town Christmas Market (Gamla Stan)
Popular Christmas Market in the heart of the Old Town with fine old traditions, handicrafts, Christmas delicacies and mulled wine. Opening hours: 11 am - 18 pm daily. www.stortorgetsjulmarknad.com,


Street, Design & Handicrafts Christmas Market
This is the place to look for special, fun, beautiful, imaginative and wonderful Christmas presents and delicacies direct from the farmers’ own markets. Opening hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 11 am - 5 pm. Hornstulls strand 4, www.streetinstockholm.se

The Royal Mews Christmas Market
Try several Swedish Christmas delicacies and see unique Swedish handicrafts. Opening hours: Friday 10 am - 7 pm, Saturday 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm. www.svenska-slottsmassor.se


Skansen Christmas market
The world’s oldest open air museum on the island of Djurgården. Sales of handicrafts, Christmas decorations, Christmas food, sweets and more from old fashioned market stalls. Christmas concerts in Seglora church. Opening hours; Saturdays & Sundays 10 am – 4 pm. www.skansen.se


Utö Christmas market
Traditional archipelago Christmas Market on the island of Utö with skilfully-made handicrafts, fish, bread and sweets for sale – all from the archipelago. Opening hours: Saturday 10 am – 4 pm and Sundays 10 am to 3 pm. www.utojulmarknad.se


Drottningholm Palace Christmas Market
Traditional Christmas market outside the residence of the Royal Family, 30 minutes by car west of central Stockholm. Opening hours; 11 am - 4 pm. www.royalcourt.se


Rosendals Gardens
Rosendal palace gardens, next to Skansen in the Djurgården island. Home-made quality products and bread from the on-site bakery for sale. Garden shop, site shop and café. Opening hours; 11 am – 4 pm. www.rosendalstradgard.se



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How to say "Merry Christmas" in Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År

Local dishes: Swedish food is largely based on fish, meat and potato. Unusual specialities include reindeer, elk meat and wild berries. The local spirit is akvavit and comes in many different flavours.

Funny fact: All alcohol has to be bought in off-licences except for class A beers (less than 3%) which can be bought in supermarkets.

TOP SWEDISH ATTRACTIONS

Vasa Museum, Stockholm
The Vasa Museum is Scandinavia's most visited museum, located in Stockholm, capital of Sweden. The Museum was inaugurated in 1990. In the large shiphall stands the warship Vasa - the only remaining, intact 17th century ship in the world. The lower rig has been rebuilt, complete with masts, stays and shrouds.
Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Take a walk on a beautiful, cobble-stone walking area in Stockholm known as Gamla Stan or Old City. Relish in the history that Stockholm has to offer and a get a feel of true Swedish culture.
Skansen Open-Air Museum, Stockholm
Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. Skansen is also a zoological park. It is located on the island of Djurgården, a royal park near the centre of Stockholm, and open every day of the year, except Christmas Eve.
Göteborg Botanical Garden, Gothenburg
The Göteborg Botanical Garden differs in many respects from most traditional botanical gardens on the European continent. It was conceived and planned by the municipality of Göteborg in the 1910's as a botanical garden with an extra emphasis on horticulture, and with a broad scope in the Swedish community life. It remains a public garden to this day. For a long time our garden was administered by the city of Gothenburg, but nowadays it is part of the larger Västra Götaland Region.
And more… The southern region of Skane boasts numerous castles, medieval towns and fishing villages. The northern region of Lappland with its unspoiled landscapes is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, fishing or skiing. In Sweden there is something for everyone with an adventurous heart!

Lucia

Advent
by Agneta Lilja, Södertörn University College

Advent means arrival, or coming, and since the 5th century AD has heralded the Christmas season and the birth of Christ. Since the 1890s, the custom in Sweden has been to light a candle every Sunday during Advent. The candles used to be placed in tiny Christmas trees, but from the 1930s onwards these were superseded by candlesticks of iron or wood. The Moravian custom of hanging a star made from paper, straw or chipwood in windows also found its way to Sweden in the 1930s, recalling the star that guided the Three Wise Men. The advent calendar dates from around this time as well. Children open a window in the calendar for each passing day until Christmas Eve.

In agrarian times, Advent was a hectic period when all farmwork was to be completed so that people could take Christmas leave. By 9 December,‘Anna Day’, the Christmas brew was to be ready, the lutfisk was to be soaked in lye and the baking was to begin. On Lucia Day, 13 December, candles were to be made and animals slaughtered for the Christmas table, and after Tomas Day, 21 December, all milling and spinning was to cease. Christmas fairs were then held in town. Since the Middle Ages, Swedes have drunk hot mulled wine (glögg), during Advent.
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