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Himmelriket + LunchLaget

The lounge area, I love that all of the work spaces are clustered off but the overall vibe is open.

My workspace behind the cubbyholes, with a skylight above. There's a courtyard up there, and sometimes children knock on the window and wave. It's cute.

LunchLaget, Moa (right) made spanish tortillas inspired by a recent work trip to Madrid.

My search for a co-working space in Stockholm was short and sweet. Believe it or not, there are way more options then googling in english will find you. Upon moving here, I came across a number of frilanskollectivs, The Hub, Coffice and Kolonien being a few, but none of them had everything I was looking for: a central location, the ability to have my own desk and a sense of community.

Recommendations from Swedish friends (Gustaf and Heidi), kept bringing me back to Himmelriket, or Heaven Below. It’s a subterranean cave-like den in the heart of Södermalm with a mix of photographers, musicians, graphic designers, and fashion people. While my old studio in Brooklyn had huge windows with a truly amazing view, here there are only a few skylights dotted around. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this lack of light, but then I realized, if it’s going to be dark most of time I’m here, it’s probably better for my psyche to not know it. Himmelriket also came with my own desk, and more drawers and shelves than I could ever fill, especially because I came here with only two bags (one of which is dedicated to winter clothing).

The best part of this studio is LunchLaget, or Lunch Team. Every day, one member of the team makes lunch for the other 15 or so of us. Not only is it money-saving, it’s delicious — I leave every lunch thinking “Damn these Swedes can cook!”. And I mean seriously, many pick their own mushrooms and bake their own bread! As I’m just learning to cook, my first few turns were terrifying and somewhat disasterous: pots were ruined, large holes were burnt into rugs, meals were…weird. And yet somehow I’ve actually begun to look forward to my cooking day, thanks in part to my jazzy new recipe pinboard!

First Look Stockholm

I'm on a dock

Chesley at the beach

There is law in Sweden called Allemansrätten, which essentially guarantees your right to hike, swim, bike, or - wait for it - pitch a tent, almost anywhere public and private. Somehow this law, which harkens back to a less populated Sweden, still works. Stockholm's water is clean everywhere. So people swim, everywhere.

Nate on dock

Find a dock, join the crowd and jump in. We've been making use of the good weather while we have it.

Stockholm beach house

Small beach houses on Söder were once awarded to working families who couldn't afford their own pied-â-terre

Stockholm public pool

When you're hankering for a little more structure, you can also swim at the public pools. Eriksdalsbadet was built in 1962 for the European Aquatics Championships. Wish I had been there.

Airstream cafe

Swedish kitsch defined

Cafe lunch

Summer in Stockholm: is this Noon, or 21:00? We find the daytime-all-the-time thing very bewildering, but pleasant too.

Nate with Dagens Lunch

Dagens lunch, or the lunch special, is how you can score "cheap" meals for about $15

Strömming on the street

Food is expensive in Stockholm, but you can get fresh Strömming (herring) from a stand in Söder for about $6

T-Bana

Chesley, in the T-Bana/Bat Cave. (A rare appearance, since we get around by bike almost exclusively.) The city's transportation systems are encouraging.

Gamla Stan

Gamla stan isn't just for tourists, people continue to live and work in the old city center. Tucked into the narrow cobblestone streets are residences, shoe repair shops, and some of the city's best restaurants.

Chesley on her City Bike

Before we bought our own bikes, we got City Bike cards at $40 for the whole season. You pick up a bike from a station (there are hundreds around the city,) and drop off where it's convenient.

biking

Djurgärdsbron (the King's old hunting grounds) is a massive park replete with museums, victorian manors, community gardens, outdoor cafes, and an amusement park. About fifteen minutes' walk from city center.

Hammerby

Hammarby Sjöstad is a planned neighborhood, restored from an old industrial marina. Algae projects, light rail, and a public library meet condo Williamsburg and High Line design aesthetics. A bit cold maybe, but a - "cool" idea!

Stockholm bridge

Sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North, Stockholm is a series of islands bridging Lake Mälaren to the Baltic Sea

Trādgården

Back in Söder, Trädgården cafe/bar/club feels close to Brooklyn

beer!

If food is expensive, great beer can be had for $4 or $5

Nyfiken Gul

Nyfiken Gul, or Neverland? You Decide.

How I’d Like to Spend a Year in Stockholm

  • Check out renting desk space at The Hub (a co-working space, somewhat similar to my beloved Studio 612a in Brooklyn), and continue graphic designing for existing and new clients as Dossier.
  • Travel, a lot! Major dream destinations nearby include: Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Switzerland, Vienna, Amsterdam, Poland, the rest of Sweden…and unexpected side trips off the beaten track.
  • Get inspired by (and learn from) the Swedish/Scandanavian design aesthetic: simple, functional and fun. A few good examples: Swedishness, a web shop for selected, well designed Swedish products, From Scandanavia With Love, a tumblr blog all about Scandanavian design and interiors & emmasblogg, a wonderful interiors blog by a decorating assistant in Stockholm.
  • Learn to knit. (Friends, be prepared to only get knit gifts from me in the future.)
  • Hone my cooking skills. I’ve finally come to enjoy cooking this past year, not that I can claim to do it often. Given Sweden’s long cold winter, and expensive restaurants, I think I’ll find myself cooking a lot more. Related: Fika! Glogg!
  • Get a yoga & exercise routine going again. Oh how easily it slips away.
  • Attempt to learn Swedish.
  • Continue learning jQuery.
  • And finally, do it all with my Nate.