Am in the midst of planning my month-long scouting trip to the Nordic countries in June/July (on my own, no Nat Geo).
I’m zoning in on cool areas/neighborhoods where I might want to spend more time as well as potential hotels and must-do’s.
My goal is to get a feel for how people live, work and play in this part of the world. And, of course, I want to learn more about Nordic influences, tastemakers and emerging trends in food, design, entrepreneurship and culture.
I know some of my friends have family or business connections in Scandinavia. I’m hoping this post will encourage all of you to send some of those connections and recommendations my way. I will be forever grateful for any introductions. The goal is to immerse myself in the culture and live as a local as much as possible.
The four cities/countries I will be visiting are:
- Oslo, Norway
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Helsinki, Finland
Read on below for a brief recap of what I currently have on the agenda for each city.
- Fredensborg (part of Grunerlokka?)
- Scandic Vulkan (close to Grunerlokka)
- Vigelandspark (sculpture park)
- Ekely – Edward Munch’s studio/estate on the outskirts of Oslo
- Norrebro (more multi-cultural)
- Vesterbro**** (Meatpacking area is also part of Vesterbro)
- Jægersborggade Street
- Hotel SP34***
- Ibsens Hotel – near Norreport Station
- Built in the 17th century as one of many architectural projects commissioned by King Christian IV, this tower long served as an important astronomical observatory.
- One of the country’s finest examples of Renaissance architecture, has catacombs
- The second-oldest amusement park in the world. Attracts the majority of its visitors after dusk, when the lights come on and the area becomes one big stage for a range of cultural activities.
Assistens Kirkegård Cemetery
- Final resting place of great Danish writers, a public park for locals (Norrebro)
- Bornholmer Butikken, a shop in the Torvehallerne food market sells delicacies like Johan Bülow licorice, Høstet sea buckthorn products, beer and chocolate from the village of Svaneke, and Bornholms Mosteri juice pressed from rhubarb, elderflowers, gooseberries, and red currants.
Design Museum Denmark
Fredericksburg gardens (fancy neighborhood)
Christiansborg palace (govt bldg)
- Istid (nitrogen ice cream)
- Meyers Begeri (Claus Meyers bakery)
- Ismageriet ice cream shop
- Juno the bakery
AREAS TO AVOID:
- Malmo (gun crime??)
- Miss Clara by Nobis (Central Stockholm)********
- Hobo Hotel (Central Stockholm) ***
- Story Hotel Riddargaten (Ostermalm) – hipster haven??
- Haymarket Hotel
- Nytorget Park (in Soder)
- Stockholm Archipelago – islands?
- Cliffside boardwalk of Monteliusvägen (on the island of Södermalm)
- Gamla Stan (Old Town), in the heart of Stockholm, official residence of the Royal Family, the Kungliga Slottet
- Nordiska museet
- Vasamuseet – houses a 7th-century warship.
- Moderne Museet
- Skansen – northern Europe’s largest open air architecture and cultural heritage museum.
- ReTuna – a mall for recycled things (in Eskilstuna – about 50 miles from Stockholm)
- Ett Hem – hotel, restaurant etc.
- SATURDAY: Rosendals Tradgard, a biodynamic garden with plots of vegetables and herbs, fields of wildflowers, a greenhouse cafe and apple orchards
- Carl Eldh Studio Museum The unusual wooden building houses several hundred sculptures by the artist
- Coffice-working space in Södermalm (in SoFo) is a great place to get some work done.
- Urban Deli
- Kallio District
- Klaus K in the Design District inside a renovated 100-plus-year-old building
- Lilla Roberts Hotel – a mix of Scandinavian sobriety, old-world elegance, and woodsy-ness.
- Hotel F6 – center of town
- Hotel Kamp (5 star, expensive?)
- Hotel St. George (opening march 2018) – with Ai Weiwei sculpture in lobby
- Design Museum****
- Old Market Hall (Vanha Kauppahalli), open since the late 19th century, is a first stop to get a primer in Finnish food: cloudberry jam, Mämmi (baked rye porridge), smoked salmon, and the ubiquitous blini that reminds of the country’s proximity to Russia.
- Sky Sauna in the Sky Wheel?
- Ferry ride to Suomenlinna to see the 18th-century Swedish maritime fortress (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE)
- Eliel Saarinen-designed Helsinki Central Railway Station
- Otaniemi campus of Aalto University
- Helsinki Cathedral
- Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral
- Kamppi Chapel of Silence ****
- Finlandia Hall
- Market Square
- Hietalahti Flea Market
- Kauniste lifestyle store
- Southpark ****
- Juuri – new Nordic cuisine *****
- Cafe Allto
- Holiday Bar
- Story Cafe in Old Market Hall
BOTTOM LINE: This Nordic expedition is going to be amazing. These are extremely forward-looking countries and I anticipate I will learn a lot about how innovative cultures work and what fuels their creativity. I’m looking forward to having friends and clients join me for a few days in one, or all, of the destinations.
More updates coming over the next couple of months.