Sweden and the Sun

What do Swedes and flowers have in common?

They both move to face the sun!

I’ve been talking a lot about how Swedes cope with the arrival of winter (such as by getting cozy and eating some candy!) and we are going to continue on with that theme today.

Sweden can be a dark, gloomy place in the winter time. In the south, the sun rises around 9:00 and sets around 15:30 at the heart of winter. And that window of the sun being out only gets more narrow the further north you travel. And the sun being “out” is a term I use loosely. Mostly, the sun is hidden behind a dense grey sky.

But when the sun does peek through its cover, the Swedes rejoice. Like flowers drawn to the sun, Swedes feel some kind of magnetic pull to be outside and soak in the sunshine. As my fellow American expat Emily says in her blog, “When the sun is out, so am I.”

If the sol decides to grace us with her presence, look any direction November through March and you will see Swedes soaking it in – even if it is only 5C / 41F or colder out!. You will find them sitting on park benches, the steps to a front door, or just standing in the middle of the sidewalk taking in all of that coveted vitamin D. Like a cat, they will sit and sunbathe, letting the sun warm their skin and keep their hair blonde (OK, the hairstylist has that role). It can honestly make me wonder “Is anyone working right now?” because everything just kind of stops for a few short magical moments while the sun is shinning.

And then the wind kicks back up and the clouds cover the sun and the moment ends and the magic fades. And that is Sweden in the winter for you.

Fun Facts:

  • The temperature at the sun’s core is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit / 15 million degrees Celsius. As Paris Hilton would say, “That’s hot.”
  • The sun is 4.6 billion years old!
  • Average diameter of the sun is about 109 times the size of the Earth.

Tess’ Tips:

  • Always take advantage of a sunny day to get outside!
  • I try to couple any errands I need to complete with those lucky sunny moments. So if I have been dragging my feet on running an errand, the sun being out is a good push for me to complete it!
  • It can be hard to plan a weekend activity outside as the weather is constantly changing here throughout the week. One minute it says rain on Saturday and the next it doesn’t. It might be good to have a few plans in place – one in case the weather is good and a back up if it isn’t. Or, adopt the Swedish mentality that “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing” and go for the hike anyways.
  • Many of us don’t get enough vitamin D while living here in Sweden. Consult your doctor and consider taking a supplement daily.

Hope you learned some new Swedishness today and I’ll see you in the next post!

6 thoughts on “Sweden and the Sun

    • I’m originally from sunny Los Angeles but luckily lived in Oregon for two years before moving to Sweden. That definitely helped with the weather adjustment, but the darkness is still something I am getting used to even after being here for the past two winters! It snowed yesterday, which is fun for me! I just look at it like an adventure 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Sweden and Winter | Sweden and Me

  2. I love the phrase “there is no bad weather only bad clothing”. I am a die-hard southern California woman (the best place on the earth!) and we rarely get temperatures that require a significant coat, but I have soooo many coats…and boots and cold-weather hats and gloves and and and. I’m so ready to travel to someplace where I can actually use those items lounging in my closets.

    Tack for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Sweden and Mental Health | Sweden and Me

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