Tag Archives: stockholm

Why you should start cycling today

Rememberme discussing whether to have a bike or not in my previous blog To bike, or not to bike? It’s time to give a definite answer: Yes!


Weather is the first thing to talk about (just like the Swedes open a conversation :P). As summer approaches, the average daytime temperature of the latter half of May, June, July, August, and the large part of September can be as high as 25 to 30-degree.

With a bike, you won’t miss the flower season: just imaging wandering the fields and fields of elder flowers and rape flowers on your bike:


As I mentioned in To bike or not to bike, there are at least three options to have your own bike:

The cheapest: join the Facebook group “Lappis” or “Lappis market“, there are always graduating students selling their own bicycles at low price

To have more options: visit the local website blocket.se and search for “cyklar” you will find numerous advertisement from locals selling their bike, at all prices

The most convenient: go to any of the bicycle shops in the town and pick one. The price is usually a little bit higher compared to the two alternatives above, but you can adjust it until it fits and in this way you will never get a malfunction one

The good news is, I am adding two more now:

Flea market of bikes (Swedish: Cyklelloppis)

Usually at the beginning of summer, there are flea markets that look for new owners of hundreds of bikes, such as this one to be held on 20th May 2018 in Solna:


At an auction (Swedish: Cykelaktion):

Believe me or not, the police sales out bikes that were not reclaimed for a long time to new owners. You may visit the related website here.  There are different forms, some are sold on a “Polisen Dag” (Police Day) or via an auction website, such as this one:


It could be expensive to repair or replace parts of your bicycle in local bike shops, given that their staff are professional and well-paid. But now this situation is undergoing a change: with the prevalence of bicycling in the city and the passion of cyclers, in the city, there is increasing chance that you can have your bicycles tune, for free!

Cykelköket is a newly emerged non-profit organization. The concept is, you will be provided by tools and guidance, but you have to do it on your own!

The Bike Day on Karolinska Campus offers free bike tune-up and check of tires, chain and brakes on 18th May this year.

Nevertheless, don’t worry if you miss the chance this year! You may want to follow THS Grad “n” Bike Project on Facebook, as they offer free tune-up occasionally: the last one is on 26th April.



Same, pumping should not be an issue: according to the official website of Stockholm, there are hundreds of pumping spots scattered in the city:

Klick here to visit site

In addition, you may simply borrow the pump from most of the bicycle shops. When I first realised it, it was too nice to be true!



The First Snow in Stockholm

When I opened the window from my corridor’s kitchen on the morning of 21st November, a brand new world was in front of my eyes.

In Stockholm, it starts snowing from the beginning of November until April next year. But we are still pining for the first snow. How is it so?


Firstly, it paints the world with silvery white so timely when the brilliant red, yellow and green colours from trees are gradually fading out.

KTH Campus Alba Nova

Cited from one of my Swedish colleagues: “Snow lights up the November sky. I always feel better because of its presence”

Besides its aesthetic function, snow is a symbol for Christmas, celebration and family gathering.

Snow also broaches the season of winter activities: many of us are waiting for the lakes to be frozen (usually in December).

Winter hints? 

  1. Take vitamin D, especially if you are female and have darker skin.
  2. Keep exercising. (Click here for the outdoor winter activities that you can do in Stockholm.)
  3. Talk to friends, eat more and be happy 😉


Concentrating in basic research: what I saw in KAW100

In the area of scientific research, especially those concentrate in fundamental, mechanistic understanding, the major blockade is definitely looking for funding opportunity. That’s why I heard of the Wallenberg Foundation (in a research group’s prate, indeed) much earlier than recognizing that the Wallenberg Family regimens Swedish finance sector, indirectly contributes to half of the country’s income! It wasn’t until last Friday, that Jubilee Symposium in Molecular Science of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW100), answers a part of my curiosity.

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Founded by the couple Knut and Alice Wallenberg, KAW aims at promoting excellent Swedish research and education since 1917. As the foundation is stepping into its 100th year right now, a handful of symposia covering digital technology, life science, physics and social science were held or are in schedule staring from April across the country.

Of course, I was in the one on 15th September!

My name card. A day starts in Science!

Molecular Life Science Symposium

There are three topics in this symposium, namely proteomics, structural biology and human evolutionary biology. In each session, it starts with the presentation from one of the luminaries in the field about their landmark work, followed by exciting work done by young, local scientists.

After the welcome remarks, Prof. Carol Robinson from Oxford University is the first presenter:


For the general public, Prof. Robinson is perhaps most well known for her title as the first chemistry professor and Oxford, and completion of her phD degree with only two years. But only after studying Biophysical Chemistry and Proteomics, I learn to appreciate her scientific achievement: structural study of membrane protein using mass spectrometry (MS).

Typical membrane-spanning proteins can be receptor, ion channel or energy pump, the thing that they share is that they are big, complex, and oil-liking. With these properties, it is almost predestine that they are extremely hard to isolate and purify, probably defy attempts in crystallization as well. Compared to X-ray crystallization, MS opens a new door to studying of this “rebellious” member of protein family.

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Living Stockholm I: Woodland Cemetery

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

I decide that Woodland Cemetery is the first blog in my upcoming “Living Stockholm” series, because……because of a few reasons. Firstly it is one of the three, and the youngest UNESCO sites of culture heritage in Stockholm, a representative masterpiece of modern Swedish architecture. Secondly, a cemetery should not be the Stygian theme that people refrain from talking about, or at least the Woodland Cemetery is not. When I pushed open the door at the Woodland Chapel, the world in front of me was immediately lit up by the soft, warm radiation from the sun.

Simply taking the green-line metro towards Farsta Strand, Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården) is 9th station from T-Centralen. Today I am not alone: as I registered for the guided tour, I will walk with a group of about 15 tourists and our guide.

“Landskapet”, the Landscape 

Landskapet” is the most frequent word when one describes Woodland Cemetery. In 1910s, the site is a rural landscape covered by overgrown pines and spruces; a hundred years, a large part of Woodland Cemetery is still a landscape of spines and spruces, mottled with a few chapels, perforated by several paths that have always more pine nuts than footprints.

The concept of making use of the existing landscape proposed by local architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz, won them the international contest that sought a design for a new cemetery site and Southern Stockholm. Although there are a few amendments in the original design, Woodland Cemetery remains to be what Asplund and Lewerentz wanted us to see, to experience and to contemplate:  a barely touched landscape with immense beauty, a place which has magical healing power, and a cemetery for all.

A cemetery for all

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Last minute plan for the Swedish National Day

The second semester of this school year ends last week, it is time to plan for a splendid summer! If you will also in Sweden in the coming months, the Swedish National Day on 6th June is the second biggest highlight in June (while the biggest is without a doubt the Mid-summer day).

It seems a big annual celebration though, but I discovered that most of my international friends do not have any clues on what it is. Therefore, before giving some tips on how you may plan this day at the last minute, I will talk about its historical meaning shortly (in 100 words):

Long, long time ago in 1523, Gustav Vasa was crowned as King of Sweden on 6th June. He later led the country towards an independent state, no longer under the shadow of Kalmar Union. Obviously, this special day half a millennium ago did not arose a major interest from the Swedes, because they didn’t decide to make it a public holiday until 2004.

King Gustav Vasa, photo from wikipedia

By the way, I feel that it is important to mention, that Gustav Vasa did NOT order to build the warship Vasa, which sank after a few minutes by a breeze in her maiden voyage, due to her own weight.

Now let’s back to our topic on the last-minute plans for this special day.

  1. Skansen: whole day

Folk dancing during the National Day, Photo from Skansen.se

The tradition of celebrating national day in Sweden started at Skansen from the 19th century. Indeed, the concept of “national day” was proposed by Skansen’s founder Artur Hazels. It is a must-go spot if you plan for the whole day,  you are a foreigner who wants to known more about traditional Sweden: there are activities, including folk dancing, flag-making, concert  from 10 to the night, and you are going to see the Royal family there!

Website: http://www.skansen.se/en/nationaldagen

2. Royal Palace of Stockholm: 10-17

The Royal Palace in Gamla Stan, photo from Kungahuset

During the national day, the castle of Royal Palace is open to the public with free entry. There, you will be welcome by Prince Carl Philip. Take this chance to see the UNESCO magnificent edifice! Besides, there are celebration at other royal castles which are slightly farther from the city center, such as the beautiful Drottningholm Palace and Görvälns slott (in Järfälla with Crown Princess Victoria)

The open Royal Palace: http://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/visittheroyalpalaces/news/newsroyalpalaces/welcometoopenpalaceon6junefreeentranceonswedensnationalday.5.73a5feee15af50049ff2b02.html

Drottningholm Palace: http://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/visittheroyalpalaces/drottningholmpalace/thepalace/visitus/openinghoursadmissionsguidedtours.4.396160511584257f2180008824.html

Görvälns slott: jarfalla.se/…/2017-04-21-fira-national-dagen-vid-gorvalns-slott

3. Haga Park: whole-day


Haga Park in Summer

Haga Park lies in the North of Stockholm city near Karolinska hospital, it is always listed as one of the favorite parks by the local. Indeed, a local friend highly recommended the free concert by Royal Swedish Opera to me. If you are not a fans of opera, there are national day’s celebration in multiple forms in the park, so check how the Swedes celebrate their day!

Programs by Royal Swedish Operaoperan.se/…ida/nationaldagen-i-hagaparken

Hagaparken: http://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/visittheroyalpalaces/hagapark.4.396160511584257f218000120.html

Enjoy the national day 😉