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Cultural Mix in Stockholm

When I arrived on my first day in Stockholm my new roommate told me that I had to begin my time in this new city with a Stockholmer’s favourite – Kebab Pizza. 

Kebab Pizza, a popular dish in Stockholm

This kebab pizza (which we had along with Belgian beer in our local pizzeria-bar) was my first introduction to the cultural diversity in Stockholm. This city has been an important centre of trade and culture for a long time and like many world-cities it has been a very international place with diversity and influence from cultures all around the world. Living here for over a year, I have got the chance to meet a lot of it’s people and learn a little bit about the cultures in the city. 

Most of the Swedish people I have met have some family connections abroad. Some of my closest Swedish friends have family in Turkey, Serbia, Iran or Syria. I have met lots of Swedes who just as quickly call different countries in Scandinavia “Home” and many German-Swedes too (apparently there’s a very romantic idea of Sweden in Germany). I have met such a wide mix of people, inside and outside of KTH, that I have come to realise that Sweden is a place that has always attracted people from around the world, just like it attracted me here!

Many famous Swedes like the infamous footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović or my own favourite Swedish songwriter, José González, come from families with roots in different parts of the world.

Zlatan Ibrahimović, the footballer, and José González, the songwriter

KTH, being a well known university with an international focus, has a great mix of cultures among its students and staff. When you venture out further into the city, you can see that this mix continues into most sectors of society. When I found my first job here I discovered that I would be working alongside people from New Zealand, Syria, Bangladesh, France, Jordan, Chile & Senegal. 

In my experience, the young-adult population of Stockholm is the most diverse, with many young people coming to work in areas such as ICT, environmental technology, gaming and other industries which this city is famous for. Stockholm companies are well known for attracting and hiring people from all over the world.

Like the unusual meeting of Italy and Turkey in the kebab pizza (and like a bar I once saw called Tacos & French Wine) I’ve loved seeing the mixing of cultures in Stockholm. I also love seeing the pride of some individuals continuing unique cultural practices in a new setting. Stockholmers are lucky enough to be able to walk around their city and get an authentic South-Indian dish for lunch, a perfect Italian pizza for dinner. I even got a little taste of home myself here when I walked down a street on Gamla Stan and found five Irish bars along it!

The cultural mix is one of the best aspects of Stockholm as a city. It gives the city a life and energy that is active and alive. I’ve been very lucky to get to experience it and join in my own small, Irish way!

~ Declan

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