Nedo Pinezić: Stockholm - a difference of 2.200 kilometers

The difference in social order and social norms can be compared to the distance in kilometers. In every sense.

Author  Nedo Pinezić

13. September 2022.

Of course, Stockholm cannot be seen in two days. That's all it takes to get to know this "Venice of the North", a beautiful city in the north of Europe.

Departure from "Rijeka" Airport on the island of Krk

We have a really good opportunity to fly from the island of Krk directly to the Swedish capital, so it would be a shame not to use the extended weekend for a special trip. Low-cost airline Ryanair flies to Stockholm on Thursdays and Sundays. We bought the ticket four months before the trip and it cost us one hundred euros per person for two directions. As we have friends in Stockholm, accommodation and stay are organized in the best possible way.

From the small airport "Rijeka" in Omišlja on the island of Krk, it is nice go on trips because as a rule you don't have to wait long for security checks and there is no running from terminal to terminal. 

Boarding itself is more similar to going on a ship. Young, kind people work at ZL "Rijeka", they all try to get the best out of the given framework. The small "duty free shop" at the terminal is also pleasantly equipped with a good selection of Croatian products, in a somewhat retro style. The whole building is actually vintage, so it's the best "card" to play.

What is not quite up to par is the information system. LCD screen with flight information for medicine. It is true that there is only one plane flying at the same time, or at most two behind each other, but when the flight is delayed by an hour and there is no information because there is no screen or the passengers are informed via public address system, it is not a very pleasant situation. Finally, someone sends the passengers off and someone waits, they wait for information about the arrival and there is none.

A similar unexpected flaw occurs at the inbound terminal. There, the passengers of the plane that landed are waiting for the control of personal documents in the clear sky, at the end of the runway. Closed space is cramped, it can accommodate only about thirty passengers per plane, and the approach ramp is not covered, let alone closed. In case of rain, passengers with hand luggage are condemned to wait under an umbrella for half an hour, maybe more. Even when the sun is scorching, nothing is more pleasant. Passports are controlled by three officers and they really try, but the bandwidth is far below the required capacity. If the building is already retro, the work organization does not have to be.


Arlanda Airport is a forty minute drive to the city. Transportation is well organized with regular bus lines, trains, and taxis. A bus ticket is also available buy online as well as an airline ticket. Buses are adapted for passengers with luggage, so they have racks for luggage in the passenger compartment as well as classic bus trunks. Of course, everything is well communicated via the screen in the bus, which shows the sequence of stops, the current position of the bus and the next stop. The drivers announce each stop and in case passengers get confused and get off at the wrong stop, like us, they readily get off the bus and explain the confusion and help the lost passengers back to the bus. 

Accommodation 1.

Sweden is an organized state, a kingdom, which has inherited a democratic system since 1921, when the first parliamentary elections were held. It has not been at war in the last 200 years, and its history is such that it has constantly improved its social structure. They are extremely committed to learning, knowledge, respect knowledge and skills and invest a lot in science. That is why they are open to receive scientists from all over the world. They have residential areas ready for them where they can live more favorably for two years until they resolve their status at the university and find another housing solution. Each such building has a certain number of rooms with bathrooms for visiting foreign scientists, tenants, at a preferential rental price. Each tenant can reserve such a room for a maximum of seven days a month. We also took advantage of this opportunity through our friends.

Food and transportation very available

In Stockholm, one cannot stay hungry or thirsty. There are restaurants at every turn. Dishes from all over the world are offered. We visited as recommended "Eataly", a restaurant in a former theater. It is not actually a restaurant but a "piece of Italy". Italian dishes, mostly pizzas and pastas, Italian drinks, but also a selection of the best Italian delicacies that can be bought make this temple of food an unforgettable experience. Price? A real trifle, a 20-euro pizza, etc. 


A bicycle or scooter, ordinary or electric, is enough to move around the city of millions. If you don't have your own, you can use the sharing system literally on every street corner. Stockholm is a "bike friendly" city. Bicycle paths are equal to the road network for the movement of motor vehicles. It's the same with footpaths. Getting around the city is just as efficient with public transport, a combination of buses, trams, subways and boats. The combined ticket can be purchased on a daily basis, weekly or monthly, yearly... If you don't have a ticket, place your credit card on the sensor instead and that's it. More expensive but efficient. Controls are frequent and the system works great. It is even recommended to buy a seven-day ticket for fewer days, it pays off more. A seven-day ticket costs 30 euros, and each time-limited ride of 40 minutes costs 3,5 euros.

Vasa and Vasa's lesson

Coming to Stockholm and not seeing Vasa, that really shouldn't happen. The warship Vasa is the best-preserved ship from the seventeenth century in the world. The Vasa was launched into the sea on August 10, 1628 and sank after only 25 minutes of sailing on a route of one nautical mile. She sank at a depth of 30 meters, 120 meters from the land, in brackish water at the entrance to the harbor. The reason for the sinking was an error in the design, that is, in the construction. Hull dimensions and stability are not matched with the height and weight of a ship that carried two rows of heavy guns. She spent 333 years on the muddy bottom. Due to the characteristics of water and mud, the ship's hull and all other parts have been perfectly preserved.

The extraction of the ship itself took four years, cleaning, research, collection of all parts another few years, assembly of all components from 14 parts all together ten years. From the time Andreas Franzen discovered the wreck in 000 to the present presentation of the ship, which was completed in 1956, many years have passed in a diligent effort to preserve this immeasurable treasure.

Stockholm museum your pixabay

In 1962, when the renovation of the Vasa began at the specially built shipyard, sightseeing was already possible. Tickets were sold throughout the ship's renovation. For 17 years, the wood was treated with polyethylene - glycol, which replaced the water squeezed out of the wood. Namely, the wood must not be dried suddenly because it cracks and is destroyed. It took decades to reach the optimal moisture content of the wood.

That's not all. 50 years after the rescue of the shipwreck, work is still being carried out on the ship, and all parameters that affect the destruction of the ship's structure are carefully monitored. For this reason, special air-conditioning machinery was constructed for the museum, all the old nails were replaced with new prochromic ones, the structure was lightened by four tons... There are so many details related to this museum ship, one of the 10 most famous of its kind in the world, that one could talk about everything. print on dozens of pages

What stands behind this monumental undertaking is incredible patience, dedication, diligence, respect for the profession, learning from mistakes, study, investment in science and trust in science...

When you list just a few world-famous Swedish achievements based on these values, the picture becomes clearer: Nobel and dynamite, IKEA, Volvo, Ericsson, Saab, Electrolux, Securitas, Husqvarna, Scania, ABB, SKF, AtlasCopco, Skype, Spotify, AstraZeneca, ABBA... Sweden today exports more per capita than the USA, China, Greece and Italy combined. 

City on the sea and on the lake

Stockholm is a city that has positioned itself equally on Lake Maralen and the bay of the Baltic Sea. The city is spread over 14 islands and several peninsulas that are interconnected by fifty bridges and numerous boat, tram, bus and subway lines. No wonder it is called the "Venice of the North".

Although with a gravitating agglomeration it has almost 2,5 million inhabitants, Stockholm is far from a concrete megapolis. Green, untouched oases have the status of a deity, one could say. Every tree, every bush is respected. Green areas "break up" urbanized parts, so every district, almost every street has its own parks, green promenades, sandy beaches, but also "grotes" like our coastal ones, to which "goat paths" and "hanging walkways" lead, built on rocks because they are rocks they do not demolish, they do not destroy with concrete roads, the beaches are not covered with concrete sunbeds. Everything is natural, simple, functional.

Children's playgrounds are actually family gathering places where used baby strollers, children's equipment, shoes, clothes, toys are sold on weekends... Children quickly outgrow what they wear and use, so this way of using things is actually a concrete embodiment of the circular economy. In the same place there are tables and benches, a barbecue... there are many facilities for children and adults: table tennis tables, mini football, hockey fields, basketball hoops, bowling alleys, but also small athletic tracks for long jumps, hurdles, skateboarding park... Everything is used in family get-togethers and cleans up behind.

The same is true when you rent a room or apartment. You must rent bed linen or bring your own, regardless of the price of the accommodation; you clean up behind you, you leave everything as you found it. In most restaurants and cafes, you bring your own food and drinks to the table. It is a very practical answer to the labor shortage in the hospitality industry. This can be seen in the frequency of students' work, especially on weekends.

Windsurfing or in a sailboat, tours of the island by kayak, sailing in a motor boat, are practiced in your free time from numerous small marinas on the shores of the city. A wedding on a cruise on a historic ship, socializing on Friday afternoons after work on ships, meetings, congresses, parties on ships... Stockholm really lives on the sea

Green thinking

Political parties across the spectrum from the far left to the far right are unanimously advocating care for the environment. Hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles are already taking precedence over those with fossil fuel engines. Renewable energy sources, smart waste disposal, reduction of CO2 emissions, but also careful preservation of the usability of things in the long term... this is already written in the DNA of Swedes. Preserved and renovated wooden houses, decades-old and well-preserved interior furnishings, second-hand stores, and flea markets are not unusual occurrences in this city. One of the reasons is the high prices of new ones, so preserved, used ones are much more affordable.

Accommodation 2. with the host

In order not to remain "hanging in the air", a few words about the accommodation used by the host. A friend rented through the Airbnb platform a three-room apartment in a residential building from an owner of Latin American origin who moved with his family to another location. The apartment is equipped like any similar medium-standard apartment. Nothing overly decorated, everything looks just as if the tenants left the apartment to friends to use. We used that apartment for two nights, sharing it with friends. Other friends stayed there before us. The reservation was in one name the whole time, we did not fill out any application form, we did not pay the tourist tax. The price of this apartment was equal to the price of a holiday home for 6 people in the off-season with us.

Slightly better furnished apartments they cost like villas with a swimming pool in the full season here. The handover of the keys and the apartment was done through a friend of the owner. We brought our own bed linen and paid for the cleaning separately. 

We are far, far away

In the end, I can compare the difference in social order and social norms to the distance in kilometers. Parliamentary elections were held on Sunday. The turnout is higher than 87% even though voting is not mandatory. You can vote in certain places even days before the election. 2.200 kilometers difference. In every sense. I will not compare the climate and all that God has given us around us. We will need more time for more intelligence. Our "Vasa" just leaned on her side...

Author Nedo Pinezić,
Photos: Pixabay

Author  Nedo Pinezić

13. September 2022.