Things That I Have Learned In Stockholm, Sweden

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Things I have Learned In Stockholm, Sweden.

“Mamma mia, here I go again.” ABBA 

Stockholm is often known as the ‘World’s Smallest Big City’ or the ‘World’s Biggest Small Town’.

 Gamla Stan (Old Town) is a small island in the center of Stockholm and was once the entire city of Stockholm. Now it is a very cool place to explore.

Since the city streets are so narrow, there is no room for cars, making this part of Stockholm “pedestrian only.” It is great for photographs and souvenirs and can be very crowded.

Fotografiska,  is a real Stockholm success story. They opened 8 years ago in a beautiful old brick building (a former tollhouse) in Stockholm harbor and have, over the years, presented some fantastic exhibitions with many of the world’s best photographers.

It is one of the largest photography museums in the world with branches scheduled to open in New York and London.

The city is sometimes referred to as ‘Venice of the North’, thanks to its beautiful buildings and exquisite architecture, abundant open water and numerous parks.

The total absence of heavy industry makes Stockholm one of the world’s  cleanest cites.

Don’t worry about tap water. I’ts delicious.

The city became the venue for the  first Nobel Prizes awards, in the year 1901. The Nobel Museum in Stockholm is a small museum on a big, noble subject.

Small displays cover Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize ceremony and artifacts donated by Nobel Prize winners. Current and past Nobel Prize winners are honored through display panels and touch screens.

It barely ever gets dark at night in  the summer .

At the height of its empire, Sweden built a large warship the Vasa to symbolize its power. It was so big and heavy that on its maiden voyage in 1628, it sank less than a mile out of  dock. In 1956 the ship was rediscovered and then salvaged. Now, you can see this ship in the Vasa Museum. It was weirdly very interesting.

The Swedes have a lovely afternoon tradition of taking a coffee break (often accompanied by a yummy pastry). This tradition is called fika, and you should definitely indulge, too!

The Abba museum is perfect if you are an ABBA fan. With a slogan “Walk In, Dance Out” you know that this is not going to be a boring museum visit. Learn about the history of ABBA, try on costumes, and even sing on stage.

One of the most popular candies in Sweden is salmiak, licorice flavored with ammonium chloride – a salty chemical compound resulting from the reaction between hydrochloric acid and ammonia.  Most people outside Scandinavia and Iceland hate it but I am now addicted to it.  

A hop on hop off ferry is a fun, comfortable way to experience  Stockholm. 

Moderna Museet is situated on the pretty island of Skeppsholmen and can be accessed via a ferry from Slussen or on foot from the Östermalm district. It is located in a former power station. The bright red museum attracts big names in contemporary art.

The museum is specialized in Scandinavian and International art of the twentieth and twenty first century. The changing exhibitions throughout the year are attracting visitors from all around the world. .

Sweden’s largest architecture museum, Arkdes, was founded in 1962.

It is attached to Modern Museet and worth it if you are into architecture and design.

The Lydmar Hotel is a great place to stay.  The location is fantastic, being within walking distance of Gamla Stan, Kungsträdgården station, and the Strömkajen ferry.

Sweden is moving closer to a cash free economy. It was impossible to use cash in Stockholm – except at Seven Eleven.  

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Things I Have Learned In Amsterdam

Things I Have Learned In Amsterdam

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“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.”Alain de Botton

There are over one million bikes within the city limits, yet there are only about 700,000 people in Amsterdam.

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Stairs in Amsterdam are many and very steep –  like ladders.  (Rembrandt’s house)

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There are 51 well-known museums that are dedicated to varied topics from the history of sex to the use of marijuana to the life of a famous painter. (Stedlijk Museum)

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The passageway of the Rijksmuseum has the best acoustics in the city and many professional musicians come there to practice.

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The majority of Amsterdam is below sea level. At its lowest point, it is 6.7 metres below sea level. If climate change causes even a small increase in global sea levels, Amsterdam may go under.

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The entire city of Amsterdam was built on piles — massive stakes that are driven into the ground. These piles laid the foundation for every building in the city. This means that if you stay at one of the many Amsterdam hotels, you are actually staying on stilts. Over 6,000 piles are used to hold up Central Station. Regular maintenance keeps these piles in load-bearing condition.

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The lines at the Anne Frank House rivals the Uffizi and the Louvre. Get tickets online in advance.

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Amsterdam Is full of Polyglots. Polyglot is a term used to describe anyone who is fluent in more than two languages. 86 percent of Amsterdam residents are polyglots, speaking English, Dutch and a third language fluently. This makes a trip to Amsterdam an easy experience for English speakers.

Amsterdam residents are the second largest consumers of coffee in the world.

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It’s estimated that during the Golden Age (put here between 1580-1670), when Dutch painters were among the best of the world, 5 million paintings were made – surely one of the most amazing Amsterdam facts. Almost every Dutch home had at least one painting. Now we have iPhones to take pictures of paintings. ( self-portrait Rembrandt – Rijksmuseum)

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Amsterdam natives are the tallest in the world. According to several different studies, this height is attributed to their DNA and healthy eating habits.

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Tulips, tulip fields and flower bulbs are typically Dutch. Yet, tulips do not originate from the Netherlands. The first tulip bulbs were imported from Turkey to the Netherlands, where they proved to grow extremely well on Dutch soil.

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Amsterdam knows how to brew a beer. The Netherlands is the world’s biggest exporter of beer. Twice as much beer is exported from the Netherlands than the United States, the second biggest exporter.

Amsterdam Has More Canals Than Venice .

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Often called the “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam boasts over 165 canals that compose a comprehensive network throughout the entire city.

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Amsterdam has one of the most famous Red Light Districts in the world with window prostitution. There are almost 500 such windows in Amsterdam, next to brothels etc. Most  of the girls are Eastern European, Indonesian and Malaysian. Few are Dutch. There is definitely a lot of human trafficking involved in bringing these girls here.  There are no photos allowed. ( Belle – statue for prostitutes all over the world)

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There are over 200 ‘coffee shops’ in Amsterdam where you are allowed to buy up to five grams of cannabis (marijuana or hash). Since the 1970s, buying of cannabis has been decriminalized. Five grams, by the way, is enough to stay high for several days.

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Someone dropped their hash packet when i was having lunch . He didn’t know. I waited and decided to pick it up and return it. That would not have happened in the states.

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In 2008, a tobacco smoking ban was introduced in Dutch cafes and restaurants, but you are still allowed to smoke marijuana and hashish in Dutch coffee shops – if only you don’t mix it with regular tobacco… That is bad for you.

Fly safe,

JAZ