THIS IS YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE ON HOW TO BE SCANDINAVIAN FOR A DAY
Rise and shine. The average wake up time in Norway is 7:45 am with Scandinavians spending approximately 7 hours in bed each night.
Think simple but good. Open sandwiches with spreads, cheese, or jam, and don’t forget the coffee. Sweden, for example, is in the top 5 of the most coffee drinking countries in the world. So make a strong brew, spread some butter or margarine on a piece of rye bread, top it with cheese and cucumber slices.
Scandinavians eat their breakfast at home, and they like to keep it simple and streamlined. They also like to squeeze food out of tubes. The Swedes, that is. Danes are jar people.
Outdoors. Don’t let the weather affect you, remember, you are scandi now. Go for a run or fit in a quick workout. People in Nordic counties exercise more than anywhere in Europe, and they like to use the great outdoors to do so. If you are not in a mood for a hardcore training session try Nordic walking which gives normal walking a run for its money.
In Sweden, roaming freely in nature is ‘Allemansrätten’ (every man’s right). You basically have the right to hike, camp, fish, hunt (in certain areas), forage, and chop wood no matter where you are. At the same time, you have a responsibility towards nature to always leave it as you found it.
Oh, the glory of Scandinavian minimalism that has inspired designers, fashion gurus, and stylists alike has come to land on your mood board. Neutral colors, natural fabrics, uncomplicated lines, and most importantly a unisex vibe. Comfort and sustainability are taken very seriously, so act accordingly.
Light layers are a must. So, wear a pair of slacks, a white shirt layered under a soft V-neck sweater, boots or loafers, and look effortless yet undeniably sexy. Put your hair in a messy bun.
We don’t care if you are a boy or a girl, the fundamentals remain the same. Ah, you gotta love the Scandis…
This is your day off so we will make the most of it.
Scandis love their art, Stockholm alone has the largest amount of museums per capita. So, wherever you are, pick a museum or gallery and hop on the bus, train, or metro. Never sit beside someone if there’s an empty seat somewhere else. It makes them very uncomfortable and they will probably start wondering if you are some kind of a weirdo and even worse, are you going to talk to them?
Just because we are out in public, there’s no excuse to invade our personal space unnecessarily.
Are you on the bus? Good. Are you far away from everyone else on the bus? Good. Put your headphones on. Put blackened death metal on. May I suggest Sargeist’s Satanic Black Devotion? Don’t miss your stop. Enjoy your gallery. Take it all in.
Did you know I am a managing partner and the creative director of Metalheads Forever Magazine? I am also in charge of the special issues and here is one I created about Scandinavian’s Best Black Metal.
Fika. Have a coffee break. But it’s not just a coffee break. It’s a comfortable indulgence to bond with a friend.
I wrote an entire post about it which you can dig up here.
Scandinavians value friendship in ways that are hard to comprehend by outsiders.
Unless they really want to. They make friends for life and they are friends since kindergarten until the end of life. That’s of course generalized.
They also have a deep trust for one another, foster communities, and feel gratitude.
So, back to Fika. Stop by your friend’s place bring something sweet and put the kettle on. Scandis like things planned so I hope you have scheduled that in advance. I was told that there are no short visits either. If you are invited to somebody’s home you stay for at least 4 hours. Assumingly you will grab a bite with your friend while you are there. Most likely pea soup and pancakes with lingonberry jam?
So, see you at 18:00
On your way home, stop by a thrift store. Most scandi countries have a reputation for their great spots to scavenge second-hand goodies. Which of course is sustainable and goes hand in hand with all the environmental consciousness.
Pick up something you really need and will use for a long time.
It would also be a reminder of this wonderfully scandi day you are having.
Pick up a magazine as well.
If you have access to international press try OAK – THE NORDIC JOURNAL. It’s an international biannual bookazine featuring ambitious journalism and photography, with an intelligent perspective on the global resonance of Nordic culture – from art and design to architecture, travel, food, and everything in between.
Or try SINDROMS, a Copenhagen based journal of monochrome states of mind is published in print biannually. Curating its content based on specific colours, it investigates them across culture and immerses its readers in the feelings and moods evoked by each colour. Honestly, if I could live in a magazine, that would be it.
Let’s cook some dinner. It’s one of those simple joys that make life better. Do it like the Danes. They have three regular meals a day, a cold breakfast, a cold lunch, and a hot dinner at home. A typical dinner would consist of pork roast, boiled potatoes, gravy (Danes call it brown sauce), and steamed green beans.
Now, I won’t encourage you to go for the pork but there are plenty of options and the important thing is to enjoy the meal prepping. Light a candle too. Truly enjoy your meal and savour the moment.
Let’s do some decluttering. Scandinavian minimalism is based on the premises of ‘lagom’. Not too much not too little, and that’s a lifestyle my friend, not just décor. Simplicity generates calmness. And even if you can’t pop into Norway to find it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring the concept to you, wherever you are.
Less but better.
Start with a closet or a drawer or that box of stuff under the bed. Keep the things you actually use and enjoy. Have them serve as décor as well, by displaying them. This is what adds real value to your surroundings according to the Scandinavians. Recycle or donate what you don’t need, Scandinavians are big on sustainability.
Sweden placed first in the sixth edition of the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, followed by Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark.
Did you realize we went through 1034 words without mentioning hygge? The culture in Scandinavia is based around slow living and the concept of hygge is a great selling point. Remember my post about hygge? You can find it here. Understated and effortless, cosiness, and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.
Socks in front of fireplace images popping in mind, thank you Pinterest.
You can get the Scandinavian feeling outside Scandinavia and yes, it’s doable.
Look at me, a Greek, living in Greece (for the time being), doing it.
If you are looking for more reading material there’s a great interview on slow living ldn. where Ingrid Opstad Shares How To Get That Scandinavian Feeling and What Hygge Really Means.
Don’t fall for commercialized hygge. Hygge is not for sale, nor does it involve a new set of bowls. It’s about simplicity, minimalism, little everyday joys and comforts that you enjoy guilt-free, muting your phone and doing some ‘koselig’ –the Norwegian equivalent of huge.
Let’s head to bed. The average bedtime in Norway is 12:16 so we are right on time!
Get a double duvet to sleep like a true scandi.
Recent studies have shown that residents of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are sleeping better, than the populations of many other countries. Choose light, breathable fabrics, your sleepwear can make a lot of difference. Sleep in a cold room and make your bedroom as dark as it possibly can be, taking advice from the Scandinavians who know what’s it’s like to have a sun that barely sets.
Until the next one,
Disclaimer: I am a Greek dividing my time between Greece and England. I am not an expert but I am a Scandiphile down to the core. I also have amazing Scandinavian friends who generously contributed to this piece by giving me guidelines and correcting my ignorance. A massive hug to them all. No, wait, Scandis are not big on hugs, are they?
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Some of the items in these images were gifted. All opinions are unapologetically my own.