What Is It?
It is a term coined after a bank robbery. In 1973, several employees were held hostage for a few days. The victims then became emotionally attached to their captors, rejected help, and even defended their kidnappers. After visiting the capital of Sweden, I became a strong believer that the syndrome is real, but not necessarily in above context. After all, the city is continuously making it to the list of the most livable cities in the world. It is a clear sign, that people want to stay there.
So, Should You Visit Stockholm?
Stockholm is BEAUTIFUL.
Sweden’s capital city is located on over 14 islands on Lake Mälaren. Bold public buildings, palaces, rich culture and museums are quite compelling. I have always thought that wandering around the streets is the best way to “feel the city”. You can test my theory on the old town – Gamla Stan or Sodermalm, where you can find beautiful architecture and spectacular views.
Stockholm is INTERESTING.
Although the language may sound as English and German (and possibly a little of French) were thrown into a blender, Swedish have some interesting customs. For once, after entering out hostel we were told to take off our shoes, as it is tradion for guest. On another note, there are hundreds of museums in Stockholm, including the National Museum, the Nordic Museum, Nobel Museet, Moderna Museet, the Stockholm City Museum, Fotografiska, and the Vasa Museum. Additionally, the only people paying in cash were tourists. Citizens use cards to pay for everything, although I bet it is not surprising, considering the currency.
Stockholm is (not as) EXPENSIVE (as expected).
We were warned by almost all of our relatives that we will most certainly go bankrupt on our trip. Fortunately, there are few ways you can cut down on your expenses. Try a free walking tour with a guide, which provides some context and history or take a walk on your own and explore. Also, parks in Stockholm are free, and in the winter, there’s free ice skating.
PEOPLE are NICE.
No surprise here. Swedish people have one the longest life expectancy in Europe. They are also a nation of both the lowest income inequality and the smallest gender employment-rate gap in the developed world. It does not leave much space for being grumpy and rude. More said, it is hard not to communicate in English. Bus drivers are greeting you with almost perfect British accent, cashiers smile and try their best to “thank you very”. Most of the signs (at least ones that matter for tourists) are in English. Bonus: No one cares. I think we could get some attention if we caught on fire, but other than that everybody minds their own business.
FOOD is TASTY (but also expensive).
While groceries costs are comparable to most major cities, eating out in Stockholm is incredibly expensive. Due to the warnings, we turned to chain restaurants at first (and what a mistake it was). We paid about 60 SEK for a meal at Burger King, which was rather a poor option compared to breakfast served at our hostel (which cost only 55SEK). That said, there are ways to eat on the cheap. Most hostels offer free pasta. It may not be a healthiest option, but it helps your wallet. Also, the tap water is safe to drink, so instead of buying water for 20 SEK, try a reusable bottle. And, while you are there, do not forget to try cinnamon buns, which earned a national holiday in Sweden, and delicious tea and/or coffee.
In other words: go and visit Stockholm.