We Got an Illustrator from Norrland to Draw the Biggest Stereotypes About Stockholm
Illustrations by Mikaela Saletti


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We Got an Illustrator from Norrland to Draw the Biggest Stereotypes About Stockholm

Are people from Stockholm a bunch of selfie-obsessed, segway-loving, feminist lumberjacks?

If you come from the north of Sweden, you probably have a specific idea for what people in Stockholm are like. And don't get me wrong, we have our ideas about you guys too. Even though the North of Sweden – or 'Norrland' – takes up around 60 percent of our country area, we still think of you northies as a bit "out there". When Stockholmers think 'Norrland', they think men silently chopping wood, pimply teenagers doing snowmobile tricks and young girls with bleached hair hanging outside the local chippy looking for trouble.


A bit generalising, you say? Maybe. We all have our stereotypes. You do too. Which is why we asked an Illustrator from Norrland to draw the biggest stereotypes concerning people from Stockholm.


THE STEREOTYPE: You all dress exactly the same and are afraid of looking like you don't belong in your own city. What's wrong with you guys? Ever heard of individuality?

The stereotype fact-checked: Ever heard of the amygdala? That little part of your brain that tells you that belonging and blending into your surroundings is crucial for survival. We, Stockholmers got our amygdala on lock. We never stand out. Ever. You call it uniformity. We call it survival.

But if you want a professional answer, Swedish Professor Andrea Kollnitz who is a senior lecturer at Stockholm University's Centre for Fashion Studies, has some enlightening thoughts on this phenomenon. "I wouldn't say that we all dress the same – I think the stereotype derives from being on the outside looking in. Of course, we as humans generally strive to belong to a bigger group but at the same time we strive to express our individuality. The common denominators for Scandinavian fashion as a whole is minimalism and a lack of bold colours. Swedes in particular, tend to be drawn towards practical, clean-cut clothing of good quality that does not come off as too luxurious or vulgar."

Stereotype pretty much confirmed but it includes you too, Norrland!


THE STEREOTYPE: Men in Stockholm like to look like they know how to build furniture, slaughter a reindeer and chop wood. They have no idea how to do any of this. All they know is how to make an espresso while scrolling away on their iPhones.


The stereotype fact-checked: Ugh. This one is true. I see this guy all the time. He walks around with his poop-bacteria stained beard and says things like "Yeah, some homies and I started this micro-brewery that makes beer on re-cycled LP records." Can't deal with him. Norrland, if you want him, you can have him. Just a warning: He's never held an axe before in his life.

But let's break it down and see how many of these "lumberjacks" are in fact lumberjacks. According to Statistics Sweden, we only have 4017 active lumberjacks in Sweden right now. Add that to the fact that the city of Stockholm since 2012 doesn't operate any forestry on its woodlands. Which makes the probability of there being any working lumberjacks in Stockholm pretty non-existent. Stereotype confirmed.


THE STEREOTYPE: You are all queer feminists who hate social gender constructions and gendered toys. You vote for the feminist party, Feminist Initiative, and you are likely to tweet #killallwhitemen a couple of times a day.

The stereotype fact-checked: Ah, the loyal F!-voters with their blind commitment to the feminist mother party. There's a lot of F!-fans here. Or are there? According to the Swedish Election Authority's website, only 2,69 percent of Stockholm citizens voted for Feminist Initiative. Compare that to the city of Gothenburg, where 6,48 percent of the city's inhabitants voted for the same party.


Stereotype debunked.


THE STEREOTYPE: Is it virtually impossible for you guys to work-out without obsessively having to document every kettlebell your well-manicured fingers touch? Why do you take so many selfies at the gym? The stereotype fact-checked: Actually, this one is pretty accurate. So much so, that one of Sweden's biggest gym franchises had to prohibit the practice of taking selfies in the locker rooms (for obvious reasons.)

Stereotype kind of confirmed.


THE STEREOTYPE: All the businessmen in your city use Segways to get from meeting to meeting. Their quest for efficiency has made them detest the analog and inferior usage of their legs. The stereotype fact-checked: According to Linn Berggren who works at the company Upp & Ner which rents out Segways and organises SegwayPolo matches, this stereotype is pretty accurate. When I ask Linn if the typical Segway user is an affluent-looking, middle-aged man from the city she agrees. "It is mostly middle-aged men who come in here to privately rent a Segway" she says. "A lot of them just want to take a tour, have an unusual romantic date or even a nice father-and-son day."

Stereotype confirmed.


THE STEREOTYPE: You are all perpetually seeking validation online.

The stereotype fact-checked: So we're basically like EVERYONE ELSE on Planet Earth? This is not so much a stereotype of Stockholmers as it is an understanding of what it means to be a human being in the 21st century. Swipe left and move on honey. But let's see if this sterotype can be confirmed.

According to Swedish Social Media Professor Niklas Myhr, this myth it's pretty hard to debunk or confirm. "Even though there are many people out in the country who also use social media, it seems to me that the pace in Stockholm is a lot faster and that more people in the city tend to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), especially if they can't keep track on all the events and distractions via social medias."

Stereotype kind of confirmed.