We spent two days in Stockholm. Enough to get a sense of the place but not enough to really explore it and soak it all in.

The city is wrapped in water, like Sydney Australia, but maybe more so. Everything seems to be an island. Its visually striking and beautiful.

The people are also beautiful, both to look at and to interact with. They are nice, easy to talk to, and show a warm welcome to people from other places. English seems to be a second language for most everyone and when my kids went to see Harry Potter, the movie was shown in english with swedish subtitles. That maybe partially explains why everyone's english is so good.

I met up with a few entrepreneurs and investors while I was in town but missed the opportunity to meet with a bunch more that I wanted to see. It's hard combining work and family vacations. I don't recommend it.

My takeaway is that Stockholm has a thriving tech startup community. It may be smaller than London or Berlin, but they've had real successes and the engineering culture is very strong in Sweden. Plus, as one entrepreneur said to me, the winters allow you to spend long hours in front of computer screens.

Stockholm's a bit out of the way. It's a two hour flight from Paris and maybe only a bit less from London. But I think it's a place that those of us in the tech startup community need to pay close attention to.

We managed to get a lot of sightseeing in over the two days. The Gotham Gal has a few posts with some nice photos.

I also posted some photos to my tumblog and my flickr.

We did not take a boat trip out to the archipelago. From everyone I talked to, that was something you really should when you come to Stockholm. So it's a reason to come back.

We did take a long walk in the royal park which is an island right near the center of town. In the park is the Vasa Museum which is entirely dedicated to the completely restored ruins of a 1600s era warship. It is enormous and is something special to see closeup. I highly recommend it.

I also highly recommend our hotel, the Lydmar. It's new, wonderfully appointed, and makes a comforting and classy home away from home.

But mostly we just loved walking around town, visiting the different neighborhoods, shopping, eating, and taking the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells of Stockholm.

It was a really great couple days. Now we are off to Slovenia by way of Paris.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. mfeinstein

    One of my favorite cities to viist. It’s beautiful, as you described, and the people are very friendly. Particularly nice in the summer, but I have gone at all different times of year.

    1. fredwilson

      Did you visit the archipelago Mike?

  2. trush

    Stockholm is an awesome city. Did you make it down to Sodermalm at all? Some great local design stores and record shops…

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. We spent part of yesterday afternoon there. My girls spent large parts of both days there

  3. Wesley Barrow

    Did you get down to Sodermalm? It’s a beautiful part of the city. I was there for 4 days last year and loved it.

    1. Wesley Barrow

      Woops. Just saw the comment above mine..

  4. jkaljundi

    Next time you are so close, do take at least a day to visit also Tallinn, Estonia 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve heard that before. Its on my list. Thanks

  5. Fahad Khan

    You should also go to Kista IT City, the wireless valley (pronounced as sheeesta in Swedish). There is a lot to be learned from the Swedish innovation systems (clusters)Tech + entrepreneurship is more hot in Gothenburg than in Stockholm / i lived + studied there at Chalmers so i am biased. Also archipelagos near Gothenburg are more striking than those of Stockholm.let me know whenever you go again. few of my close friends have summer houses on archipelagos, i’d be glad to request em to host you for a day or two.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s great to know. I’ll do that next time

      1. Fahad Khan

        I’m fahad (at) + @fahadkhan + 646.330.0543

  6. John Andrew Fredrickson

    Any companies in particular that impressed you?

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t meet enough companies to list the best ones

  7. David Hyman

    i lived there for 2 years right before i started working at hotwired in 94. great city, great food, fond memories.

  8. GraemeHein

    Why does what seems like everyone in Sweden speak English – no one else speaks Swedish!English is also a required course in high school and an admittance requirement for university in Sweden.There are some very interesting start-ups in Sweden. Ericsson isn’t exactly the nimblest in the world (I’m an alum) but they’ve created a great core of technical and business people. Kind of like IBM back in the day.

  9. dave anderson

    Stockholm is also beautiful in the early winter. It gets dark around 4-5PM and the city becomes alight with real candles in the windows of many residences. Great walking city, especially at this time of “day” as the Swedes look to drive away the night.The Vasa Museum is world class and one can spend hours examining the warship. Fantastic restoration job.

  10. daveevans

    I worked on the project in 1996. Basically the Swedish government raised the price of stamps and took the money to build an open AOL. I remember we were about 10% of Netscape’s revenue their first year, buying all their , ahem, broken, software and requiring hoards of Oracle people to help fix everything. I built a blog platform for back then but it was never implemented. Stockholm was amazing, from long nights to long days and hanging with people at Icon Medialab and the cools bars in Old Town. I basically lived at the Royal Viking hotel on and off for a year, great times. I went on a boat ride in the Archipelago and who did I run into but my intern from NYC, small world.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s a great story

  11. Peder Bergström

    Glad you liked it here in Sweden. It’s nice to see that our country is being recognized for it’s entreprenaurs. Skype, Spotify, (The PirateBay), etc, are some examples. Hope you go something good out of the business trip/vacation.