Something Swedish

Swedish Seasons


Now that I’ve been in Sweden for almost 10 months (wow!) I’m getting to experience all the seasons in Sweden, and it has been a roller coaster! A very cloudy and rainy ride recently.

Southern Sweden is a comfortable mix of warm, but not too hot, summers, and cold, but not unbearably freezing, winters. Notice I only mentioned two seasons? Spring and Fall/Autumn come and go so quickly you can barely feel it in the air.

In SFI we learn the seasons (årstider):

Summer (sommar): June-Mid August [2.5]
Fall (höst):  Mid August-October [2.5 months]
Winter (vinter): November-March [5 months]
Spring (vår): April-May [2 months]

But in fact this is only an estimate.

In Sweden there is no small talk about it officially being the first day of Fall. Not because the season is so brief, but because seasons are not noted on the Swedish calendar. You “feel” when a season arrives, you don’t “know” ahead of time. Just by looking at an American calendar I can tell you the dates of the seasons in 2012 are: March 20th, June 20th, Sept 22, and Dec 21st.

In Sweden (and Finland) the seasons are determined according to a consistent 7-day temperature reading. Its Fall/Autumn because its been below +10°C (50°F) for long enough to consider the season change. When will it be Winter in Sweden? When it’s cold enough 7 days in a row (Below 0°C/32°F). This means that the seasons change at a different times all throughout Sweden since there is such a huge climate difference in the North and South.

Rain, Rain, go away…

Before moving here I didn’t really think about Sweden having a lot of rain, just the stereotypical land of snow. For the past two weeks it has rained at least a little (usually a lot) everyday, with an overcast hiding any proof of  sky or sun. I started wearing my light winter jacket and scarf this week, mostly because of the wind, but it reminded me that winter is coming and the days are getting shorter. Not that I wouldn’t mind the extra 15 degrees(F)/8 degrees (C)  in NYC, but I think  I’ve adjusted to the Swedish weather. I don’t mind the rain and cold as much and have gotten used to always carrying a sweater and umbrella all year round. Aside from the wind and rain it doesn’t feel like the temperature has dropped too drastically, but that’s because we had a chillier than normal summer. In fact, I read a newspaper article about Swedes needing to take extra D-vitamins to make up for the lack of sun this summer and  that the sick season will come early.

The end of summer means the end of some of my favorite things:

The hustle and bustle of tourists ended over a month ago, now the streets feel empty without all the outdoor dining and the sound of clanking plates and glasses.

Eating waffles in the open air  museum

Buying gelato from the local ice cream truck.

“The tower is closed. Welcome back next summer.” Looking over the town from above the trees.

I’m determined to spend the next few weeks of good weather taking long walks before it becomes too cold and dark. After that I think I’ll be baking cookies. Something to look forward to!


9 thoughts on “Swedish Seasons

  1. I’m getting geared up for my first Autumn/Winter in London. We arrived about the same time you arrived in Sweden. I’m trying to keep ahold of the romantic idea of snuggly cold weather rather than miserable. Warm cookies sounds like a great coping plan!!

  2. Meg, yes, Vitamin D is a must. Last September we had many days of overcast with no sun and I started to think, “Oh, no, what have I gotten myself into?” I got some Vitamin D and took 5000 a day and inside of a week I was totally fine the rest of the winter. The real test for me will be this winter, since last year everything was new and exciting with all the Jul activities. One thing I really miss, though, is Thanksgiving. Maybe we should start a conspiracy to introduce it to Sweden. If there is one country that has a lot to be thankful for it is Sweden. What do you say?

  3. I’m swedish in france and I recently made the opposite discovery here: that there’s “a special day” when it “suddenly” “IS” autumn. Just like that x) It makes me think about the best-before-date on milk packages and such… I think the: “feel” when a season arrives is a nicer approach as is tasting the milk whatever before you just throw it away 😀

    • Yes! My husband was like “…really? there’s a day that just tells you when it starts?” Love the milk comparison – I smell my milk all the time, its never the right date! lol

  4. Lovely blog post. Hey Heidi, I live in France and I am looking for someone to practise my Swedish. Are you in Paris? 🙂


  6. I live just north of Stockholm and the weather here is wet and mild. But it does get very very cold here. I hear the winters in southern Sweden are very grey and wet… hope that you guys get snow when the time comes!

  7. Has it been 10 months already? WOW! It feels like we were just there for your wedding! Where does time go? We will blink and you will have lived there for years (plural). I love coming along on your journeys via your writing. Thanks for that. PS I feel the same way since moving from NC (Summer and Fall) to Albany (Winter and Summer). Beauty in all seasons, it is what you make of it I suppose. More importantly, it is who you are with (no matter the season). Love you! xo

  8. You should come to Vancouver Canada we have mild winters with little to no snow but lots of rain and very very little sun light….. the winters only last 8 months from October until May/June area….

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