Tag Archives: culture

Discovering Järntorget: Welcome to the Iron Square of Gothenburg

Gothenburg is not a small city and, as I’ve been here for only two months, I still have to explore the city properly. However, this doesn’t mean that so far I haven’t seen some good spots or venues or nice areas which are worth visiting. Indeed, one of my favourite streets is Andra Långgatan, few steps away from the square Järntorget, in Haga, one of the (oldest) city districts.

I’d like to say few words about Järntorget, since I find it a nice square and, personally, it was one of the first spots that gave me a good impression of the city when I moved here.

As far as I’ve heard of and I’ve read about, Gothenburg was mainly a city where merchants, dealers and sailors used to live or just to trade and fulfil their activities. The city has faced an almost radical change between the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, and we can say that Järntorget was a symbol of this change. Järntorget means literally the Iron Square. It represents the place where the iron was brought from the neighbouring province Värmland: in the middle of the square stood a scale which served to weigh the iron. Today, the scale is not there anymore, but you can see a wonderful fountain known as The Five Continents (De fem världsdelarna).

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The shift from a trading-oriented city to an industrial-oriented was significant and this affected not only practical activities, but the society itself as well. Organizations and unions of workers like the Gothenburg Workers’ Association (Arbetarföreningen) and the Gothenburg Arbetarkommun was founded. They established their premises in Järntorget and, over the course of the next decades, they contributed to enrich the area by building assembly halls, theatre, a Folkets Hus (People’s House), and tried to help people in order to improve their living conditions. That wasn’t an easy task, especially in hard times like those of the World Wars.

Järntorget has been a symbol of demonstrations, the last biggest one was held in 2001 during the EU summit. Here you can find out more about the history of this important square, if you are interested in!

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Today, the square is one of the main hubs in Gothenburg, regarding public transportation and, especially, nightlife and culture. If you go there, you have a huge choice of things to do. This link is a good way to know more about the venues and what the surroundings have to offer.

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Between those two buildings in the background, you can find the famous street Andra Långgatan

So, all you can do is to go there, have a look around, and start wandering: have fun and enjoy it!

Welcome to Järntorget, Gothenburg!

Sweden and Indonesia

Sweden Vs Indonesia

Now that I have been over 6 months in Stockholm as a student, I see more and more differences. I can finally do comparison between this country I currently in, and my home country Indonesia. We will see who will win in the end and if I need to change my blogging topic to StudyInIndonesia instead. To complicate things, I will use 0 to 10 points each. The judgement is purely on what I felt and may different with other people’s view. Continue reading

Top 5 ‘Good-to-Know’ for First-timers in Sweden

As I reflect upon what it was like when I first moved to Sweden, I made quite a few minor adjustments in adapting to the Swedish society and culture. For first-timers in Sweden, I have compiled the top 5 essentials to help you settle down and kick-start your stay and studies in Sweden. Let’s get started.

1. Addressing by First names

Swedes tend to call people by their first names regardless of their status. For students, this applies to addressing your lecturers, professors, supervisors and/or managers. In fact, this applies to everyone with exceptions to the Royal family and in very formal occasions. Coming from Asia, calling teachers/seniors in their first names would deem disrespectful but it is absolutely a norm here.

2. Remove your Shoes

Be polite to take off your shoes when you enter someone’s home. There are also places like clinics, sports-halls and gyms which require shoes to be removed prior entering, so keep a look out for the signs. Some places also provide disposable shoes wraps for those who want to keep their shoes on.

3. Take a Queue Ticket

Swedes take queuing up seriously. When visiting the banks, pharmacies or collecting your posts/parcels, don’t forget to take a queue ticket. This queue system also applies to the student service center at my university and many other places. Not only is this queue system orderly, it also efficiently eliminates the odds of people cutting queues. Win-win, I like.

4. Sort waste, Recycle garbage and Clear your trays

More than 99% of all household waste in Sweden is being recycled and there are different bins for different waste. Recycling bins are categorized into plastics, coloured glass, non-coloured glass, metals, papers and magazines, cartons and cardboards, batteries, light bulbs, to name a few from the top of my head. Food waste is also placed in compost bins. So, know the bins.

Don’t forget to clear your trays and utensils after eating. Self-service clearing is very common in schools, cafes, even some hotels and restaurants. If you’re unsure, the best thing is to observe around or simply ask the staff where to leave your tray.

5. Know the ‘Weeks’

It is common in schools and at work to use the ‘week system’. As students, you may have to get used to communication in the terms of week.  For instance, ‘submit the thesis topic by week 50’ or ‘registration for the student event take place during week 28’. Since I had no sense of ‘week’ in the beginning, I relied on my phone a lot. Fret not, you will get used to it after awhile.

So now you know, welcome to Sweden!

Image credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se