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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Since being in Sweden from the early 2000s and with a little variation in weather conditions from cold and windy to very cold and windy, December in Gothenburg has always been a medley of small events that come together to form what I would today associate with the Swedish jultide season. The shortening of days gives every household here good reason, some as early as late October, to hang in place their Christmas lights on their windows that in turn make festive the walking paths of surrounding neighborhoods.

Swedish west coast archipelago
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An early morning ferry in the southern archipelago of Gothenburg.


Haga district

Every year, the old district of Gothenburg comes to life at Haga with shop owners pouring their goods onto the cobbled streets. It’s a street market that is difficult to miss during the festive season where it is here that you can get a mixture of Christmas breads, home flavoured warm glögg and even that artisan home baked ostkaka.


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Cozy on the streets with outdoor seating during the winter months at Haga.



Vintage coats and hats.

Many shops along Haga trade in antiques and vintage goods, in the picture above, a shop that specializes in coats and hats from the early to mid-1900s. Household utensils and furniture from the same era can be found in shops just a few doors down from this coat and hat shop.


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Fir leaves and candle tin for the outdoors as welcome to visitors.

Saluhallen, the Market Hall
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Looking like the interior of a large central train station and perhaps taking inspiration from the time of Gustave Eiffel, this iron rib structure designed by architect Hans Hedlund seemed to echo J.C.Loudon’s ideas on using curvilinear iron in glass garden buildings to maximize the passing of sunlight into the hall. And it is this sunlit hall that almost everyone would make a pit stop at when planning their Christmas list of foods, for home cooking of a julbord.

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Kanold’s Flickorna would give R.Dahl’s Charlie a run for his money any time!

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Known as the Old City Hall, Kronhuset, located behind the Gustav Adolf Square is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Gothenburg. Built in the mid-17th century when Sweden was readying itself for war with Denmark, this warehouse was used as a military storehouse for artillery, equipment and uniforms.

What is remarkable about the building, built in Dutch style is that apart from the brick walls and ceiling, the six stories high structure in its entirety is made of wood with the ground floor void of supporting structures, which for all practical purposes, facilitated better, the moving of artillery equipment.

The main building, surrounded by smaller buildings make up today, the hub of a lively craft centre that offers handcrafted goods. The range include glassworks, chocolate, candy, furniture, clocks, pottery and leather.

And if in Sweden over jultide, it would be at Kronhuset’s chocolate shop that I am most inclined to pop into to fill a wicker basket full of homemade chocolate to place at the Christmas table.

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Handcrafted glass.

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The littlest of tomtes, made by hand, whose proceeds benefit a children’s international summer fund.

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Lutfisk, with green peas.

Its gelatinous texture and pungent aroma is perhaps not to everyone’s liking but I’ve been a fan of Lutfisk since being introduced to it as a Christmas dish from my first years in Sweden. This is a traditional dish of some Nordic countries made from air-dried and aged whitefish. What took me more by surprise the first time I was served lutfisk was not its smell or texture but that it was served with a side of simply boiled, … green peas (?)

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Hänsel and Gretel.

Swedish west coast archipelago

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