West Sweden – the Clean Tech Hub of Northern Europe

When Sweden’s global soft power is mentioned, it is usually with regards to IKEA or the well-known music export. Since Ericsson became a major technology power, however, the Scandinavian country is more and more associated with hi-tech products. This has been even more emphasized in the wake of the clean-tech hype rolling over the world since Al Gore told us that global warming is something that we should probably worry about. It is often Swedish companies that are supplying the demand for everything from expanded cycling schemes to wind power. ESW decided to look deeper into this growing industry.

Continue reading…

Say hello to Gothenburg’s newest hotel – Clarion Hotel Post

A slick new hotel in set to open in Gothenburg at the end of January 2012 – the new Clarion Hotel Post is a listed former Post Office from the 1920s which has been restored and extended into a sleek 500 bedroom hotel. Designed by the international architects Magnus Månsson of Semrén and Månsson and Erik Nissen Johansen of Stylt Trampoli, the central-based hotel retains its original awe-inspiring grand hall and high ceilings.

It also boasts a trendy rooftop pool and bar, indoor spa and the top-class ‘Norda Grill & Bar’ restaurant, managed by the famous New York based chef Marcus Samuelsson. Continue reading…

Gothenburg Christmas City Twitter competition

Thanks to everyone that took part in our Gothenburg Christmas City Twitter competition.

Almost 300 people entered to win a weekend in the festive city by retweeting the one thing they would most like to see or do there: visit Liseberg Christmas Market, skate Liseberg’s ice rink, walk the 3km Lane of Light, eat a Jullbord Christmas buffet or see a majestic St Lucia concert.

So, what was the most popular answer? A huge majority of you really want to see Liseberg Christmas Market (118 retweets revealed this), which isn’t too surprising considering it is Scandinavia’s grandest! With five million twinkling lights, 700 Christmas trees and 80 rustic market stalls, it takes Christmas markets to a whole new level.

Continue reading…

Liseberg Christmas market opens its doors!


This evening, Christmas at Liseberg Amusement Park opens its doors. Decorated with five million twinkling lights and 700 Christmas trees, Liseberg’s Christmas market is Scandinavia’s grandest. It features 80 rustic market stalls selling arts and crafts, as well as festive foods, such as traditional Swedish marinated herring, roasted reindeer meat served by indigenous people from Lapland (the Sami), marzipan pigs and traditional mulled and spiced wine, known as glögg. There’s also a bar made entirely of blue ice, an ice skating rink, the chance to see awesome ice sculptors turn blocks of ice into works of art and a Lapland area with a reindeer-drawn sledge which takes visitors on rides through the park. Liseberg Christmas Market opens from 18 to 27 November on weekends (Friday to Sunday) and then daily from 30 November to 23 December.

Continue reading…

Eco-life in Sweden. River rafting, a recycling challenge and 10 kilos of organic meat.

Nature, needless to say, is a reason for many people to visit Sweden. Getting a first-hand experience of stunning landscapes is one of the main attractions of going to Sweden and local entrepreneurs have been quick to realize this. There is now a plethora of trip organizers profiting from this latest trend in eco-tourism, not only giving you a chance to see nature itself but also the creatures inhabiting it – lobsters, wolves, bears and so on. Thanks to a portal, there is now a single place where you can plan and book your nature trip – all over Sweden!

Continue reading…

The Gothenburg Culture Festival and the winners of the “Design & Craft Quiz 2011”

During the past week Gothenburg has been filled with music, dance, food, fairground rides and much, much more. The Gothenburg Culture Festival has been in town with fantastic artists including The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Moustache, Eldkvarn, The Electric Boogaloo, Spanish Ojos de Brujo, and more! The city came to life and there were swarms of revelers out on the streets.

The winners of our FaceBook competition – Design & Craft Quiz 2011 – all had a wonderful time and threw themselves into the party town that is Gothenburg at festival time. After all, who wouldn’t like a weekend at the design hotel, Avalon? In addition to this, they received a guided tour of the Röhsska Museum by owner Ted Hesselbom who personally took the group around the exhibitions. Next, Katarina Karlsson – from the Crafts Center – took care of them as she toured them around the UPMARKET Garden Society – the center of arts and crafts for the festival. Our German winners got the opportunity to travel into town with Stena Line.

Here’s our French winner, Joël Madelrieu’s Picasa Webbalbum. Soon you will be able to read the other winners’ impressions here.

For future prizes and trips to West Sweden, keep an eye on our Facebook page. You never know, next time you might win a Shellfish Weekend on the Swedish West! / Ylva.

Way Out West – The Grand Finale

The grand finale of Way Out West was indeed grand. If Prince used all the tools in the box, peaking with laser beam explosions and guitar solos for his extra numbers, Kanye West was all out from the start. Not being much for humble gestures, he managed to use a massive amount of confetti, fire of a golden rain and rise above the crowd on a mobile platform – all within the first ten minutes of the show. And from there, he took it to even more ambitious levels, showing of all the hits that people were expecting, while still flowing naturally on the stage.

Earlier in the day we had enjoyed the extravagant Jarvis Cocker, being in a good mood and even surrendering to playing Pulp’s super hit “Common People”, but it was natural that the talk of the festival site centered around Kanye, of course a major booking for Way Out West.

If Friday’s main show, Prince, ended with people trying to leave the area as soon as possible in order to go dancing at the festival’s different friend clubs, Saturday was something different. Now we all wanted to stay a while, to really feel the vibe of the place before the 2011 edition officially closed around three in the morning. But since we at Explore West Sweden are curious visitors, we did of course enter the night and we chose to go to Storan, the former grand theatre now used as a kind of hub for all things cultural.

There we enjoyed Mattias Alkberg, grand old man of the pop scene in Northern Sweden. We have seen him many times before, performing on all sorts of stages, but he is the kind of musician you really want to enjoy in a smaller club area than on a big stage. He is also an entertainer in a very Swedish (or even norrländsk) sense, funny and dry in his reluctant small talk between songs.

After Jonathan Johansson from Skåne and Robyn from Stockholm, it felt natural in a way to let a man from Norrland be our last performer and thereby cover the Swedish musical map. Not many artists from Gothenburg this time around though, but that’s another topic…

When Alkberg had left the stage, we were encouraged by eager rumors suggesting that Kanye himself was at Yaki-Da, a five floor clubbing palace on main street Avenyn. It later turned out he was there Friday (eyewitnesses confirm) but once we got inside we didn’t really care that he had left the building. The place was full and there’s always a special air when a big party such as this one is about to end. It felt like all the hundreds of people inside had had a great couple of days and didn’t want it to end and more than once you could hear “Skål för Way Out West” (Cheers to Way Out West).

The crowning of the night was an “espresso martini” at the coffee bar on the fourth floor and once you start craving coffee, you normally realize it might be time to admit that there’s a new day pushing for attention and that you really should consider heading home. The walk home was just as beautiful as Friday night’s and there’s something very poetic about this time of year on the west coast, when fall is about to hit us and the sun is slower to rise than in June, when it’s virtually never set.

Now, a couple of hours of sleep later, it’s time for the mandatory fika, gossiping about the last few days. We will be at Egg and Milk, an Americana-styled diner just down Linnégatan from the festival site, with great bagels and super pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. If we don’t see you there, now is the time to say goodbye and start looking forward to Way Out West 2012. One more thing: if you were in Gothenburg during the festival, I think the city officials and organizers would like to thank you. The local police issued a statement giving the festival the highest mark for security and tidiness and even though there were a record number of visitors, it’s the cleanest urban festival yet. All in all, a great success.Thank you!