Stockholm vs Gothenburg. Rivalry explained by an expat.

It’s hard to escape the comparisons between Stockholm and its sibling from the west coast – Gothenburg. What hides behind the never-ending rivalry?

Surprisingly enough, it’s not only sports teams that get people feeling bias and routing for one side – it might as well be geographic locations and I suppose most have felt it either in their countries or…Sweden. Stockholm and Gothenburg are the two biggest cities in Sweden with the first being the capital on the east coast and the latter, the home of Volvo that alone can make Gothenburg the “capital of the west coast”.

I proudly present – the most common subjects of comparison overheard during my time in both cities.

Who’s nicer?

This definitely feels like the core question that, surprisingly enough, both cities have mostly similar ideas about. When in Gothenburg, it’s difficult to escape the sense of rivalry, the most arguments gathered around the belief that Stockholmers are the “snobs”, but citizens of Gothenburg – laid back workers of industries that don’t find happiness in stress and luxury.
Surprisingly enough, the better manners and attitudes is something that many in Stockholm are eager to assign to Gothneburg-ers. Personally, as someone who has experienced getting in and out of a tram in Gothenburg, I’d disagree on the manners part, but will leave the niceness judgement to others.

Getting around

Public transport inevitably plays a great role in the quality of life in any city. First things first – train system, especially in winter, get some heavy criticism all around the country. Expect an angry Facebook update here and there when the snow comes – it’s fun to see how surprising that is to a country known for its winter sports, snowy postcards and knitted jumpers.

Photo: Giphy

Getting back to STHLM vs GBG, the first delivers speedy service around town under and above ground and the latter is one that people write songs of – it’s impossible not to feel some love for the good old Gothenburg trams.

The archipelago

Nature is amazing in its diversity so let’s agree – Sweden is stunning all around. Gothenburg with its lavish islands that have everything from hippie communities to millionaire villas. Stockholm archipelago that starts in the city’s many islands and delivers everything from luxury spa experiences to hikes. Both are worth a visit or two…or many more.

Island in the middle of the sea.
Photo: Mikael Landén

Do I hear w…w…weather?

Another rant about the weather? Have no fear. Although Gothenburg definitely brings more rain and Stockholmers are forced to wrap themselves in many layers during the colder winters, I want to touch upon something else – the adjustment and appreciation of the weather. It might be a harsh lesson to learn, but shows the real meaning behind the expression “there is no bad weather, just unsuitable clothing”, makes one appreciate extensive gym opening times, improves cooking skills and time spent watching movies. There’s very little bad in that.

However, there’s something both cities are really good at – their sense of humor. Some might argue that Gothenburg with their puns, also known as “dad jokes” can be annoying at times to which I say, that I want to stand out of this argument. If anyone asks, I’m outstanding.


Written by Edite

22 Oct 2016