Kritee is an international student from India, pursuing her masters' studies in Stockholm.
Nordic winters are distinct. Coming from a tropical part of the globe i.e. India, I was both excited and skeptical of the winters in Stockholm. While I had immersed myself in the colorful autumn, people around, constantly reminded me, ‘Wait, till the winter comes!’
The concept of shorter days in winter and vice versa was something I had read only in Geography books until now. I am used to equal days and nights since my childhood. The days would shorten by a maximum of 1 hour during the winter. But here in Stockholm, I got to experience it practically. As the days started to shorten, I was inquisitive to find out where this would end. At the same time, I was wary of the various concerns that the locals here raised, such as vitamin D deficiency or attack of depression among others. And, slowly and steadily but dauntingly, it was here.
Stockholm, in spite of its northern latitude, has fairly mild winters. The variation in sunlight is obvious, but the temperature doesn’t fall drastically, thanks to its coastal location. Snowfall is common in the months of January and February. However, it doesn’t snow every day. The white blanket sheltering the trees and lanes is an ethereal sight. As the day progresses, the footprints on the snow stand testimony to the number of people who have traveled on that road. The prints left by the vehicles are slightly different though. It makes the road muddy and watery. I had trouble on the initial days of the winter because of the slippery streets. Once you are able to endure the darkness of November and December, the increasing daylight hours from thereon make things brighter.
January and February are beautiful. Warm clothes and safe shoes and you are all set to adore the golden light of the sun kiss the snow-covered landscape. I was amazed at how different a particular landscape can look in the snow from what it looked like during the autumn. While vacationing on the Himalayas, I have seen mountain ranges enveloped by snow. The scene was more dynamic there. But I was experiencing the effect of snow on a city for the first time. I liked its serenity and composure. The array of sizes and random shapes in which the chunks of snow can be seen lying on the roadside is truly a scenic spectacle. The white umbrella stitched by the trees to the white carpet laid on the road; it was mystical. I gawked in amazement when birds perching on the branches of the tree led the snow settled on it to fall creating a small local blizzard around the tree. As a young child, we were taught to paint trees in hues of yellow and green. The snow settled on the branches after a heavy shower makes me wonder what the young children here, learn. They must have been taught to mix shades of white and blue when painting a scene from the winter.
Winters in the northern latitudes might be called harsh, depressing, scary, and so on. However, I enjoyed it. The landscape which the winters brought along with it was so stunning. Perhaps it might be a bit difficult in the northern parts of Sweden, and this, therefore, makes Stockholm the perfect place to taste the Nordic winters. It is not severe. At the same time, it is topped with adequate dollops of Scandinavian delight.
© 2021 Kritee Mahanti
Liz Westwood from UK on February 25, 2021:
This is an interesting account of your winter experience in Stockholm with some great illustrations.