Stockholm - One City, Fourteen Islands
The two-year wait is over; June sees the return of the biennial NAFEMS World Congress in the stunning Swedish capital Stockholm, rightfully branded the ‘Capital of Scandinavia’. This, however, is not a capital city like any other. Situated at the confluence of Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is comprised of an incredible 14 islands, all connected by a network of over 50 bridges and viaducts.
These islands showcase the vibrant cultural history and the innovative, future-shaping character of Stockholm. From the congress venue, a twenty-minute walk over the picturesque Vasabron (Vasa Bridge) will take you to the cobbled streets of Stockholm’s 13th century historic heart, Gamla stan
Follow the delightful and charming narrow streets of this fairy tale world and you will discover the Royal palace -official residence of the present day Swedish monarchy, the National cathedral of Sweden, the Nobel Museum to name just a few of the buildings in this part of the city. If all that walking leaves you with sore feet, then stop at Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm and take a few moments to enjoy the picturesque setting.
Don’t let the fairy tale world of Gamla stan fool you, Stockholm is one of the most forward thinking and innovative cities in the world. Just a short subway ride away in the Johanneshov neighbourhood you will find the Ericsson Globe the world’s most hemispherical building. Here you can find out about this impressive engineering feat and take a glass sky car to the very top of the building where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Stockholm. Of course, you need not look any further than the stunning congress venue to find evidence of Swedish engineering and architectural ingenuity. The building is a gleaming steel, glass and concrete construction boasting green energy credentials that will impress the renewable engineer and fatigue and fracture aficionado in equal measure.
While we’re on the subject of glass and concrete, the award-winning Scandic Victoria Tower is a unique hotel building in the neighbourhood of Kista, home of the Kista Science City kista.com. The hotel building continues Stockholm’s tradition of creativity and innovation but also has a sense of playful creativity about it, proving that high tech engineering need not just be functional. Clothed entirely in a reflective glass skin, the building seems to play a game of ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ with the viewer - it is a definite must see. Once you have taken advantage of the many free short-training courses on offer during the congress, why not continue your learning with an informative boat tour around this city of islands? You can take your time on a 3-hour guided tour, a flexible 24-hour hop-on/ off ticket or a quick 50-minute canal tour.
An extra day or two before or after the congress will give you enough time to experience the magic of the further 30,000 (yes, really) islands, islets and rocks that comprise the greater Stockholm archipelago nafe.ms/2ns8S2g which stretches eastward from the city over an area of some 60 kilometres. Among the many gems you can visit in the archipelago is, notably, Ytterby- the tiny village that can claim the names of not one but four elements on the periodic table- we’ll let you figure out which ones! The islands of the archipelago offer everything from the sandy beaches of aptly named Sandhamn to the rugged dramatic cliffs of Utö further to the south. All these and more can be reached via Stockholm’s excellent network of ferries, trains and buses.
If time is precious then the city’s 14 main islands will give you more than enough to do. June is the perfect time to find yourself in Stockholm if for no other reason than the joy of having 18 glorious hours of daylight, all the more time to unwind and enjoy Stockholm after a day of engineering simulation. Hop from island to island and take in their different characters, from hip Sodermalm to the green island of Djurgårdenas with its gardens and excellent museums. One of the most characteristically Swedish traditions of all is Midsummer, when the sky never darkens. In 2017 it's celebrated on June 24, just a few days after the Congress - you'll never get a better opportunity to experience this magical festival.
If you work up an appetite, your choices of eatery extend much, much further than herring and meatballs. From the very chic Nordic Cuisine eateries on Östermalm to the award winning seasonal fare on the menus of the restaurants and bistros on Lilla Essingen, you will be spoilt for choice. Every palate is catered for in this thoroughly global yet uniquely Scandinavian city.