Find Out 7 Reasons Why It’s Magical In Christmas City Gothenburg, Sweden – North Sea 4
Port of Gothenburg, Sweden
The largest port in Scandinavia, Port of Gothenburg is Sweden‘s gateway to the world for its extensive industries. It is strategically located on the western coast of the country. And for this reason, it is sheltered from the North Sea by the Danish mainland and two overlapping archipelagos. About 70% of industry and the population of the region fall within a radius of 500 km. to this port. This includes the three Scandinavian capital cities: Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. And around 30% of Swedish foreign trade passes through this port. It has a container, Ro-Ro, car, passenger, oil and energy terminals that accommodate at least 11,000 ships a year from 140 destinations worldwide. Its primary imports are crude oil, textiles and food while it mainly exports new vehicles (Volvo), steel and paper.
Lying along the Gota River estuary, an inland of North Sea’s Kattegat Strait is Sweden’s 2nd largest city, Gothenburg (Goteburg in Swedish). It is 390 km. southwest from Stockholm and the capital of Vastra Goteland county in Sweden.
The site of an earlier Medieval settlement, Gothenburg was founded in 1603 by King Charles IX of Sweden. The area was the only direct outlet of Sweden to the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea during that time. And that was his sole purpose in founding the city. It would be favorable jumping off point for wars with Denmark and Poland. But during the Kalmar War with Denmark in 1611-1613, Gothenburg was destroyed. King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden rebuilt the city in 1619. Two years later he gave Gothenburg its own charter. In the years that followed, Dutch settlers came and built canals in the city. Gothenburg prospered increasingly in the 18th century when the Swedish East India Company was developed. When the Gota Canal was completed in 1832 which started transoceanic shipping services, Gothenburg started a second wave of prosperity. At this time, a great deal of Scottish and English businessmen have moved in to Gothenburg. They became very wealthy like the Carnegies and donated much of their wealth to the city. Gothenburg‘s legacy as a bastion of shipping services is still carried on to the present. The port remains the busiest in the Scandinavian region. And more of the city’s economic success happened when the Swedish car giant,Volvo set up its factory in 1927 at Gothenburg. With its burgeoning industry, Gothenburg‘s cultural life and music scene also flourished. Today. despite recessions and international conflicts, Gothenburg remains an important trading hub. It also takes pride in hosting national as well as international events like the Gothia Cup (youth international football tournament) and Way Out West (Sweden’s annual music festival).
We arrived at the Port of Gothenburg on December 2004 via the Sallie Knutsen for oil discharging. When we think of Sweden, most of the time what comes to mind is Stockholm. But Gothenburg is also brimming with charm and fun. It is a city that punches more of its weight on its cultural and music scene. Always a smart city where you can easily explore it by foot. It was in the dead of winter when we arrived but honestly, Gothenburg morphs into a real life Christmas card. The city is bathed with a million strands of lights mixed with the the fuzzy blanket of snow which give the place an exceptional glow. Read to find out the 7 reasons why it’s magical in Christmas City Gothenburg, Sweden.
1. You can try a roasted reindeer meat from Lapland sold at the Christmas Market of Liseberg Amusement Park.
Liseberg Amusement Park is the pulse of the action during the yuletide season in Gothenburg. A reason why it’s magical in the Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. This is a theme park on the outskirts of the city center which is turned into a winter wonderland as Christmas time. There are 7 different stalls selling everything aside from the rides and shows. Indeed a Christmas market oozing with a Swedish feel, you can also try a roasted reindeer meat (from Lapland at one of the stalls) served by the Sami (minorities of Sweden and Norway) reindeer herders from Lapland.
2. Indulge with a cup of the Swedish “fika” and the world’s biggest cinnamon bun, “hagabullen” at the Haga Nygata.
Aside from the Christmas markets at Liseberg, there is also a whole area of them along Gothenburg‘s old district, the Haga Nygata. Here, you will find stalls with Swedish Christmas sweets and other delicatessen, crafts and everything that is related to Christmas. If you enjoy coffee then a Swedish fika is a must-try for you. A reason why it’s magical in the Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. Fika (or the love of coffee) is a part of the Swedish culture, not just the practice of having a coffee. It is a way of slowing down, or pause and enjoy the moment. And fika goes best with Gothenburg‘s hagabullen, a giant cinnamon roll(as big as a plate). Haga Nygata is an easy walk from the hotels. You know you haven’t really reached Gothenburg if you did not enjoy a fika and its hagabullen.
3. Watch the singing Christmas tree at Drottningtorget Square.
A singing Christmas tree? Of course it happens when the Christmas lights you’ve decorated around it comes with a musical tone. But here at Drottningtorget Square, the highlight at the area is a Christmas song performance from a local choir. Dressed in red and green where they stand like the shape of a Christmas tree known as “den sjungende julgrenen”. This is a reason why it’s magical in Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. This singing Christmas tree of local singers is going to perk you up and prompt you to sing along with them too. Drottningtorget Square is the epicenter of tram lines in Gothenburg.
4. Celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13 with gingersnaps and saffron buns.
Gothenburg after all is not a land of total darkness in winter. It’s because the kind St. Lucia brings light on December 13 which officially begins the Christmas season in Sweden. A reason why its magical in Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. Legend tells that St. Lucia is a martyr in Scandinavia who is known for her good works during her lifetime but met a violent death. She brought Christianity to the Nordic countries. On her feast day, a young girl dressed in angelic robe as St. Lucia appears with her entourage of handmaidens to perform in Churches, shopping malls and other venues. She leads the other young girls (and sometimes boys) all wearing white and St. Lucia carrying a crown of lighted candles on her head.
6. Buy Swedish cheese at Saluhallen.
A big indoor market in Gothenburg, Saluhallen is home to about 40 shops selling spices, coffee, cheese, fruits and other delicacies from around the world. It was built at the boatyard at Gotaverken between 1888-1889. One of the most popular places for Gothenburgers to grab a quick bite or pick up some food, it is abuzz with people especially during the Christmas season. A reason why its magical in the Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. This landmark is a must-see when you are in Gothenburg.
6. Visit Feskekorka (or Fish Church) for caviar and smoked salmon.
A fitting name for an indoor fish market in Gothenburg which was constructed in 1874 to accommodate the glowing catch from the North Sea – the Fish Church (or Feskekorka). Designed to look like a Church with high ceilings but as soon as you are inside, its filled with stalls and restaurants instead of an altar and pews. A reason why it’s a magical in the Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. Feskekorka is also a must-see destination when you are in Gothenburg. Aside from the restaurants, there are other options that you can take out like caviar and smoked salmon.
7. And don’t forget to explore the VOLVO museum.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Volvo fan or not, you will enjoy a visit to the Volvo museum in Gothenburg. An iconic car that has stood the test of time since its inception in 1927, Volvo is the much-loved vehicle by most people around the world. The Volvo museum tells the history of Sweden’s most internationally recognized brand. It houses every model that has been produced since the 1920s that includes concept cars and large vehicles. A reason why it’s magical in the Christmas City of Gothenburg, Sweden. To explore the Volvo museum is not something that you have the chance to see everyday. It also allow you to learn more of the company’s history and its role in the economic growth of Gothenburg.
Thus ends my time here in Sweden as we continue to sail for another Nordic country. If you wish to try a winter wonderland Christmas in the coming year then Gothenburg should be on your short list. Swedish winters are long and dark (polar night which you barely see the sun) but it’s the darkness that makes Christmas special in Gothenburg. Lycka till poo din resa. (Good luck on your trip.)