Our new Winter Residence will be Stockholm in Summer

A few weeks ago, thinking about where to potentially settle for a while, I drew the preliminary conclusion, that there are places where you can work productively, and distinctly other places where you can trade. "Nylonkong" (New York, London, Hong Kong) would be the kind of market places: busy, expensive, noisy, high demand, but also high competition. By contrast a mountain village in Sicily could be a production base: quiet (well not so, always), timeless and slow. One aspect missing in the mountain village, would be inspiration by others who are in the same trade. This is something New York and London definitely have, just by the fact that they attract a lot of talent. Hong Kong not so much, because it is only a hub between the worlds. Now all these thoughts, as said, were preliminary. And there seems at least one place, which has it all: Stockholm.

 Detail from the 2015 summer season poster of the Viking Museum in Stockholm

Detail from the 2015 summer season poster of the Viking Museum in Stockholm

I actually also liked Copenhagen during our visit in December 2014, dropping by the Copenhagen Business School, where we met friends who inspired us to explore Scandinavia a bit more. And this was a brilliant idea. I can well imagine that Stockholm is "one of a kind", and other Scandinavian cities have similar qualities - or Baltic ones, which we will explore next week.

We are staying in the South of the city of Stockholm in the flat of Karin Skelton, a yoga teacher who is out of town, and kindly let us her home. It is a very nice place and we spend many hours of exercise and work here and around the nearby lakes, before we sometimes take the short subway ride to town. 

 Stockholm (in July 2015). I like entering cities from the seaside and not from the airport.

Stockholm (in July 2015). I like entering cities from the seaside and not from the airport.

Earnest Hemingway once said, that he can work anywhere, where people don't interrupt him. And in Stockholm nobody bothers you. But people are very friendly. Just they don't talk more than necessary. That was something, I also enjoyed in Amsterdam: the minimalistic directness with a very low "power distance" (which means competence goes before hierarchy). But here it has a bit more nonchalance than in the Netherlands. What I professionally really like here, is that people know their stuff. Even amateurs reach levels, which you don't see many professionals operate on in other places. And I see people having very (very!) good ideas. Perhaps this is because they actually can think cross disciplinary, as they know more than just one thing. It is a "no bullshit place". Of course my impression might be a bit superficial, in such a short time and with limited exposure. But then let's just call it "my first impression".

The only thing which would scare me a bit in Stockholm, is the darkness in winter. Not the temperatures. They are fine. But the long darkness. The winter is very different from the summer (you may take the sunrise equation to make your own calculations). But then, while we walked along the inner city harbor, it suddenly made click. There was anchoring the large sailing ship Sea Cloud II from Valletta - another city we like very much. A sign, haha. Perhaps the combination can work. And we thought, should no other obligations arise during the year, then we could try it out. Sounds like a good plan. Let's see, how the year proceeds.

 The sailing vessel Sea Cloud II from Valletta in Stockholm harbor (July 2015).

The sailing vessel Sea Cloud II from Valletta in Stockholm harbor (July 2015).