Welcome to KTH
Hi internationals, and welcome to KTH. We at Esset have heard from our sources in the international reception that getting around Stockholm is not something you know much about, and the KTH campus may be even more confusing to get around. We have even heard that some of you have never travelled on a metro before. That is why Esset has gathered two experts - Henrik, the lifelong Stockholmer, and Saga, an emigrant from Norrland's dark forests - to give you the ultimate guide to the Capital.
The first thing you should know is the different parts of the city center. There are five districts in the inner city, and they all have their character that affects what is there and what price range prevails. Of the five districts in the inner city, Södermalm (“söder” meaning “southern” and “malm”, an older word meaning “ridge” or “rise”. Why most districts have this epitaph comes from the post-glacial ridge that runs along the center of Stockholm) is the best place to find cheap beer and could therefore be considered the best district in Henrik's opinion.
Important Swedish knowledge: Öl = Beer
Hornsgatan (“gatan” means “street” in Swedish, therefore when you see words end in “gatan” that means they are streets) is a good place to start to find a glass of beer for the very reasonable price of 45 SEK. Along Hornsgatan you can find “Dova's” and “D-pub” almost next door to each other, and “Krukan” at Rosenlundsgatan. Closer to Hornstull (an area in Södermalm) lies “Retro” and “Hirschen”. On Hornsgatan there is “Söderhallen Billiards”, and you can then finish the night at a 24/7 McDonald's (fun fact: if you hear “donken” from a swede, it is McDonald’s they are referring to) to round off a very economical night out. At the other end of Söder, at Skanstull (another area in Södermalm), there is “Far och Son”, “Snövit”, and “Bläcktornskällaren” along Ringvägen (“vägen” means “road” and therefore those words ending in “vägen” are also streets). Up by Nytorget (when a word ends in “torget” it’s a square) you can find another “Retro”. There are plenty of good cafes and patisseries around Swedenborgsgatan and Mariatorget (but of course it does not offer as affordable coffee as KTH's own “Coffice”). Here there are places like “Johan & Nyström”, “Bageri Petrus”, and “Chic Konditori” (“konditori” is the Swedish word for “patisserie”). Over by Bysistorget you can find a very affordable vegetarian buffet. At Swedenborgsgatan you will find the "Cycling Dutchman" AKA “Tonnys Cyklar”, where you can buy a used bicycle. Hornsgatan has very good second-hand and vintage stores. Between Slussen and Zinken there is “Emmaus”, “Röda Korset”, “Stadsmissionen”, “Myrorna”, and “Beyond Retro”. This area is perfect for strolling about on a Saturday and checking out affordable and environmentally friendly shopping. Around Nytorget there are vintage and second-hand stores, that offer something a bit more exclusive. In Södermalm there are many good places to hang out in late summer evenings or when the sun returns in the spring. “Tanto” (Tantolunden), “Skinnis” (Skinnarviksberget), “Vitan” (Vitabergsparken) (the parts in the parenthesis is the official names whereas outside are what a Stockholmer calls these places), “Ivar Los park”, and “Långholmen” have plenty of space for large groups to hang out.
If you choose to leave Söder (a true Stockholmer calls Södermalm “söder”), you can take the Västerbron (“bro” means bridge in Sweden and that is what “Västerbron” is, however; you can still call your bros “bro” we don’t mind) over to Kungsholmen, which has a myriad of options when it comes to cheap beer. Around Fridhemsplan (“plan” is another ending to a word which also means square in that context) you can find “Hirschen”, “Retro”, and “Level 22”. Closer to St Eriksbron is the “Billiard Palace” and another “Dova’s”. In addition to beer, you can find good ice cream at “Kungsholmens Glassfabrik”(Kungsholmen's Ice Cream Factory). In Kungsholmen there is also “Rålis” (Rålambshovsparken) which has a lot to offer as an outdoor hangout spot. There is plenty of space and a skate park under the bridge. Swimming places can be found at “Smedsudden” and “Fredhälls klippbad” (“klippbad” sort of means cliff beach, a common feature in the archipelago and around lakes with smooth bedrock beaches), and the quayside at Hornsberg which is a nice place to hang out around the restaurants and ice cream parlors.
If you instead want to hang out closer to campus and need a place to have a beer after a (failed) exam, you can instead go to Vasastan (“stan” is the Swedish word for the town and can also commonly show up in place-names) and Sveavägen. Along this main artery you will find not only one, but two “Lion bar”s, “The Crib by Retro”, regular “Retro”, and “Hirschen”. In Vasastan there are many restaurants and cafes along Rörstrandsgatan. Around Odenplan you will find, in addition to one of the inner city's larger public transport hubs, also second-hand shopping at “Stadsmissionen” and “Myrorna”. There is also a larger “Myrorna” further down on Sveavägen by Adolf Fredrik's church. Near Vanadislunden you can buy used bikes at “iRecycle”. If you want to find a nice place to hang out outdoors in Norrmalm (“norr” meaning “northern”), the cliffs and quays at Skeppsholmen and Kastellholmen can be recommended. Here you can also find a lot of good, and free, museums like the National Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, and the Museum of Architecture and Design.
Östermalm (“öster” meaning “eastern”) is a district for rich people and should thus be avoided at all costs, except for the sanctuary KTH (Esset does not advocate skipping class, even if attendance is not mandatory). But if you are not going to have a night out here, you can find some gems. In “Filmhuset”, you can go to a cheap cinema at “Cinemateket”, but it is mainly older films that are shown. Our recommendations this fall are Ratatouille, Memento, Groundhog Day, Total Recall and Blade Runner. Out in Ropsten, you can find the town's largest “Myrorna”, perfect for those who need to furnish their new student apartment. In addition, technically, the students' own Lappkärrsberget belongs to Östermalm. "Lappis", as it is so nicely called, is the “sunkets sunk” according to our reporter Saga, by which she means it’s shit but in a nice way. Here you will find cheap beer, mediocre sushi, and corridor parties. In the surrounding area there is nice nature, with lovely walking paths around the water and the “Stora Skuggan”, a nature area perfect for picnics. If you want to know more about Lappis and other student areas in Stockholm, you can check out our previous article about Student Apartments in Stockholm.
If you dare to venture beyond the inner city, you will find that southern Stockholm (colloquially known as “Söderort”, meaning “the southern parts”) has a lot to offer. In “Slaktis” (Slakthusområdet) there are nightclubs and you can also find the entertainment complex “Tolv” with games all evening. In Liljeholmen you can find two second-hand shops in the mall and Stockholm's best Ica store. Everything around Aspudden, Midsommarkransen and down to Gröndal are very nice suburbs that offer a little small-town feel. Vinterviken has good places to hang out outside with a nice view of Lake Mälaren and access to swimming.
To the east, you will find Sickla where there is shopping and beautiful nature at “Sicklasjön” and “Järlasjön”. It is close to getting up on “Hammarbybacken” (“backen” means “hill” in this context) to get the best view of the city. In addition to Sickla, “Nacka Skärgård” (“skärgård” means “archipelago”) offers a nature reserve with nice swimming places. From Slussen you can easily get out to the Nacka nature reserve, for nature experiences close to the city, and towards “Nyckelviken” for a cozy manor experience. From Slussen, Nybroviken and Strömkajen, boats depart for the archipelago, where you can use your SL card for cheap excursions.
To the north, Solna and Sundbyberg are like cities within the city. Although Solna is mainly associated with “Mall of Scandinavia” and “Arenastaden”, there are nice nature areas in “Hagaparken” and a small-town feel at Råsunda and “Sundbyberg Centrum”. In Ulriksdal there is a unique bicycle shop with used bicycles and bicycle parts.
If you want to find more exciting tips on Stockholm, you can check out our article on exchange students' experiences of Stockholm.
But, student life at the S-Chapter is for many in itself a completely new experience and as new students to the campus, it can not be easy to keep track of what to eat, where to eat, where it is best to study, or just what to do when you are not drowning in mathematical equations.
When it comes to what to eat, Esset has already made a detailed guide to where to find the most affordable lunch on campus, that article can be found here. But at the beginning of the semester, most students tend to still be relatively good at bringing their lunch boxes, so it can be good to know exactly where it is possible to heat your food. The classic option is of course to turn to one of the chapter rooms. The S-Chapter’s own is called “Oasen” (meaning “the Oasis”) and is located at the bottom of “L-huset” ("Hus" is Swedish for house). But it easily happens that the queues become long and the seats full, so then it can be good to know that there are many other places on campus with microwaves and chairs.“U-huset” is a very popular place with a nice roof terrace to enjoy the summer salad on, and in “Nymble”, THS' own union house, there are plenty of microwave spots.
Sometimes it is difficult to come up with what to cook, and then it is difficult to know what to put in the lunch box. Fortunately, Esset can come to the rescue here too! Over time, we have released a bunch of recipe tips with cheap dishes for everyone - here you will find all the "Esset cooks'' that have been released so far (1 and 2). And there is no need to worry about running out of ideas, because when all the recipes are already cooked by you, Esset will surely have released a new collection of recipes for your enjoyment.
And when it comes to what to do in addition to the studies, there are a whole bunch of activities both through THS and the S-Chapter themselves. Of course, most things are fresh in the memory after the “Life at S-Chapter” day, but it can still be good with a reminder that all associations and groups in the S-chapter can be found here, on the website. Among these associations is of course Esset, which (in the opinion of the authors) is an excellent association if you have an interest in writing, design, drawing, or just want to hang out with a nice bunch and contribute to the chapter's all-around education. So with that said, we (Henrik and Saga) thank you for taking the time to read our guide and wish all international students good luck in their future studies!