Over the decades Sweeden has provided us with two major
social inspirations - equal marriage and Abba. Sweden is one of the most socially and politically progressive countries in the world and
one of the first nations to legally recognize gay marriage. It also brought us Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid in the form of Waterloo during
the Eurovision Song Contest. Two of our reporters Adrian Gillan and Andrew Collins have been to Stockholm to enjoy the Smörgåsbord of delights
that this city offers.
The Venice of the North: grand architecture built on islands, cleaved by canals,
joined by bridges. Stockholm's gay scene is spread throughout the city like
splattered pearls, but especially in Södermalm & Gamla Stan districts. And Swedish
men are a glory to behold: initially reserved, yet animals in bed, reports OutUK's Adrian Gillan.
Stockholm City Hall - Henrik Trygg
TO SEE & DO
Just east of centre the Modern Art Museum on Skeppsholmen brims
with everything from Picasso to present day arty pants. Over the water from the Warhols,
Vasamuseet at Galärvarvsvägen 14 features a perfectly-preserved,
400-year old warship which sadly sank in Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage, along
with many crew. Magnificent and ghostly, it exceeds expectations!
The Nobel Museum
on Börshuset in Stortorget opened in 2001 to celebrate a
centenary of Nobel Prizes and is full of constantly-changing, inspirational exhibits.
Near the main railway station, Absolut Icebar in the Nordic Sea Hotel
at Vasaplan 4 is the world's first permanent bar to be constructed entirely out of ice: including the glasses.
Spend around ten pounds (includes a drink) to spend around twenty minutes wrapped in a thermal
silver poncho downing vodka as surely Thor intended - at minus 5 deg C. See Stockholm and its
myriad surrounding islands from the water on an Archipelago boat tour - regular departures from
Stromkajen, outside the Grand Hotel.
Super trouper! Check out chic modern
Rival Hotel, part of a café-eatery-cinema complex co-owned
by Benny from ABBA!
The Garbo Suite. Book the Rival Hotel at special rates
One of the city's finest and most historic lodgings, Berns Hotel on Nåckströmsgatan has cutting-edge
rooms, complemented by the intimate old drawing room where great playwright Strindberg oft relaxed;
and the dramatic, gold-gilt theatrical breakfast-salon-cum-ballroom-cum-club-venue where the
likes of Dietrich and Chevalier have hitherto entertained. Throws regular, spectacular gay club nights!
Or, just south of centre,
Clarion Hotel on Ringvägen is vast swish, modern and gay-wooing.
TO EAT & DRINK
Chokladkoppen is a packed Old Town hang-out, famous for homemade sweets and cakes, plus
eponymous white hot chocolate that'll make your willy wonka. Not far away on Nytorget you'll find Urban Deli which has a fantastic
selection of fresh fish and other traditional sweedish delights and although a mixed crowd, seems popular
with gay men.
One of Europe's most unique gay nightlife events: the three-level Sunday tea party on the
moored old steamship Patricia (actually built in Middlesbrough). The crowd is young
and up-for-it. And there's no better place to snog than on the upper deck, as watery
ripples reflect twinkling Stockholm lights. Occasional "foam parties" all add to the
swell: where semi-naked men writhe hard against each other, up to their necks in