Widely celebrated as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Stockholm is often compared to Venice for its stunning waterfront locale. Situated on a fourteen-island archipelago spanned by 57 bridges, Sweden’s capital offers a feast of aqueous vistas: Lake Malaren to the west and, to the east, the Baltic Sea with its more than 30,000 islands of the Swedish archipelago.
As Sweden’s largest city, Stockholm is home to one in five of Sweden’s nine million citizens. More than 750 years old, the city was founded in 1252 and contains one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval town centers. Stockholm’s Old Town, Gamla Stan, is the locale for numerous scenes from Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s best-selling thrillers, the “Millennium Trilogy” – and the starting point for the Stockholm City Museum’s popular “Millennium Tours,” which guide visitors to locations from the novels.
With more than one thousand restaurants, as well as one hundred museums, and nearly 6,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of Central Station, Stockholm is Northern Europe’s cultural capital. Every year since 1901, the Nobel Prize awards ceremony and banquet has been held in Stockholm, with the Nobel Laureates residing at Scandinavia’s flagship hotel, Grand Hotel Stockholm. With numerous conference facilities, Stockholm remains one of the most popular congress destinations in the world.
Fotografiska, Stockholm’s newest museum, opened in May 2010 along the docks of Stadsgarden in an Art Nouveau building from 1906. Encompassing 60,000 square feet, Fotografiska is one of the world’s largest venues for contemporary photography – and as fitting for a corporate meeting as for a glass of Champagne at sunset.
Equally alluring as a setting for a high-end event is the cliffside park and museum called Millesgården, the five-acre property high above Lake Värtan on the island of Lidingö. The former home and studio of Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, Millesgården evokes the gardens of Italy’s Mediterranean coast – and the addition of snow in the winter renders the picturesque gardens even more enchanted.
Located on the isle of museums called Skeppsholmen, Stockholm’s Modern Museum is worth a visit for its setting alone. An esplanade affords gorgeous views of Stockholm – and, in summer, the charming restaurant is an open-air aerie above the harbor. The museum’s permanent collection includes more than 100,000 photographs, with entire rooms devoted to the works of nearly every 20th-century photographer.
The most visited museum in all of Scandinavia is the Vasa Museum. More than one million visitors pay their respects to the world’s only preserved 17th-century ship, the Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628, deep into Stockholm’s harbor, where she remained for more than 333 years. Hosting an event alongside the intact ship insures a memorable evening for every guest.
Founded in 1891, Skansen is an open-air museum, dedicated to the agrarian culture of the late nineteenth century. Skansen’s annual schedule is a celebration of feasts, folk music, and living crafts – culminating each year with a traditional Christmas market. Yuletide at Skansen is an entire month of events, with workshops at the glassworks and markets selling Swedish specialties. With live music and dancing and the smell of home cooking on open fires, Skansen at Christmas is wonderfully joyful – and any event that incorporates Skansen’s main restaurant, Solliden, will be remembered for cuisine as appealing as the charming atmosphere.
Each winter, one of Sweden’s most fabled landmarks appears nearly one hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle. For the past 21 years in the small village of Jukkasjärvi in Lapland, the advent of winter heralds the construction of IceHotel, the world’s largest ice and snow hotel. Each year, the ice from the Torne River is harvested for use by the artists and ice sculptors who create a veritable winter wonderland. More than 60,000 annual visitors stay at IceHotel – before its vernal meltdown back into the river. As an incentive destination, Stockholm and IceHotel is a nearly unbeatable combination of natural beauty and cosmopolitanism.
Sweden is as green as it is beautiful – and, invariably, Stockholm appears on the indices of the world’s “Most Livable Cities.” Thirty percent of the city is waterways traversed by ferries, boats, and ships, with another thirty percent of the city’s area given over to green spaces. In 2009, Stockholm became the first city to be granted the title of European Green Capital.
In keeping with the country’s environmentalism, Stockholm’s Arlanda Express runs from Central Station to Arlanda Airport in twenty minutes. Powered by electricity from renewable sources, the sleek trains are as punctual as they are comfortable, which is why Arlanda Express has more than three million annual riders. At Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, 80 airlines fly to more than 120 global destinations.
This year, why not broaden your horizons to include one of the world’s most vibrant cities in a country known for its business acumen and conviviality? Meet in Sweden. See us at IMEX AMERICA OCTOBER 11-13th 2011 – Scandinavian Pavilion #820.