Midsummer in Stockholm
Publish date: 20 June 2023
One of the most characteristic and beloved Swedish traditions of all is Midsummer's Eve. It's the longest day of the year – when the sky never darkens – and this year it's celebrated on Friday, June 23.
Midsummer, or at least holidays resembling it, are celebrated in many European countries. But nowhere is Midsummer a bigger deal than in Sweden. So much so that Midsummer's Eve even has been suggested as Sweden's de facto National Day. Since the holiday is tied to the summer solstice dates vary from year to year. But generally, Midsummer's Eve takes place sometime between June 19 and 26.
Its origins in Sweden have been debated, whether it was a pagan ritual predating Christianity or a Christian holiday that over the centuries morphed into a secular holiday. But the modern Midsummer is basically a celebration of summer, light, and warmth. As it happens many Swedes also start their summer vacation in conjunction with – or in the weeks just after – Midsummer. So in a way, it's also the start of the Swedish vacay season.
The most common Midsummer traditions are raising and dancing around a maypole, various family-friendly pentathlons and games, Midsummer buffets, and maybe even a late-night skinny dip. The most common food items are different kinds of pickled herring, Västerbotten cheese pie, early potatoes, fresh strawberries, gravlax, and a variety of snaps.
Usually, most Stockholmers leave for the archipelago or the countryside during the weekend, to celebrate Midsummer with their friends and family. However, there are still many ways to celebrate Midsummer in Stockholm.
Feel like doing something more beyond celebrating Midsummer? While many museums and attractions are closed during the Midsummer holidays we've listed some that are open.
Keep in mind that Midsummer is a national holiday. As such, it might not be the best time for sightseeing as many attractions, restaurants, and shops might be closed either on Midsummer's Eve, Midsummer's Day, or both. Some museums and attractions are open, however.
- Gröna Lund's Amusement Park
- Nordiska Museet
- The Royal Palace
- Skansen Open Air Museum, Skansen's Aquarium, Baltic Sea Science Center and The Snus and Match Museum
- SkiStar Sports & Adventures
- Skokloster Castle
- Spritmuseum & The Absolut Art Collection
- Stockholm Cathedral
- The Viking Museum
- The Woodland Cemetary
Celebrations in Stockholm
Midsummer at Skansen has been celebrated since the park's founding in 1886. Join the various games with your children, see how Midsummer has evolved through the centuries, get a taste of traditional Midsummer delicacies, and visit Skansen's animals.
Unexpected Midsummer at Hasselbacken is a drag show, midsummer buffét, and traditional celebration all rolled up into one. Expect lots of fun surprises!
Midsummer at Mosebacketerassen offers a fun celebration in the heart of Södermalm accompanied by a lovely vista of Stockholm. Music, midsummer food, ice cream, and activities for the whole family.
Midsummer Celebrations Outside of Stockholm
Hotel Djurönäset is situated on Djurö island in the Stockholm archipelago. The Midsummer celebration includes food, music, and dancing around the midsummer pole. It is also possible to compete against your friends in the pentathlon booths, or check in at the hotel and take it easy in their spa. Booking in advance is recommended.
The Grinda island (page in Swedish) lies in the middle of the archipelago, about 75 minutes by boat from central Stockholm. Here, you can celebrate a traditional midsummer including flower-picking and raising the maypole together.
At Sandhamn (page in Swedish), in the outer Archipelago, the maypole is erected in the middle of the village on Adolf's square. A midsummer procession of musicians and singers tour the village. Sandhamn Seglarhotell serves a midsummer lunch, followed by dancing and partying.
In Vaxholm, the maypole is dressed by partygoers collectively before the dancing starts. There will also be a performance by local traditional dancers
This is a selection. For even more Midsummer celebrations around Stockholm, please refer to this list (page in Swedish).
When is Midsummer celebrated in Sweden?
- Midsummer's Eve 2023 is on Friday, June 23.
- Midsummer's Day 2023 is on Saturday, June 24.