Skip to comments.Stockholm, Scandinavia, the world's highest standard of living?
Posted on 04/06/2010 1:51:30 PM PDT by WesternCulture
"The environment here is good, it's beautiful, it's clean," summed up Anna Elig, a 37 year-old Stockholm dweller pushing her eight-week-old daughter's carriage through the city centre on a cool, sunny afternoon.
"All the moms and dads who are on parental leave go out for walks around the city ... This wouldn't work in Paris," she chuckled, strolling along the broad walkway near the sparkling water.
With 40 percent of the inner city composed of green spaces, the Baltic Sea archipelago city seems a natural place to begin the European Commission's Green Capital initiative.
"I wasn't surprised," said Katarina Eckerberg, a professor of political science and head of an environmental institute.
"Stockholm has a highly developed environmental policy, and any foreigner who comes here is probably surprised that we can benefit from nature as much as we do in the very center of town," she said.
Revelling in nature is a way of life in Sweden, so deeply engrained in the national character that widespread environmental activism already began here as long as 50 years ago.
"Maybe it's because (Sweden) is so sparsely populated and many of us have summer cottages, that Swedes have such a high regard for the environment," Gustaf Landahl, who heads Stockholm's environment and planning department, told AFP.
Even in Stockholm, virtually all residents live within walking distance of lakes, hiking trails and other natural settings, and stepping into a pair of cross-country skis outside their front door is commonplace.
It's a capital that "all along had the privilege of being a town built on water," said Eckerberg, and Stockholmers are ready to defend this privilege.
In the 1960s, when pollution forced Stockholmers to stop fishing or swimming in downtown areas, a bottom-up movement emerged to clean up city waters, Eckerberg said.
Today, the salmon caught there is edible and swimming poses no health risk.
But what impressed the European Commission, the EU executive body, was not what they could see, but what they couldn't.
"I spoke to the evaluation committee and I think what impressed them the most is how we've been able to reduce our CO2 emissions," Landahl said.
Indeed, the city brought environment-damaging carbon dioxide emissions down to 3.4 tonnes per capita in 2009 and hopes to slash that to 3.0 tonnes by 2015.
In Sweden as a whole, CO2 emissions are only six tonnes per capita, as compared to the European average of 10 tonnes per capita.
Stockholm's efforts have focussed on the two biggest environmental culprits: road transport and heating, which together account for 43 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.
In a city where freezing winter temperatures can last up to five months, this was a challenge. One solution was investing in district heating, which hooks up 75 percent of buildings in the capital to central heating plants that run primarily on renewables and also produce electricity.
And in the transport sector, "we've been able to reduce emissions even though the municipality has grown," Landahl said proudly, noting that in the rest of Europe transport emissions tend to rise as cities expand.
Stockholm officials tirelessly campaign against residents using their own cars, and even during the long, cold winters 19 percent of Stockholmers bike or walk to work, according to figures from 2007. In summer, that number jumps to 33 percent.
Many others in the spread-out capital region also ride public transport, to the point that figures published by the city show that the number of users continues to rise each month.
Despite the award, there are those who feel the EU's first Green Capital could do more.
"Even in Stockholm, there is a lot of discussion and disputes about whether some current developments are in line with environmental considerations or not," Eckerberg noted.
A major problem, she said, was the booming real estate development along the waterfront that at points has blocked public access and risks endangering the delicate Baltic Sea ecosystem.
"There's much more to be done," she said. "More could always be done."
“Standard of Living” on whose scale?
I like Stockholm. Beer is expensive there, though.
The dingbat will be having to wear a burka soon.
I wonder how many ROP no-go zones Stockholm has, like the ones in Malmo ...
With the exception of Malmo-istan, most of Sweden is very homogenous. i.e. cultural diversity in most cases lowers the standard of living and quality of life.
Standard of Living on whose scale?
- I don’t know where you live, but believe it or not, Stockholm wages are pretty impressive. Few cities can compete.
Oh please. That is not the only gauge of Standard of Living. I bet they tax everything to death.
but it’s clean beer.
I once dated a girl who was born in Colombia, but who moved to Stockholm as a child with her mother. She considered herself Swedish through and through.
Someday I’d like to visit Scandanavia.
Besides, it's not even accurate. If the highest standard of living is determined by who is greener, shouldn't it be some naked tribe in the Amazon somewhere?
One solution was investing in district heating, which hooks up 75 percent of buildings in the capital to central heating plants that run primarily on renewables and also produce electricity.
So...if that plant breaks down for any reason, is sabotaged, bombed by enemies, etc....hundreds of thousands of Sweedes freeze to death. Brilliant!
Hmmmm. Isn’t it Sweden that has an alarming (but apparently not to Swedes) suicide rate?
High wages, high wage taxes. And high road taxes, gas taxes, high sales tax, sewer tax, environmental tax, television tax, dog tax, packaging tax, flying tax, and whatever other tax they can come up with. Heckuva deal.
“Someday Id like to visit Scandanavia”
- Most welcome.
I’ll take you on a tour in my fully Volvo V70 to places like Dalsland, Värmland and Bohuslän!
LOL! Thank God it is not.
Close. It’s Finland.
Good to hear from you.
Closest I get to Stockholm is watching House Hunters on cable TV. Looks really beautiful, though. Would love to visit in the flesh some day.
Oops, that was the Dutch total tax package. But I bet the Swedes’ isn’t far off.
The suicide rate of Sweden is higher than that of the average nation, but it isn’t extremely high.
Paris is supposed to be pretty nice, but then most of the troublemakers live in the surrounding communities that we would call suburbs. Kind of the inverse of what we have in the States.
- While Paris, Rome and London, for sure, are more captivating cities than Stockholm, the Swedish capital well deserves to be ranked among the top 20 cities of Europe together with Prague, Florence and Copenhagen.
Those Swedes have avoided the real military costs of the last century because they sloughed the costs onto America.
PS Swedes have Malmo, the city where Muslims can rape fearlessly. And they do.
“Paris is supposed to be pretty nice, but then most of the troublemakers live in the surrounding communities that we would call suburbs. Kind of the inverse of what we have in the States”
- I visited Paris for the first time in my life last year. Like you said, the central parts of city was very calm, relaxed and safe. Very much a contrast to stressed up cities like London, Hamburg and Stockholm.
I did not visit the outskirt ghettos of Paris.
It wouldn't work in in Malmo either...Malmo, Sweden, that is.
I’ve been to Stockholm. It’s a damn nice place. Native Swedes are wonderful, well-educated people who are burdened by an overriding socialist/leftist mentality. My prediction, however, is that you’ll see a reactionary snap when the welfare state gets totally out of control, as it is destined to do, and they realize the folly. The pendulum is always swinging.
Ya get what ya pay for over there.
“Have the Slavs that have immigrated to Sweden since the 1960s intermarried or stayed apart as an ethnic group?”
- I don’t know what the answer to that question of yours is, but I do know that most ethnic groups that have immigrated to Sweden have found a better life here.
For instance, take the people from the Balkans, Iran and South America that came to Sweden 20-30 years ago.
They had university degrees but were forced to run pizzerias.
My uncle and I recently took a stroll in his neighborhood where people like that recently had built very impresssive residences.
Immigrants like that I approve of. The ones who are Muslims are Muslims in name only.
“Native Swedes are wonderful, well-educated people who are burdened by an overriding socialist/leftist mentality”
- True indeed. However, we Scandinavians are beginning to rethink, hope you’ve noticed. Socialist thought won’t hold back Scandinavia eternally.
It is high taxes, to discourage drinking.
Swedes like the bridge to Denmark, to smuggle cheaper black market liquor back to Sweden.
Starting 150 years ago, one quarter of Swedes came to north America, for economic opportunity, and to escape a strict religious background (state Lutheranism).
I imagine the attitude about drinking is carryover from the religious history.
Big land, small population. Sweden is just 9.3 million people, in 173,000 sq. miles. Contrast with California at 37 million people in 164,000 sq. miles.
“Big land, small population. Sweden is just 9.3 million people, in 173,000 sq. miles. Contrast with California at 37 million people in 164,000 sq. miles.”
- On the other hand, could California of today compete with what is going on in Stockholm in terms of ICT revolutions?
Silicon Valley is a big bore compared to Stockholm of today.
“as long as US taxpayers are paying for their defense... they will continue to enjoy their socialist paradise.”
- I admit my country is sickening in many ways, but we actually pay for our own defense.
Although we don’t enjoy the advantage of having a large population like Russia and the US does, we can keep up in vital areas, watch for yourself:
- True indeed. However, we Scandinavians are beginning to rethink, hope youve noticed. Socialist thought wont hold back Scandinavia eternally.
Sweden must be doing something right....because their economy and living standard, with all the high taxes, is one of the best in the world.
Count me as another who wants to visit Sweden....except for Malmo....so many good things about Sweden
You seem to have a long track record here on FR of promoting your country as better than just about anyplace else, especially the United States.
Got a news flash for you: the way things are going, Sweden and the rest of Western Europe will be under the control of the Muslims. Get back to us in a decade and tell us how your immigration policies have worked out so well.
Maybe your Muslim overlords will let you keep some of vacation property, though.
We don't need to put missile interceptors in Europe to protect us, we need them there to protect Europe.
We are the worlds police force, be we don't get to tax the world for the safety we provide. The token armies that most countries have are a joke that would be swept aside in hours if they faced a real threat.
military spending Sweden 44 Billion
military spending US 685 Billion
With an extra 641 billion a year I could pay for a lot of social programs and pretty parks.
so maybe it is time to cut back and work on providing safety to our country, firm borders and clean up our cities.
If the US cut it's defense budget back to Sweden levels...
well... lets just say that the bad guys wouldn't be cutting back their budgets.
The entire middle east would be occupied within a year by a Caliphate. South Africa would descend into perpetual war. Europe would then erupt in ethnic chaos forcing Russia to retake it's satellites. Africans would die of starvation by the 10’s of millions, China would almost immediately take over all of it's surrounding satellites forcing Japan to change it's constitution and ramp up military spending. And that's just for starters.
America is the only thing standing between the modern world and the abyss. Without America military spending... the whole world would enter a new dark ages and all democracies would be swept from the globe to be replaced by warring dictatorships.
well... lets just say that the bad guys wouldn’t be cutting back their budgets.
The entire middle east would be occupied within a year by a Caliphate. South Africa would descend into perpetual war. Europe would then erupt in ethnic chaos forcing Russia to retake it’s satellites. Africans would die of starvation by the 10s of millions, China would almost immediately take over all of it’s surrounding satellites forcing Japan to change it’s constitution and ramp up military spending. And that’s just for starters.
I dont have a problem with any of this. If the peoples of asia, africa and the middle east want to become fighting horrors, let them have at it. Not our problem. We arenot going to fix or contain anything there for long.
You can not compare a Country(Sweden) to US of A which is part of North American Continent along side Canada.However you can compare a matching US State to the size of Sweden to make your comparison.
“We are the worlds police force”
- True, in many ways.
“..we don’t get to tax the world for the safety we provide”
- True indeed.
“The token armies that most countries have are a joke that would be swept aside in hours if they faced a real threat.”
- I beg to differ.
My country, Sweden, could erase a nation like Iran out of World maps by making full use of the means at our disposal.
They couldn’t exactly sneak up the shores of our home waters and annihilate our capital.
But we could do that to them..
I was thinking a of real threats like Russia or China, Iran is a joke.