Swedish Language Blog

Dark hours and too many of them Posted by on Jan 31, 2010 in Culture

Nothern citizens of Sweden are exposed to extreme temperatures (to the colder side of the thermometer) and long, dark winters. The long dark hours often drive a lot of people into a sort of hibernation, of the kind when people’s awareness of happiness, each other and positiveness get dulled. A kind of mutual, understood and accepted depression is spread far and wide in the North. Longing for the sun for so long creates a frenzy in the spring when the weather starts warming up. People lie outside without shirts (in men’s cases) and women in bikini tops when it is hardly plus degrees. You will almost see more people sunbathing in the spring than in the summer.  Crazy, huh?

During these long winters people console themselves with going to warmer countries for holidays, or the less expensive artificial sun in tanning beds.

So, what do people do to combat the dark, cold months? Well, unions have negotiated so people work longer days throughout the winter letting everybody go home earlier in the summer. But this doesn’t help anybody when you get up and it is dark outside and when you finish work or school it is pitch black, so people light candles. Lots of them. Every window has an electric candlestick lighting up the gloomy atmosphere.

Do you live in a country where the climate sets restrictions for daily activity? Any advise for dark climates would be very appreciated.

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  1. BM:

    When I first moved to Norway, the winter was really hard, depressingly so. You go to work: it’s dark. You leave work: it’s dark. Not just gloaming, or twilight, but pitch dark.

    This year, i bought a full-spectrum lamp. The bulbs emit white light, which simulates sunlight. You use it for an hour a day, and it really helps. You can also buy “soft wake-up” clocks which have the full-spectrum light built in, which simulates sunrise.

    Full-spectrum lamps are expensive, but they really do work.

  2. katja:

    Wow, Thank you! I’ll check into these full-spectrum lamps. Where do you live in Norway? And why did you move?

  3. David:

    Well, I live in the north since August and the only thing I found a little annoying was last years November as everything was wet and grey all the time. But when the snow came it became wonderful even the short days. I just love the masses of snow everywhere. Even feeling -30°C was fun and I cycle to work every day thanks to the brilliant invention of spike-tyres. 🙂
    Btw. the last Kupé (SJ) had an article about it in which they cited a couple of scientists who doubt that winter depressions are triggered by lack of sunlight.
    Anyway, my job is fun and I have great co-workers and I guess that is what affects the mood the most and helps getting through the winter.

  4. David:

    One thing I forgot:
    Thanks for your blog, it is a really fun and enlightening read.

  5. katja:

    Hey David, I actually feel a little better. I will also get a job I enjoy so much that I won’t get effected by the weather. Right now though I don’t have any other choice than to go to school.

    I’m very glad you like our blog!

    Do you have any suggestions for topics you would be interested in reading about? Our blogging team is going to brainstorm for topic ideas and requests or ideas would be more than helpful!

    I hope you continue liking your job and maybe tell your co-workers once in a while how much they mean to you…

  6. Stefano:


    my idea to address this problem is to make winter holidays two-three months long and summer holidays one month. it’s easy and gives people who suffer from winter depression a chance to go to sunnier climates – especially people with kids and others bound to the school year would benefit.

    i have written about this here:


  7. Naveed:

    @BM: can you provide more details on that bulb as in where did you buy it from as there are plenty of fakes in the market