Aug 11, 2017
Stockholm, with its plentiful green spaces, and sustainable lifestyle, is the essence of “lagom”. But what exactly is this uniquely Swedish concept? And how has it transcended the Scandi-obsession with the Danish “hygge”?
“Lagom is often described as ‘not too much, not too little, just right’ to denote moderation,” says Stockholm writer, Lola Akinmade Akerstrom whose new book Lagom, The Swedish Secret of Living Well is an illustrated guide to understanding lagom.
Whereas hygge is about a little extra comfort – think cosy cafes with atmospheric candles and winter warming soups – lagom refers to a different type of Scandinavian experience. It’s more outdoorsy and active; an appreciation of natural beauty, emphasising quality over quantity.
“The reason why people say lagom is difficult to translate is because it means different things in different situations,” Akerstrom explains further. “It can mean ‘appropriate’ in social settings, ‘moderation’ in food, ‘less is more’ in decor, ‘mindfulness’ in well-being, and ‘sustainability’ in lifestyle choices.”
As editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm – a travel website emphasising a more thoughtful pace to sightseeing in Stockholm – Akerstrom stresses that lagom focuses on experiences that you can easily sustain. She recommends, “A long stroll around the lush green island of Djurgarden followed by a fresh organic lunch made from handgrown ingredients at greenhouse cafe Rosendals is a wonderful lagom experience.”
Restaurant Oaxen Krog & Slip combines mindful dining with sustainability. Ingredients are sourced from local producers, grown in their garden and hand-picked in the wild. Housed in an old shipyard, the restaurant possesses two dining rooms, bistro Slip (above), and Michelin-starred Krog. Inspiration from the sea is evident from hanging boats to the award-winning seasonal dishes of chef and owner Magnus Ek such as his langoustine with ramson (wild garlic), grilled Skilleby salad, dried lard and roasted buckwheat.