Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, with nearly 2 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. The inner city is made up of 14 islands across Lake Mälaren and three streams into the brackish Baltic Sea, with the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands, islets and skerries.
In the summer months, you can use the city-operated bike loan service by purchasing a key-card. Bike stands throughout the city allows you to pick up a bike in one stand and leave it in another. A three-day (minimum period) key-card costs 165 SEK and a season pass costs 300 SEK. You may not use a bike for more than three hours at a time, but it is possible to switch to a new bike when returning a used one. Key-cards can be bought at an [http://www.sl.se/templates/Page.aspx?id=1897 SL Center]. Major hotel in the city will have three-day key-card available for guests at the front desk. Note if you want to register for a key card, you will need proof of ID, for example a passport or driving licence.
Several locations throughout the city: Sergelarkaden 6 (''T T-Centralen''), Klarabergsgatan 31 (''T T-Centralen''), Stureplan 2 (''T Östermalmstorg'') and Götgatan 28 (''T Slussen''). A large Stockholm-based fast food chain focusing on submarine sandwiches, wraps and salads, Sandys offer a wide selection, reliable quality and acceptable prices, although not by any means a bargain. Sandwiches 49 SEK (excluding drinks), XL sandwiches 59 SEK, salads 65 SEK.
Systembolaget is the government monopoly chain for selling alcohol. The stores have a wide assortment and helpful, knowledgeable staff. Tax makes beer and hard liquor expensive. Surprisingly, high-end wines can be a bargain. Ask the staff for advice. You need to be able to prove that you are over 20 years old, so be sure to bring photo ID. For more information, see the section on Systembolaget in the ''Sweden'' article. Central locations include:
Rents 3 speed city bikes, 21 speed mountain/hybrids (200 SEK/day), and racers. They have metal-stud snow tyres for winter ice use, but you will have to ask in advance. Helmets are free with the bike, other accessories like panniers can also be rented. Rental period is from 10:00-18:00, full 24 hours, or several days.
Is one of the most popular. Departing from Strömkajen by Grand Hôtel and opposite the Royal Castle (''T Kungsträdgården''), this tour on both the sea and on lake Mälaren passes under 15 bridges and through two locks. Several departures every day, depending on the time of year. 1 hour 50 min, 250 SEK.
BikeSweden offers a variety of high quality bikes in the center of the city. From mountain bikes to children's bikes and city bikes. Child carriers and child seats are available. Helmets are included in the rental price. The bikes have at least 7 gears and are maximum of two seasons old.
BikeSweden offers several guided cycling tours and a variety of high quality bikes in the center of the city. Daily guided drop-in biketours form may-september). BikeSweden offers mountainbikes, children's bikes, racing bikes, trailers, child seats and city bikes.
Memory card for your mobile phone can be rented at several bike rentals in Stockholm. Load your mobile phone with audioguides at 56 of the best sights in Stockholm. Rent by hour, 30 SEK or day 125 SEK.
Additionally, the Foreign Ministry has available other communication channels such as: Online Support (Chat) and Skype. All communication channels of citizen services are available 24 hours a day.
Keep in mind washing machines in Scandinavian countries are connected to cold water only, so the machine actually heats the water, taking up to 3 hours to do a load of laundry.
The official tourist center has a lot of information in several languages and helpful staff. They also sell local transport cards and tickets to museums and sightseeing tours.
Emergency line for Belgians in need, outside of opening hours: +46 70 966 23 46. This is no information line, no visa information will be given on this number.
Departs from Stadshusbron next to the City Hall (''T T-Centralen''), and passes Kungsholmen and other western islands of the city. 50 min, 190 SEK.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation that cannot wait until the next working day, please call the Embassy Duty Officer: (+46) 702 898 904
This pharmacy is centrally located. Service is limited late at night, and can be slow, but they have a very large inventory of specialized drugs.
Departs from Strömkajen and takes you around the eastern parts of the city, passing through the lush Djurgården canal. 50 min, 190 SEK.
Is a tour of some major tourist sights that departs from Gustaf Adolf Torg (''T T-Centralen''). 1 hour 30 min, 300 SEK.
The largest Systembolaget store in Stockholm, with a special selection of exclusive wines
The phone lines for general public are open from 09.00-18.00.
Sigtuna, Sweden's first capital, was sacked by pirates in AD 1187, the Swedes built up fortresses along the inlet of Mälaren. Stockholm is said to be founded by Birger jarl (jarl is a title corresponding to British earl), who had a fortress built on an island later known as Gamla Stan. The first known written records that mention Stockholm date from 1252; this is the considered year of foundation. As the land rose (a continuing reaction since the Ice Age), Mälaren transformed from a bay of the Baltic Sea to a freshwater lake, and the streams through Stockholm became the only waterway between Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. In the 15th century Stockholm replaced Uppsala as the effective capital. Stockholm was an associate of the Hanseatic League, and since its liberation from Denmark by King Gustavus Vasa in 1523, Stockholm has remained Sweden's most important center of commerce, although Gothenburg later became the largest international port. During the 17th century, Stockholm was the base of the Swedish Empire, with a land area twice the country's current size, nearly encircling the Baltic Sea.
Much of the inner city plan was laid out in the 19th century, and the inner city still contains buildings from all ages since the 15th century. Like the rest of Sweden, Stockholm was largely untouched by the World Wars, but, particularly between 1955 and 1975, hundreds of old buildings in Norrmalm were demolished in a large-scale modernization process, emulating similar projects in other European cities.
Since 1901, Stockholm has hosted the annual Nobel Prize ceremony for all categories except the peace prize, which is handed out in Oslo. In the 20th century, metropolitan Stockholm sprawled out across most of Stockholm County, with the development of the Stockholm Metro, famous for its contemporary art. 1950s suburbs such as Vällingby became a model for suburban development in other cities. While most of the attractions are in the inner city, a majority of the citizens live in the suburbs.
Otherwise a safe and calm city, Stockholm is also known for the term Stockholm Syndrome, which was coined to describe a hostage's sympathy for a captor during a bank robbery in Norrmalm in 1973.