During the conference it will be autumn, so the amount of pollen should not be exorbitantly high. If you have any food allergies, please inform the local organisers (mentioning it with the registration will do).
Banks are open from Monday to Friday. There are several bank branches in the centre of Kiruna. There is a Sparbanken Nord branch at Flyttleden 1A and a Nordea branch close by at Föreningsgatan 9. Both Opens Mon – Fri , 10:00–13:00. There is an ATM also at the Nordea branch.
The climate in Kiruna is comparatively mild for its latitude. The average maximum daytime temperature in Kiruna in September lies at 10°C (50°F). The average minimum temperature goes down to around 2°C (38°F) (often the minimum temperature is noted at night). Rainfall during Sewtember is high with an average of 33 mm. There are generally around ra6iny days in October in Kiruna.
During the conference excursion we will have a walk around some interesting areas. Thus, you have to have apt shoes Furthermore, the air is usually clear on fine days and the sun can be intense and sun protection might be necessary. Please make sure that you have the following items with you:
· Good shoes with good profile, trainers are OK.
· Sturdy trousers and shirt with sleeves.
· Sunhat and sunglasses.
· Sun screen.
· Umbrella and/or rain jacket
Kiruna is a comparatively safe place. However, there has been a rise of drug-related and petty criminality during the last years. Thus, it is not wise to leave your property unattended. If you want to report a crime, contact the local police via the phone number 11414. Alcoholism can be a problem, so it is wise to avoid some parks and places where a lot of drunk people gather.
We do not plan any extreme activities, so people should be safe if they take care under the excursion. Although great care will be taken by the organisers to ensure safety of participants, it cannot be fully excluded that accidents or illnesses happen. Participants will take part in all activities of the course at their own risk and the organisers do not have any liability for accidents or illnesses affecting any attendee(s) due to course activities. If participants wish not to take part in part of the activities due to safety or health reasons, this is perfectly OK. The organisers will make a reasonable effort to avoid any disadvantage for attendees because of that.
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in Lapland, but are less frequent in autumn. Usually they tend to disappear around mid-September. The only venomous vertebrate is the common adder, which is best left alone when spotted.
· Be punctual
· Respect traffic rules and, especially speed limits, Fines are draconian.
· Relinquish your seat immediately for older persons in public transport vehicles.
· Be modest in your conversations.
· Tip around 5 – 10 % for good service at restaurants.
· It is alright to address people with their forenames (unless you talk to the King or any other extremely high-ranking person).
· In shops, bank or offices, you often have to draw a queue number.
· Expect detailed rules to be in place even for petty things.
· Disrespect rules, especially in traffic.
· Eat or drink in buses or trams
· Smoke outside designated spaces. In many public places smoking is forbidden.
· Talk in detail about your property, position or salary (considered as boasting)
· Expect public transport to be punctual
· Expect to be addressed as “Doctor” and Professor”. Titles are fairly unimportant in Sweden
There is definitely no dress code at the conference.
One should try the local apple juice. Swedish cider has, strangely, got very popular in foreign countries recently despite its fairly artificial taste. There is no significant amount of grape wine grown in Sweden, but there are a lot of microbreweries and the different types of spice and corn brandy “Akvavit” are very popular. It is common to eat the first (fish) course of a Swedish buffet with a small glass of strong liquor – “the fish must swim”(often accompanied by a small song “snapsvisa”). Alcoholic drinks above a certain (very low) strength can only be bought in state-owned liquour stores (“Systembolaget”). Taking drinks bought at the restaurant/bar off the premises and consumption of alcoholic drinks at the venue are not allowed. There is no general prohibition to drink in public (although it has been outlawed in some parks and other places), but it is generally seen as a very loutish behaviour.
Car headlights must be lit at all times (even during the day and the Nordic twilight). Traffic drives on the right. In the course of 2008 and 2009, the former Swedish Road Administration and certain municipalities introduced new speed limits. These were based on a more flexible ten-step system which means that the existing speed restrictions now are supplemented by new speed limits of 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 km/h. Fines for speeding are very heavy, if you exceed the speed limit a certain amount even your driving licence is in danger. Your vehicle must carry a warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and wheel chocks. Seat belts are compulsory in front and rear seats.
DO NOT drink even minute amounts of alcohol before and during driving. The legal limit of alcohol in the blood is zero and drink-driving is punished by heavy fines and/or imprisonment. The same applies for steering marine vessels under the influence of alcohol. Credit cards are accepted at most petrol stations. Often they are unmanned and open 24 hours a day. For emergency car repairs call the “Assistancekåren” service, toll-free within Sweden, Tel 020 912 912(number available within Sweden only). In case of road emergencies call 112. Take the road signs (with the moose) warning for animals crossing roads very seriously. In northern Sweden, collisions with mooses (who seem to think that cars are not dangerous for them) are one of the most common car accidents. Reindeers are more careful but often fall victims of car accidents. Accidents with animals should be reported to the police.
Emergency 112 is the general emergency line throughout the European Union (similar to 911 in the U.S.) By the way, Sweden was the first country to introduce a general country-wide emergency number.
Although Swedish food is down to earth and one cannot expect Haute Cuisine (and can happily forget the associated chi-chi), it is now internationally highly appreaciated ad in some places even fashionable. Traditional Swedish food “Husmanskost” is sometimes a bit onthe heavy side to support people with energy to work hard in a rough climate. Soups are popular, pork and beef are widely eaten, since a couple of years lamb is more frequently seen. Swedes are fond of mincemeat, in form of meatballs (“köttbullar”) and mincemeat loafs (“köttfärslimpa”). Potatoes are a common side-dish, often boiled or in mashed form “potatismos” or as fried small potato cakes (“raggmunk”). Very good fruit cakes are found in Sweden, especially in summer. It still somewhat common to eat pea soup with pancakes at Thursday evening. In older times kitchen maids had the afternoon off on this day, so the food had to be pre-pepared. The traditional Swedish buffet “smörgåsbord” consists of three parts. The first part are different kinds of fish (pickled herring, salmon). Then one goes over to the warm dishes (meatballs, “Janssons frestelse”), finishing off with the desserts. It is common to take a new plate with each course.
In Lapland dishes with reindeer meat are very common. Another speciality is the Arctic cloudberry (hjortron).
At lunches, salads and water (even soft drinks) are included in the price.
Coffee is usually served after each meals and often free in restaurants. Bread is also put on the table before meals and included in the meal price.
Sweden is an associate member of the Schengen agreement which exempts travellers from regular personal border controls between 21 European Union (EU) countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) and two European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Norway and Iceland), as well as Liechtenstein and Switzerland. People coming from Great Britain and Ireland are subject to personal border controls upon entry to the Schengen area. Border controls can, however be imposed on travellers from all states. A list of countries whose citizens need a visa to visit Sweden can be found here. If you need a visa, please start the paperwork AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Not only can handling times be long, but it might be difficult to find the embassy responsible for citizens of your nationality and location. In many states, Swedish embassies do not hold consular offices and the visa applications are handled by embassies of other countries (and then also apply the rules of other countries). Information about conference visa can be found at the Website of the Swedish Migration Board.
The hotels offer Wifi connections. Free Wifi is getting more common also in Sweden in cafes and restaurants.
In case of emergency, call 112 (general emergency). In case of non-emergency it is best to contact the next medical centre “Vårdcentralen”. Kiruna hälsocentral, Thulegatan 29, 981 28 Kiruna. It opens Monday-, Friday 07:45-17:00. There is a consultation fee. Furthermore, waiting times can be very long and reaching the center by phone to book an appointment can be a lengthy affair.
If you are a citizen of any of the Nordic, EU/EEA countries or Switzerland, you have access to essential health care if you register beforehand at a social insurance office in your home country and obtain a European Health Insurance card. If European health insurance cards are not yet issued in your country, ask for a form E128, or a form E111. With this form you only pay the normal patient fee, just like all Swedes. People from other countries are strongly encouraged to obtain a travel health insurance. Treatments in Sweden without insurance are usually a costly affair. Pharmacies are widespread in Sweden to the new more liberal laws. The nearest one to the venue is Kronans Apotek at Föreningsgatan 6. Its opening hoirs are Mon-Fri: 10:00 13:00 and 14:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. It is also worth to remember that many drugs sold over the counter in other countries are available on prescription only in Sweden (this includes contraceptives). People using medication constantly are advised to bring them with them.
Sweden has its own currency, the “krona”, plural “kronor”, code SEK. Coins exist for 1, 2, 5 and 10 SEK, notes for 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 SEK. Pictures of notes and coins can be found at the website of the Sveriges Riksbank. Cash machines (ATMs), in Swedish “Bankomat” or “Sedelautomat” are never hard to find in Sweden), the closest is at Nordea bank, Föreningsgatan 9. Currency exchanges, however, are more elusive, especially after business hours. Banks often do not offer very good rates, since there is not much exchange business any more due to the widespread use of credit cards. The latter are widely accepted, but sometimes this does not include “Diners” and “Amex” due to their higher fees for businesses.
During the conference, daylight times in Kiruna do not differ very much from Central Europe. Dusks and dawns are longer though.
Post offices are generally located in supermarkets and sweet shops and open during their shopping hours. The nearest one to the venue is at the shop “STOP22”, Konduktörsgatan 22, opening Mon-Fri 05:00-20:00.
Information about the local transport in the region can be found at the website of Norrbottens länstrafik (link: https://ltnbd.se/en/timetables/). For the bus traffic I Kiruna check the website local bus service (link: http://buss.kiruna.se/#/ For information on how to get to Kiruna please check the Venue & Access page For schedules of long-distance trains check the excellent web site of the German Railways (in 6 languages) or the Swedish State Railway
We will have a half-day conference excursion. Please note there will be no other time for sightseeing during the conference, so plan your stay accordingly. Autumn is the optimal walking time in Lapland, so why not extend your stay there?
Shops generally open 09:00 – 18:00 (Mon to Sat), supermarkets even longer and on Sundays. There is a small shop at Camp Ripan also.
Souvenirs from Sweden, and especially Lapland, include:
· Craft products from birchwood
· Products from reindeer horns (beware of fakes from moose horns, which are more porous)
· Sami knives (expensive)
· Silver jewellery from the Sami people
· Jams from arctic cloudberries, cranberries and lingonberries
· Dried reindeer meat an sausages
· Outdoor equipment and clothing (often of very high quality in Sweden).Glassware from Orrefors or Kosta Boda.
· Swedish design
· For children: Brio quality toys and children books by Astrid Lindgren, Gösta Knutsson and many others.l
Taxis are safe and cheating tourists is not very common. Taxis are equipped with taxameters. However, they are expensive. As everywhere, it is a good idea to enquire with the driver beforehand which costs are to be expected and if a fixed rate appear. In some place there are extra charges to enter the railway station or airport area. When setting off, the taxi’s meter should be turned on. It is illegal for driver to smoke or to allow others to smoke in the taxi. The driver is not allowed to ask for more than what is on the meter. Ask the taxi driver for the receipt from the meter’s printer. Credit cards are widely accepted in taxis.
For calls to Sweden: Dial ++46 (the country code for Sweden), then the area code (without the 0) and the subscriber’s number. If you want to make a call from Sweden, dial 00 + the country code + area code + the subscriber’s number. Mobile phones are very common (and annoyingly overused by some people). Pay phones are not so frequent anymore, many of them only
accept phone cards. These have to be bought in advance at the newsagent “Pressbyrån”. The GSM network works on frequencies of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz (dependent on the carrier) . If you are taking your mobile phone with you, make sure that it is able to work on these.
Central European daylight saving time (GMT + 2) will be in force during the meeting. There is no time shift between Germany, France and Sweden and a 1 hour time shift between London and Sweden. If it is 1 o’ clock in London and 2 o’clock in Frankfurt it is 2 o’clock in Sweden. Daylight saving time is in force in Sweden during the meeting.
Tipping is less common in Sweden than in the rest of Europe. In restaurants, service is included in the bill, but if you get a good service in a restaurant where the bill is sent to the table you can tip 5-10 %. In case of bad service it is OK to give nothing.
Called “Toalett”or Toa in Sweden. Often they are marked D or “Damer” for ladies and “H” or Herrar for Gentlemen. At railway stations and in department stores it is common that a charge of 5 SEK applies for toilet usage. Unisex toiets are getting increasingly common in Sweden.
The Kiruna tourist office is located at Lars Janssonsgatan 17. It opens Mon-Fri 10:00-15:00. Its website is www.kirunalapland.se
The electricity supply in Sweden is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz. European-style 2-pin safety plugs are in use. Do not attempt to connect any devices not specified for 220 Volts to the mains.
Sweden uses the metric system. Sometimes the word (hekto) is used for 100g, especially in cheese, sweet and meat shops. For distances, the Swedish mile (mil) is often used and equals 10 km.