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Anna Bergholtz outside her favourite cafe Under Kastanjen
Photo: Christopher Hunt

Things to do

Anna's top Stockholm cafes, restaurants and cultural hotspots

Anna Bergholtz is a journalist and lecturer, and is blind. These are her favourite cafes, restaurants and cultural hotspots.

When Anna Bergholtz was three years old she was diagnosed with childhood rheumatism. Amongst other things, the disease meant that she developed chronic inflammation in her eyes. Her eyesight deteriorated gradually and she went blind fifteen years ago. This did not prevent her from studying to become a journalist and building a successful career as a radio and newspaper journalist, so that she can, as she puts it, contribute a different perspective and tell stories that otherwise don’t get heard.

Anna grew up in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, but like so many others, was attracted by everything that Stockholm had to offer. She has now lived there for eighteen years and her experience is that, since she first arrived, the city has become a better and better place to live for people with physical disabilities. The new Citybanan has walls along the platform so that visually impaired people don’t risk falling onto the tracks. When you travel on the underground, each station is announced upon arrival. 

Anna is a returning host of the St Julian award, an award that was set up by the City of Stockholm to reward institutes that are adapted for people with differing physical capabilities.  

Anna believes that in Stockholm, it’s the museums and churches that are best at focusing on accessibility. And she highlights an advantage in not being able to see: “Sometimes I get to touch things that I’m not supposed to touch when I go to museums.”

Svartklubben

To get a feel for how it is to live without being able to see, my best tip is to visit Svartklubben on Södermalm. It’s a really good concept restaurant where guests eat dinner in complete darkness. I often take my friends there, partly so that they can understand the importance of other senses then sight and partly to make them aware of how important the voice is when you can not see the body language.”

Astrid Lindgren’s home

My greatest idol is Astrid Lindgren and now it’s possible to visit her home, the apartment she lived in for most of her life, on Dalagatan in Vasastan.  She had the means to live an upper-class life but chose to remain living there anyway, fairly simply. There are preserved prizes and various gifts she’s received throughout the years, so there’s a lot to see. It’s a fantastic experience, but you have to go as a group and book well in advance.

Häringe Slott (castle)

My boyfriend and I often travel around the Mälardalen region and visit different castles and manors. One of our favourites is Häringe Castle, just 25 minutes south of the city. It’s easy to get there and the surroundings  are fantastic and exclusive. Sweden’s matchstick king Ivar Kreuger owned it for a period during the 1930s and added a large outdoor swimming pool that is still there. Also, they gladly welcome dogs at Häringe.

Under Kastanjen

In 2017, the St Julian award went to Under Kastanjen, a patisserie on the small Brända Tomten square in Gamla Stan (the Old Town). It can admittedly be a bit difficult to get around on the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan, but once you’re there, Under Kastanjen does everything just right. They have different coloured tables and chairs to make it easier for people with poor eyesight, they have installed a lift so that it’s easier to get between the different floors, as well as an accessible outside terrace in the summertime. And the cakes they serve are top class too.

Gunnarssons

“One of my favourite cafés in Stockholm is the fine old Gunnarssons on Götgatan on Södermalm. I often have meetings and hold interviews here. Firstly, they have the best pastries in town, and then the service is also very good. They are used to receiving guests with visual impairments (there’s an association for people with visual impairments located nearby), so they always describe what’s being served in detail. And of course, you are welcome there with your guide dog.