8 telltale signs you live in Malmö

Do you live in Malmö, the self-proclaimed capital of Skåne, Sweden’s most southern region? Residents of Malmö, Malmöiter, are known for their love of falafel, their cocky nature and their almost incomprehensible accents. Read on for eight signs you're one of them.

8 telltale signs you live in Malmö
Malmö is Sweden's third largest city. Photo: Werner Nystrand/Folio/

You know where to find the best falafel

Or at least you think you do. Maybe you swear by Värnhems Falafel. Maybe Falafel by Yousef in Jägersro is your go-to. Maybe Köpenhamns Falafel gets your vote. You have strong opinions of how bad the falafel is in cities you’ve never been to. But one thing is for certain – alla grönsaker, blandad sås (“all vegetables, mixed sauce”).

You proudly stand up for your new hometown

Although it’s safer than many cities, Malmö has received a bit of a reputation as a dangerous place where you can barely go outside without something bad happening to you. Your mum has probably called you on at least one occasion to make sure you’re OK after reading a newspaper article about something happening here. You know you’ve been here long enough when you hear yourself responding to her by saying “it’s not that bad, I feel safer here than I did at home!” Although having said that…

You have had your bicycle stolen at least once

This only needs to happen to you once before you learn to invest in a good bike lock. Maybe two. Actually, get three for good measure. And don’t even think about leaving your bike parked in the city centre overnight. In Malmö, “used” and “stolen” are synonyms when buying a bike on Blocket.

You have stopped complaining about how badly the cyclists behave

When you first arrived, you were terrified to cycle. Nobody indicates! People cycle in both directions on the bike paths! Why doesn’t anybody use bike lights? And why did the bike lane just disappear and leave me alone with the cars on a busy road?

That was in the past. Now you just shrug your shoulders and keep pedalling. You know the quickest way to get anywhere is by bike, especially when Skånetrafiken’s public transport network is down for maintenance so you can’t buy a bus ticket. You’re one of us now.

A red and yellow Skåne flag in a sea of supporters of local football team Malmö FF. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

You start doubting how good your Swedish actually is

You thought you were OK at speaking Swedish. You can talk to your colleagues with no problems and were pretty sure you knew what they were saying. You’ve even got a hang of the southern Swedish accent in Malmö, which leaves Stockholmers wondering if they accidentally got off the train in Denmark.

Then you meet your partner’s uncle from other parts of Skåne and don’t understand a thing. “It’s OK”, your partner explains, “he’s from Trelleborg, I barely understand him myself”. It turns out the Malmö accent isn’t the most incomprehensible in all of Sweden, after all.

You’ve gone vegan

Malmö is known as Sweden’s “vegan capital”, with the best vegan food scene in Sweden (if you ask people from Malmö, that is). If you find yourself wondering whether you should cut back on the meat and dairy, you’re a proper Malmöit. It’s not hard in a city with such good vegan places like bakery Leve, restaurant Rau, and Ica Söder’s extremely well-stocked vegan and vegetarian department.

The Öresund Bridge connects Malmö to Copenhagen in Denmark. Photo: Janus Langhorn/

You can go on safari without even leaving the city

Chances are your courtyard is home to an adorable family of wild rabbits. Why are there so many wild rabbits in Malmö? Are there more seagulls than people? You have accepted being attacked by nesting seagulls on your commute as part of your daily life. And are the rumours really true that there are goats living on the island in Slottsparken?

And finally… you talk about going “to Sweden” if you’re travelling north of Skåne

When this happens, there is no turning back. You’re off to visit friends in Gothenburg or Stockholm and you find yourself telling people you’re visiting “Sweden” for the weekend. You’ve forgotten that Skåne is not an independent country, no matter how many red and yellow flags we fly. All hope is lost. You’re a Malmöit now.

Are there any quintessential Malmö experiences you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

Member comments

  1. I lived in Malmo for a year., and I loved it. Coming from Miami, I laughed when people complained about crime. My son Kaj was born in Malmo, and travels to Sweden every year from Ft Lauderdale. I rode my mountain bike all around town( I did have a large U lock), and went into the Bastu in the winter, and jumped naked into the Baltic like a Viking! So much fun. Great people and good Swedish food and international food. Wonderful year abroad.

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John Oliver discovers Malmö’s sexy bins: ‘Just let us enjoy this’

Describing Malmö as "the Ohio of Sweden", John Oliver, the British host of American talkshow Last Week Tonight, has discovered the coastal city's sexy bins, which he reprogrammed with a new message.

John Oliver discovers Malmö's sexy bins: 'Just let us enjoy this'

According to John Oliver, the most interesting thing about Malmö is that it is home to Nina Persson, lead singer of The Cardigans, who became famous in the 90s due to hit track Lovefool.

“If you don’t know anything about Malmö,” Oliver says, “Don’t be discouraged, nobody does.”

Clearly, Nina Persson is not the only interesting thing about Malmö, as Oliver then goes on to discuss Malmö’s dirty-talking rubbish bins, which The Local were the first to report on in English back in summer this year.

Below is our video of the rubbish bins, filmed by The Local’s Richard Orange which you can also spot in the John Oliver clip:

“A reasonable question to this information would be ‘What happens when a child uses the garbage can?’,” Oliver says, adding that “a reasonable answer” would be “shut up! Let’s just enjoy this!”

Oliver was such a fan of the bins that he tasked the aformentioned star of Malmö, Nina Persson, with disposing a bucket of creepy dolls which had previously washed up on a beach in Texas in Malmö’s bins, only to be disappointed when he discovered the sexy voices were “only a summertime event”, and that the bins no longer talk dirty.

Luckily for him, when the show asked Malmö City Council if they could reprogram the talking bins with whatever they wanted, they “very unwisely said yes”.

You can watch the full video below, including context on why they wanted to dispose of some creepy dolls in the first place.