King for a day – Salary weekend in Stockholm

"stockholm" "spybar" "lönehelg"
Kungen i baren

Just another small observation from the land of the midnightsun: When people get their salaries, hell breaks loose. The phenomenon is called “lönehelg” – “salary-weekend” and happens twelve times per year, always on the weekend after the 25th.

The entire working population gets paid that day. Swedes then feel so rich, they take their wallet to the next open bar and buy drinks until they wake up the next morning and it dawns on them – they need to eat spaghetti for the rest of the month.

The week before the 25th is tough for those running Stockholms nightlife, and this is especially true for the one in January. I actually just learned that “week 3” (Swedish calenders count weeks) is considered the poorest of the year. After all Christmas presents, parties and the family vacation in Thailand, Swedes are collectively broke and can’t wait for saturday of week 4.

Today is saturday, week 4. Newspapers write stories like: “Messy salary-weekend in town”, (people get very drunk and vandalize the villages shopping street), hundreds of bloggers write about the gadgets they are going to buyand even editors at newspapers are waiting for a big bang: Jenny Petersson at Helsingborgs Dagblad: “It is empty in many purses and we feel it in the editorial team. The past week the phones were silent, almost nothing going on. (…). entertainment industry seems to crouch in anticipation of the year’s most longed for salary weekend.”

Why? This nation is so good at averages – have they really not managed to develop a feeling for the median of their personal wealth? And shop accordingly?

Watch an expert, Magnus Uggla (also known for his song “never dance sober”) sing about the subject on one of Stockholms most beautiful outdoor stages. The point seems to be that it is worth to live on crackers and tabwater if you just can be king for a day.

In German there isn’t even a word for “lönehelg”, so no wonder I don’t understand. But am working my way around this: This weekend is spent at home with books, bathtub and Crémant. And Ikea is never visited earlier than the 16th of any given month.


  1. Ha! spoke with friends about this topic while reading it. my friend works for weekdays in germany and knows about this lönehelg. she says in germany the salary-weekend is terrible too and she needs two more people in the store… and also she buys at that weekends although it makes no sense as you never know, what happens through the month.. I for myself learned the lesson. I buy at the last weekend, really short before the salary arrives and spend the leftover of my money. in case there is a leftover…

    1. Well, isn’t Weekdays still Swedish?
      I also remember people saying “maybe next month” (in Germany) but I have never experienced this kingforaday-phenomenom – at least the people around me tend to spread their starqualities over the entire month. But of course thats based on a small sample. Do people in Cologne storm the bars on the 25th?

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