In Stockholm, we are in the middle of winter sport break. Called Sportlov it’s a traditional time for the schools to close mid-term and Swedes to head off to the ski slopes.
This tradition was introduced in 1940 and was initially a way to save energy. Heating up schools cost money and, due to rationing, councils were instructed to drastically reduce their heating expenses. To give the pupils something meaningful to do while the school was shut, the authorities organised various activities, many focused on being outdoors and exercising. During the 50’s, experts realised that infection spread less widely at this time of the year if schools were closed for a week. So the winter sport break became cemented as an official disease control method.
Nowadays, many families drive up to the mountains to go skiing, some fly off to the Alps for the same purpose. Others head for warmer climes.
For those of us left in town, it’s wonderful.
There is hardly anybody on the buses and tube, traffic is significantly thinner and less noisy and it’s easy to get a seat at lunch time. Add to this the current snow storms and it is sheer bliss.
And the fact that there are hardly any children in town means the rest of us don’t get infected with nasty kid flu bacteria on our way to work.
That’s what I call a win-win!