Flea Markets in Karlaplan

Spring has arrived, wait or is it Summer (it felt like barely a month ago that Winter had departed) and people are back on the streets in Stockholm. The weekend markets and walking streets are also back. The most popular one is the Hornstull Market, in the western edge of Sodermalm island. It’s hip, young, modern and funky.

But it’s not the only one.

In fact weekend markets are springing up (pun intended) all around Stockholm centred around various themes, and each market has its own character.

Flea markets are the quintessence of entrepreneurship. Individuals commodifying products that they have and selling them to make some side income. This is the amateur base on which business empires have been built. I came across an advertisement about the Saturday market at Karlaplan

Focusing on antiques and second hand products, the flea market is set in a beautifully elegant environment, surrounding a lush fountain in the exclusive Ostermlam district of Stockholm.

Unlike Hornstull, which had many food trucks and finger foods, with a meagre second hand section, the flea market at Karlaplan was almost all about antiques and second hand items.

I walked around but did not ask about the prices, I was checking things out, but not checking-out things, but I’d reckon flea markets have a lot of barter trade and always at a slightly better price than a formal store.

What also fascinated me was the sight of elderly people going around to check the wares of the stall owners out.  Coming from a city state that used to have a night-market (pasar malam) culture, an antique market run by individuals looking to make money but rarly flea markets, the sight was fascinating. Flea markets, especially set up by individuals to sell items are very much the essence of entrepreneurship at its most basic level. And whenever there are flea markets its usually the young who are attracted not the old.

We were walking to the bus stop barely 500 metres away, and came across another market. This time a farmers market selling their regional produce to the market.

From fresh potted plants,

 to freshly cooked meats.

From sauces and cheeses,

to game and herbs.

There is only one flea market in Singapore, that takes place once every three months – a novelty of an activity, and it is usually packed because it is novel.  This farmer’s market was however casual and neighbourhoodly, no big show and tell just a normal part of life.

It may not be much to other people used to seeing farmers markets. But to a city rat from a city with barely a farmers market of a flea market, this was an education – an education about human commerce at its very core.


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