A little-known fact about Sweden is that you used to need a permit to dance. In fact, it wasn’t until July 1st that the permit system for dancing was done away with in Sweden.
Dancing permits, also known as “dansstopp”, came about in the 60s and 70s when society was concerned about the morality of dancing. Authorities worried that late-night dancing could lead to crime and promiscuity, and to combat the perceived danger authorities heavily regulated and limited the hours in which people could dance in public. Obtaining the permits themselves also proved to be challenging, and non-compliance with the regulations carried the risk of fines and venue closures.
Just in time for summer
To the relief of many, all of this changed on July 1st when the permit system was abolished. Martin Axén, who runs the bar and cultural venue Grand in Malmö, says that doing away with the system will free up the time he had to spend on bureaucratic paperwork, complaining about the inefficiency, and long processing times of the permit.
On the other hand, DJ and producer Kornél Kovács thinks the dance permit had only a minor impact on the nightlife industry, “It is obviously an outdated and absurd law that needs to be removed, so this is a step in the right direction. But there are still major legal, societal, and political obstacles to creating a good nightlife in Sweden.”
Kovács says he considers alcohol legislation to be a more significant obstacle to a thriving nightlife compared to the now obsolete dance permits.
Read more on Dagens Nyheter