What is Scouse? Over the course of the last century, to different people, to different generations, and to different sections of society, the word has taken on very different meanings. It’s been used as a term of endearment, a stick to beat Merseyside with, an integral part of football chants on both sides of Stanley Park and the M62, and as a simple name for a simple dish synonymous with the port of Liverpool.
In a scene in the 1964 Beatles film A Hard Days Night, George Harrison is sarcastically labelled a “Scouse of distinction” by John Lennon for trying to come across as sophisticated. This, at the height of Beatlemania, is perhaps one of the first and most famous uses of ‘Scouse’ in popular culture. It not only is a clear indicator of time and place – as Liverpudlian accents hardened in the late 60s and 70s, ‘Scouse’ would become ‘Scouser’ in more ways than one – but also illustrates the word’s solid working-class roots; Even suburban Lennon felt comfortable ribbing George for trying to be posh.
The roots of ‘Scouse’ go much further back than the swinging ‘60s and the Fab Four however, and as with most things Merseyside that aren’t football or Beatles, the story looks out to sea…
By the late 1870’s and early 1880’s the number of Scandinavian emigrants passing through Liverpool per year, on their way to a new life in the new world, had reached 50,000. In 1870 a Scandinavian priest had been appointed to visit boarding houses and hostels that were housing the new emigrants across the city. By 1883 however, such was the size of this Scandinavian congregation, the Danish consul for Merseyside Anders Kruuse Caröe commissioned his son to build a committed centre of worship on Park Lane, just a short walk from the docks that had acted as a gateway to the city for so many of his compatriots. Thanks to the kind nepotism of Caröe, and some good old-fashioned Scandinavian efficiency, Gustav Adolf Church – or the Scandinavian Seaman’s Church – was completed just a year later in 1884, and opened its doors to offer a place of worship and boarding for those arriving from Sweden, Norway and the rest of Scandinavia.
The Caröes and their striking octagonal masterpiece left their impression on the city of Liverpool, but it was the simple, affordable dish that came across the ocean with weary Scandinavian seamen that would make the most indelible mark on Merseyside. Swedish Lapskojs was a simple stew made from leftover meat and vegetables. When sailors  weren’t  sailing or resting they were eating, and over the course of the next century, Lapskojs would become Scouse, and Liverpudlians – such was their affinity with the dish – would become Scousers. 
SEVENSTORE caught up with Mo Yaro, a native Liverpudlian who has been living in Stockholm since 2014, to check out Liverpool’s incredible Scandinavian church to discuss the similarities and differences between the Swedish capital and his hometown, and to visit SKAUS to see what 2021’s iteration of an icon tastes like… 
“You see a lot of things when you come back that you didn’t notice before you lived in Stockholm. Similarities, the influence. Even being in the church and hearing people speak Swedish, it sparks something in you, you know?” explains Mo, grinning from ear to ear. “It kind of reminds me how Scousers are. You know when you go somewhere and you hear a Scouse accent, and you’re like ‘THAT’S Scouse. What is he doing here? Or what is she doing here?”
“The first thing I knew about the church was when I lived here, and my ex who was Swedish told me about it, and I was kind of surprised, but you think about it and this area is called ‘The Baltic Triangle’ and you’re like… ah, yeah. Of course, it’s not that surprising. I think it’s Liverpool in a nutshell, really. Diverse comes to mind. I would say the cities are very similar. Stockholm is a diverse city, with some rough areas, and there’s a lot of cultural exchange in those areas.”
Mo, who was one of the instigators of the Baltic Triangle’s now iconic live music venue 24 Kitchen Street, left Liverpool in 2014 in search of something a little more sedate. With his then partner, he set up life in her homeland of Sweden.
“I was a bit, like… what’s Sweden like? I was expecting it to be all countryside and rolling hills, blonde girls called Helga. I got to Stockholm and was absolutely blown away. It’s a beautiful place, and a brilliant city. The big difference between Sweden and here is, when you’re in Sweden you look around and nature is all around you. It’s always a stones throw away. Stockholm has a lot more of a conservative approach to society. People are a little more closed off. Everybody really respects each other’s space, but almost to a degree where it all becomes quite closed off.
Over here it’s more about the people. Scousers are so rich, in terms of character and warmth. People will just turn around and have a full-on conversation with you about anything, even if you don’t know them. They’re so open, and give so much of themselves so willingly. Coming back you really notice that, and that’s a big difference culturally.”
Over a bowl of Scouse in Allerton Road’s SKAUS, a Scandinavian inspired cafe south of the city centre, Mo shared more about his connection to Stockholm and the place he grew up. Common themes emerged, and they all Linked back to the people who first made that journey across the ocean.
“You can see the influence, and you can still hear the accent around Liverpool. Like Scousers, Swedes are very curious people. They get out there, they get around the world. They’re adaptable, and they’re travellers. I suppose that’s where the crux of this story comes from.
There’s a huge connection to Liverpool in Stockholm, and on the surface that’s predominantly through football. I work in a school and we have hundreds of kids, they all ask me where I’m from and when I say Liverpool they go mad. They’re all running up to me shouting talking to me about Liverpool and Mo Salah, and it’s kind of hard to figure out how that has happened.  They’re all absolutely fanatical. They’re real, real football fans and they love Liverpool, but it goes deeper than that.

Connecting an alliance between Stockholm and Liverpool, adidas’ Stockholm rendition from their famed City Series collection emphasised such association. Adorned in blue and yellow so often associated with Sweden, the low-profile silhouette matches up classic imprints of suede, gold-foil detailing and three stripe branding for another definitive model.

The adidas Stockholm sneaker is available to register to purchase on SEVENSTORE Launches now.

Writer: Dan Sandison
Photographer: Jon Turton
Special thanks: Mo Yaro

The adidas Stockholm sneaker is available to register to purchase on SEVENSTORE Launches now.