Writes a friend:
I am in Stockholm. Before I left the US, I had my bank get some Swedish Kroner for me so I wouldn’t have to hassle with this after I arrived. However, the bank gave me many bills of small denomination – this is what they had in inventory.
So I figured that when I got to Stockholm I could go to a local bank and exchange these for larger denominations. Silly me. I asked at the hotel front desk where I could find a bank, describing what I intended to do. The person I asked looked lost. A second person looked equally lost. Eventually three of them put their heads together. After talking together for a few minutes, one let me know that banks in Sweden don’t have cash – if you want cash from a bank you have to arrange it beforehand – to order it, the same way I had to order Swedish Kroner from my US bank (which is at least understandable). They said the best I could do is go to a small shop or market; such places typically prefer to receive smaller bills in exchange for the large ones that they are holding. I decided that none of this was worth hassling with.
BTW, my hotel is proud to be “cash free.”