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Aug 18

Five things you never get used to in Sweden

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Other

The Local’s northern Sweden reporter Paul Connolly truly loves his adopted home. But after three years of living in Scandinavia, he’s convinced there are at least five Swedish habits and traditions he will never come to terms with.

Read more here.

Hm. Maybe I’m secretly English? Or Irish (I’m thinking about the hair.)

About Conformity – sometimes you can have a hard time fitting in, because you’re less outgoing than the average Swede, not more. Being shy and not social seems to be a deadly sin in some circles.

My personal list (for a Swede living in Sweden):

1. The barbecues. Oh, the stench that fills the air everywhere people live.

2. The bicyclists riding their ridiculously expensive conversation pieces on the sidewalk/pavement ringing their annoying bells. Really? Don’t they know that when there’s no actual bicycle lane they’re supposed to go in the street, with the motor traffic. The sidewalk/pavement is actually for people walking.

3. Neighbors – watching, spying, judging. Need I say more?

4. The contrasts between the extremely well educated and/or the rich and on the other hand the uneducated and uncultured.

5. The enormous difference in service available between Stockholm and the rest of the country. You basically can’t get anything – culture, food, clothes etc of any quality outside the capital unless you can order online.


Sep 29

Interesting lecture

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014 in Humanities, My life, Other

Today I went to listen to a very interesting lecture about the Norwegian Resistance during WWII, or rather the interactions between the Resistance and Swedish people living close to the Norwegian border.

It was a bit surprising to me that the rather rural, and in my eyes primitive nearby region, the ‘backwoods’, had such a heroic and adventurous past.

The woman who did the lecture had written a book about the interaction with the Resistance, and was apparently behind an exhibition that was the starting point of her book and the lecture we heard today.

Something I had no idea about until today, was that during the war the region (where our little cottage is) was forbidden to any outsider, because of fears of espionage.

One funny story was about a little Finnish ‘war child’ who had been a little too observant in the farm where she lived. She’d found an amazing piece of silk fabric (a parachute) hidden in the barn and had to be kept quiet. So a man, working with the Resistance, who was known to be very eloquent and also kind to children, traveled all the way out into the woods and gave her a big, expensive doll, on the condition that she kept quiet. There was a photo of the girl holding two dolls, one of which was probably the ‘bribe’.

A rather less funny story, was about a Swedish man who for the rest of his life was the target of threats from old Nazis.

Some members of the audience had stories of their own to tell. One of them was really touching and sad. The sister of a man in the Resistance was a journalist. She wasn’t careful enough about her activities and was caught by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp. At the end of the war, she was taken by the famous Swedish White Buses (sent by a Swedish count) to the south of Sweden, but the first night there, she died. Despite what you might think, apparently mother was ‘happy’ that her daughter had died in Sweden (i e not in a gas chamber).

I’m glad I forced myself up at rather an early hour, despite my cold (which isn’t too bad, but still) to go and listen to this lecture. It was fascinating and I learned so much about a time in our history that isn’t very well known to the general public. (For instance, much of this has been classified until recently).

Jan 29

A suggestion…

Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 in Whining

Recently we learned that Sweden can only defend itself against an enemy attack for a week.

I have an idea. Let’s trick the enemy into the dreaded ‘phase 3’ (the terminus for Swedish unemployed) and humiliate them to death! ;D

Jun 22


Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 in Humanities

The first place is Östersund. The reason I’m so interested in this town is that I used to live there, for a while when I was very young. As far as I can remember now, i was very happy there. It’s a beautiful town, in a beautiful spot. The entire region is beautiful, but I’ll go into that in a later post.

It says on Wikipedia that Östersund is the only town in present day Sweden to have been founded and chartered in the 18 century. I didn’t know that. What I did know was that people from the south colonised it, to tax the free farmers who lived up there and were more or less independent of any king of archbishop.

The town lies on the shore of a lake, and in the lake there’s an island where many of the town’s inhabitants live. One of Sweden’s most famous composers made his home there and the house is open for visitors today. There’s a runestone on the island, the world’s northernmost runestone.

Just like Loch Ness, Storsjön (The big lake) has a monster! In fact, at least one other lake in Sweden supposedly has one, but Storsjöodjuret is the most famous.

There’s a lot more to say about Östersund, but I want to keep this short. I’ll just say that I have many fond childhood memories from Östersund.


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