A Secret History of the Swedish Cottage

Many know of the brown house that sits in Central Park with a flagpole that flies the Swedish flag? How did it get there? Why? The Swedish Cottage in Central Park, New York, hosts one of the few public marionette theater companies in the U.S. and celebrated puppeteers Tom Lee and Matthew Acheson have now directed a show that chronicles the cottage’s journey from Sweden to America: A Secret History of the Swedish Cottage

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Swedish companies demand SAAB again

During the auto industry crisis few Swedish companies dared buy Saab as official company cars due to the risk of the car manufacturer going bankrupt. This has changed, and more and more companies are ordering Saab cars again. Company cars have traditionally been a vital part of Saab’s home market.

 

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Bill Skarsgård and Mikael Persbrandt in Oscar race

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Nine films remain in the Oscar category “Best Foreign Film”. One of them is Swedish “I rymden finns inga känslor” (“Simple Simon”) by Andreas Öhman, starring Bill Skarsgård. Another one is the Danish “Hämnden” (“In a Better World”) by Susanne Bier, starring Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt. “Hämnden” has already received a Golden Globe award. On Tuesday, January 25 we will know which film will be nominated (it might of course not be either of them, they are both competing with films from Canada, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and Spain). The Oscar Ceremony is on February 27.

From Nordstjernan, the Swedish Newspaper of America.

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Stockholm, Sweden is growing fast

Stockholm’s getting bigger – Sweden’s capital is growing at record speed. The latest numbers indicate the city is approaching 850,00 inhabitants and the county has over 2 million. From 1980 to 2005, the increase was almost always between 10,000 and 20,000 per year, but in 2006 the pace increased dramatically; in the last five years, the county’s population has increased with about 163,000 inhabitants. The city of Stockholm has had a somewhat less stable development curve. After steady growth Stockholm reached 603,000 inhabitants in 1960. Then there was a downturn that did not stabilize until 1981. But since then the city has demonstrated an increase each year. And in the last five years, the increase has been nothing but enormous―around 85,000 in five years! The official population figures will not be published until February, but in round numbers, the city of Stockholm had 847,500 inhabitants and Stockholm County 2,053,000 on New Year’s Eve. The strongest reason is a relatively young population with a record-high birth rate and high immigration. Labor migration from Eastern Europe, for example, is the largest immigration group from Poland.

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The new Swedish words

“Bloppis, askänka, kaffeflicka…” The Swedish language has expanded. The year that passed has given us new words. Språkrådet has put together its annual list of new words that has entered Swedish. “Preferably the new words should hint at events that have taken place during the year, but it can also be other words that somehow are current,” says Birgitta Lindgren, who is responsible for the new words at Språkrådet. Språkrådet collects words throughout the year, by reading newspapers and by having people like you and me send in their suggestions. “Anyone can send in suggestions,” explains Birgitta. “We are happy to hear from people who suggest new words.” Some words have short shelf lives, but others linger. Some of the new words from 2010 are: app (as in an application that can be downloaded for a mobile phone), askänka (literally “ash widow”, a person who awaits her spouse who’s been prevented from traveling due to the volcano on Iceland), bloppis (sales of second hand stuff online), kaffeflicka (a young girl who is invited to somebody’s house as something “sweet to the coffee”) and kalsongbombare (a terrorist who hides a bomb in his underwear).

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The privileged are privileged, even in Sweden

‘Prince Porsche of Sweden’ Prince Carl Philip is driving around town in a luxury Porsche worth hundreds of thousands of dollar, but he’s not paying for it. “It’s an extension of our collaboration that he uses our products even privately,” says Bo Jansson, director of Porsche in Sweden. For many years Carl Philip drove a leased Volvo XC90, but now he is driving a new Porsche Cayenne S hybrid―worth $145,578.20. Porsche Sweden loaned the car to Flash Engineering, Carl Philip’s racing stable, which in turn loaned it to the prince. “The car was delivered in November,” continues Bo Johansson. Janne “Flash” Nilsson, owner of Flash Engineering, was the one who suggested Carl Philip should drive the Porsche. “When the car came, I thought it was good because of his part as a motor prince and because he is knowledgeable about the motor business. He could try it and see what he thinks about hybrid cars.” Each year the King of Sweden and his royal household get over 120 million SEK ($17,469,696.68) from the Swedish taxpayers in appanage, money that the rest of the family gets a share of. Add to that the family’s own capital. In spite of it all, the prince drives around in a Porsche―and doesn’t pay a penny for it. Doesn’t sound too good to Swedish ears…

To us, it sounds more like same old, same old… anyone who’s in a position where he or she can take advantage of freebees, offers or special treatment will go for it, regardless of country, title or origin. In egalitarian Sweden it comes as no surprise – “some where always ‘more equal’ than others…”

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New Year’s resolutions – easy to make, harder to live up to

We love them and we hate them―Nyårslöftena. Recent research shows that while 52 percent of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12 percent actually achieved their goals. Expressen, the Swedish daily, shows some tips to make you belong to the 12 percent.1. Motivate yourself. To make sure you are motivated to change, make a list of the things you’ll gain by changing your habits. For instance think of all the books you can read if you quit surfing the Web.2. Reward yourself. It’s easier to attain a goal if you have smaller goals along the way. If your resolution is to start exercising, then make it your goal to exercise twice a week for a month to begin with. When you’ve done that, you can step it up.3. Visualization. When you feel like giving up, try to visualize yourself in the future, after you’ve reached your goals. 4. Move on. If you fall off the wagon, don’t stay there. Pick yourself up and get back on. No big deal. 5. Be realistic. Instead of saying “I’m going to quit smoking” ask yourself how. Perhaps going cold turkey isn’t the thing for you. And what does “eat better and exercise more” really mean? What are you going to eat more or less of and how much are you going to exercise? Be specific and be realistic.There are religious parallels to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. During Judaism’s New Year―Rosh Hashanah, through the high holy days and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)―one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually. The top three New Year’s resolutions for Swedes are: 1. Start exercising 2. Quit smoking 3. Eat healthier.

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