When contemplating a move to Sweden, one can be quite mistaken in thinking that the Scandinavian culture will be somewhat similar to one’s own. This, I find, is especially true of expats and foreigners who come from the US, Britain, Australia, and Canada. We assume that we are moving to a country which will allow us to integrate with ease into a multicultural, white – yet diversified – and progressive society. When we find that cultural mores and differences stand in stark contrast to our own, confusion reigns. There is complaining. Many experience culture shock. There are those who rebel. Some of us become very depressed, and some just get lost between the cracks. Integration into Sweden does not come with a guide book or instruction manual. Until now …
Julien S. Bourrelle, founder of Mondå, seeks to connect people and provide a light in which to guide Swedophiles toward a more satisfying and successful integration. His new book, A Social Guide to Sweden, is a much needed resource for people hoping to understand Sweden and her sometimes rather odd character. Not only for foreigners, the book also shines a light on Scandinavian nuances which will enlighten many a Swede as to how they are perceived by the outside world, and it illuminates the challenges faced by those who seek a new life in the Nordic nation.Read More»
Today, the city of Gothenburg seems so normal, and yet it’s not. People make their way through busy streets already decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. Buses come and go. Shops and businesses are open as usual and the authorities advise people to go about their everyday life. And yet, the daily newspapers splash headlines of terror. An increased police presence is felt at Nordstan, Central Station, and on every street corner. News is quietly discussed among commuters on buses, trams, and in gatherings at local coffee shops.
For the first time in its history, Sweden finds itself living under a high terror alert. Last night’s press conference revealed that Säpo was hunting a suspected terrorist, according to head of security, Director General Anders Thornberg. The threat level was raised to “high” – a level four category out of a possible five. This means, according to Säpo, that the “probability that players have the intent and ability to carry out an attack is high”.Read More»
In the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris, Europe finds itself under a cloud of anxiety and great concern. Trepidation is almost palpable as I walk the streets of Gothenburg under gray skies. News reports – all of them writing about terrorism and the possibility of local threats – are not just writing hyperbole. This is our new reality.
“There is a risk of attack in Sweden,” Sirpa Franzen, press officer at Säpo (Sweden’s security service) told Göteborgs Posten today. “Our most important job is to ensure that something can not happen and that we soon discover if anything is going on. This is work we must never let go.”
News this weekend has alerted the residents of Gothenburg to some startling facts.Read More»
The government has confirmed that Sweden will be introducing temporary border control today (Thursday November 12, 2015) at 12:00 noon.
The Swedish Migration Board sounded the alarm on Wednesday that the steadily increasing pressure on the authority has finally reached critical levels and that Migrationsverket is now unable to fulfill its responsibilities.
“We can no longer guarantee shelter,” Mikael Hvinlund, Migrationsverket, said at Wednesday’s press conference.
“We have since September registered about 80,000 asylum seekers. That is as many as we registered during the entire year of 2014. We have a situation where people are forced to sleep in tents outside our offices, and are sleeping within our reception center. We have a situation where Migrationsverket is no longer able to meet their mission which is to provide shelter to the applicants,” said Hvinlund.
Dagens Nyheter has published a most excellent piece of journalistic writing by Lena Sundström with photos by Lotta Härdelin in an exclusive interview –Five Hours with Edward Snowden. Conducted in late October 2015, the two Swedish journalists traveled to Moscow and came home with an amazing tale which kept me up and reading from 3:00am to 5:00am. Complete with supplements on Snowden’s background, video and audio files, links to every and any thing from whistle blowing to encryption programs, the pair has provided a beautiful piece which sets the scene in a subdued Russian hotel room and shows Snowden’s humor, intentions, philosophy, and discusses his life in exile.
Two and a half years have passed. Edward Snowden – who has become a symbol of freedom of speech, an icon, a face without a body talking on giant screens through links – greets us with a disarming smile and a notebook in his hand.
He immediately asks what we want to eat.
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski. Available for print or online publications and business in the Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations.