I was so pleased to be contacted by New York City resident Brian G. Andersson regarding a very special story and event happening in Sävsjö this weekend. Having found me through my articles at Nordstjernan, Andersson wrote to me about The 375th anniversary of the settlement of The Bronx by Swede, Jonas Jonasson Bronck! A Swede settled the Bronx? Who knew?
This weekend, August 22-24, The Jonas Bronck Center will open in Sävsjö. The center will function as a tourism, historical, cultural exchange, and genealogy center.
A ribbon-cutting and weekend celebration will take place with the local government leaders, including the province’s governor, in attendance. Bronck family descendants will also attend, including one who in his capacity as an Episcopal priest, will be concelebrating the service in the 12th-century church of Bronck’s christening in 1600.
According to The Bronx Historical Society, “The Bronx is named in memory of the area’s first European settler, the Swede, Jonas Bronck. The earliest settlement in The Bronx took place along the Harlem River in 1639, in what is now Mott Haven.”
Andersson, who devoted over 30 years to researching the history of The Bronx and Jonas Bronck, brought this information to the attention of the Consul General of Sweden in New York, who in turn introduced Mr. Andersson to Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Andersson reports, “Dutch documentation uncovered in the last 35 years has indicated that Bronck had emigrated from Holland during the expansion of Dutch efforts in the New World, specifically their colony and company town New Amsterdam. Both the records of his marriage, and the securing and underwriting, his voyage conclusively established the fact that he was a native of Sweden. He was born in Komstad in the present day municipality of Sävsjö about 1600. His parish church, Norra Ljunga – built in the 12th century, is still functioning.
“Bronck emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1639 aboard the Brandt van Trojen (“Fire of Troy”) with his wife and contracted farm hands. He named his farm on the mainland Emmaus. Bronck died in 1643 leaving no children.”
According to Radio Sweden, “Roy Gustafsson, who co-founded the Jonas Bronck Center in Sävsjö, said the town is planning for concerts, lectures, dinners and even visits from the international press, Swedish and American dignitaries and distant descendants of Bronck.
“Five thousand to ten thousand people are coming and there are only five thousand people in Sävsjö,” Gustafsson said to Radio Sweden.” You can listen to Gustafsson’s interview with Radio Sweden here.
These events are being celebrated in conjunction with the Bronx Borough President’s office, Bronx Chamber of Commerce and Jonas Bronck Beer Company.
Photo above: Co-founders Brian Andersson and Roy Gustafsson
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. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com
It’s more than a matter of semantics …
Recognizing that this an election year, I hope the following reflects true good and not just some political posturing:
A report released this week revealed that an EU-high 91 percent of Swedes thought that “immigrants contribute a lot to Sweden”. That figure represented the highest score of all EU countries, where the average was 48 percent.
The news left Sweden’s Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag beaming. “This is a positive result, fantastic actually,” he told The Local on Friday. “It means Sweden and Swedish people have become more used to immigration.” – Reported by Oliver Gee, TheLocal.se
At first glance, this would seem to be very good news. It does, however, beg a question that I have wanted to address for some time now. What exactly is the Swedish definition of immigrant?
From what I have read and experienced in my Swedish wanderings, it seems that when discussing immigration in Sweden its meaning defaults directly to the newcomers known as refugees. What Sweden fails to recognize is that there are more immigrants in Sweden then the newest population of people who have had to flee their home country. The other immigrants, the ones falling through the cracks, are the people who came to Sweden by choice. They came for love, for work, or as trailing spouses. There are expats, love-pats, foreign nationals, and refugees. They are all immigrants. Many are highly educated. But these “others”, it seems, have been forgotten.Read More»
Sometimes things happen which really put life into perspective.
For some time now I’ve been complaining and feeling as if, since my move to Sweden, that my identity is being systematically erased. When making the move to Sweden, I was well aware that I’d have to give up my home, my car, and most of my personal belongings. I was also aware that when arriving here I would have to start again, I would have no credit history, and would have to rebuild my business. I could deal with all that. I did it voluntarily.
What I wasn’t aware of was that in addition, it would be very difficult to find work or clients as an immigrant. My college education would mean nothing and the fact that I ran my own business in the US would mean even less. I also learned that while my US driver’s license is still valid in the US, it is no longer valid in Sweden (after a year you must replace the license from your home country with a Swedish one at the cost of approximately 5000SEK or 770USD). To me my driver’s license meant freedom … independence. It was something I had since I was 16 years old.
This really was starting to get to be too much. I felt like not only was I having to rebuild a life but that I was, in fact, going backwards. All the accomplishments I had made over the course of my adult life … were being eliminated or were not acknowledged at all.
I am an asshole.Read More»
Today I write to you from my new home away from home. The weather in Göteborg has been absolutely brilliant, so you must know that in order to pull me away from sunshine and spring weather, this new abode must be quite remarkable. It’s not my favorite coffee shop, or a writer’s corner tucked inside some cozy pub. It is Gothenburg’s new City Library, reopened last Wednesday with a five day celebration from April 23 – 27th.
Closed for a two year renovation period, the place is now filled with light, clean lines, and well laid out interior spaces. The architecture combines elements from the original structure with sleek modern embellishments. (More of my photos of the new library available here.) There are full length windows for the writer, reader, or dreamer to gaze out toward Götaplatsen’s busy avenue and cozy modern seating is ample. One can also take advantage of secluded areas nestled away for those who wish a bit of time to reflect or to simply take in the pages of a good book.Read More»
I’m feeling rather benevolent towards Sweden these days. I know! Crazy, right? I’m not sure why but perhaps it has something to do with the longer days. Perhaps also the sunshine, the flowers, the coming of Easter and its colorful and very unique celebration here in Sweden. It could also have something to do with the fact that my fella purchased for me a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 as a gift. I love it. I’m a sucker for presents … They make me happy.
But I digress, I’ve also recently witnessed several acts of random kindness on the streets of Gothenburg and this brings me a renewed sense of goodwill. Sunshine, it seems, brings out the best in people. So in the spirit of something more pastel, let’s take a look at this weekend’s up and coming holiday. Easter.Read More»