The boy sitting at the back of the bus was maybe 10 or 12 years old. Dark haired and dark eyed, he leaned against the foggy window, hunkered down in the last seat to the right. His hoodie covered most of his face and music filtered from his mobile serenading those of us who also sat in the rear. He wasn’t wearing headphones.
It was some mix of Latino music that filled the bus with a happy beat, but as new passengers entered each, in turn, looked back at the boy. Glaring looks from passengers already seated were also directed toward the kid – it was rude to be playing music out loud. It was rude to be agitating other people with something so personal as one’s own musical selections. No one in Sweden does this.Read More»
My love affair with Sweden always included notions of woodland sprites, fairies, trolls, and nymphs. It seemed to me that in this Scandinavian land, one could experience a special kind of magic found only in a Nordic wilderness.
The culture of Sweden, and her neighbors, has a long history of embracing the spirit of the forest. Nature, and access to nature, is important and it is one of the reasons Allemansrätten (the right of public access) exists, allowing all people to roam freely on any land with the exception of private gardens and homes. Preservation of the environment is nearly encoded in the Swedish DNA and evidence of this is shown through their systems of recycling and waste management.
This love of nature is one of the things which drew me here. But I have to admit, I haven’t taken advantage of the beauty that surrounds me. I have been too distracted with finding work, fitting in, and keeping abreast of the news on my social media platforms.
These are dark times and it is now more important than ever to grab whatever beauty and refuge we can find wherever we can find it. It is more important then ever to indulge in a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of imagination, and to release our minds from the constant onslaught of bad news. More than ever we need to allow our eyes to follow the path of a butterfly, find faces and castles in the clouds, and listen to nothing more than the wind in the trees. Here in Sweden, this can mean simply walking out your door.Read More»
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»
On November 2, 2015, Alice Teodorescu, wrote for Göteborgs Posten a heartfelt article entitled “Det som nu inträffar är ett enormt svek” (What is now happening is a huge betrayal). Within her piece, Teodorescu discusses the apparent reasons for escalating crime in Sweden while other Nordic countries do not seem to share these same high crime rate numbers.
She quotes, Jerzy Sarnecki, Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University, who weighs in with his opinion in a recent SVT interview, “I rather think that we have a much weaker social situation here. What we now see is the result of a failure that extends for twenty years when these young guys grow up and now become the shooters,” (SVT 2/11).
“Our research shows that these problems are not imported but they occur here because of the alienation that society has not succeeded in breaking down.”
Teodorescu agrees, “Sweden is becoming an increasingly divided country, with parallel societies within a society.”Read More»