Nordstjernan 2407

Page 12

The Swedish North Star, continuously published since 1872. Price per copy $4.25. Volume 152 No. 7 May 01, 2024 The Swedish Newspaper of America p / 15

For the love of licorice

One of the things that many Swedes miss when they leave Sweden, even if it’s only for a short time, is “lakrits”—licorice. Especially the salty variety, which is difficult to come across abroad. But what is licorice?

According to University of Maryland’s Medical Center, licorice is a flavorful herb that has been used in food and medicinal remedies for thousands of years. Also known as “sweet root,” licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to liver disease. The herb has long been valued as a demulcent (soothing, coating agent) and expectorant (rids phlegm and mucous from the respiratory tract). It is still used today for a variety of conditions, although not all its uses are supported by scientific evidence. One human study found that a preparation of licorice may reduce body fat. People who regularly consume large amounts of licorice (more than 20 grams per day) can get elevated levels of the hormone aldosterone, which can cause headache, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Name’s Days of the Swedish Calendar Namnsdagar i maj

May 01

May 02

May 03

May 04

May 05

May 06

May 07

Valborg

Filip/Filippa

John/Jane

Monika/Mona

Gotthard/Erhard

Marit/Rita

Carina/Carita

May 08 Åke

May 09

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

May 15

May 16

SCANDINAVIAN QUIZ

1

When did the Scandinavian buffet become internationally known and spelled “smorgasbord?” A) 1939 World’s Fair in New York B) when Sweden joined the UN in 1926 C) Norway’s 1905 independence day D) when Vikings arrived with lunch for fishermen in Sandwich, England

2 Första Maj is Sweden’s “Labor Day” but it’s also a day for what? A) playing a prank if you missed doing so on April 1 B) eating unpeeled potatoes C) wearing shoes in the house D) working

3 When does a Swede perform a “husesyn,” a special tour of their home? A) after sunset B) before moving in C) when a baby is born D) every time a new guest visits

4 What does the idiom “Ta det långa benet före” (take the long leg first) mean? A) eat dessert first B) be patient C) go quickly D) bigger is better

5 In 1933, which country defined the infamous “Law of Jante,” which downplays individual expression and achievement? A) Norway B) Sweden C) Denmark

6 By 1875, Denmark, Sweden and Norway had merged what? A) their currency B) flag design C) oversight of reindeer D) strict queue rules

7 What is not known to bear the name Nordstjernan? A) an arctic cruise ship B) the oldest Swedish American newspaper C) Swedish bicycles D) the crown princess family’s dog

8 What happens during spring’s Swedish kosläpp? A) cows jump for joy B) single men dance in the moonlight C) winter’s leftover candle stubs get melted D) yarn is donated at public transit hubs to encourage knitting during travel

9 What was Queen Silvia’s professional career outside of her royal duties? A) musician B) chef C) interpreter D) lawyer

10 What sets apart Copenhagen’s Strøget from any other street in the world? A) It has the most water taxis B) it’s the longest pedestrian-only street C) it has folding panels that open ice lanes for hockey events D) every storefront has a hidden Lego brick

Reidar – May 9

The man’s name Reidar is an old Nordic name, and with this spelling has a Norwegian origin. The Icelandic version was Hreidarr, which was formed by combining “Hreid” which means “home” or “house” with the ending “-arr,” meaning unknown. Older Swedish versions were Redhar, Rear and Reor. The name was fairly uncommon before the 20th century, but had a period of popularity during the 1930s and 1940s.

Sofia – May 15

Sofia is a name with Greek origins—“sopheia” which means “wisdom” or “the wise.” The name was popular in Sweden during the latter part of the 19th century and had another wave of popularity during the 1990s. In 2001, Sofia/Sophia was voted the most beautiful girl’s name by the readers of Aftonbladet. Fia is a short form of Sofia.

Reidar/Reidun

Esbjörn/Styrbjörn

Märta/Märit

Charlotta/Lotta

Linnea/Linn

Halvard/Halvar

Sofia/Sonja

Ronald/Ronny

2 NORDSTJERNAN
| May 01, 2024 Nordstjernan (ISSN 1059-7670), founded in New York City in September 1872, is published by Swedish News, 570 Lexington Ave, new York, nY 10022 • Readers services and editorial submissions: P.O. Box 680, Minneola, FL 34755 Periodicals Postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. www.nordstjernan.com, Nordstjernan is published semimonthly, except for the months of January, February, July when it is monthly and August with no issue. POST MASTER: Please send address changes to Nordstjernan, P.O. Box 680, Minneola, FL 34755 Subscription rates: 1 yr. = $67, Two yr. = $119, Three yr. = $165. Contact us at 1.800.827.9333, ext 10 for Reader services, ext 12 for Advertising www.nordstjernan.com • email: subs@nordstjernan.com, advertising@nordstjernan.com
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May 1 | Sunrise &
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CULTURE Namnsdagar May
Answers: 1:A, 2:A, 3:D, 4:C, 5:A, 6:A, 7:D, 8:A, 9:C, 10:B

May TO DO

05.01 SING TO WELCOME SPRING: On “Första Maj” student and men’s choirs gather to sing on university steps and in parks all over Sweden.

05.01 MAY IS FLOWER MONTH / BLOMSTERMÅNAD, as it was once called in Sweden, or lövmånad (leaf month) sometimes in the north. Maj can also mean green leaves and twigs, and as a verb, maja means to decorate with wreaths or green twigs (compare with Majstång - Maypole for Midsummer).

05.01 THE 2024 MAYFLOWER / ÅRETS MAJBLOMMA; This year’s Mayflower, designed by Alexis Monnakgotla Svensson from Stockholm, is a symbol of the work against child poverty. /p5

05.04 THE HAYMARKET RIOT / This event, also known as the Haymar ket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, is the single most influential event in the history of the Labor Movement in the U.S. and the world. What started as a peaceful rally to support workers striking for an eight-hour day turned into a massacre after anarchists threw a bomb. The event is generally considered the origin of International Worker’s Day, May 1.

Dashboard, p4-5

Prestigious prize for Granö Beckasin / Swedes work out / Next pope a Swede? / First Mayflower sold to Her Majesty the Queen / Nine out of ten households have access to 5G.

05.09 EUROPE DAY: Commemorating Robert Schuman’s 1950 declaration of creating a united Europe to preserve peace and create prosperity after World War II. The declaration became the foundation for the European Coal and Steel Community, an organization of six European countries and a predecessor to the European Union. (Europe was never as united as it is today, after recent years’ threat from the east.)

Ethnic roots

There must be something special about the humble swede for it to have acquired so many nicknames … known as a neep, turnip, snagger and even “swede,” the rutabaga’s flavor and flexibility in cooking has been a quiet success for generations after our Swedish forefathers introduced it to the U.S. / p13

All you ever wanted to know about rutabagas (and then some), page 13.

THIS WEEK… MAY 01, 2024 3 The Exchange Rate: $1.00 = SEK 10.86(04.12.2024) Please check if you are a new subscriber, this is a gift or you are renewing your present subscription Renewal ❏ New subscriber ❏ Gift ❏ Name: __________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________ City: ___________________________________________ State: _______________________ Zip: ______________ Telephone: ________________________ Credit card#: __________________________ Exp: _____/_______ Signature______________________________________________ Regular active subscribers: call or use your personal account data, received through the mail or online. (Vasa members, call!) Order a gift subscription now, allow others to stay informed in a Swede way.
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Swedish American Cultural Union (SACU) was recently visited by Congressman Donald Beyer, /p11 Page 15
The
How you use your fingers and especially your thumbs is a sign of cultural identity and signals your country of origin. / page 21. Ruins of the 13th century medieval church St.Per in Sigtuna. Small Swedish towns with a big past - p15

Swedes work out

Swedes exercise more than any other people in Europe, at least according to a European Union survey. In Sweden 70% say they work out at least once a week. This should make the Swedes the best trained people in Europe. Running has always been popular, but what’s the newest trend in exercising in Sweden? Quick and efficient is one; you want to be able to squeeze in your workout between two gaps in your schedule. Oftentimes the training sessions are high intensity, interval or core power yoga. Combining training with recuperation, rest and sleep is another. Some health gurus recommend using a personal sleep trainer. As for us, we’ll do what we always do, combine a healthy amount of time at the gym with fresh air by biking when weather allows and long refreshing walks. A good sleep comes naturally afterward.

Prestigious prize for Granö Beckasin

Granö Beckasin was awarded the Grand Travel Ecotourism Prize at the Grand Travel Awards which took place in Stockholm in February. The prize, which since 2001 has been awarded annually by Naturturismföretagen and the travel industry magazine Travel News, rewards the company that “best brings the country’s ecotourism to life.”

Granö CEO Cecilia Sandström says, “This particular award is a confirmation of everything the team at Granö Beckasin has done right over the years. The ecotourism award proves that you can dare to invest narrowly and sustainably, and that a value-driven company wins in the long run.”

Granö Beckasin, which is a tourist destination with a stated aim of creating growth in the area around Granö in Västerbotten, has been operating for 15 years. It promotes nature in a series of activities that attract visitors from all over the world and aims to create long-term sustainable relationships, occupancy and growth by collaborating with small business owners and entrepreneurs in the locality. Granö Beckasin recently joined the Swedish Tour-

ist Association which represents approximately 250 residences all over Sweden. We covered Granö Beckasin in Nordstjernan issue 16, 2022. For more info, see www.svenskaturistforeningen.se, www. granobeckasin.com

Less revenue in the Swedish magazine industry

The Swedish magazine industry had a tough time in 2023. New data from the organization Sveriges Tidskrifter in collaboration with the Institute for Advertising and Media Statistics illustrates a bleak view for the future. In particular, advertising revenue fell, clearly caused by the recession. The magazine industry has long worked hard to achieve a sustainable digital business model, and figures from 2023 show digital readership increased 23 percent, but this does not compensate for the loss in print, according to Sveriges Tidskrifter (Sweden’s magazines).

Lifestyle magazines in particular are struggling because it is difficult to charge for content that is often found for free on platforms such as Tiktok and Youtube. Just over half the revenue in the industry comes from readers.

4 NORDSTJERNAN DASHBOARD | May 01, 2024 founded in new york city in september 1872 NORDSTJERNAN P.O. BOX 680 MINNEOLA FL 34755 CONTACT US AT 1.800.827.9333 EXT 10 FOR READER SERVICES, EMAIL: SUBS@NORDSTJERNAN.COM; EXT 12 FOR ADVERTISING, EMAIL: ADVERTISING@NORDSTJERNAN.COM WWW.NORDSTJERNAN.COM executive editor & publisher: Ulf Barslund Mårtensson (editor@nordstjernan.com) copy editor: Amanda Olson Robison (editor@nordstjernan.com) managing editor & production: Everett Martin graphic design: Nadia Wojcik (design@nordstjernan.com) contributors:
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Could the next pope be Swedish?

The Swedish Catholic bishop and cardinal Anders Arborelius is mentioned in the French press as a possible papal candidate. The daily newspaper Le Figaro speculates about the time after the current pope. The first two names mentioned are the Italian Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s “foreign minister” and the Hungarian Archbishop Péter Erdö. Arborelius is the third person mentioned in comments about possible successors to the current Pope Francis.

New rules on 24-hour rest

New rules in Sweden require at least 11 hours of rest per 24 hours. The rules create problems for those who prefer to work longer but fewer shifts, such as some firefighters, healthcare workers or those who have long commuting distances to the workplace. Around 100 businesses in Sweden have so far applied for an exemption from the new rules on 24-hour rest, which will apply from autumn 2023. According to Swedish media, 17 of these, including helicopter operations, national specialist care, emergency services and care have been granted an exemption.

Unemployment is increasing among graduates

The number of unemployed among the members of Akademikernas unemployment fund has increased by almost a thousand people between January and February, the organization writes in a press release. In February, a total of 16,063 members were unemployed - an increase of over 4,500 people compared to the same month in 2023.

Demand for new support to study

Many are interested in applying for the so-called adjustment study support (omställningsstudiestöd). During the first day it was possible to apply, CSN received nearly 10,000 applications. The special study support was introduced in 2022 and enables adults to further their education.

The Queen bought the very first Mayflowers

Since the beginning of the 20th century, collecting Mayflowers has been associated with spring. Wednesday, April 10 is the time for children all over the country to start selling mayflowers, traditionally with a green bag and in personal online shops. First to buy Mayflowers is always H.M. The queen who is the Mayblomman organization’s supreme protector. This year, the Queen was visited by Elsa Bellman Falk and Kebba Mbye from Djurgården Football, one of many sports clubs that collaborate with Majblomman.

“It was great fun to meet the Queen. She bought many Mayflowers and we talked for a long time,” Elsa commented after the visit. “The queen was very kind! It was fun selling mayflowers,” Kebba said.

The money from the children’s mayflower sales goes to the organization’s work against economic vulnerability among children in Sweden. The purpose has become increasingly urgent in recent years, notes Majblomman’s general secretary Åse Henell: “Despite Mayblomman breaking records in Mayflower sales last year, we are not enough for all the children who need us. The financial pressure is hard on families with children who cannot afford the most necessary things. This is confirmed by our volunteers. That we can provide financial support to the children in financially difficult times is crucial, and we will do everything to increase Majblomman’s collection.” For more info, see www.majblomman.se

Nine in 10 Swedish households have 5G

Just over 90 percent of Swedish households had access to the 5G network in October 2023. This is a large increase from 2022, when only 57 percent of households had such coverage. According to a PTS report on the expansion, mobile coverage reaches 95 percent of the designated areas. It is mainly along major roads and heavily trafficked railways that coverage is lacking. Eight years ago, the government set the goal that by 2023 all of Sweden should have access to stable, good quality mobile services - they nearly reached the goal.

MAY 01, 2024 5 DASHBOARD | May 01, 2024
Photo: Ida Åkesson SPA Every year HRH Queen Silvia buys the first Mayflowers. On April 10 Elsa Bellman Falk and Kebba Mbye sold the very first May flowers of the year to the Queen. Bishop Anders Arborelius, Roman Catholic bishop of Stockholm and Swedish designated cardinal.

Local Events

California Kingsburg

May 16-18

Swedish Days: Entertainment, food and fun includes a festival parade, pea soup and pancakes, a Swedish smorgasbord vendors and heritage activities for all ages. Downtown, 559.897.1111 / www. kingsburgchamber.com

Connecticut Fairfield

May 11, 3-6 PM

Eurovision Viewing Party: Europe’s favorite television show streams live from Malmö, Sweden via the internet on a jumbo TV. Tune in for every style of music and cheer for your favorite. Scandinavian Club, news@thescandinavianclub.com / www. thescandinavianclub.com

Norwalk

May 10, 6-10 PM

Sofia Talvik: Swedish singer songwriter Sofia Talvik performs with local musicians Sarah Blacker and Karen Zimmer to bring their blend of folk and pop. Factory Underground Studio, www.factoryundergroundstudio.com / www.sofiatalvik.com

llinois Chicago

May 5 & 19, 10-11 AM

Bullerbyn: Sing children’s songs, read fun stories and have lots of fun in Swedish. Only Swedish is spoken in Bullerbyn, so Swedish should be spoken regularly at home too! We meet in the gallery space or the Children’s Museum. For ages 6 months - 5 years with parents. Kids are welcome to stay and play in the Brunk Children’s Museum after the program. RSVP, free/ members, $5/non-member child. Swedish American Museum, museum@samac.org / www.swedishamericanmuseum.org

Through May 26

We Left Home: This exhibit began as a way for Verna Todd to know her quiet dad more deeply. He immigrated as a 17-year-old from the Swedish area of Finland to Hoquiam, Washington. Verna’s photographic exhibit “We Left Home,” includes family photographs, diaries, stories and memories. She has created a photographic history of her father’s journey and explored the influences that shaped the man he became – folk culture, history, religion, immigration issues and family tragedy. Swedish American Museum, 773.728.8111 / www.swedishamericanmuseum.org

Ongoing

Exhibit: Eight Scandinavian artists are represented in this exhibit of intricate collages and life-size sculptural installations, “Lay of(f) the land.” These Nordic narratives by the Art Alliance of the Arctic South intertwine personal and collective identities against vast landscapes, urging us to consider our collective path and the pressing need for change. Through June 16 at Swedish American Museum / www. swedishamericanmuseum.org

Rockford

May 1, 5 PM

Swedish Folk Painting: Join local artist and Dala horse painter Jenny Mathews to practice Swedish folk painting with acrylic paint on 2-D wooden Dala horses, practicing the basics of kurbits and Dala shapes. Space is limited, reserve your spot, $50/member, $60/non-member. Nordic Cultural Center, 815.963.5559 / www.swedishhistorical.org

Rock Island

May 14, 6-7 PM CDT

VIRTUAL Nordic Book Club: Read and discuss The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World, by Patrik Svensson, translated by Agnes Broomé. The Swedish book won the 2019 August Prize for Nonfiction for blending memoir and non-fiction about nature: Svensson discovers how the eel reflects the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping, surprising and enchanting narrative. www.swensoncenter.org/events

Maryland

Monkton

May 4, 7 PM

Cardamom buns are probably *the* most popular option available in Swedish bakeries, and not just during the holidays, as others may think. Nordstjernan contributor and True North Kitchen chef Kristi Bissell appreciates cardamom’s deep floral flavor and incorporates the spice into the dough, filling, and glittery sugar topping. Lucky for us – no matter where we are – she is offering a VIRTUAL demonstration on how to make these delicious buns on May 9 in our own kitchens. Check here for details on how you can tune in: www.asimn.org

Sofia Talvik: Swedish singer songwriter Sofia Talvik is back, blending elements of folk and pop with a twang of Americana to create a special niche of folk music. Performing mostly original songs in English, Sofia brings a novel mix to her American audiences with a few fresh interpretations of Swedish traditional songs. The Loft at Manor Mill, www.manor-mill.com / www. sofiatalvik.com

Potomac

Ongoing

Hilma af Klint: Swedish artist Hilma af Klint’s series Tree of Knowledge, 1913–1915 is being featured in the exhibition ‘Iconoclasts: Selections from Glenstone’s Collection.’ The exhibition showcases the works of

more than 50 artists who have made some of the most radical contributions to art in the 20th century. Even though few knew of Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) during her lifetime, she is now recognized as one of the most important and inventive artists of the 20th century. When she began making vibrant, symbolic paintings in 1906, her work was radically unlike anything that had come before her, and preceded the abstract work of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Kazimir Malevich by several years. Glenstone Museum, www. glenstone.org

Massachusetts Newton

Through May 15

6 NORDSTJERNAN LOCAL EVENTS
Cardamom Bun Challenge: baking them yourself
May’s

Exhibit: Rya Rugs …coming of age. Fiber artist Elizabeth Hunter returns with a show, her pieces reaching beyond that of a woven rug and tackling topics such as deforestation and aging. Rya is an ancient pile weaving technique dating from the 9th century when Vikings introduced Scandinavia to textiles traded from Russia and the Byzantine Empire. Scandinavian Cultural Center, www.scandicenter.org

Minnesota

Minneapolis

May 1, 7:30 PM

Nordic Roots Series - Tall Poppy String Band and Northern Resonance: These kindred spirit string trios are at the forefront of their respective fields, deeply informed by American Old Time and Swedish music traditions. Together these bands present a musical journey across geography, modality and dance forms, connecting the music of Sweden, America and beyond. The Cedar Cultural Center, www.thecedar.org

May 2, 6-7:30 PM

The Politics of Eurovision: The Eurovision Song Contest is the largest televised music competition in the world. It brings together participants from more than three dozen countries and has a global viewing audience of over 160 million people. However, it is much more than just a beloved cultural event. In this lecture, learn about the history of Eurovision and how it played a role in Cold War rivalries, contributed to the construction of a modern European identity, and continues to be a place where politics and culture intertwine. Free with RSVP, American Swedish Institute / www. asimn.org

May 3, 10-11:30 AM

Preschool Program: Kosläpp - Meet Sweden’s most famous storybook cow “Mamma Mu” who tells stories about “kosläpp” (cow release), the joyous time in Sweden when farmers let the cows out of the barn after a long winter. ASI Swedish Language Instructor, Jessica Karlsson will teach preschoolers about farm life in Sweden and craft a little happy cow. American Swedish Institute / www.asimn.org

May 9, 1-2 PM CST

VIRTUAL Swedish Cardamom Buns: Learn to make kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) worthy of a bakery display case. In this hour-long demo, Kristi Bissell will demonstrate how to mix and knead the yeasted dough, prepare the filling, and bake a batch of buns at home. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home! This live virtual class taught over Zoom; registrants may attend live or plan to watch the recording. American Swedish Institute / www.asimn.org

May 9, 5-8 PM

Eurovision Finale Countdown: Watch the performances of all finalist countries of 2024 with a passionate Eurovision enthusiast from Norway House! Bring your friends, grab some food or drinks at FIKA, and enjoy a few countries or watch them all. No RSVP

On May 1 at 1 PM EST, tune in to a free virtual lecture by Wendel Swan, who will discuss the rare Swedish folk weavings he loaned for ASHM’s current exhibit, Swedish Folk Weavings for Marriage, Carriage, and Home 1750-1840. He will discuss the historical background of Scandinavian weavings since the Viking era. RSVP www.americanswedish.org

is required, and the event is free. American Swedish Institute / www.asimn.org

Scandia

May 4, 10 AM-4 PM

Gammelgården’s Season Opener: This free family-friendly event features new artifacts in historic buildings and exhibits in the Välkommen Hus, live farm animals, hands-on historical activities and games, vendors and artists, demonstrations and more! The Butik also offers new products for sale in 2024. Gammelgården Museum, 651.433.5053 / www.gammelgardenmuseum.org

May 5, 19

Beginning Swedish: If you have little or no knowledge of the Swedish language and are preparing for a trip to Sweden, visiting relatives, or translating family records, this is the class for you. Just 6 Sundays (through June 23) at 1:30 and $60/person. Register via paulfluegel@q.com or 651.429.1012 / www.gammelgardenmuseum.org

New Hampshire

Peterborough

May 11, 3:30 PM

Sofia Talvik: Swedish singer songwriter Sofia Talvik is back, blending elements of folk and pop with a twang of Americana to create a special niche of folk music. Performing mostly original songs in English, Sofia brings a novel mix to her American audiences with a few fresh interpretations of Swedish traditional songs. Mariposa Museum, www.mariposamuseum.org / www.sofiatalvik.com

New York

Buffalo

Ongoing

Nordic Art and Culture Initiative: This

unique platform for art of the Nordic Region has begun and will over the next 60 years develop North America’s leading collection of contemporary art from the Nordic region. Buffalo AKG Art Museum, 716.882.8700 / www.buffaloakg.org

LOS ANGELES

NYC

May 2, 7-8:30 PM

Prison Project: Little Scandinavia Screening & Panel. How can a U.S. correctional facility adapt to more humane principals and

Sunday May 5, 11 am SERVICE | GUDSTJÄNST in San Pedro.

Saturday May 18, 1.30 pm SCANDINAVIAN SERVICE

Scandinavian Festival at CLU in Thousand Oaks.

Saturday May 18, 5 pm

SERVICE | GUDSTJÄNST in Corona del Mar.

Saturday May 25, 2 pm SERVICE | GUDSTJÄNST in Thousand Oaks.

Friday May 3 and 3, 9.30 am - 4 pm

FRIDAY MIX

at the church in San Pedro.

Friday May 10 and 24, 1 pm - 9 pm

FRIDAY MIX at the church in San Pedro.

No Friday mix on May 17, Norway’s National Day: Syttende Mai

For more information, see our website or instagram: churchofswedenla

CHURCH OF SWEDEN, LOS ANGELES

1035 South Beacon Street, San Pedro, CA 90731 Tel. (310) 292-7080 • Epost: losangeles@svenskakyrkan.se Hemsida: www.churchofswedenla.com

MAY 01, 2024 7 LOCAL EVENTS
EVENTS

Sofia Talvik’s music always has a special Nordic flavor, a reflection of life on Sweden’s West Coast where she grew up. A veteran live performer who’s also recorded a lot of music, Sofia has been building a faithful audience base here in the U.S, where she gives heartfelt and personal performances. “Her angelic vocals remain a major asset, as are her original songs, which combine lilting melodies with frequently profound lyrics.” Talvik’s current U.S. tour has her performing for audiences big and small on the East Coast through early June. See our calendar or check her website to find out where you can hear her perform. www.sofiatalvik.com

methods? Can Scandinavian incarceration practices, values and theories work inside an American prison? And what will a U.S. adaptation of these practices look like? Join us to explore these questions and more by screening the documentary Prison Project: Little Scandinavia then hear a discussion with American and Swedish experts in the field. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 / www.scandinaviahouse.org

Through May 5

Faroe Islands Culture Days – This major celebration of the North Atlantic archipelago explores the contemporary Faroese arts through a series of programs that include panels on current issues, literary and design talks, film screenings, and textile and culinary events, as well as an exhibition in the Scandinavia House Galleries. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 / www.scandinaviahouse.org

May 7, 6-7 PM EST

VIRTUAL Nordic Book Club: Read and

Kingsburg

SWEDISH DAYS

SAVE THE DATE:

May 16-18, 2024

Thursday May 16th

Saturday May 18th 5:30pm - 8:00pm 5:30pm - 7:00pm 7:00am - 7:30pm

Friday May 17th

(559) 897-1111

discuss the Faroese classic The Tower at the Edge of the World by poet, author, composer and painter William Heinesen. Considered one of the greatest Faroese authors of the 20th century, Heinesen takes the reader along an old man’s confrontation with mortality as he looks back at his boyhood in Torshavn, where his small-town existence at the edge of the world contains a miraculous larger-than-life feeling. www.scandinaviahouse.org

May 8, 7 PM

Nordic Movie Night: See The Quiet Migration (Denmark, 2023), a new drama about an adopted South Korean Dane’s struggle to come into his own. As an adopted child from South Korea, Carl carries a secret longing to explore his roots and find his own place in life. Torn between two worlds, Carl must make a choice about where he belongs. The Quiet Migration is a thoughtful coming-of-age story about adolescents facing racism from their own families, set against the backdrop of a society where immigration has become a divisive issue. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 / www.scandinaviahouse.org

May 15, 7 PM

Nordic Movie Night: See Exodus (Sweden, 2022), a gripping new drama about the global migration crisis as seen through the eyes of a human smuggler and the innocent young girl he takes under his wing. A warm-hearted story of survival and friendship inspired by the director’s own experience leaving war-torn Beirut for Sweden as a child, Exodus explores the joy of human connection amid the

heartbreaking circumstances of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 / www.scandinaviahouse.org

Oregon

Portland

May 4,7,11,14

VIRTUAL Swedish Roots Genealogy Sessions: Sign up for a private one-on-one genealogy session! Each one-hour zoom session is individualized with two experts. Register via Nordic Northwest, 503.977.0275 / www.nordicnorthwest.org

May 5, 3-6 PM

SAN FRANCISCO

Söndag 12 maj kl 11.00

SVENSK GUDSTJÄNST

i San Francisco med efterföljande kyrkkaffe.

Lördag 18 maj kl 15.00

SVENSK GUDSTJÄNST

i Los Altos med efterföljande kyrkkaffe.

Se vår hemsida för information om barnsång, filmkväll, vårmiddag, Ung i SF middag: www.svenskakyrkan.se/sanfrancisco

SVENSKA KYRKAN SAN FRANCISCO

Norska Sjömanskyrkan, 2454 Hyde Street, San Francisco Tel: 415-632-8504 Epost: sanfrancisco@svenskakyrkan.se Hemsida: www.svenskakyrkan.se/sanfrancisco

Vappu & Valborg Celebration: Mark the end of winter and the time for festive student traditions. Enjoy traditional Vappu foods and a no-host bar with beer, wine, and soda. Nordic Northwest, 503.977.0275 / www.nordicnorthwest.org

May 8, 6-8 PM

Skål Night: Bring your friends and family for a toast with tonight’s partner, Roots Winery. Enjoy tastings with the option to purchase products by the local organizations, many of which have Nordic roots. This is a family friend event, but you must be 21+ to drink alcohol. $5-$15. Nordic Northwest, 503.977.0275 / www.nordicnorthwest.org

Ongoing

Exhibit: Lars Tunbjörk - From Borås, Sweden, Lars Tunbjörk’s career spanned the entire world. His way of seeing became so powerful that people spoke of a “”tunbjörkare”” as if it were a separate genre. Through July 7 at Nordic Northwest, 503.977.0275 / www.nordicnorthwest.org

Pennsylvania

May 1, 1-2 PM EST

VIRTUAL lecture - Early Swedish Folk Weavings: Wendel Swan, who has loaned more than 50 rare and exemplary textiles for the current exhibition Swedish Folk Weavings for Marriage, Carriage, and Home 17501840 at ASHM, discusses the historical background of Scandinavian weavings since the Viking era. Free with registration. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / www.americanswedish.org

8 NORDSTJERNAN LOCAL EVENTS

Ongoing

Swedish Folk Weavings for Marriage, Carriage, and Home 1750-1840: This exhibition features rare, historical, and artful carriage cushions, chair cushions, and bed covers woven by or for women for their dowries or households. Dating between 1766 and 1834, these textiles reflect the influence of trade and depict everything from exotic birds to Roman mosaics. Through September 22 at American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / www.americanswedish.org

Wellsboro

May 3, 7:30 PM

Sofia Talvik: Swedish singer songwriter Sofia Talvik is back, blending elements of folk and pop with a twang of Americana to create a special niche of folk music. Performing mostly original songs in English, Sofia brings a novel mix to her American audiences with a few fresh interpretations of Swedish traditional songs. The Deane Center, www.deanecenter.com / www. sofiatalvik.com

South Carolina

Greenville

May 4, 9 AM-3 PM

Fika: Enjoy this first coffee festival featuring local roasters and coffee shops as well as bakeries. Tickets include a fika designed mug and samples of the different coffee vendors offerings! Families are welcome. Come fika together. At Other Lands, www. otherlandsbrew.com

Washington

Seattle

May 11, 11 AM

Eurovision 2024 Viewing Event: The finale is streaming live from Malmo, Sweden! Euro-bites and bar. The Swedish Club,

www.swedishclubnw.org

Ongoing

Nordic Utopia? African Americans in the 20th Century Nordic Utopia Exhibit: Through paintings, photographs, textiles, film, music, and dance, this exhibit captures how the journeys of African Americans in the 20th century were transformed through their Nordic encounters. TThrough July 21 at National Nordic Museum, 206.789.5707 / www. nordicmuseum.org

Washington, DC

May 18, 12-5 PM

Swedish Fika - the sacred coffee break: Kristina’s Swede Treats offers coffee, cookies or cake. Enjoy this social phenomenon, a ritual, a tradition that encourages setting aside a moment for quality time with colleagues or friends. House of Sweden, www.houseofsweden.com

Ongoing

Exhibit: Icons - An Exhibition About the Right to Exist. This photo exhibit explores the right to exist and to be seen, regardless of who you are. It features portraits of iconic figures – real and fictional – modeled by 21 individuals with Down syndrome. House of Sweden, www.houseofsweden.com

Ongoing

Exhibit: How Sweden is putting AI to good use: The Swedish approach to developing AI technologies embodies the country’s core tenet of innovation: collaboration.House of Sweden, www. houseofsweden.com

Ongoing

Little Library: This special children’s space is designed to stimulate a desire for books, music, storytelling and

Outstanding achievement for Ulrika

Swedish chef Ulrika Bengtsson will receive the American Swedish Historical Museum’s Outstanding Achievement Award. A great honor to be named among other esteemed honorees such as diplomats, NHL player Peter Forsberg, and Swedish TV’s U.S. correspondent Carina Bergfeldt.

The world has long admired Scandinavian food and culture, and Ulrika Bengtsson has brought the culinary traditions of her homeland Sweden to all corners of the world for over 30 years. Growing up in the Swedish countryside, Ulrika has always had a close relationship with food. Working in notable restaurants and hotels in Sweden and abroad with a continuous focus on Scandinavian fare, Ulrika has made her mark on the international culinary stage. Ulrika has held titles as the Executive Chef for the Swedish Consul General in New York City, she was invited to represent the culinary embassy for the Swedish Embassy in both Colombia and Brazil, and was chosen to present Swedish cuisine at a Nordic food event at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Nestled in the heart of Scandinavia House in Midtown Manhattan is Björk Café & Bistro, where you will find founding partner and Chef de Cuisine Ulrika Bengtsson effortlessly fusing traditional and modern Nordic flavors. For more info on the restaurant, see www.bjorkcafe.com

Receiving this award is an incredible honor and acknowledgment of Ulrika’s continued dedication to sharing Nordic cuisine around the globe.

self-expression. Here, adults and children are encouraged to engage in quality play and learning time together. At House of Sweden, www. houseofsweden.com/exhibitions/ little-library

Did you know … ?

Ålakusten (the eel coast) stretches along the southeast coastline of Skåne and was once home to Sweden’s largest eel fishing fleet. For over 500 years, eel fishing was part of life in this part of Sweden, but in the 1990s, eel became a threatened species, and fishing for them is now extremely regulated. Demand for eel is very low nowadays, but the tradition of having smoked, baked, fried or boiled eel at Christmas and Midsummer still lingers … and especially when the nights grow longer in the fall, people in the south of Sweden speak of ålamörkret the “eel darkness,” when eels can’t see the nets and can be trapped on their way to sea. This period runs from mid-August until November, the season for ålagillen eel parties, at which nothing but eel (and schnapps) is served.

Have you read The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World, by Patrik Svensson? Join the VIRTUAL discussion on May 14! Get details in our calendar or online at www. swensoncenter.org

MAY 01, 2024 9 LOCAL EVENTS
June 21, 22 & 23, 2024 C l a t s o p C o u n t y Fa i r g r o u n d s H er i t a ge a mi l y F Foo d un f or a l l ! ARRIVAL Canada’s Tribute Band to ABBA is Back! Plus Opener GASLIGHTER Dixie Chicks Tribute Band AstoriaScanFest.com Featured Entertainment

reverse migration

The People

The houses of Bullerbyn—the real Sevedstorp, a small settlement in Vimmerby municipality in Småland.

With pleasure, I will take my next several columns to introduce you to some of the unique individuals of our Reverse Migration.

Some of our readers have asked how this whole thing got started. Well, our daughter decided to build a life in Sweden around the same time we met the descendants of our relatives who stayed in Sweden when so many left for the U.S. during the first and second waves of immigrants in the 1800s. Don and I have only Swedes in our family tree, and we wanted to reconnect with his mother’s family. To be clear, we already knew of one another through the family lore. The shared stories retained the knowledge of who was who, but it wasn’t until Reverse Migration that we got to know one another more fully.

It started with a short winter visit and the Swedes agreement to watch over our then 17-year-old while she studied at a folkhögsköla. There was immediate curiosity and chemistry, and when we hugged good-bye that January day we each said how great it would be to visit again soon. We had no idea what lay ahead.

In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that Monica would become my favorite neighbor, regularly bringing hand-picked bouquets to welcome us “home” and hosting more family dinners than I’d ever thought possible. At that time, three homes in our “little village” were occupied by our extended family, and the fourth was owned by a very old man.

Christer called one morning back in 2015, saying “Gunnar died. What do you want to do about the house?” Don replied. “Buy it. Let’s buy the house!” The little words that changed our lives and began the immense privilege of what we fondly call Reverse Migration – the process of purchasing, renovating and making Solbacka our second home.

Solbacka. Sunny hill. The house on the sunny hill. You’ll meet:

Christer and Monica, the best neighbors and partners.

Ellen and Marcus, their daughter and son-in-law, our resident artists.

Jeanette, my friend who lives just a bike ride away.

Valentine, a teen-aged cousin.

And, Britta, Monica’s mother, whom I’ve mentioned many times before.

The characters of our Reverse Migration, have become the family I didn’t know I was looking for. They are interested, not judgmental, welcoming, informative and always – almost always – up for some wacky ideas that we Americans bring.

They have taught me more about my own life than I thought I needed to know. They have shared their culture, their homes and their wisdom. They have shown me art, history and which Swedish candies I can no longer live without. They have brought the routine of pausing in my otherwise chaotic life – with our faces to the sun in the morning, fika in the afternoon, and long evening conversations with a glass or two of wine. They have welcomed Don and me as our whole selves. They envelope our friends, the rest of our American family and provide a safe landing place for our adult daughter.

They are the personalities of our Bullerbyn (as in Astrid Lindgren’s books, titled in the English translation as The Children of Noisy Village). When we arrive home in the southern Swedish countryside whatever the time of year, we return to Noisy Village and to its precious people. Please allow me to introduce you.

martha.swanson@nordstjernan.com

10 NORDSTJERNAN READERS FORUM Traditional Swedish festival June 21-23 For more info, on facebook see: New Sweden Historical Society C B A R I O A L J U E I Original Designs in Wool www.lauriejacobi.com
NORDSTJERNAN 1.800.827.9333

Rep. Don Beyer at SACU

Five-term Congressman Don Beyer of the U.S. House of Representatives addresses the Swedish American Cultural Union: What is the Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus?

Congressman Donald Beyer gave an informative and delightful presentation to The Swedish American Cultural Union (SACU) at its March 19, 2024 Luncheon-Lecture Program. He was introduced by SACU President Karin Alexis Frenze, who had been briefed by Rep. Beyer’s staff with information on his impressive background.

In her introduction Karin said, “These are dramatic times for Sweden—with many issues of security in the global balance and in the limelight of politics today. The good news is that Sweden is now a member of NATO, and Sweden has friends in the Congress of the United States. Don Beyer is one of them!”

It is interesting to note that prior to launching his diplomatic and political career, Rep. Beyer spent 26 years as a senior manager in his family’s Virginia Volvo business. His parents, Don and Nancy Beyer, bought a struggling Volvo dealership in 1973 at the same time of the first Arab Oil Embargo. Over the years the Beyer family acquired or launched other Volvo dealerships in Arlington, Dulles and Winchester. Volvo’s core market is tied to their safety reputation, e.g. Don noted as an example that not a single driver or passenger has died in the popular Volvo V90 model since 2004. During his time with Volvo, he made over a dozen trips to Sweden for visits to the corporate headquarters in Gothenburg. Another factor that shaped Don’s “close to being Swedish” legacy was that one side of his family is Danish and another side is Estonian. Don remarked that “I could see Sweden from Tallinn.”

Representative Donald Beyer, 8th District, Virginia, is a well-known figure in politics in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is serving in his fifth term in the House as the Representative and represents parts of northern Virginia, including Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and portions of Fairfax County. Whether it’s about business or politics, Don Beyer is strongly rooted in Northern Virginia.

In addition to serving as the co-chair of the Congressional Friends of the Sweden Caucus of the U.S. Congress, he also serves on the Joint Economic Committee, which is a think tank and one of only two committees that includes members from both the House and Senate. He also is a member of the House on Ways and Means Committee.

Congressman Beyer was Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor from 1990 to 1998. What is described as his “signature work” as lieutenant governor includes advocating for those with disabilities and

protecting the most vulnerable in the population. During this period, the Commonwealth was reforming its welfare system. Beyond this, Representative Beyer was the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Virginia in 1997. He worked for 14 years as the Chair of Jobs for Virginia Graduates and was the Chair of the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission and co-founder of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Constituents and those who worked with Rep. Beyer emphasize that he always gave great priority to the importance and politeness of answering and returning telephone calls. Today, of course, this extends to emails. Our SACU President said to Congressman Beyer: “Your staff is extremely fast to return emails.”

The Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus

Given current and ongoing issues related to NATO, defense, national security and the friendship between the U.S. and Sweden, this is an extremely needed meeting. The caucus has collaborated with Sweden for business partners and political groups desiring briefings on the Hill meeting with U.S. Congressmen.

There are over 100 caucuses in the House. Contrary to the U.S. Senate, they require formal approval from the House of Representatives and obtain budgetary support. There are 10 representatives on the Swedish Caucus, a bipartisan group with five democratic members and five Republicans. Represented are Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. As one would suspect, the core states include many areas with strong Nordic roots. The Swedish Caucus’s main mission is to forge both economic and cultural ties between the two countries. Recently, the caucus has fully backed Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids and pressed for Ukranian armament funding. Unquestionably, Putin’s waging war against the Ukraine has backfired for Russia with respect to the conflict resulting in NATO’s growth in military strength and member countries with proximity to Ukraine and Russia.

Former Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Jonas Hafstrom noted: “Sweden and the U.S. truly have

Rep. Beyer served as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama. In this capacity, he worked with the U.S. for stricter sanctions against Iran as a means to promote discussions on its nuclear disarmament.

a stellar relationship in practically all areas.” It and sister organizations like the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce have the strength to lobby the White House in unity on issues of importance such as those we are currently witnessing. Don Beyer, whose co-chair is Jack Bergman from Michigan, stressed that what Sweden brings to the NATO table in terms of strength in defense technology is extremely important. Both Sweden and Finland would immediately expedite the alliance’s defense capabilities.

Beyond his prominent political profile, Representative Beyer displayed that he is a multifaceted person with varied interests, from the needs of those in the disability community, to Swedish cars, to his love of poetry, including that of Wendell Berry, whose works elevate the virtues of community. Don Beyer also has a great interest in reading, with a philosophical approach to life embracing determination and humility. (Sounds Nordic, right?)

He gave a stellar presentation – his quick wit mixed well with the incredible depth of his background and the tales he told.

Karin Alexis Frenze and Robert Dyer

MAY 01, 2024 11

Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus

A congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives. Formally, caucuses are formed as Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs) through the United States House of Representatives and governed under the rules of that chamber. Caucuses are informal in the Senate, and unlike their House counterparts, Senate groups receive neither official recognition nor funding from the chamber. Caucuses, sometimes called coalitions, study groups, task forces, or working groups, typically have bipartisan membership and have co-chairs from each party. The Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus is at Room 119 LHOB Longworth House Office Building 15 Independence Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20515-4608 202.225.4376 FAX: 202.225.0017

The present members of the caucus are

Co-Chair Jack Bergman, R-h01 Manistique, Michigan

Co-Chair Don Beyer, D-h08 Arlington, Virginia

Caucus Member Morgan Griffith, R-h09 Christiansburg, Virginia

Caucus Member John Larson, D-h01 East Hartford, Connecticut

Caucus Member Jerry Nadler, D-h12 New York, New York

Caucus Member Ilhan Omar, DFL-h05 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Caucus Member Jan Schakowsky, D-h09 Skokie, Illinois

Caucus Member Bryan Steil, R-h01 Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Caucus Member Tim Walberg, R-h05 Jackson, Michigan

Caucus Member Joe Wilson, R-h02 Aiken, South Carolina

New dimension to historic melodies

The musical group Triga is a rising example of innovative traditional musicians who are adding a new dimension to historic instrumental melodies.

Following musicians such as Frefot, Väsen, Triakel, Roger Tallroth, Lena Willemark and Gjallarhorn, Triga offers a combination of skillful performing and is at times right on the edge of jazz. Anna Breger from Vienna (nyckelharpa), Eric Boodman from Montreal (fiddle) and Yaniv Yacoby from Boston (Irish bouzouki) play Triga’s special combination of Scandinavian, Irish and Québécois instruments that produce a calculated classical feel, while leaving a listener looking forward to what could come next.

Using recording technology plus high quality downloads in MP3, FLAC and more, Triga has released their first digital recording, Live from our Living Room, available online at www.trigatrio. bandcamp.com/album. The group explained, “Here are some of our favorite renditions, captured in home recordings. We hope that in listening to them you feel the same sense of joy and possibility that we felt in making them. It is a good insight into our music.”

The three musicians met by chance in Boston in 2019. Anna has a PhD from the University of Vienna and was a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Medical School. She studied baroque violin at the Music and Arts University in Vienna and is self taught on the *nyckelharpa. “My style is very personal and is inspired from various musical traditions.“

Yaniv holds an MM in music from the New England Conservatory and taught himself to play the Irish bouzouki. He is also a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. “I spent a few months in Ireland playing sessions and taking some lessons. I started learning Swedish music from a good friend of mine—singer and accordionist Sunniva Brynnel.”

Eric studied classical violin as a student in Mon-

treal. He is also an award winning science journalist. He began taking lessons learning Québécois, Irish and Scottish traditions: “In high school, I spent every Tuesday at a Québécois session, and the wild joy I heard there really influenced my playing.“

Live from our Living Room includes Vals Till Baten Bettan, Polska ur Trästadsamlingen and Polska efter Petter Dufva—a set of three tunes from different sources in Sweden. The first is a recent composition by Anna Lindblad, and the second and third are both from around 1800, one from Trästed, Sweden and the other from Småland. Chaîne Des Dames is from the repertoire of

Québecois tradition bearer André Alain. Anna’s Meditation and Eric’s Zak and Rielle’s (Wedding) Waltz are recently composed original melodies. The three Triga musicians bring vivid passion and versatile expertise to creating music. Exploring outside traditional musical boundaries will be natural for them. (Photo by Brennish Thomson.)

*Sunday April 28 is World nyckelharpa Day! Put the date on your calendar and start planning now! https://worldnyckelharpaday.com

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A swede’s ethnic roots

All you ever wanted to know about rutabagas (and then some).

As winter wore on I waited for the rutabagas. Where were they? Why didn’t our store have them as usual? Don’t tell me rutabagas are now an endangered species with quinces! I told Caitlin, our produce manager, that we would have to change the title for this story to “The Turnip Rap” unless some rutabagas appeared. For some reason our distributor didn’t have any. She watched, and suddenly they appeared on the Regional Access list, and she got them back in the store.

These are medium-sized yellow and purple skinned organic rutabagas, not the huge ones from Canada. I’m convinced those are grown on steroids then thrown screaming, into boiling wax. Our smaller organic ones are so much more flavorful. And non-waxed.

Rutabaga (Brassica naprobrassica) is a naturally occurring hybrid between turnip and cabbage, a cold weather crop that appeared in the Middle Ages in Sweden. At first they were unknown in America, so they were called “swedes” like the people who

ate them. The leaves are perfectly good for cooked greens but are never seen in commerce, unless they pass as turnip greens. The roots are perfectly good raw. You can grate them for coleslaw and add any sort of salad dressing, but more usually they are considered a cooked vegetable.

My favorite is “rotmos” which means roots mashed: Boil the peeled roots for 15-20 minutes until soft, then mash them with melted butter and a splash of milk or cream, just like you would for mashed potatoes. Add a pinch of salt, allspice and white pepper. Voila! The standard Swedish rotmos is about 60% rutabaga, 30% potato and 10% carrot. It’s fun to experiment and substitute parsnip, turnip or celery root here or there. Rotmos may look like mashed potatoes but it’s as much vegetable as carb and has a subtle, unique flavor.

Don’t eat swedes ...

We never ate rutabaga as kids because it was “ethnic” food. Our parents did not want to admit

they were ethnic. In those days red-blooded patriotic Americans did NOT eat swedes! Then one day Mother decided it was time to tell us the truth: We were really half-breed Swedes. Oh, it wasn’t our fault. It was something our great-grandparents had done, it was because of them that she had decided we were going to eat rutabagas.

She carefully sliced the roots in half and baked them long in the oven. She scored the flesh into diamonds and brushed them with melted butter until they were nicely caramelized on top with fluffy, golden flesh beneath. They looked heavenly (to her)!

We kids were not convinced. They were not “just like potatoes.” They were strangely shaped, and looked disgusting and weird with blackened tops, burned skins and a pulpy yellow flesh. We knew we had to eat everything on our plates. We knew that children were starving in India, and when

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MAY 01, 2024 13

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our parents were young the starving Armenians were always mentioned at the dinner table. And we knew Father was a food nazi who would give us one whack on the behind for each uneaten bite of food left on our plates after dinner. I pretended to eat the rutabaga but spit most of it inside my wadded-up napkin unnoticed. I tore into the ovenblacked skin and draped it over the yellow blobs. Would my plate pass muster?

Brother had saved his rutabaga for last. He tried to eat all of it at once and failed. “You made yourself vomit on the floor. You’re getting a spanking!” Brother was dragged into the bathroom for his beating. We fled to the safety of our rooms and homework. Never again did mother fix rutabaga. It’s a pity we never learned to enjoy our own

Rotmos

1 rutabaga

(AKA “swede” in the U.S. / kålrot in Swedish)

2 large carrots

1-3/4 pounds potatoes

1/2 stick of butter (50 g or 1/4 cup)

1 tsp salt

4/5 cup of vegetable stock (or milk)

- Peel the rutabaga and carrots and cut into rough chunks. Put them in a saucepan, cover with water and cook for 25-30 min.

- Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces. Add them to the saucepan and cook for another 15 minutes. Pour off the water.

- Mash with butter, salt and possibly a pinch of white pepper, and dilute with broth or milk (or even heavy cream). Top with parsley.

ethnic vegetable as kids, so I’ve taken it up later in life. Why were our parents so strict about food? They merely wanted us to eat all kinds of food for economic reasons, more than to develop gourmet tastes or ethnic identity.

Some people view my dietary choices as picky and unprincipled, silly even. On the whole, I think I have come to have a broader definition of food than most people, and my brother too. It is good to break your own dietary limitations, expand and learn to appreciate spinach or rutabaga or whatever. Just don’t be a food nazi about it.

To serve: In Sweden, rotmos is traditionally served with cured and salted, cooked lean meat such as pork belly, bacon, a salty sausage, or as we’ve done, a corned beef and pastrami mix. Even chicken that “needs more salt” will work when properly spiced.

Rotmos, like mashed potatoes, is one of those dishes you can master with your own ideal taste by adding a bit more butter, salt or any of the other ingredients. Taste and test your way.

14 NORDSTJERNAN FEATURE
Tip: If you’re serving the rotmos right away, heat up the vegetable stock or milk prior to adding to the sauce pan.
MAY 01, 2024 15

all have modest populations of less than 40,000 inhabitants each, which means none of them are currently among Sweden’s 30 most populous cities. When walking through these small towns today, it can be hard to imagine that for nearly 900 years, between the 970s through the 1800s, these were the cities that laid the foundation for what we know now as the nation-state Sweden, with one of them intended to replace Stockholm as the nation’s capital at one point. However, the first Swedish towns emerged before Stockholm was founded in 1252.

These towns were very small, with only about a thousand inhabitants. Nonetheless, a lot of the political and economic power was concentrated in them. Out of the six oldest urban hubs in the medieval Swedish realm—the cities that existed before Stockholm—Sigtuna, Visby and Kalmar are probably the most known for their historical significance.

The oldest still existing city in medieval Sweden is undoubtedly Sigtuna, which is believed to have been founded before the 10th century, when its growth was driven by the local royal power. Founded by Vikings possibly around year 970, king Erik the Victorious (Segersäll) established a settlement here.

Today, Sigtuna’s location, a 40-minute drive from central Stockholm or 20 minutes from Arlanda Airport, offers locals and visitors alike an excellent opportunity to see some of the oldest historical remnants of what was to become the State of Sweden. Sigtuna was founded to be the country’s first Christian town—the center of the new religion. It originally consisted of a long street with farms on both sides. We do not know if the farms were permanently inhabited during Sigtuna’s first decades, but they were probably erected by magnates who were allied with the king

and thereby demonstrated their proximity to power. Moreover, they proved they were Christians and had embraced the new religion. Sigtuna was not only a royal city but also a distinctly ecclesiastical one. Its powerful church ruins from the early Middle Ages hold many secrets, with its construction beginning in the first half of the 12th century. In fact, excavations found the church remnants of today rest on an older building—perhaps the oldest stone church in Sweden. During the Middle Ages, as many as seven large stone churches were erected by merchant guilds and wealthy townspeople. Today, the three that remain are St. Olof’s in Sigtuna, St. Peter’s (S:t Petri) in Malmö and St. Lawrence (S:t Laurentii) in Söderköping. Another prominent building in Sigtuna is St. Mary’s church (Mariakyrkan) built by the Dominican Order in the 1230s. It is the only Medieval church building in Sigtuna to have

survived the Reformation and is the earliest known brick church in the area around Lake Mälaren.

Three major Swedish castles can also be reached within a 30-minute drive of Sigtuna. The northernmost is Skokloster, a Swedish Baroque castle built between 1654 and 1676. It is located on a peninsula on Lake Mälaren between Stockholm and Uppsala and became a state museum in the 1970s, housing displays, paintings, furniture and tableware as well as books and weapons—a collection that amounts to 20,000 items. The castle interior from the mid-17th century has been kept completely intact. The castle can also be reached by boat from Stockholm, with Strömma doing day cruises in the summer.

A second example of a Baroque castle near Sigtuna is Steninge Castle (Slott). The first known settlement at Steninge was established in 1200. In 1667, Carl Gyllenstierna inherited the Steninge estate and made plans for a palace. Between 1680-81, the

16 NORDSTJERNAN FEATURE
Visby Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Visby Sankta Maria domkyrka), seat of the Bishop of Visby, Gotland, built as the church of the German traders in the city during the 13th century.

Stora

well-known Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin (whose work includes the gardens of Drottningholm Palace and the Holy Trinity Church in Karlskona) was commissioned to design it. Inspired by the Château de Vaux-le-Victomte in France, Steninge Slott has a reputation for being one of the most elegant examples of Baroque mansions in Sweden.

Steninge Slott was completed in 1705, with its cultural center opening to the public in 1999. The castle is privately owned, but you can stroll in the gardens and shop in the old stone barn, now housing a popular restaurant serving lunch with Nordic flavors during weekdays and a South American influenced weekend brunch.

Rosergsberg Slott is one of Sweden’s royal residences. It was built in the 1630s by the Oxienstierna family—a noble family of the Swedish “uradel,” the ancient nobility. It became a royal palace in 1762, when the state gave it to Duke Karl (later Karl XIII), the younger brother of Gustav III of Sweden. The palace has a park which incorporates a Baroque garden—designed by the aforementioned Nicodemus Tessin—with avenues and a 600 meter (2000 feet) pond still remaining from what was once considered one of the most lavish gardens in Sweden.

Skara, which the German historian Adam of Bremen in the 1070s described as a magna civitas, a “significant place,” was founded for religious reasons and started growing soon after Sigtuna. As early as the 12th century, the town had three churches, one of which was a cathedral, and a guild.

Many Swedes, especially those younger in age (or spirit), may be mostly familiar with Skara through its impressive amusement park Skara Sommarland. It was founded in 1984 by Swedish entrepreneur Bert Karlsson, whose resume also includes a brief stint as a member of the Swedish Parliament for the short-lived populist party “Ny Demokrati” (New Democracy) in the early 1990s.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Skara was a cathedral town that was completely dominated by the bishop of western Sweden. Some of its ecclesiastical history can be found in Skara Cathedral, with its history tracing back to the 10th century, while its current Gothic style originated in the 13th century. The cathedral was damaged and restored on several occasions, making its current appearance rather modern.

The second city to be founded one thousand years ago was Lödöse, the oldest predecessor of Göteborg. The town already existed in the 11th century, but the oldest written evidence dates from 1151. A short time later, coins began to be minted there. If Sigtuna was founded as the king’s city and Skara as the bishop’s, Lödöse was the merchants’ hub and the gateway to the West. The city grew where it did due to the location at the intersection between the Ljudaån (now Gårdaån) and the Göta

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Gatan, main historical street of Sigtuna, oldest town in Sweden on a cloudy day of summer (opening image, page 15, is also from this street) / Below: A section of the impressive Skara Cathedral— Its history is traced from the 10th century, but its current appearance in the Gothic style originated later, in the 13th century. The Cathedral towers are depicted on our cover of this issue.

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river, about 50 kilometers north of the river’s outlet. The ships from the Kattegatt made their way up the river to Lödöse, where the goods were unloaded and reloaded for further transport by land into Västergötland. Ten kilometers upstream were the falls at Fuxerna (Lilla Edet), which blocked further river transport. While considered the precursor to modern day Gothenburg, Lödöse today has a population of a little over 1200.

Visby and Kalmar are also well known medieval towns to most Swedes. Today, Visby—on the island of Gotland—is a popular summer destination. Every Swede is also familiar with the Almedalsveckan week where the political elite gather for debates each year in the early summer. The distinct character of Visby, and Gotland in general, can be traced back to the 12th century and most of the 13th century, when Gotland was not part of Sweden. During that time, Visby was the leading Baltic Sea metropolis with traders from both Germany and Denmark seeking its old port to bunker, buy and sell. The merchants were followed by the German crusaders who, during the first half of the 13th century, conquered and christianized the Baltics. Thousands of warriors, priests and merchants gathered in Visby to shop, rest, preach and have fun between sea voyages, with many remaining there for life. While the majority of Swedish medieval towns were characterized by wood houses, Visby was already dominated by stone houses in the 13th century, buildings that still leave their mark on the town.

Visby is also known for its magnificent city wall, the strongest, most extensive, and best preserved medieval city wall in Scandinavia. It forms an important and integral part of the Visby UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The oldest part of the city wall is a defensive tower, today called Kruttornet (Gunpowder Tower), which was erected at the harbor entrance in the 12th century, making it the oldest surviving non-religious building in the Nordic countries. Another prominent historical remnant in Visby is the church of St. Nicholai, which was originally part of the Dominican monastery built in the 1230s, around the same time as St. Mary’s Church in Sigtuna. Finally, Visby Cathedral was built as the church of the German traders in the city during the 13th century. Following the Reformation, it was the only medieval church in the city still in use, and by 1572 its status was raised to that of a cathedral. In 1645, Gotland became part of Sweden as a result of one of the numerous peace treaties with Denmark and has, with some minor interruptions, remained under Swedish rule ever since.

One of Gotland’s most popular annual events is Medieval Week, which is the festival that spreads throughout Visby and the whole island in the beginning of August every year. Since 1984, the Medieval Week festival has offered festivities and fun for all ages. People from all over the world travel to Visby to participate and marvel at the

magic, imagination, love, history and community that make Medieval Week on Gotland the world’s foremost festival of its kind.

The festival centers on the Battle of Visby in 1361, with a historical reenactment of King Valdemar IV of Denmark’s entrance and ransoming of Visby. Since 2011, the Battle of Visby itself is reenacted outside the Visby City Wall with participants from historical societies from Europe and the United States.

The long-running popular television series Maria Wern takes place on Gotland and has featured both Almedalsveckan and Medieval Week. The series is about a widowed Swedish police inspector who takes her two young children from Stockholm to Gotland to start a new life. She manages to sustain her female perspective and approach to life and endures what sometimes feels like an unwinnable battle against rage, death, evil and a harsh, male dominated workplace.

Maria Wern is based on Anna Jansson’s books about the same character, which have sold in over four million copies in Sweden alone and been translated to 17 languages. Jansson is originally from Visby and started her career as a nurse. The inspiration for her novels, which deal with crimes, came from the patients she met in her job. Jansson’s first crime novel to be published was Stum sitter guden (The deity sits speechless) in 2000. She had already

written two novels but failed to find a publisher for them. Jansson did not give up on her career as a nurse and continued to work at the Örebro Hospital while writing in her free time. Since 2000, she has published at least one novel each year. Her latest ones have sold over 100,000 copies each. Her 2006 novel “Främmande fågel” was nominated for a Glass Key Award, won the prize for the Best Nordic Crime Fiction in 2007 and adapted into a television series by TV4 in 2008. In 2021, she was awarded with the Crimetime Awards Honorary Prize. Despite her successful career as a writer, Jansson still works part-time as a nurse at Örebro Hospital’s lung clinic.

Situated on the Baltic coast in the southern province (landskap) of Småland, Kalmar has a rich history, much of it familiar to many Swedes. Kalmar Slott is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the country, and the foundation of the Kalmar Union—significant in the history of all of Scandinavia—occurred here in 1397.

Kalmar is a popular summer destination. In fact, it was voted best summer town in Sweden four years in a row between 2015 and 2018 by the Swedish travel magazine Reseguiden, and its winning reign may have been extended even further if the magazine had not stopped the

18 NORDSTJERNAN FEATURE
Kalmar Castle in the city Kalmar in the province of Småland.

competition in 2019. Kalmar’s rich cultural life, long history and many cozy outdoor eateries makes it a desirable destination in the summer. The annual International Sand Sculpture Festival attracts competitors from all over the world, with local Småland artists Linda Milsten and Rebecca Petersen winning the competition in 2021.

Another draw is Kalmar’s proximity to Öland, where the unique alvar landscapes have inspired Swedes for centuries—from the royal family’s summer residence to best-selling crime fiction author Johan Theorin, who’s been heralded as the “Latest Swedish Sensation” by The Times (London). As Sweden’s second largest island, Öland is connected to Kalmar on Sweden’s mainland by the 4-mile-long Ölandsbron, Sweden’s longest bridge on Swedish territory. (The Öresund bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark is located on both Swedish and Danish territory.)

Öland has been a favorite of the Swedish royal family for centuries, and their island residence Solliden is where the family always celebrates Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday—which is aired on Swedish National TV—on July 14 every year. Solliden is located near the ruins of Borgholm Castle, which has played an important role in Swedish history since it was built in the 12th century. It has functioned as a stronghold against

enemies in the Baltic, and battles were also fought over it during the Kalmar War between Sweden and Denmark in the 17th century.

Öland’s landscape is that of an alvar, largely dominated by flat stone and grassy vegetation. The environment is exposed limestone slabs or sparse grassland vegetation with distinct prairielike plants on a limestone plain with thin or no soil. It is very different from the rest of Sweden and is the largest alvar in Europe, though it bears some resemblance to Iceland, with both places carrying folklore about elves hiding in the cracks of its barren rocks. The restaurant Lammet & Grisen (The Lamb and the Pig) in northern Öland offers delicious food, and from its rooftop terrace you have an excellent view of the great expanse that is Öland’s beckoning landscape.

Author Johan Theorin has beautifully captured the mysticism, lure and eeriness of Öland in many of his crime fiction novels that are set on the island. The 2013 movie adaptation of his debut Skumtimmen (Echoes of the dead) was directed by Daniel Alfredson (who also directed two of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy movies) and features Lena Endre in the lead role. Öland’s rugged beauty is a source of inspiration for royalty, residents, visitors, authors, artists and everyone in between, and will likely remain a backdrop for stories yet untold.

Söderköping was also once a medieval stronghold. The town emerged as a trans-shipment point at the intersection of two rivers, well protected inside the Slätbaken bay. It quickly developed to become eastern Sweden’s most densely populated and richest place during the first half of the 13th century. Its prominence can be found in S:t Laurentii Kyrka, which is one of two remaining medieval churches in Söderköping and the venue for two royal coronations during the Middle Ages.

The church has a long and complicated history that dates back to the late 13th or early 14th century. It is built almost entirely in brick, which may be associated with the large number of German merchants who were active in Söderköping at the time. It remains a fine example of Brick Gothic, which is common in regions around the Baltic Sea that lack resources of standing rock except for the occasional availability of glacial boulders. The first royal coronation in the church was Hedwig Holstein, wife of King Magnus Ladulås, who was crowned Queen of Sweden in June 1281. The second coronation took place in 1302 when Birger Magnusson and Martha of Denmark were crowned King and Queen of Sweden.

Söderköping remained a prominent place in Sweden until the 16th century, when the city was occupied by Danish troops in 1517 and the Danish military officer Daniel Rantzau tore through the city in 1567. Söderköping was never able to reclaim its prominence after that point, and today it is mostly known for its location along the Göta Canal. It was the filming location for the 1981 movie “Göta Kanal,” a comedy in which a boat race between Stockholm and Gothenburg decides who gets a massive boat order from a very wealthy Arab prince. The town is also the filming location for the movies about Astrid Lindgren’s Madicken.

Söderköping is a 30-minute drive from St. Anna Archipelago, which is home to Husby Säteri. For almost 100 years, the building was uninhabited. That changed in 1979, when Christer and Gunilla Wastesson started a 20-year renovation to get the ram-shackled building back to its former glory. Through various ownerships, the estate has expanded its operations to offer a unique and authentic late 18th century experience.

Karlskrona is a good example of a Swedish town that rose to prominence after the Middle Ages, being founded in 1680. At its peak, it was the third biggest city in Sweden after Stockholm and Riga (in today’s Latvia) from the early 1700s into the 1830s. Some signs of its former glory can still be seen throughout town. The plans for Karlskrona to become a capital of a great power is noticeable mainly in its central parts where Stortorget follows the ideals of the time for what Europe’s great power cities would look like. With its large open

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Statue in Söderköping of a man opening a lock in the “Slussen” or lock area on the coast to coast Göta Canal, which ends in the town on the Baltic Sea.

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piazza, where the church, town hall and state administration stand on the outer edges of the square, it follows the Baroque pattern—you get a clear view of how at one time the military-closed port city was intended to replace Stockholm as Sweden’s capital. Stortorget, the main square, is consistent with the ideals for what Europe’s most

powerful cities looked like at the time. Karlskrona is known as Sweden’s only Baroque city and is host to Sweden’s largest naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard. In 1998, parts of the city, including the Karlskrona naval base, declared it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of Karlskrona’s major attractions is its Marinmuseum, the national Naval Museum, which is dedicated to the Swedish national

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defense and preservation of the country’s naval history. The Naval Museum is one of Sweden’s oldest museums and was established in 1752 when King Adolf Fredrik began the collection and documentation of naval objects. Since 1997 it’s been housed in central Karlskrona, with its operations overseen by Statens Maritima Museer, which also oversees the operation of the Vasa Museum and Maritime Museum (Sjöhistoriska) in Stockholm. Its rectangular building design includes a pier which extends

into the water. Around the pier are several museum ships, and visitors can view the wreckage of several 17th century ships through the windows of a specially designed underwater tunnel. Figureheads from Swedish ships are also on display, and since 2014 visitors can view the very first submarine of the Swedish navy, HMS Hajen, as well as a far more modern vessel, HMS Neptune, which can be viewed not only from the outside but also from inside the building.

Of the older medieval cities, none would have been considered significant today. When the medieval cities of Stockholm and Visby were at their most populous, only between six and seven thousand inhabitants lived within the walls. Kalmar, the metropolis of southern Sweden, had at most around three thousand inhabitants. Other cities were considerably smaller. From medieval strongholds to a competitor for Stockholm as the nation’s capital, small Swedish towns can certainly hold a lot of history and beauty in modest contemporary forms. These are the places that once defined what was to become the modern nation state Sweden.

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Below: Aerial view of Karlskrona on the Baltic Sea, once on a path to replace Stockholm.

DID YOU KNOW?

Of the total population in Sweden of 10.55 million people, around half resided in the counties Stockholm, Västra Götaland or Skåne. This is also the three counties where the three largest cities in Sweden, Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö, are located. The capital region Stockholm county (not just the city), had a population of nearly 2.5 million inhabitants in 2023. Västra Götaland county had close to 1.8 million inhabitants, while Skåne county, the southernmost region, had roughly 1.4 million inhabitants. The island Gotland had the lowest number of inhabitants with only 60,000. Among the regions in Sweden, the capital region Stockholm county had the highest population density in 2022, with 374.6 inhabitants per square kilometers. In terms of highest population density, Stockholm county was followed by Skåne, with 129 inhabitants per square kilometer. The least populated county was Norrbotten, with only 2.6 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Öland, not an island. Sweden’s second largest island, Öland, is not considered an island by the European Union.The definition of an island, according to the EU, is that it is surrounded by water, but if it is connected to mainland by a bridge, it is considered part of that mainland – that is, no longer an island. For all geographic purposes however, Öland is Sweden’s second largest island and its smallest province. It is located in the Baltic Sea east of Småland from which it is separated by the Kalmar Strait. The island, since 1972 connected to the mainland through the Öland Bridge, has about 13,600 known archaeological sites. The Ölandsbron (Öland Bridge) connects Kalmar on the mainland to Färjestaden on the island of Öland. At 6 km (3.5 miles) it is one of the longest bridges in Europe. Many people go to Öland to bike and hike, but you aren’t allowed to bike over the bridge anymore, to the consternation of many. The bridge was initiated in 1972, took 4.5 years to build and cost SEK 80 million.

Southern Öland is dominated by the treeless, steppe-like wide plains called the Great Alvar, about 10 kilometers in width. Öland is geologically a very young island, composed of limestone and as different from the Småland mainland as can be.

There are several prehistoric sites on Öland from the Iron Age, mainly forts and gold rings. Most Swedish grown onions are produced on southern Öland as are all brown beans. Farming on Öland also produces large quantities of milk and the island is Sweden’s densest area when it comes to milk production. An unusual feature of the cultural landscape of Öland are the hundreds of windmills made of wood (above), however, there aren’t as many of them now as there were a hundred years ago. Today these windmills enjoy heritage protection and have become characteristic of the province. Since the early 1900s, the island of Öland, due to its natural and cultural heritage and its air and light conditions, has been a popular haunt for artists, where the renowned Per Ekstrom already in the 1800s was the biggest name. The famous artists’ colony Vickleby, was established during World War II on the southern part of the island.

Why Swedes ‘hold their thumbs’

Whether you cross your fingers or hold your thumbs is a sign of cultural identity and signals your country of origin. Americans cross their fingers, but in Sweden people “håller tummarna” (literally hold their thumbs)—both for the same reason: to wish someone the best of luck. What’s that about? In a recent article in daily DN, a representative of the Language Council of Sweden explained: “This is a question that’s part linguistic and partly has to do with people’s conceptions of the world and higher powers. To

Do you “hold your thumbs” or cross your fingers for someone?

‘hold your thumbs’ or say you will is a very old way of expressing protection against evil powers, like the demon Mara, and to wish for success.”

It is known that as early as the first century after Christ, people of the Roman Empire would ‘hold their thumbs’ for others. But crossing your fingers for success is something different—that’s from the early Christian church, where crossing fingers meant protecting against evil by alluding to the cross. Today thumbs are held in many parts of northern Europe: Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, are a few examples. But in countries like England, Norway, Denmark, Spain and France, one crosses fingers instead. And beware: In Sweden crossed fingers (usually held behind one’s back) means a person is lying.

Small Towns with a Big Past | Små städer med en stor historia

MAY 01, 2024 21 LANGUAGE & CULTURE

Läs artikeln på sidan 15. Sätt in ord från den för att lösa korsordet / Read the article on page 15. Use words from it to solve the crossword puzzle. Du hittar en lista över nya ord nedan / You find a list of new words below.

Discover Swedish is not a regular language course. These practices and lessons are for regular readers, maybe even beginners, trying to get a grip on another language. Subscribers eager to look back at earlier lessons, numbers 1-65 please check our online digital content at: www.nordstjernan. com/digital_issues By partaking in Discover Swedish you will no doubt get a grip on Swedish and you may even learn about svenska (the language) och svenskarna (the people of Sweden).

Ordförråd / Vocabulary:

smaka: taste

da: yes in Russia

er: your, yours

öbo: peron on an island

ÖB: Highest ranking officer revy: revue (show) be: pray

dra: pull, drag by; village (the village: byn)

ek: oak (tree)

RR: Rolls Royce

två: two rå(djur): deer

flod: river

slott: castle

rik, rikare, rikast: rich, richer, richest

Olov or Olof (male name)

tjur: bull

ök: horse, ox or similar use nej: no (opposite: ja = yes)

dansk: Danish

domkyrka: cathedral

ska: will, shall ny: new

tegel: brick

ylle: wool

ung: young

eco: organic

bön: prayer

mygg: mosquito

ung: young bro: bridge

CROSSWORD PUZZLE Värmland

(Key, page 21)

Small towns with a big past | Små städer med en stor historia ( A challenge, based on story, page 15)
22 NORDSTJERNAN NEWS IN BRIEF
Lesson 66

Swedish News

Record early summer

Three places in southern Sweden have welcomed summer in record time. Summer has already arrived in Malmö, Kristianstad and Karlshamn: In early April, these towns already had five consecutive days with temperatures of at least 10 degrees Celsius. That is the requirement for defining a meteorological summer. This year, this means April 6 was the first day of summer in the three locations.

Russian reconnaissance flight near Gotlan

A Russian intelligence aircraft flew near Gotland in mid April. Both the Swedish and German air forces controlled it in the air. “It did not violate Swedish airspace but flew in our flight information region,” says Therese Fagerstedt, press manager at the Swedish Armed Forces. The large Russian plane flew over the sea between Blekinge and Gotland, followed by one or more Swedish JAS 39 Gripen planes and two German Eurofighters. “It is normal to go up and visually identify when someone is flying in the Swedish flight information region. It’s as close to the Swedish border as you can get without violating our territory,” says Fagerstedt. She explains that signals intelligence planes are of the type that try to retrieve information of some kind. It was no coincidence that Swedish planes controlled the situation side by side with German ones. “It is part of the fact that Sweden is now a NATO ally and this is something we will see more of. Not only with German flights,” she says.

New study on threats toward politicians

A study shows that 43 percent of the polled politicians have suffered threats to some extent. An overwhelming majority of the responding municipal politicians also feel that hatred and threats constitute a threat to democracy. Almost 40 percent of those affected stated they had to some extent considered leaving politics due to threats. According to the study, the main causes of hatred and threats were ideology (party affiliation) or a strong involvement in individual factual issues. The study was carried out by researchers at Halmstad University on behalf of Sweden’s municipalities and regions and in collaboration with the Swedish Electoral Authority during the 2022 election year. The report is based on a survey aimed at approximately 6,000 politicians’ experiences of hate and threats and partly on 14 in-depth interviews about politicians’ experiences of hate and threats.

Record number of bankruptcies

The number of bankruptcies increased to new record levels during the month of March according to the credit information company UC. The number of bankruptcies in March increased 36 percent compared to the corresponding month last year.

Want to feel young?

Protect your sleep. Feeling sleepy can make you feel 10 years older. Researchers at Stockholm University have discovered that sleep affects how old you feel. The study is published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Do you ever find yourself longing for the energy and vitality of your younger years? Feeling young is not just a matter of perception – it is actually related to objective health outcomes. Previous studies have shown that feeling younger than one’s actual age is associated with a longer, healthier life. There is even support for subjective age to predict actual brain age, with those feeling younger having younger brains.

“Given that sleep is essential for brain function and overall well-being, we decided to test whether sleep holds any secrets to preserving a youthful sense of age,” says Leonie Balter, researcher at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.

In the first study, 429 individuals aged 18 to 70 were asked how old they felt, how many days in the past month they had not gotten enough sleep, and how sleepy they were. It turned out that for each night with insufficient sleep in the past month, participants felt on average 0.23 years older.

Surprise rise in GDP

In a second study, the researchers tested whether it was indeed the lack of sleep causing participants to feel older. Therefore, they conducted an experimental sleep restriction study involving 186 participants aged 18 to 46. Participants restricted their sleep for two nights – only four hours in bed each night – and another time slept sufficiently with nine hours in bed each night for two nights.

After sleep restriction, participants felt on average 4.4 years older compared to when having enjoyed sufficient sleep. The effects of sleep on subjective age appeared to be related to how sleepy they felt. Feeling extremely alert was related to feeling four years younger than one’s actual age, while extreme sleepiness was related to feeling six years older than one’s actual age.

“This means that going from feeling alert to sleepy added a striking 10 years to how old one felt,” says Balter, adding that the implications for our daily lives are clear:

“Safeguarding our sleep is crucial for maintaining a youthful feeling. This, in turn, may promote a more active lifestyle and encourage behaviors that promote health, as both feeling young and alert are important for our motivation to be active.”

Swedish GDP rose unexpectedly during February. The increase was 01.1 percent compared to the month before when the market expected a continued decline. The GDP indicator is intended to give an early picture of the development of the gross domestic product and is based on a more limited basis than the ordinary quarterly figures.

MAY 01, 2024 23
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