Nordstjernan 1918

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Swedish Christmas

dashboard | december 15, 2019 SCANDINAVIAN QUIZ

did it mean to be the first farmer to return home after Julotta on Christ1 What mas Day? A) summer would bring a

6 The Swedish lussekatt is well known for its what? A) six-toed paws B) saffron spice C) thick fur D) night vision

bountiful harvest B) Tomten would 7 The Staffansvisan used to be associated with St. sneak away without leaving gifts C) he’d Stephen’s day (boxing day), but nowadays is win the lottery D) a stranger will visit usually sung when? A) St. Lucia Day B) Christ-

God Jul at Julotta The heart of the Christmas celebration in Sweden used to be the early morning Julotta service on Christmas Day, a tradition that made its way to America with the immigrants. Julotta (“Jul” means Christmas, “otta” means dawn) is the celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ that starts early in the morning, nowadays at 7 a.m., though our ancestors probably went as early as 4 a.m. while it was still is dark outside. Technically, Julotta should end just before dawn, with everyone sharing candlelight as they go out to greet Christmas Day. It was, after all, considered the most important time to go to church, and even the ride there was festive: People would take their finest sleighs with their finest bells for the long, cold journey to church in the dark. Although the Christmas Julotta service is but a memory for many churches, it continues to flourish in others. It’s common nowadays for worshippers to gather together for coffee and a small smörgåsbord before heading to their next Christmas Day tradition. God Jul! Name’s Days of the Swedish Calendar Namnsdagar i december

December 15 December 16 December 17 December 18 December 19 December 20 December 21 December 22 December 23 December 24 December 25 December 26 December 27 December 28 December 29 December 30 December 31 December 15

New York Chicago Stockholm Kiruna Lund Los Angeles 2 NORDSTJERNAN

Gottfrid Assar Stig Abraham Isak Israel/Moses Tomas Natanael/Jonatan Adam Eva Juldagen Stefan/Staffan Johannes/Johan Benjamin Natalia/Natalie Abel/Set Sylvester |

Sunrise & Sunset

7.12 am 4.29 pm 7.10 am 4.20 pm 8.38 am 2.46 pm below horizon 8.30 am 3.34 pm 6.51 am 4.45 pm

3 Viktor Rydberg (1828–1895) is best remembered for what? A) his Nobel Prize acceptance speech B) his glögg recipe C) beautiful handwriting D) his tale of Tomten 4 Between 2012 and 2017, the number of women in what Swedish industry grew 255 percent (and the number of men 157 percent)? A) music B) architecture C) gaming D) food

5 Where did LA Galaxy soccer player Zlatan Ibrahmovic grow up? A) Tallin, Estonia B) Turku, Finland C) Rosengård, Sweden D) Bijeljina, Bosnia CULTURE


mas Eve C) Tjugondedag Knut D) Midsommar

8 The Walt Disney Company collaborated with whom for their sequel to Frozen? A) Norwegian arctic explorers B) Saami advisory group C) Swedish Embassy in Moscow D) Nobel Chemistry Prize laureates

9 Who did the 2019 Nobel Laureates in Physics and Chemistry talk to at the start of Nobel Week in Stockholm? A) astronaut Jessica Meir B) President Trump C) Alfred Nobel’s nephew, Peter D) St. Lucia

10 What is another name for lingonberry? A) partridgeberry B) cowberry C) foxberry D) reindeerberry Answers: 1:A, 2:B, 3:D, 4:C, 5:C, 6:B, 7:A, 8:B, 9:A, 10:D

2 Which immigrant group was the third largest on the Titanic? A) Finns B) Swedes C) Norwegians D) Danes


Stig — December 17 Stig is a man’s name with Danish roots and comes from the word “stiga,” which means “to walk.”It was originally a by-name that became a given name. It has been used in Skåne, southern Sweden, since the end of the 12th century. Tomas — December 21 Tomas or Thomas means “twin” in its Aramaic origins. The oldest proof of Tomas in Sweden comes from a 13th century rune stone. It became one of the 10 most common names by the 1960s. In 2018 there were 95,777 Tomases in Sweden; 49 women have it as a middle name. Stefan — December 26 Stefan is a man’s name originating from the Greek name Stefanos, which means “crowned.”bv The name also has Christian roots, after the first Christian martyr Saint Stefan, who was stoned to death in Jerusalem in the year 35.

founded in new york city in september 1872 Nordstjernan (ISSN 1059-7670), founded in New York City in September 1872, is published by Swedish News, Inc., 570 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022 • Readers services and editorial submissions: P.O. Box 1710, New Canaan, CT 06840 Periodicals Postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices., Nordstjernan is published semimonthly, except for the months of January, February, September when it is monthly and Augustwith no issue. POST MASTER: Please send address changes to Nordstjernan, P.O. Box 1710, New Canaan, CT 06840 Subscription rates: 1 yr. = $55, Two yr. = $99, outside US 1 yr. = $167.

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this week…

December TO DO 12.15 SIGNIFICANT IN MANY WAYS: In 1791 the U.S. Congress ratified the Bill of Rights, and 100 years later John Naismith invented the basketball. Over 200 years later in Sweden, Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament, unanimously voted yes to Swedish EU membership in 1994. 12.15 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: TREDJE ADVENT / Advent, from the Latin word “adventus” which means arrival, is celebrated during the month before Christmas. Each Sunday is celebrated and Swedish families light the third candle of the Advent wreath on this day as an Advent star shines in many windows. 12.21 PUT UP THE JULKÄRVE: TOMASDAGEN* / Traditionally a market day and time to put up the julkärve (Christmas stalks); also the day the beer was ready. Named after the apostle who voiced his disbelief in the resurrected Jesus, sometimes referred to as Doubting Tomas (Tomas tvivlaren). With a nod to the tomte count in the previous issue, this is also Skumtomtens Dag in the Swedish almanac. 12.21 GET YOUR VITAMIN D: VINTERSOLSTÅNDET / Winter Solstice: It doesn’t get any darker than today but from now on the days get longer and lighter. Soon spring.

The archeological timeline (well, sort of) of the Swedish Christmas table, the julbord /Page27

Dashboard, p4-5

Upward trend for Swedish school / Swedish Heritage Night with the Sharks / The Mona Johnson scholarship / Christmas Gift of the Year / Rent a suit at H&M / Vertical farming.

Events calendar, p6-11

Holiday events in Swedish America.

Kultursverige, p16

12.24 WATCH CARTOONS / JULAFTON: It’s Christmas Eve, the big event with a festive meal and Christmas gifts. And at 3 p.m. all of Sweden watches the traditional “Kalle Ankas Jul” (Donald Duck’s Christmas).

12.25 GET UP REALLY EARLY (OR JUST STAY UP ALL NIGHT): JUL / It’s Christmas! Many Swedes get up very early to go to church for the special Julotta service. A bell used to toll at 5 a.m. to awaken the people for the 6 a.m. service, today the service may start as late as 7 a.m. Then there is an entire day ahead to enjoy Christmas gifts, especially a new subsciption to Nordstjernan. God Jul! 12.31 IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE: NYÅRSAFTON / Happy and healthy 2020!

Value is a personal matter

Three years ago, when we switched Nordstjernan to a new format for the first time since the early 1970s, we set out to create a publication that would make us all proud. Looking at the readership response, growth and support we enjoy, we’re happy to say that so far our endeavor has been appreciated. We value all of your contributions, feedback and support. Value, when used as a noun, is an extremely personal matter. It can be created by the feeling or sense of confidence, of belonging, that a particular item conveys. That’s where we would like to be for you. Sometimes it’s created by the story behind a particular product or brand. Around Christmas and the holidays we tend to value the commonalities of a celebration that should look and feel the way, at least in our minds, it always did. Kids grow up, friends change, families become larger, or sometimes smaller, but Christmas is a time for reconnecting with something deep down, recognizable, familiar and comfortable. It’s a time of expectation and excitement in a way that doesn’t include as many surprises as traditions … for example, I make the world’s best glögg (sorry Mike at Sjöblom Winery!) —although it doesn’t have a set recipe and tastes different every year, just like my wife Mette’s meatballs are now world class after my mother died a couple years ago. They’re

simply the best. As are the gingersnaps, the salmon, the herring, the Janssons, etc. All the things I expect around Christmas are the best when they come from us. Christmas and the way we celebrate the holidays are personal in a good way. Whatever you do this holiday season make it your own, and remember it’s not what you do, it’s how you make it happen. It’s about the journey. A newspaper such as Nordstjernan should always be a journey, an experience in its own right. If you’re new to us, welcome aboard; everyone else, thank you for your continued support and trust. Thank you all—readers, writers, designers, photographers, sponsors, advertisers, colleagues, FRIENDS—for an exciting and successful year. Nordstjernan and staff look forward to our 148th year of continuous publishing, and wish everyone a healthy, safe and happy 2020! PS. Please remember, we enter a time of monthly publishing for January and February prior to going back to twice a month in March.

This Lingonberry mousse will make your modern julbord pretty in pink /Page 23

Food & Culture, p18

Honoring tradition with a modern Swedish Christmas menu.

Swedish News, p38

Parliament approves 2020 budget / Collecting parking fees / Expecting leaner years / One million on antidepressants / increase in international doctoral students / More Swedes use seat belts / Technology helps first responders Page 35

Emcee Johan Jörgensen with SACC NY President Anna Throne-Holst at this year’s Sustainology Summit in New York /Page 35 The Exchange Rate:

Ulf Barslund Mårtensson Editor & Publisher

$1.00 = SEK 9.51 (12.04.2019)

DECEMBER 15, 2019 3

dashboard | december 15, 2019

Upward trend for Swedish school The positive trend in the Pisa measurements continues after the trend break in 2015. Swedish 15-year-old school kids perform better than in the previous survey. They perform better in mathematics as well as science and reading comprehension compared to the 2015 survey. Sweden has in principle recovered from the sharp decline during the early 2000s. At the same time, the differences between the best and worst performing students in areas such as reading comprehension and science are increasing. In spite of growing classes and teacher shortages, the results have improved, the Education Minister Anna Ekström says, but notes at the same time that Swedish schools need to become more equal.

The stories, the traditions, the people behind the news. founded in new york city in september 1872 executive editor

& publisher:

Ulf Barslund Mårtensson ( editor:

Amanda Olson Robison ( managing editor & production: Everett Martin graphic design: Nadia Wojcik ( contributors:

Chipp Reid - Ted Olsson - Leif Rosqvist - Kitty Hughes Ulf Kirchdorfer - Valorie Arrowsmith Bo Zaunders - Göran Rygert - James Kaplan - Gunilla Blixt publications director:

Mette Barslund Mårtensson (; 800.827.9333, ext 12)

nordstjernan p.o. box 1710 new canaan ct 06840 contact us at 1.800.827.9333 ext 10 for reader services, email:; ext 12 for advertising, email: Covering three worlds: Sweden, America and Swedish America. Order your own copy, $55.00 for a year (18 issues) Choose ‘subscribe’ at or call 1.800.827.9333, ext 10 4 NORDSTJERNAN

Swedish Heritage Night with the Sharks More than 300 native Swedes and Swedish-Americans attended the 4th annual Swedish Heritage Night at the SAP Center in downtown San Jose, California on November 12. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Edmonton Oilers by a final score of 6 to 3, where Sharks superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson was selected the Most Valuable Player of the match with three assists. The special event was arranged and made possible by San Jose Sharks Group Sales Account Executive Chris Jensen, who is Danish American. In addition to getting reduced ticket prices, the Swedish and Swedish-American attendees were given complimentary and limited-edition San Jose Sharks-Swedish beanie hats. The entire crowd was also treated to a performance by the renowned Zaida Singers from the Swedish American Patriotic League led by Zaida Hansson Binetti from Hedeviken, Sweden. They performed and sang both the Canadian National Anthem and the American National Anthem immediately before the 7:30 p.m. faceoff. Already a tradition at this new annual event, shortly after the hockey match ended the four

current Swedish players—Erik Karlsson from Landsbro, Melker Karlsson from Lycksele, Marcus Sörensen from Södertälje, and Tim Heed from Göteborg, Sweden—all came out onto the ice for a group photo taken by the Sharks team photographer. In addition, the team ambassador and former star player Doug Murray from Bromma, Sweden joined us. Doug is a real gentleman who infused camaraderie and Swedish pride while personally greeting everyone who came onto the ice. If you missed out on this annual Swedish Heritage Night at the SAP Center, Chris Jensen told me he is already busy organizing a new Nordic Heritage Night at the SAP Center in two months: on Thursday, January 9, 2020, when the San Jose Sharks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. Hats off—and you don’t have to throw them out onto the ice this time—to Chris Jensen and the San Jose Sharks Swedish players and the Zaida Singers for making possible this fun, forever memorable and joyous special event! Jim Melin

the mona johnson scholarship Submit your application for the 2020 SWEA NY Mona Johnson Scholarship before December 16. The purpose of the scholarship is to support a person or organization with ties to New York

in studies or projects that promote knowledge of Swedish traditions, languages, culture, history, and/or society. For more info, see www.newyork.

We have no trouble staying off our phones, so for Christmas we’ll pick the memoir of one of Sweden’s most successful NHL players ever, Nicklas Lidstrom, titled “The Pursuit of Perfection.” Not only because we met the NHL’s and world’s? best defenseman during his two decades with the Detroit Red Wings but also because it’s a tale of how a young man from a small village in Sweden became what teammates referred to as the “perfect human.” Cowritten with Gunnar Nordström and Bob Duff, who each closely followed Lidstrom’s career, the book is equally fun whether you’re a fan of hockey or Sweden. “Nicklas Lidstrom: The Pursuit of Perfection” is 275 pages, hard cover and published by Triumph Books. Available through Amazon.

dashboard | december 15, 2019

H&M enters rental business

Photo: RaphaelStecksén/KunglHovstaterna

H&M is the latest retailer to test a clothing rental service albeit only in Stockholm, Sweden for now. Members of the company’s loyalty program can rent from a curated selection of 50 pieces from the retailer’s flagship location on Hamngatan in Stockholm. An assessment will be made after a threemonth trial period prior to a possible expansion of the program. This is a second pilot-test H&M has launched tied to the resale market this year. In April, it began selling vintage and second-hand clothing through its upscale & Other Stories brand.

In the fall of 2017, H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria began a series of hikes through all of Sweden’s landscapes. The hikes started in Västergötland in September, 2017 and were completed with a final hike through Dalarna on June 12, 2019. in the next few years. The image above is from her first walk of 2019 through a landscape, through Norrbotten in the north in March.

Vertical farming Christmas Gift of the Year This holiday, the Christmas Gift of the Year is a box in which to put your mobile phone. “The mobile box is a tool for the times of day when you want to put away the mobile to read a book or spend time with the family instead,” says Jonas Arnberg, CEO of HUI Research, which selects the annual gift. Ninetytwo percent of Sweden’s population over age 11 has a smartphone and spends an average of three hours a day in front of some kind of screen. Today’s mobile connection has many roles in our lives—from self expression to stressful distraction. In particular, the latter has led to a trend where more and more people are questioning their own mobile usage. There are three criteria for selecting a year’s Christmas gift: It can reflect the times we live in; it’s a novelty or has received new interest during the year; or it has sold in large numbers. At least one criterion must be met, and this year the first two will be, according to HUI. Recently, the institute appointed Christmas gifts that are in line with society’s environmental and sustainability trends, such as the electric bicycle in 2017 or last year’s “recycled garment.” HUI writes that the mobile box can be one you buy, already have or manufacture yourself. Blocket, the Swedish website for miscellaneous online sales, also announced its Annual Used Gift—used toys. The site said in a press release it hoped everyone would consider used toys as an alternative and declared it would lower the cost of advertising used toys to one krona (roughly 10¢) between Nov. 20 and Dec. 24.

Stockholm-based Grönska, which literally means “greenery,” has developed a concept for vertical urban farming. The company’s first factory is in Huddinge south of Stockholm but its cultivation units can also be placed in stores and in restaurants so that growing takes place at the point of sale. Grönska, founded in 2014, started large scale vertical farming in late 2018 in its new premises south of Stockholm. The company grows a variety of plants, mainly herbs but also some lettuce varieties. Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. By growing vertically in a protected indoor environment, Grönska offers locally grown products to stores in Stockholm. The herbs and lettuce grow under specially designed LED lights and in a closed water system that filters and reuses the water that feeds the plants. With 120,000 plants a month, the company considers itself to be Europe’s largest vertical cultivation. By cultivating vertically, you can make full use of the entire space and position yourself in or near cities where rents are expensive, to reduce the effects of long transports. The best known vertical farming company is New

Grönska founders, Robin Lee, Petter Olsson, Natalie de Brun Skantz

York-based Aerofarms, which was founded in 2004. One of the three founders of Grönska, Robin Lee, was in New York City for the Sustainology Summit organized by SACC New York. More on the summit, page 35. For more info on the company, see

The general consensus is that the very social Gävlebocken (you’re sure to find him on your favorite social media platform) won’t meet an early demise this year. Surrounded by security, a 24/7 webcam and so much fire retardant that he is surely impervious to anything, the giant straw goat has been tempting his own fate in Gävle, Sweden every December since 1966; some years have ended better than others…. You can check on him at every day until the new year or until the sad day that he meets his notorious fate, but we don’t think that’ll happen this year. DECEMBER 15, 2019 5

local events

Local Events California Napa 12.15, 12-6 PM Sjöblom Winery Annual Glögg Party: This fun event ends Sjöblom’s U.S. glögg tour 2019. Meet the winemaker and the Sjöblom Winery team over a cup of glögg and a cinnamon cookie from Annas Pepparkakor at the beautiful Cedar Gables Inn. 707.363.6035 / event-details/2019-sjoblom-glogg-event San Francisco 12.15 & 12.22, 5-10 PM Scandinavian Julbord: The renowned Scandinavian PLÄJ Bar & Restaurant offers a five-course Julbord, prix fixe $85 per person on the four Sundays before Christmas. Reservations are required. 415.294.8925, events/

Florida Clearwater 1.10, 11:45 AM - 2:45 PM Suncoast Scandinavian Club: Welcome to our December luncheon meeting with entertainment by Victoria Garcia, harpist, along with our 55th anniversary celebration. Lunch cost is $17/visitor. RSVP required to Cherstin Peterson, 732.546.7756 or sunscanclub1965@gmail. com /

Illinois Chicago 12.15, 4 PM Gingerbread House Decoration: Learn how to make the gingerbread house of your dreams with Ann Cutler, lead cookie decorator at Bittersweet Pastry Shop in Chicago. $25 includes everything you need /ages 12+. Prepaid reservations

En underbar j-a jul Now streaming on various networks in the U.S. as well as in Chicago at the Swedish American Museum on Dec. 20, is A Holy Mess. Known as En underbar jävla jul (2015) in Sweden, this Swedish holiday comedy tells the stories of a modern family continually struggling to “do things right.” Recommended for ages 7+. In Swedish with English subtitles showing at the museum on Dec. 20 at 6-8 p.m. Free, reservations appreciated, 917.495.8396 / www.

required, Swedish American Museum, 773.728.8111 / 12.17, 6-8 PM Baking Christmas Bread: Learn traditional Christmas baking. This is a hands-on class. Swedish American Museum, 917.495.8396 / 12.20, 11 AM-12 PM Hejsan! Story and craft time about animals. All ages are welcome with a caregiver for this free (with admission) program. Reservations are appreciated via email to / www. 12.20, 6-8 PM Film Screening - A Holy Mess: A warm comedy about the modern family and their continual struggle to “do things right.” Recommended for ages 7+. In Swedish with English subtitles. Free, reservations are appreciated to Swedish American Museum, 917.495.8396 / /

Merry&Bright Spend the holidays at the National Nordic Museum with festive favorites all season long!

Visit us at 6 NORDSTJERNAN

12.23, 9 AM - 2 PM Tomten’s Workshop: Kick off holiday break with a fun one-day camp! Children learn about Swedish holiday traditions through crafts, stories, games, music and other activities. For children in kindergarten through fifth grade, with available extended care until 4 p.m. Swedish American Museum, 917.495.8396 / www. 12.29, 11 AM - 2 PM Guided Tour - The Dream of America: Dive into the history of Swedish immigration to Chicago with a guided tour of the permanent exhibit. Uncover the stories of real immigrants who made the journey in 1924. Learn about what awaited the millions who came to America via Ellis Island and what life was like in Swedish neighborhoods in Chicago then and now. The tour is free with admissions, reservations are recommended via email to, Swedish American Museum / 917.495.8396 / www. 12.30, 10 AM- 4 PM Winter Crafts: Different crafts available on the third floor during the week of December 30 - January 3 (the museum is closed on

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day) and the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration will have extended hours, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Swedish American Museum, 917.495.8396 / Ongoing Bonader Wall Hangings: One of the most remarkable examples of Scandinavian folk art is the painted picture indigenous to the Swedish peasant home. The commonly used name for these peasant paintings is bonader, and their provenance was to decorate the walls and ceilings of the homes at Christmas time and on feast days, thus adding a note of color and gaiety to the otherwise dark interiors. Through Jan. 12, 2020. Swedish American Museum / 917.495.8396 / www.

Kansas 12.26, 10 AM-12 PM Annandag Jul: The second day of Christmas is an official part of the Christmas holiday in Sweden. Experience a traditional Lutheran Church service in Swedish. Bethany Lutheran Church, 785.227.2167 / / www.

God Jul & Gott Nytt År!

Phone: 203-529-3244

local events with comedy tinged tours to explore the decorations and stories of Scandinavian holiday traditions and ASI itself over the past 90 years – with curated cocktails and specialty lite-bites. This tour serves alcoholic beverages and is a 21+ event. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 / 12.20 & 12.21, 9-10 AM Kids at the Castle - Tiny Tomtes and Extraordinary Elves: Learn about and look for Tomte and his helpful friends in this holiday-inspired morning playdate for families with kids ages 2-5. Join us for circle time, storytelling, crafts, visual play, music and movement in the Turnblad Mansion. $8/ family; no registration required. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 /

Glögg Taste and Tour Get cozy with this special tour on December 26, the day after Christmas, AKA “Annandag Jul.” Come for one of two tour times, at 3:30 or 6 p.m. and enjoy our general gallery tour, with a few extra items on Scandinavian 1.26, 6 PM Swedish Luau: A roasted pig and a dish of Swedish meatballs makes for a new dish called a Swedish Meatball Pig. Join the fun to see Swedish dancers doing the hula and happy luau goers doing the lutefisk limbo, it’s a mash-up of Swedish proportions! 785.227.2167 / travelinfo@lindsborgcity. org /

Massachusetts West Newton 01.25, 1 PM

drinking traditions, as well as a glögg tasting between the tours at 5 p.m. Space is limited, register in advance to reserve your spot. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 /

Opera Is Cool: A Life Well Sung: Birgit Nilsson, the Swedish soprano, was in a league of her own. Enjoy local opera expert Erika Reitshamer’s audiovisual tribute to this great Swedish soprano whose accomplishments in the world of opera are unequaled. $15/non-members, $7/members. The Scandinavian Cultural Center, 617.795.1914 /


12.17, 6-7:30 PM Jul 101: How do Swedes celebrate Christmas? Find out in this fun workshop in which you’ll also make a craft and learn a Swedish Christmas song. Perhaps you’ll discover some new jul traditions to add to your own! $15/members, $18/nonmembers. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 / 12.19, 7-8:30 PM Glogg Tours: Take a step back in time


1.15, 6-8 PM Swedish Crime Fiction: Swedish TV’s crime mysteries are among the best in the business, and watching and discussing them is a great way to learn more about the culture and language. This season we are watching eight episodes of Wallander season 2, first shown in Sweden in 2009. While this is a series, each episode can stand alone; it is not necessary to have seen previous episodes to follow the current show. Receive cultural context before the episode; after viewing, discuss the episode, touching on plot, production and society. The shows are in Swedish with English subtitles. All discussions in English. Four Wednesdays @ 6-8 p.m.: Jan. 15, 22, 29 & Feb. 5 (session 2 begins Feb 12). American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 / 1.20, 6:30-8:30 PM Craft and Cocktails - Intro to Kolrosing: enjoy a signature drink from FIKA café and learn the age-old decorative technique called kolrosing (literally “coal-writing”), patterns scratched into wood and filled with dirt. This decorative technique, used on woodenware across Scandinavia since at least Viking times, commonly used coal dust as the colorant. Students will leave with a small wooden trivet. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 / www.

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local events Ongoing Wee Thee Vikings: Imagine navigating the open seas as a Viking adventurer, or finding a quiet corner to read, relax and learn about Norse gods. This hands-on, play-based space for our youngest visitors was designed by and with illustrations painted by local artist and illustrator Lauren Emmons. In the Benson gallery through Feb 16, 2020. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 /

Scandia 12.21,10 AM & 1 PM Annie’s Swedish Coffee Party: Annie, Gammelgården’s oldest resident, is the inspiration behind our traditional Swedish 3-course Coffee Party. A perfect way to celebrate the holidays with a special Jul program. RSVP, $15. Gammelgarden M u s e u m , 6 5 1 . 4 3 3 . 5 0 5 3 / w w w.

Ongoing The attic stores immigration stories: Gammelgården’s Attic exhibit hosts a wide variety of items that are relevant to telling the story of Swedish immigration and settlement. Many are on display in the Passage Room of the Välkommen Hus where they can be enjoyed and help tell the story of immigration. Gammelgarden Museum, 651.383.7351 /

New York Corning New Glass Now: The special exhibition features works by 100 living glass artists, including Kosta Boda artists and others in Sweden’s “glass country” as well as Denmark, Finland and around the world. Through January 2020 at The Corning Museum of Glass, 607.937.5371 / www.


CITIZENSHIP: WHY NOT NOW? Please call for a consultation:

(650) 903-2232 Laurie A. Bonilla,

800 El Camino Real West, Suite 180 Mountain View, CA 94040

ROBERTA SWEDIEN Solo piano and spoken word


Pancake Mix and

LINGONBERRIES • Fresh Frozen • Preserves 1-800-201-9650 8 NORDSTJERNAN

12.14 & 12.15 Holiday Julebord (Christmas Table) presented by Smörgås Chef. Lavish buffet with Scandinavian appetizers, main courses and delicious desserts. Brunch and dinner seatings with unlimited buffet and one cup glögg. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 /


Ms. Bonilla has been practicing Immigration Law since 1987. She is a member of the Washington State Bar and is authorized by Federal Law to represent persons before the US CIS.

12.02 through 12.24 Restaurant Aquavit serves a two-course Christmas plate available in the bar for lunch Monday-Friday from 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and for dinner Monday-Saturday from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. /$58 per person. Julbord brunch on 12.14 and 12.21 /$135 and an allday julbord/Christmas table on 12.24/$135. Restaurant Aquavit, 212.307.7311 / www.


Attorney at Law

Naturalization, employment-based, and family-based immigration legal matters in Santa Clara, San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties.

New York 12.12 through 12.22 Unga Klara Teater from Stockholm is performing “Because I Say So” at the New Victory Theater / The Duke on 42nd Street, 646.223.3010 /


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SWEDISH-AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY Learn more about your heritage as a Swedish American! Join the Swedish-American Historical Society, which has been chronicling the story of Swedish immigration for over 70 years. Your membership can also help this history to survive by funding the archives, future research, and published pieces. Membership includes: • The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, which since 1950 has provided stories of immigrants, what they faced in America, the communities they founded, and much more. • Sustaining member dividend books like Anita Olson Gustafson’s, Swedish Chicago. • Discounts on books. A list is available on the Society website, • Invitations to member meetings, programs, and tours, such as Gettysburg in 2013 and Minnesota in 2017. For more information: • Write Swedish-American Historical Society. 3225 W. Foster Ave., Box 48, Chicago, IL 60625 or email • Or go to our website, Mention Nordstjernan when you join or order books.

local events

The Tomten This Christmas story by Astrid Lindgren and illustrated by Harald Wiberg is adapted from Viktor Rydberg’s poem of Tomten’s nocturnal visit to all the residents of a wintry farm. The classic story has influenced many a Swedish holiday event, including: Chicago’s Tomten’s Workshop on Dec. 23, a oneday holiday camp at 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Children in kindergarten through fifth grade learn about Swedish holiday traditions through crafts, stories, games, music and other activities. Swedish American Museum, 917.495.8396 / Tomten might also be found at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, when on Dec. 20 & 21, families with kids ages 2-5 can look for Tomten and his helpful friends in this holiday-inspired morning playdate at 9-10 a.m. Kids at the Castle includes circle time, storytelling, crafts, visual play, music and movement. $8/ family; no registration required. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 /

1.16, 7:30 PM Music on Park Avenue: Swedish pianist Per Tengstrand returns to Scandinavia House with a Beethoven celebration. Attend a preconcert talk at 7 p.m. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 / 1-17, 7 PM Dronningen/Queen of Hearts: A riveting and provocative film, Queen of Hearts shows the devastating consequences of power, betrayal, and responsibility, in a portrait of a woman who manages to lose everything and nothing at the same time. Directed by May el-Toukhy (Denmark, 2019) Queen of Hearts has been selected as Denmark’s entry into this year’s Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film. 128 min. in Danish and Swedish with English subtitles. Scandinavia House, 212.779.3587 /

Oregon Portland 12.15, 7:30 PM Portland Scandinavian Chorus Concert: Celebrating holiday music in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and English. Nordia House, 503.977.0275 / 1.14, 6:30 PM Cook and Eat - ULTRA ICELAND: A Traditional Icelandic dinner with guest chef Edda Sigurdar. Edda will teach us to make hjonabandsaela (rhubarb pie) and kjotsupa, (lamb and cabbage soup). The combination of lamb on the bone and root vegetables make for a flavorful, nourishing meal, and some recipes call for the dish to be made heartier still by adding rice or

rolled oats toward the end, which results in a thicker stew. Nordia House, 503.977.0275 /

Pennsylvania Philadelphia 12.17, 10:30-11:30 AM Toddler Time - Warm holiday traditions: Toddlers and families get into the holiday spirit by learning about fun Swedish holiday traditions such as St. Lucia Day, pepparkakor and Jultomte. Read Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydåker and dance to seasonal music! Members receive a double discount in the gift shop the morning of the program! It’s a perfect opportunity to teach your little ones about Swedish culture and grab some last minute stocking stuffers! $5/child or free/ members and accompanying caregivers. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / 12.26, 3:30-8 PM Museum & Glögg Tour: Get cozy with this special tour! We are offering two tour time slots at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Enjoy our general gallery tour, with a few extra items on Scandinavian drinking traditions, as well as a glögg tasting between the tours at 5 p.m. Space is limited, register in advance to reserve your spot. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / www. Ongoing The Finnish Cause is Ours: 2019 marks 80 years since the first of three wars fought by Finland to defend its territory. During the devastating war years, Finland’s government worked with neighboring

What if kids ran the world instead of grown-ups?

That’s the premise of this romp by Sweden’s Unga Klara Teater from Stockholm, in “Because I Say So” at the New Victory Theater in New York City, Dec. 12-22. In this halfhour physical-theater piece, the performers dance, pretend, and play with abandon as they bond with their young spectators. The Duke on 42nd Street, 646.223.3010 / www.


FROM THE AMERICAN-SCANDINAVIAN FOUNDATION LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT GIFT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Look no further than Scandinavia House! From classic design pieces to the latest in Nordic fashion, the Shop at Scandinavia House has something for everyone. And give the gift of ASF Membership to your favorite Nordic enthusiasts for benefits that can be enjoyed all year long!


DECEMBER 15, 2019 9

local events

the most popular films and tv shows from sweden

swedish dvd releases Order Swedish language movies on DVD. All videos are in the original language with English subtitles.


ed: $


r Price

Becoming Astrid: About the life of the creator of Pippi Longstocking, Sweden’s beloved author Astrid Lindgren.

Immerse yourself and family in swedishness with the latest dvd releases from Sweden.

Nordic countries to evacuate 70,000 Finnish children. This exhibit explores the experiences of these children and their difficulties during transportation, moving to Sweden, and for some, returning to Finland. Through January at American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / / www. Ongoing Nordic Changes: Works by Diane Burko, on view through January 5. This exhibition of paintings and photographs by the internationally renowned artist Diane Burko, and guest curated by Dr. Kirsten Jensen, shows visual investigations revealing the dramatic ways in which the Arctic is being transformed by the effects of climate change. Nordic Changes offers visitors a capsule survey of Burko’s many expeditions to the Arctic. The 14 works highlight the Arctic’s geological phenomena and its austere natural beauty, while also forcing the viewer to reflect on how quickly it’s disappearing before our eyes. American Swedish Historical Museum. 215.389.1776 / / www.

1.23, 6:30-8 PM Crafts & Cocktails: Join us after work for the Nordic’s new “crafting happy hour.” Recharge from your day with an evening of creativity, inspiration and fun! Explore the Finnish design house, Marimekko, and collage your own interpretation of these colorful bold prints. Craft is co-developed and facilitated by local writer, artist, publisher and producer, Anna Brones. Ages 21+. Ticket includes craft supplies and one drink $25/members, $35/non-members. Nordic National Museum, 206.789.5707 /

Wisconsin Stockholm 12.21, Fire of Stockholm Winter Solstice: Festivities and shopping in the village of Stockholm. The village is lit in wonder with fire dancers, luminaries, carolers, ice candles, torches and bon fires, a Jultomte, horse-drawn wagon rides and the firelight on the winter solstice! 715.442.2266 /

Washington Seattle 1.02, 10-11 AM Nordic Stories: The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be by Mini Grey (Denmark). The first Thursday of the month, Nordic

Augusta’s Daughter

Becoming Astrid $29.95 = _______ A Man Called Ove ($29.95) $19.95 = _______ The Last Sentence $29.95 = _______ The 100 Year Old Man ($29.95) $19.95 = _______ The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy Extended Boxed Set $39.95 = _______ Wallander Series 2 Boxed Set ($74.95) $59.95 = _______ Max Manus: Man of War (in Norwegian) $19.95 = _______

Please send me:

Ever wonder what made so many emigrate from Sweden in the nineteenth century? Judit Martin’s novel, “Augusta’s Daughter,” about 19th century Swedish peasant life made such an impression on us, we decided to offer it to the Nordstjernan readership. call 1.800.827.9333 for your own copy ($24.90 incl. S&H to continental U.S.).

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Stories features children’s tales along with a fun craft project. Nordic National Museum, 206.789.5707 /


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local events

Christmas in Swedish America California

Petaluma 12.15, 1-4 PM Lucia Pageant: Traditional Lucia Pageant and fika, singing and dancing around the tree, Santa. / San Francisco 12.15, 4:30 PM Santa Lucia Celebration: Lucia procession, lussekatter, glögg, and Scandinavian treats at Swedish American Hall. The Young Scandinavians Club, / 12.15 & 12.22, 5-10 PM Scandinavian Julbord: A five-course Julbord, prix fixe $85. Reservations: 415.294.8925, events 12.15, 3-4 PM Lucia Celebration: Lucia procession, choir, coffee, gingerbread cookies and saffron buns. Swedish Church San Francisco, 925.357.7145 / sanfrancisco 12.21, 3-5 PM Swedish Advent Service: 3rd Advent service with coffee afterward. Swedish Church San Francisco, 925.357.7145 / 12.24, 11 AM- 12 PM Christmas Prayer/Julkrubba Christmas prayer (“julkrubba”) on Christmas Eve. Children welcome to participate. Swedish Church San Francisco, 925.357.7145 /


Bishop Hill 12.25, 6-7:30 AM Julotta: Non-denominational church service in Swedish and English. Swedish fika afterward. At the Colony Church, 309.927.3345 / www.bishophillheritage. org Chicago 12.21, 4-5 P Julgudstjänst: Swedish Christmas service led (in Swedish) by a priest from the Swedish Church in New York. At Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 917.495.8396 / www.


Lindsborg 12.25, 6 AM Julotta Service: Traditional Swedish Lutheran Christmas service at Bethany Lutheran Church, 785.227.2167 / 12.26, 10 AM Annandag Jul: “Another day of Christmas” service in Swedish at Bethany Lutheran Church, 785-785.227.2167 / www. /travelinfo@


East Longmeadow 12.15, 3-5 PM Lucia Fest: Singing, folk dancing and refreshments. Brage-Iduna Lodge #9,


Minneapolis 12.21, 6:30 PM & 12.22, 1 PM Julbord: Traditional meatballs, herring, delectable desserts and more, cash bar. RSVP by Dec. 13, American Swedish Institute, 612.871. 4907 / Moorhead 12.15, 4-7 PM Sankta Lucia: Children of all ages participate, treats afterward. Swedish Cultural Heritage Society at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 701.306.6554 /

New York

New York 12.24, 1 PM Scandinavian Christmas Service: In Norwegian/English with a coffee hour, cakes and raffle afterward. Norwegian Seamen’s Church, 212.319.0370 / www.

For continuous info from all over the U.S., see events at Find your local SWEA chapter by going to www. - almost every SWEA organization has Lucia and Christmas fairs.


Ohio Cincinnati 12.15, 4 - 7 PM Annual Lucia Fest. Tickets: Scandinavian Society of Cincinnati, www.

South Dakota

Dalesburg 12.15, 2-5 PM 42nd celebration of St. Lucia in Dalesburg: Välkommen! Dalesburg Scandinavian Association, 605.253.2575 / ron@ /


Waukesha 12.15, 3-6 PM Lucia: Svenska Skolans Luciafirande with Lucia, glögg, kaffe, lussekatter, pepparkakor och tomten at Retzer Nature Center. 414.915.9675 / tessiehawkins@

HOLIDAYS AT THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE VISIT THROUGH JANUARY 12, 2020 2600 Park Ave | Minneapolis MN | | (612) 871-4917 DECEMBER 15, 2019 11

local events

Ellen Lindström “The Swedish Meatball”

Adding fun & musical flavor to every event.


Merry Christmas!

BE the




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Augusta’s Daughter Ever wonder what made so many emigrate from Sweden in the nineteenth century? Judit Martin’s novel, “Augusta’s Daughter,” about 19th century Swedish peasant life made such an impression on us, we decided to offer it to the Nordstjernan readership. call 1.800.827.9333 for your own copy ($24.90 incl. S&H to cont. U.S.). The sequel,


was just released. The story of 15-year-old Elsa-Carolina’s illegitimate daughter Kajsa,who was cast out into the world from a foster home at the age of 8.


Please send me ____ book(s) “Augusta’s Daugheter” x $24.90 = _______ Please send me ____ book(s) “Kajsa” x $24.90 =

Incl. S&H (in continental U.S.)


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Name Address City State Zip Tel. m Check enclosed payable to Nordstjernan m Please charge my credit card: Card# Signature

Exp. Date: SSC Code:

Mail to: Nordstjernan, P.O. Box 1710, New Canaan CT 06840


readers forum

InBox My Volvo Experience Hello! I enjoy your newspaper so much and wanted to let you know that I love the new Discover Swedish section. I hope you will continue to include it for those of us learning (or trying to learn!) Swedish. Thanks, and best wishes for happy holidays! Elisabeth Converse, VA Rest assured, Elisabeth and all who are interested in learning Swedish: We’ve so far developed Discover Swedish “classes” to run in 35 consecutive issues of Nordstjernan.We’re also working to add an element of pronunciation through our presence at This week, lesson 3 can be found on page 33 and 34. /Ed.

Anders Andersson with his son Erik picking up the new car in Göteborg in October.

I turned 80 years of age on June 6, Sweden’s national holiday. I intended to celebrate the day in Sweden but due to unforeseen circumstances, that didn’t happen. It had also been my intent to treat myself to a nice birthday present while in Sweden —a new Volvo XC 40. I’m not writing this as an advertisement on behalf of Volvo Cars, but it very well could be. When I explored their Volvo Overseas Delivery option, I received help from Mark, the sales representative at Jim Fisher Volvo in Portland. He guided me through the ordering process, let me select the model and various features of the XC 40. Soon I received an acknowledgement from Volvo confirming the model and options I had made: My car would be “presented” to me on October 1 at the Volvo factory near Göteborg (the only Swedish city with an English translation—Gothenburg). I received general information about western Sweden and an agenda detailing what I should expect during the visit. As part of the Overseas Delivery plan, Volvo also provides air transportation on SAS Airlines for two passengers to and from Göteborg. I was instructed to contact their travel concierge to arrange the details of our plans, all of which were handled quickly and professionally. On September 30, my son, Erik and I were greeted at Landvetter Airport outside Göteborg, by Lennart, a driver representing Volvo, who drove us to the Clarion Hotel Post, one of the finest hotels

in the city. As part of the package, Volvo provides a night in this historic hotel. In the room was a welcoming note from Volvo along with a bowl of fruit and chocolates and a present of an Orrefors crystal wine stopper. As if that was not enough, dinner that evening was provided at Norda Restaurant in the hotel, made famous by the well known Swedish chef, Marcus Samuelsson. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, a bottle of wine from my home state of Oregon (!) and conversation with people at a neighboring table who were also in town to pick up their new Volvo and tour the country. Early on October 1, we were again greeted by Lennart, who took us to the Volvo Torslanda Factory, about 20 minutes north of the city. Shortly after 9:00, I was presented with my car as it appeared with great fanfare through an opening in the showroom of the Visitor’s Center. We were given a demonstration of the various features of the vehicle, an explanation of the necessary details for registration and insurance which covers 15 days of our stay in Sweden. We agreed on a date to have the car returned to the factory for shipment back to the U.S., again provided by Volvo. Before leaving, we were treated to lunch of räkmacka (the very popular shrimp sandwiches) and a tour of the factory with a number of other visitors. Everyone was warned not to take photos, and to insure that fact, all cell phones were collected and

We have in recent weeks received comments about our apps, Sweden in America and Sweden in America—Events, which are no longer available through App Store and GooglePlay. Part of the framework of the apps is against new policies of the supplying platforms. We’re working on the update but don’t expect things to be up and running again until January. Thanks for looking out, we’re truly sorry for the inconvenience! /Ed. temporarily stowed away, as secrecy is key there. The factory tour is fascinating! Our guide Nicole informed us that the plant operates 24 hours each day, producing a new Volvo every 60 seconds. The amazing part is that each and every one of those vehicles is already sold, or spoken for by a dealership somewhere in the world. It is also interesting to note that although there are Volvo workers supervising the entire process, robots that communicate with each other are doing the bulk of the work. There are videos on YouTube demonstrating the entire process. In the early afternoon, we loaded our luggage into our beautiful, shiny new Volvo, and headed north to begin our Swedish adventure, exploring the scenic West Coast before crossing the country to visit family. The two weeks flew by, and on the 14th of October, we returned our vehicle to the Visitors Center, with the promise that we will soon see our Volvo in Oregon. Maybe not the birthday present I had wished for, but a really nice Christmas present! Anders Andersson Thanks for sharing, Anders, and you’re right, Volvo couldn’t have written it any better. Happy for your experience with one of our solid supporters and wishing you happy driving (guessing the car is now on Oregon turf)! /Ed. DECEMBER 15, 2019 13

readers forum

Nordic Christmas in Seattle I highly recommend the National Nordic Museum’s annual Julefest Nordic Christmas celebration, which every year turns the weekend before Thanksgiving into a Scandinavian winter wonderland. The spectacular Julefest weekend this year attracted more than 12,000 happy and spirited attendees. My wife and I were two of them, enjoying the wonderful event filled with over 40 artisan and craft vendors, music and dancing, food and family fun. The museum, formerly known as the Nordic Heritage Museum, used to be located in the old Webster Elementary School in the Scandinavian neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle, Washington. It became the Nordic Museum after moving about one mile to the beautiful new 47,000-square-foot facility, with its grand opening in May 2018—an event I was fortunate to attend as well. Today, the incredible museum is known as our National Nordic Museum. It is led by Eric Nelson who is their visionary CEO and executive director. My wife and I attended Julefest on Sunday and were warmly greeted by Erik Pihl, the National Nordic Museum Community Engagement Manager. A true gentleman and ambassador, Erik grew up on a family farm in the Skagit River Valley in Washington. He was married on Midsommerafton at the historic Nederluleå Church in Gammelstad, Luleå, Sweden in the far north Norrbotten province this past June.


Clockwise from top: the museum at Market Street / Jim (author) and Dolores Melin at Freya Café / Mike Sjöblom and the Napa Valley glögg / Erik Pihl of the museum.

It was a very pleasant surprise when we also got to meet the energetic Mikael Sjöblom who owns and operates Sjöblom Winery in Napa, California. ( A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Mikael was selling his crème de la crème glögg made from Syrah varietal grapes and 16 spices from his family secret recipe. Smooth and absolutely delicious! During your next trip to Seattle, I strongly encour-

age you to visit the Ballard neighborhood and explore the avant-garde National Nordic Museum that has many fascinating and dynamic, always changing exhibits. I also recommend you plan to be there at lunchtime so you can dine at the fabulous Freya Cafe inside the National Nordic Museum. It features superb Scandinavian cuisine. While in Ballard, you should also stop at the splendiferous Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks (, the indomitable Leif Erikson statue with picturesque runes near the Shilshole Bay Marina (, the gourmet Scandinavian Specialties food and gift shop (, and the authentic Skål Beer Hall that opened on April 10, 2019 (www. Med bästa julhälsningar! Jim Melin National Nordic Museum, 2655 NW Market Street, Seattle, WA 98107 / 206.789.5707

The scent of Linnea A festive aroma beckoned me into a Chicago shop when I visited the Windy City a few weeks ago. I didn’t waste any time asking the clerk what smelled so good, and she nodded quickly as if to agree with my need to know: It was “Gather,” a seasonal candle from a Midwest company called Linnea’s Lights. A Swedish name. A candle. Could my new scent obsession also be Swedish? I did a little investigating to find out more about the candles, but also to find out whether the company does indeed have Swedish connections. It sure does. Laura Cler, the present owner of Linnea’s Lights in Indiana, is among the fifth generation of women on her mother’s side to bear the name Linnea. The first was Laura’s great-great-grandmother, Johanna Linnea Johannsdotter, who was born in 1872 in Orebro, Sweden. Her daughter, Alma Svea Linnea Nystrom, born in Sandviken in 1901, immigrated to the U.S. when she was just 9 years old. The family settled in the Chicago area, and Alma eventually married and had a daughter—she wanted to name her Linnea because it reminded her of her homeland and the delicate flowers that bloomed in the spring. So Laura’s grandmother was named Victoria Linnea. Years later, Victoria Linnea Americanized her daughter’s name as Vicky Lynn, whose daughter is Laura Lynn, carrying on the root of Linnea. And coming up in a sixth generation is Laura’s daughter, Hannah, who

has Linnea as a middle name. Laura says all these strong Swedish women raised their families. They taught their children and grandchildren the ways of society and how to be grateful and mindful of others and for the environment. When Laura’s mother Vicky started the company in 2009, she named it Linnea’s Lights to pay homage to the first Linnea and all the strong women who followed. Linnea’s Lights also pays homage to the creative makers in the family. “While we did not have any candle makers, the love of creating with our hands has always been part of who we are. I fondly remember working in the garden growing our vegetables, picking flowers and spending time outdoors only to be enticed by the sweet smell of my great-grandmother’s Swedish cinnamon rolls or other special treats she was making. Baking and cooking traditional dishes like potato pancakes (raggmunk) or meatballs with lingonberry sauce have always been traditions in the family. Everything was made from scratch with quality ingredients for family meals and special occasions.” And so are Linnea’s Lights candles made with quality ingredients for special occasions—or any occasion. They create a beautiful ambiance


Stay informed in a Swede way. Nordstjernan is published 18 times per year every other week with the exceptions of Jan.-Feb. and September-Aug.

Gather = blended notes of nutmeg + tonka bean + vetiver / Inset: Present owner Laura Lynn [Linnea] Cler with her mom, Vicky Lynn.

through their quality fragrances in an environmentally sustainable wax medium, natural cotton wicks, and therapeutic grade fragrances. That’s particularly nice at this time of year; and yes, the women of Linnea’s Lights do decorate for Christmas in a way their Swedish forebears likely did: with the light of candles to illuminate their home with the spirit of St Lucia and the holidays—and faith, hope, love and reason to believe in good things to come. For more info, see AR

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art and culture

KULTUR SVERIGE I Washington har det under hösten varit fokus på pappor, åtminstone på House of Sweden och Sveriges ambassad. Vi har nämligen visat svenska fotografen Johan Bävmans foton i utställningen Swedish Dads, och i samband med detta visat filmer med pappa-tema och ordnat “story time” i ambassadens barnbibliotek - för att nyansera bilden av pappor och faderskap. Högläsningar- självklart särskilt riktade mot pappor och barn med olika litterära fäder som i Ronja Rövardotter, Alfons Åberg, Else-Marie och småpapporna. Responsen har varit större och starkare än vi kunnat föreställa oss. Ambassadören Karin Olofsdotter har själv gått i spetsen för att sticka hål på några av fördomarna kring frågorna, både i debattartiklar och framträdanden. På vernissagen i Washington DC gick hon igenom historik och fakta kring föräldraledighet i Sverige och stack hål på missuppfattningar som att födelsetalen i Sverige skulle vara låga på grund av längre föräldraledighet och fler yrkesarbetande kvinnor än på många andra platser. Sverige har, enligt Eurostat, den högsta andelen kvinnor på arbetsmarknaden någonsin i EU, 80 procent, och födelsetalet är också

Focus on Swedish dads

relativt högt jämfört med andra länder, 1,8 per kvinna. Johan Bävman berättade om sin egen tid som nybliven pappa, om bristen på förebilder, och om bristen på dialog med andra i samma situation. Papporna till sitt fotoprojekt hittades genom att han helt enkelt besökte olika öppna förskolor och frågade om de ville vara med. Alla som porträtterats har valt att ta ut minst sex månaders föräldraledighet med sina barn. Diskussionen och debatten om utställningen har fortsatt att skapa ringar på vattnet, bland annat i en två sidor lång artikel i Washington Post – ” What would parenting be like if fathers took six months parental leave? Take a look” samt en artikel i Washington Diplomat och på sociala medier, framförallt twitter. Kommentarslingorna växer alltjämt, och ger verkligen perspektiv! Nästa år planeras utställningen resa vidare till bla Seattle och Minneapolis, men det finns också förfrågningar från Boston, Oregon, San Francisco och Chicago. Fascinationen och de många vinklar och förväntningar som finns på fäder av idag, inte minst romantiska föreställningar om den gode fadern,

Photo: Johan Bävman

Swedish Dads och “Pappaklausulen”

Nils Jarlsbo, designer/illustrator, who shared parental leave equally with his wife.

dissekeras och speglas, med stor humor och känslighet i den svenska litteraturen. Tänk på de ikoniska fadersporträtten hos Selma Lagerlöf i Kejsarn av Portugallien, Göran Tunströms i Prästungen, och alla Ingmar Bergmans varianter av sin far, tex. Eller mer samtida, Mig äger Ingen av Åsa Linderborg, Beckomberga av Sara Stridsberg, eller för den delen Jan Guillous våldsamma Ondskan … En aktuell och mycket uppskattad svensk roman som kommer ges ut i

Swedish Dads, a series of portraits of 45 fathers has been on display at the Embassy of Sweden this fall. Swedish photographer Johan Bävman’s work examines why these fathers chose to stay home with their children and how their relationship with their partners and their children changed as a result. In Sweden, parents of both sexes are entitled to a total combined 480 days (16 months) of paid parental leave. Swedish dads must take at least 90 days of those 16 months but often end up using more. The exhibition will be showing at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis March 28-July 5, 2020 and later National Nordic Museum, Seattle July 23-September 27, 2020. Other venues in Boston, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco are still being discussed. Also, Swedish author and playwright Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s novel “The Family Clause” (original Swedish title: Pappaklausulen) will be released in June 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Khemiri, who we first covered as his 2003 debut novel “Ett Öga rött” (One Eye Red) was released in English in 2005, has found an audience in the U.S. His plays are performed on stages in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis and Washington, DC and his latest translated novel, “Everything I don’t remember,” which won the August Prize in Sweden at its original publication, was met with great reviews in 2015. For more info, see,, www., 16 NORDSTJERNAN

USA till våren (juni 2020) är Jonas Hassen Khemiris Pappaklausulen, här i USA döpt till ”The Family Clause.” Det är som alltid när Khemiri skriver en vindlande, känslosam, humoristisk och ödmjuk inblick i några människors strävanden, som familj och som individer, med drömmar och realiteter i vardagliga krockar. Jonas Hassen Khemiri tar oss läsare med in i deras funderingar, lyfter fram såväl förhoppningar som livslögner. Vi kommer nära, nära. Troligen kommer denna sårbara, personliga berättelse åka spikrakt in i den känslostarka debatten här om frågor som identitet, ursprung, föräldraskap och mansroller! Det är fascinerande att följa Jonas Hassen Khemiris framfart i USA. Såväl hans prosa och dramatik landar i ett helt annat politiskt landskap, med helt andra förväntningar, och en annan känslomässig kontext än hemma i Sverige. Det är som om hans innovativa språk, lekfullhet, känslighet, humor och kanske framförallt de vassa och analytiska iakttagelserna av ett NU uppfattas ännu tydligare. Det är som Continues on next page

local events om konturerna blir skarpare: ord för ord, replik för replik, i mötet med den amerikanska publiken. När “Invasion” hade USA-premiär på Play Company i New York 2011 valdes pjäsen till New York Times Critics Pick och the Village Voice skrev ”If you’ve ever wished somebody would write a razor-sharp play anatomizing lazy paranoia about the Middle East— somebody has.” Sen dess har hans dramatik spelats om och om igen i såväl New York som i San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis och Washington DC, ofta i produktioner av självständiga fria kompanier, med fokus på ny, ung publik. När jag bjöd in Jonas till USA 2016, var det i samband med att ”Jag ringer mina bröder” skulle ha premiär i Washington. Huvudstaden tog emot honom på sitt mest storslagna sätt. Han fick lyssna på President Obama som invigde det efterlängtade afroamerikanska museet mitt i stan, timmarna innan Jonas själv skulle tala om ”Allt jag inte minns” på Library of Congress enorma endags-bokmässa, the National Book Festival, där han delade scen och minglade med storheter som Salman Rushdie och Stephen King. På kvällen spelade legendariska The Roots och Public Enemy för folkmassorna på the Mall, den enorma gräsklädda park som har kongressen på ena sidan, Vita huset på den andra, och där stod vi, längst fram, Jonas och jag. I taxin hem från en författarmiddag fick Jonas sällskap av sin idol Joyce Carol Oates, och jag uppmuntrade honom dagen efter att lämna henne sin nya bok, med ett litet brev på hotellet till henne innan han skulle lämna landet. Ett par månader senare lyfte Oates fram Jonas bok i en artikel i The Times Literary Supplement som en av årets tre viktigaste verk och strax därefter utsåg Martha Gessen romanen till ”Årets viktigaste bok” i Politico. Hur detta lilla händelseförlopp, som steg för steg utvecklade sig som i en saga, gav Jonas en större publik och respekt i USA är ett av mina favoritminnen härifrån. Mycket kan sägas, och sägs, om USA … Men en av de fantastiska sakerna med detta land, så oerhört långt från jantelag och ängslighet, är att de känner igen en stjärna. Linda Zachrison Kulturråd för Sverige i USA

Nordic lessons for the world “They are social democratic states with strong social supports for their citizens, freeing them to live lives of possibility.”

When I tell others that I’m a Global Studies and Scandinavian Studies major, they often ask, “Why?” I’ve struggled to know the answer to this question. Ambassador András Simonyi’s riveting talk helped me understand. H.E. Simonyi, who visited North Park University in Chicago for a talk on Nordic Ways is the former Hungarian inaugural ambassador to NATO (19952001) and the U.S. (2002-2007) and is now a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The ambassador spent some of his childhood in Denmark and speaks Danish. Speaking to an engaged audience of Scandinavian-Americans and many others, Ambassador Simonyi said that in a time of emerging fissures around the world, there is deep need to bring the lessons of “Nordicness” to the U.S. To help do so, he coedited a profound book, Nordic Ways, intended for an American audience. He shared that just as in music, if ideas can “make it in the U.S.,” they can be transported throughout the world. Ambassador Simonyi asked us to carefully consider the Nordic countries’ mindset and the roads they’ve traveled. Their ethos is a deep-seated essence of openness, tolerance, innovation and trust. Nordic countries, he passionately communicated, are not socialist countries. They are social democratic states with strong social supports for their citizens, freeing them to live lives of possibility. Nordic countries are “capitalists with a heart,” he said. “They have learned to tame capitalism,” to serve the people. Nordicness is also something that continues to develop, ever growing and maturing. What is more, despite very real national identities across the five Nordic countries, they have an emergent identity not as a bloc, but as an entity, a way of being, doing and seeing. And it is this the world needs. The difference between Nordic countries and other nations, Simonyi pondered, is that Nordic countries focus on social innovation rather than merely technological innovation. The difference is profound, offering a lesson to all. The key question they ask: “What can technology and innovation do for our society to make it a better, freer society and spread the wealth?” It’s in this approach, as well as the concept of equality, that we find the foundation behind the success of the Nordic countries. And because of this success, Simonyi argues that the Nordic countries act as an anchor for Europe and the United States. So much so, in fact, that he emphatically stated: “If the Nordic countries fail, we all fail.” To close his presentation, Simonyi listed the three most important ideas the U.S. can learn from the Nordic countries: (1) Keep capitalism (but tame it); (2) focus on social mobility and ever greater

Ambassador Simonyi, right, photographed with Charles Peterson of North Park University.

equality; and (3) emphasize social innovation that enriches more people’s lives rather than purely technological innovation. As an avid admirer and student of Scandinavia, I, like most in the audience, found Simonyi’s words inspiring. “The Nordic countries, you who present the Nordic countries, and you who love the Nordic countries have a very special responsibility to make sure we don’t fail. The world needs the Nordic countries and the lessons they teach.” It is in his words and challenge that I’ve found my reason for being a Global Studies and Scandinavian Studies major. The future of humanity may very well rest on the Nordic countries’ success and the spreading of Nordic ways. By Sophia G. Emerson Student at the Center for Scandinavian Studies at North Park University,

DECEMBER 15, 2019 17


a modern christmas eve


Nordstjernan’s editor recently asked me what I would serve for a modern take on the Christmas Eve smörgåsbord. I can hardly think of a more fun and captivating question to ask a Nordic food blogger, and I found myself thinking of little else for the next few days. How could I both honor tradition and bring a fresh and modern approach to this festive meal? I finally settled on this simple, elegant menu which brings some new dishes to the table and updates a few classic favorites:


Roasted salmon with brown sugar and butter Swedish meatballs Creamy mustard dill sauce Potato and celery root puree Spicy pickled beets Quick pickled cucumbers Stirred lingonberries Kale salad with roasted butternut squash and pecans Mushroom gratin An assortment of rye breads Lingonberry skyr mousse

Everything on this menu goes together beautifully. Both the roasted salmon and the meatballs benefit from a spoonful or two of the creamy mustard dill sauce, and the potato and celery root puree provides a velvety rich base. The kale salad with roasted butternut squash and pecans brings a fresh burst of green and orange to the plate, and the mushroom gratin a delightful mix of creamy mushrooms and crispy, buttery breadcrumbs. The spicy pickled beets, quick pickled cucumbers and stirred lingonberries round out everything with a bit of spicy, briny and sweet. And for dessert, a luscious lingonberry skyr mousse somehow manages to be both light and decadent at the same time. Christmas Eve is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company. For that reason, I intentionally designed this menu with several make-ahead options so most of the work is already done when guests arrive. Even those of us who love to cook want to relax and revel in the holiday festivities. This menu allows you to do just that.

test kitchen stand-outs

My family and friends enjoyed Christmas dinner in October several weekends in a row as I tested these recipes. While everyone had their favorites, the potato and celery root puree (“more delicious than mashed potatoes”), the mushroom gratin (“I love the contrast between the creamy mushrooms and the crispy, buttery breadcrumbs”), and the lingonberry skyr mousse (“I would eat this every day if I could”) were clear stand-outs. Christmas carries with it many expectations. Our loved ones expect to see certain foods on the table each year prepared in exactly the same way. Change, when it comes to the holidays, is not always welcome. If that’s the case for you, maybe offering one or two new dishes alongside your tried and true favorites is the best way to go. You certainly don’t have to do a whole new menu all at once. Or maybe you are ready for something modern and new, a complete overhaul of your Christmas routine. The choice is yours. Either way, I hope you give one, several or all of these recipes a try. I wish you the happiest and most delicious of holidays! Kristi Bissell

timeline for modern christmas eve smörgåsbord The day before: Roast vegetables and pecans for the salad Make Swedish meatball mixture and roll meatballs Make quick pickled cucumbers Wash and chop kale for salad Make potato celery root puree

Prepare up to a week before: Spicy pickled beets Stirred lingonberries

Prepare up to two days before: Creamy mustard dill sauce Vinaigrette for salad Lingonberry skyr mousse

Just before: Roast salmon Bake mushroom gratin Toss salad Bake Swedish meatballs Reheat potato celery root puree Reheat creamy mustard dill sauce

A couple hours before: Assemble mushroom gratin and leave at room temperature

about the chef

A modern menu for the Christmas table by subscriber/contributor Kristi Bissell, whose True North Kitchen blog offers a sampling of recipes with a true Nordic feel. Kristi grew up in Minnesota in a family that took great pride in its Scandinavian ancestry. Lingonberries, pickled herring, lefse, Swedish pancakes, rice pudding and lutefisk were just a few of the Nordic foods that found their way onto the table, particularly during the holiday season. Later in life, she found comfort in the idea of connecting with her ancestors, of spending time in the kitchen mindfully preparing something her Swedish great-grandmother used to make. She went to culinary school which ignited a passion for Nordic cooking and baking, read every book she could find on the subject and started buying rye flour, filmjölk and frozen lingonberries on a regular basis. The result? Well, try some or all of her recipes for your own menu this holiday season and to make it even more festive, add her recipes from issue 17 as an informal appetizer over glögg—the perfect start of a true Swedish julbord! (For more of Kristi’s Nordic inspired dishes, see DECEMBER 15, 2019 19


christmas eve smörgåsbord Ten recipes for a modern Swedish American smörgåsbord.

roasted salmon with butter and brown sugar makes 8-10 servings 1 salmon filet (2-2 1/2 pounds), skin on or off is fine 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes Instructions: 1. Heat oven to 450°F. Place salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar over salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with butter. 2. Bake salmon until it is firm and opaque throughout, about 20 minutes. Serve.

pickled fresh cucumbers 1 large cucumber (preferably an English cucumber), sliced thin 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1 cup distilled white vinegar 1 cup water 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 1 teaspoon fine salt Instructions: 1. Place sliced cucumbers and dill in quart-sized mason jar. 2. Heat remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. 3. Pour vinegar mixture into the jar with the cucumbers and dill. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using. If you are not eating them immediately, cover and refrigerate the cucumbers when the mixture has cooled to room temperature. The cucumbers are best fresh but will keep in the fridge for up to a week.


potato and celery root puree serves 10-12 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-½ inch chunks 2 large celery roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks 1/2 onion, quartered 4 cups water 4 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon coarse salt, plus more to taste 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter Freshly ground pepper Instructions: 1. Place potatoes, celery root and onion in large pot and cover with water and milk. Add salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until potatoes and celery root are very tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain and discard cooking liquid. 2. Transfer half the potatoes and celery root to a food processor with 4 tablespoons butter. Process until smooth and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with remaining potatoes, celery root and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve. (Puree can be prepared a day ahead and reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop just before serving.)

kale salad with roasted butternut squash and pecans For the salad: 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 10-12 whole sage leaves 1 large bunch kale (curly or Tuscan is fine), stems removed and chopped into ribbons 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped Vinaigrette, recipe follows For the vinaigrette: 1 small shallot, minced 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon dijon mustard 1 teaspoon honey 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Coarse salt and pepper Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place squash and red onion on baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, stir and add sage leaves. Continue to roast until vegetables are tender and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes more. Set aside to cool. 2. Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer kale to a serving platter. Drizzle half the vinaigrette over the kale and massage it into the kale with your hands. Add roasted vegetables and pecans. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and gently toss to combine. Crumble the crispy sage leaves over the top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve. DECEMBER 15, 2019 21


creamy mustard dill sauce makes about 1-1/2 cups sauce 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 shallots, minced fine 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup dijon mustard 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper Instructions: 1. Heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. 2. Add white wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. 3. Add mustard, cream and water. Simmer until thickened slightly, 2-3 minutes. 4. Remove from heat and add fresh dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

mushroom gratin makes 8-10 servings 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for buttering the baking dish 1 heaping cup fresh bread crumbs (from white sandwich bread, sourdough or a country loaf) 2 pounds cremini or white button mushrooms, washed and quartered 2 small shallots, minced Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside. 2. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium and add butter. When butter has melted, transfer one tablespoon to the small bowl with the breadcrumbs. Stir with a fork to combine. 3. Add shallot to the remaining butter in the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, increase heat to medium high and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add thyme and stir to combine. 4. Reduce heat to medium low, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in water and cream and bring to a simmer. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture onto prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake 10 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve. Adapted from Scandinavian Cooking by Beatrice Ojakangas 22 NORDSTJERNAN

lingonberry skyr mousse makes 6-8 servings

1/2 cup cold water 1 packet unflavored gelatin 3/4 cup granulated sugar pinch of salt 1-1/2 cups frozen lingonberries, plus additional berries for serving 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup full-fat skyr or Greek yogurt 1 cup heavy whipping cream Instructions: 1. Place water in a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Let sit for 3 minutes. Add sugar and salt. Heat mixture over medium until sugar dissolves. Add lingonberries and remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. 2. Whisk lingonberry mixture with vanilla and skyr in a medium bowl until fully combined. Set aside. Whip cream to medium peaks in a mixer. Gently whisk cream into lingonberry mixture until fully combined. 3. Pour mousse into individual serving cups and chill at least two hours. Serve, garnished with lingonberries. DECEMBER 15, 2019 23


stirred lingonberries 2 cups frozen lingonberries, thawed 1 cup granulated sugar Instructions: Stir lingonberries and sugar together. Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

spicy pickled beets 12-16 ounces small- to medium-sized beets extra virgin olive oil for drizzling 1 cup distilled white vinegar 1 cup water 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon fine salt 5 allspice berries 10 juniper berries 10 peppercorns 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and trim beets. Place beets on large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, rub oil onto the surface of the beets. Fold over foil and seal the edges making a pouch. Place pouch on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Roast beets for 45-60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Smaller beets will take less time than larger ones. 2. Remove beets from oven and open pouch. Let cool before handling. When the beets are cool enough to work with, rub off the skin with a paper towel and slice into 1/2-inch thick wedges. Transfer to a quart sized mason jar. 3. Meanwhile, heat remaining ingredients over medium-low heat until simmering and sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture into the jar with the beets. Allow to cool at room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge. Consume beets within two weeks. 24 NORDSTJERNAN

swedish meatballs makes 56 small meatballs 2 large egg yolks 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (fresh white bread crumbs are also fine) 1 pound ground pork 1 pound ground beef chuck (80-85% lean) 1/2 cup grated onion 2 teaspoons fine salt 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Combine all ingredients in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low until just combined. Increase speed to medium and whip until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl from time to time. 2. Transfer tablespoons full of the mixture to a sheet pan (you will need two sheet pans for all the meatballs). With damp hands, roll into balls. Chill (up to 24 hours) until ready to bake. 3. Transfer sheet pans to oven and bake until meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the cooking time. Serve.

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DECEMBER 15, 2019 25

The story of 10 Christmas food favorites

Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden 26 NORDSTJERNAN

The food on the Christmas table differs from others in the year. Where others require variety and change—such as dinner parties or New Year’s Eve dinners—the Christmas feast is best when repeated. Christmas food plays almost the same role as the ghosts in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” where the miserly old Scrooge meets the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet-to-Come. In the same way, a Christmas table is a nod to what has been as much as it is a clear indication of what is now and what will be all over again next year. The Christmas table is time embodied, one’s own life and memories. In a 2013 ranking made by Demoskop and the food industry, the following favorites were found on Swedes’ Christmas tables: 1. Christmas ham 2. Jansson’s Frestelse 3. Pickled herrings 4. Salmon of different kinds 5. Meatballs 6. Julmust, the special Christmas soda 7. Glögg, the spiced mulled wine 8. Rice porridge 9. Julost (a mild Christmas cheese with the classic red cover) 10. Prinskorv (small cocktail sausages) Not much has changed since—or before.

Early Christmas dishes

Of the 10 dishes above, two were already present a thousand years ago: the cheese (favorite #9) and the porridge (favorite #8). Both are older than that and probably existed already in the agricultural Stone Age. Cheese was prepared during the summer’s milking of cows and goats then had to be in storage and turned over. The porridge came from different types of grain and was everyday food, but on festive occasions, white grains were often cooked in cream or milk to get a really white porridge, as the white color symbolized hope in Christ. In the Middle Ages, people began preparing fish with lye to get a particularly fine white meat— from ling, for instance. The resulting lutefisk has since been a significant Christmas fish. The rice pudding was cooked during the high and late Middle Ages as an exclusivity to the elite since the rice grain was an imported luxury. But it didn’t become the commonly appearing porridge until the 19th century. There is one dish left from the earliest times that is no longer a favorite on most tables: fresh, thick and fried ribs. Fresh food was festive food and the pork sides of the butchered Christmas pig were eaten for Christmas while the hams were salted and dried for later consumption. Butter and bread are still on today’s menu. Early on there was a medieval, strong, freshly brewed beer, although it was originally of the ale type since lager beer was first brewed in the 19th century. The Viking Age festive ale or mead was

still enjoyed until the 18th century but it was later completely replaced by beer and stronger spirits. We find the Christmas head cheeses on the medieval festive table, but they were probably earlier than that of the Swedish version, sylta (often made with jellied brawn), which has both Old Swedish and Old Saxon roots. The different kinds of sylta are my own Christmas favorites.

Feasts of the 17th - 18th centuries

Two of the favorites are still a living tradition: pickled herrings (favorite #3) and glögg, the sweet and spicy mulled wine (favorite #7). The flavors of the glögg and in some herrings was created by imported spices from the East Indies—cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cardamom—what we today call Christmas spices. The spicy pickled herring, unlike everyday salty herring, was already in a drier version on the late medieval festive table but only in wealthy circles because the spices came from the other side of the world. When the spices became cheaper in the 18th century, many people began to use them in all their dishes. Spiced pickled herrings were also served on the bourgeoisie’s aquavit table, a precursor to the smörgåsbord and thus also a predecessor to the Christmas table. Both herring and glögg contain sugar which was also an ingredient for the wellto-do during this time ... and if you want to find examples of Christmas sweets from a noble home at the time of Sweden as a great power, just take a look at today’s Christmas candy table—you find the same things as in the mid 17th century: oranges, marzipan, almonds, hazelnuts, confectionery, ginger snaps, klenäter (a fried pastry), sherry, Malaga wine, dried figs and equally dry dates. It is actually a bit strange that even today we eat so much dry, salted and smoked preserved food for Christmas, when we are used to otherwise having fresh asparagus, fresh figs and fresh tomatoes all year round. But the stored and preserved food has the advantage that it carries old stories about Christmas better than fresh food does.

Late 19th century

Much of today’s Christmas dinner comes from the age of industrialization and national romance in the late 1800s. Home decor was a great interest among the bourgeoisie at the time and Christmas became more about decorating. Many of the impressions of Christmas came from Germany and its decoration industry. The Christmas tree was appearing, more and more festooned with candles. New technology made the colors of Christmas a distinct red and green, and colorful Christmas cards were sent with pictures of the new red Santa, often signed by artist Jenny Nyström. At home Swedes sang new Christmas songs such as Alice Tegnér’s “Nu så är det jul igen, jultomten myser” (Now it’s Christmas again, Santa Claus is cozying up) from 1899, based on a poem by Zacharias Topelius. In the same national-romantic spirit, Skansen and the Nordic Museum were founded

Exploring the historical roots of today’s Christmas table, back to the Viking and early Middle Ages, onward to the postmodern industrial food. and Christmas turned into a folksy expression in an otherwise vanishing agrarian society. At the end of the 19th century, the bourgeois Christmas table consisted of what was clearly a multi-part meal, an introduction to the smörgåsbord. A Christmas menu by Swedish author August Strindberg (1849-1912) was found, and in an early 20th century note to his housekeeper he requests to have the following Christmas dinner, designed for five guests: 1: mo Smörgåsbord (lavish) 2: do Swedish sauerkraut soup and broth 3: tio Fish after the season 4: to Bird ditto with roast potatoes and the like. 5: to Butter cream cake with jam (non bread cake) But at the same time as Strindberg’s classic Christmas meal, there was also a new dish on its way into the Christmas celebration, a dish that would soon take over the place of honor on the Christmas table: the cured, salted Christmas ham (favorite #1). National romance’s interest in this salty ham was that it was perceived to symbolize history, but what it really did was match what the bourgeoisie in the second half of the 19th century considered the center piece of the festive table—a big steak carved in front of the guests. Today this is almost the only time we present a large chunk of meat in the middle of the table, and the guests themselves carve from it. The bourgeoisie made the ham even more bourgeois by putting a decorative spear in it, a so-called hatelette, or ham stick. In the old farming communities, however, they wanted to eat fresh food from the newly slaughtered pig for Christmas parties, not a cured ham that wouldn’t also be properly trimmed between the slaughter on December 13 and dinner on December 24. The ham was instead associated with the salty preserved food and was served during the following summer. At the same time, the meatballs (favorite #5) started to become a Christmas accessory, even though it actually belonged to the summer and autumn smörgåsbord at the end of the 19th century. Originally, the meatballs were an elegant dish because making minced meat without a meat grinder was a job that required plenty of staff in the kitchen. With the invention of the meat grinder around 1895, meatballs gradually become a Christmas table staple, and with the launch of frozen DECEMBER 15, 2019 27

feature meatballs in the 1960s they became a permanent part of every Christmas table. The late 19th century Christmas drinks included the lager or Bavarian-type Christmas beer from the brewery industry. Gone were the home-brewed ales that dominated since at least the early Middle Ages.

Modern Christmas meal

Throughout the 1900s, the food industry’s various processed foods simplified the preparation for Christmas. Almost first out, as early as 1900, was the fish canning industry with anchovies and sardines, but the dairy industry had already had ready-made Christmas cheese. The drink “julmust” (favorite #6) saw the light of day in 1910 and had no historic relevance from earlier home production, but it has stood the test of time. In the 1920s, the modern charcuterie industry developed, offering Christmas sausages, liver patés and “prinskorv” (favorite #10). These small

sausages were found in the upper classes of society already in the 18th century and were then called “siskonkorv,” a term still used in Finland. But to break through to the smörgåsbord and later the Christmas table, the cheaper industrial version of prinskorv was required. During the second half of the 20th century, the Christmas Eve meal changed from a three- or four-course meal to a single serving in the form of a large Christmas buffet where one eats from the cold side’s herrings and fish dishes, crosses over and ends with the hot food. At the same time, the difference between the summer and Christmas smörgåsbord disappears. In the 1970s, the older Christmas dishes with boiled salted meat, fresh pork feet and pork sausages are joined by the summer smörgåsbord dishes such as smoked and salted salmon (favorite #4), “Jansson’s Frestelse” (favorite #2) and stuffed egg halves with shrimp. Jansson’s Temptation is an

older dish known since at least the 1840s as anchovy gratin, but it belonged to the late night noshes at that time. A novelty on the late 1900s Christmas table were also raw vegetables such as fresh cucumber, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. What enables this shift of summer food to winter and the Christmas table is the industrial community with faster transport of vegetables from southern Europe, technically advanced salmon farms, deep freezing of shrimp, and chickens that lay eggs year-round. In this process, our smörgåsbord was created, making the foods of Christmas, Easter and Midsummer look the same. The emergence of these standard celebrations to a great extent came in 1950-1970, when maids disappeared and working class women joined the bourgeois women. This was undoubtedly a golden opportunity in Sweden to reform the Christmas table and remove the homemade butcher’s food and replace it with much simpler party food. But instead,

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the food industry took over the homework with machine-made, old-fashioned dishes that continued to build on the sense of origin and authenticity. And here we are in the 2000s, when more vegetable dishes and dairy-based herrings have been added. Also new is the seafood, such as smoked shrimp and salads with crayfish tails. Another novelty is the offer to buy pre-packaged Christmas food bags with a standardized Christmas concept.

Post-modern industrial Christmas

A legitimate question is why some Christmas dishes remain while others disappear. It is likely that foods people think don’t carry Christmas values ​​have been successfully replaced with dishes that are better carriers of the Christmas spirit. We often perceive spices as mood-makers more than the food itself, so when contemporary cooks dislike the older Christmas food but want to keep the Christmas feeling, they transfer the Christmas

spices to new dishes, like carrot cake with saffron frosting, Christmas brownies with cardamom truffle or saffron and orange herring. In our time, the consistency of the food has become an important factor together with the popularity of fresh, slightly crunchy al dente food items. This means older Christmas dishes (such as lutefisk, head cheeses, cooked pork feet and “dopp i grytan,” the practice of dipping bread into the salty broth of the Christmas ham) can be perceived as soggy or slimy and get omitted from the table. What do these old Christmas dishes mean? Well, when someone has maintained something over several generations, it stands for continuity. But food can also be a reconnection to a lost relationship, a kind of recurrence of a family or family history. For some, a redesign of the Christmas table with old craft dishes may be a contribution to a contemporary debate about poor food quality but also a way to discover your origins.

Sometimes, maybe the Christmas table is all these things at the same time. One conclusion you can draw is that the Christmas table is constantly changing, but hiding among the brand new dishes are often the traditional ones, the crisp bread and Christmas cheese ... not unlike a gray old tomte that watches over the family to ensure that everything is safe and sound and all as it should be. Rickard Tellström Dr. Richard Tellström is a researcher of Swedish food culture history and teacher at the Department of Ethnology at Stockholm University. Find out more at or see Tellström’s blog at

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Wishing all our friends A Very Merry Christmas and A Prosperous New Year The Talbot Family Carol, Kurt, Marilyn, Erika Christopher & Stephanie, Alexandra, Kaley & Wayne Wood

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Lesson 3

Uses: Discover Swedish is not a regular language course. Teachers and other professionals in the language field may object to the fact that it leaves out bits and pieces, and simplifies language learning. That is a calculated move: These lessons are for regular readers, maybe even beginners, trying to get a grip on another language. Discover Swedish concentrates on grammar, hopefully in a playful way, but serious at the same time. The playfulness is illustrated in the examples and exercises. It aims at pointing out similarities but also differences between the two languages. Apart from grammar and the overall structure of Swedish, these lessons also teach how to use your own experience with vocabulary. Discover Swedish demonstrates shortcuts, mainly based on the influences of Latin and Greek—languages that are the foundation of English, Swedish and the Germanic languages. The lessons will include crosswords, fill-in sections, personal questions, Odd Man Out, word groups (like family, colors, animals), jokes, silly translations, short texts in Swedish, all in a kind of Swedish atmosphere. By partaking in Discover Swedish you will no doubt get a grip on Swedish

and you may even learn a lot about svenska (the language) och svenskarna (the people of Sweden). Christer Amneus

Varit (has/have been) Perfectum/the Perfect: Been, as in “I have been there, he has been sick”


Ordlista i slutet av varje övning/Vocabulary at the end of each exercise Sammanfattning/Conclusion: Har varit is all you need for has/have been. Not too complicated? This was another step in your experience of another language. Silly translation/use of words: A Swede may very well write “Feel you as home.” (You find the key on the next page) Övningar / Exercises on next page.

jag har varit: I have been du har varit: you have been han har varit: he has been hon har varit: she has been det har varit: it has been den har varit: it has been vi har varit: we have been ni har varit: you have been de/dom har varit: they have been “Jag har varit i helvetet.” “Varit i helvetet?” “Ja, jag har varit gift. Och du?” “Jag har också varit i helvetet.” “Varit i helvetet?” “Ja, jag har inte varit gift.” Ordförråd/Vocabulary i helvetet: in hell / gift: married / och: and / inte: not Continues on page 34


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art and culture


1. Obama och Disney World Fyll i har varit/Fill in the missing word/s for has/have been:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Obama _____________ varit president. Clinton har också _____________ president. _____________ du _____________ i Kalifornien? Han _____________ _____________ gift två gånger. _____________ du _____________ på Disney World? Vi _____________ inte _____________ i Mexico. Universal Studios _____________ _____________ i Hollywood i många år

Ordförråd/Vocabulary två gånger: twice / i: in / i många år: for many years 2. Finland och/and Delaware Placera i rätt tidsordning (1, 2, 3 etc.) / Place in the correct order of time (1, 2, 3 etc.): 1. Finland har varit svenskt. ____ 2. Björn Borg har varit tennisspelare. ____ 3. Vikingarna har varit i Vinland. ____ 4. Eisenhower har varit president. ____ 5. Karl XII har varit svensk kung. ____ 6. Delaware har varit en svensk koloni. ____ 7. President Trump har varit i Nordkorea. ____ 8. Midsommar 2019 har varit en succé i Lindsborg, Kansas. ____ 9. Stig Larssons Millenniumböcker har varit populära i USA. ____ 10. Inlandsisen har varit borta länge. ____ Ordförråd/Vocabulary succé: success / inlandsis: inland ice / borta länge: long gone 3. Din historia/Your story Rätt (Ja) eller Fel (Nej)/Mark Ja for true and Nej for not correct: Jag har varit i Sverige. Ja Nej Jag har varit gift två gånger. Ja Nej Att resa har varit en del av mitt liv. Ja Nej Min familj har varit i Mexico. Ja Nej Mina grannar har varit i Indien. Ja Nej Jag har varit på restaurang många gånger. Ja Nej Mina barn har varit i skolan i dag. Ja Nej Musik har alltid varit viktigt för mig. Ja Nej Min familj har varit vegetarianer i många år. Ja Nej Jag har varit aktiv i sport. Ja Nej Ordförråd/Vocabulary resa: travel / en del av: part of / granne: neighbor / många: many / barn: child/children / skola: school / i dag: today / viktig: important / år: year

Continued from page 27 4. Löpande text/Running text Testing ... Vikingarna från Skandinavien reste öster- och västerut. De svenska vikingarna reste till Ryssland, några till Bagdad, Irak. De danska vikingarna slog sig ner i England och de norska vikingarna på Irland (i stort sett). Från Island reste en grupp vikingar till norra Amerika år 1001, troligen till Newfoundland. Leif Eriksson var deras ledare och var antagligen den förste europén i Amerika.. Ordförråd/Vocabulary travel: resa / några: some / till och med: even / dansk: Danish / slog sig ner: settled / norsk: Norwegian / i stort: broadly speaking / norra: North / troligen: probably / deras ledare: their leader / antagligen: probably


KEY 1. Obama och Disney World 1 har, 2 varit, 3 Har … varit, 4 har varit, 5 Har … varit, 6 har … varit, 7 har varit KEY 2. Finland och/and Delaware. 10, 3, 6, 5, 1, 4, 2, 9, 7, 8 KEY 4. Löpande text / running text The Scandinavian Vikings traveled east- and westward. The Swedish Vikings went to Russia, some to Baghdad, Iraq. The Danish Vikings settled in England and the Norwegian Vikings in Ireland (more or less). From Iceland a group of Vikings traveled to North America in 1001, probably to Newfoundland. Leif Eriksson was their leader and was probably the first European in America.

Välkommen till nästa övning. Welcome to the next exercise, on HA (Have) in issue 01, 2020. KEY to silly translation/use of words from previous page: “Feel you as home” would be a direct translation of “Känn dig som hemma,” in other words “Make yourself at home.”

About 20,000 Sami live in Sweden – with their own cultural heritage, language, flag and parliament. Ecotourism is a relatively new way for Sweden’s native population to make a living. Guided tours of the Northern Lights and rides in reindeer sleds are examples of popular activities. Photo: Asaf Kliger/ imagebank.sweden 34 NORDSTJERNAN

local events

Sustainology Summit 2019 “More people are alive today in the world than have ever died.” While this factoid has been proven untrue*, much will nevertheless have to be done for us to sustain the future world population. “Better than milk ...”

“... 400 years to degrade and a minute to use.” —Ulrika Lilja, Stora Enso.

The man “with the coolest job on the planet” works with Stockholm waste and water.


There’s a clear connection between sustainable food production, our health and the planet’s ability to properly feed its growing population. As part of SACC New York’s focus on the impacts businesses have, the 2019 Sustainology Summit in November measured the presenting companies’ impact in the world.

o feed a growing world population while stemming the growth of non-communicable diseases—and doing both without damaging our environment—we need to develop new harvesting, processing and distribution technologies; we also need to change our diets. There’s a clear connection between sustainable food production, our health and the planet’s ability to properly feed its growing population. One of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce-New York’s key events of the year, the Sustainology Summit, addresses these challenges (known at its launch in 2008 as the Green Summit, From Farm to Fork). This year, the summit discussed the impact of its presenting companies and was expertly managed by the emcee team of Johan Jörgensen of Sweden FoodTech and Louisa Burwood-Taylor of Agfunder. It went without a hitch and drew record attendance. It’s clear to anyone who’s visited Scandinavia that its people have a unique, close connection

to nature. With a population living off the sea and land for generations under sometimes harsh conditions, they have a natural tendency to respect their surroundings. In many ways, Scandinavians do live in cleaner and more sustainable societies. At one point, Jörgensen said: “... use Sweden as a testbed for new technology and products … with sustainability almost a second state religion in Sweden, why not?” He added that earlier this year Stockholm was called the Unicorn Factory by Financial Times. (A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion. Stockholm produces more billion-dollar companies per capita than any other region in the world after Silicon Valley.) Among the speakers were several Swedish and American brands seen on shelves and in the news, from one of the founders of Oatly oat milk and Wasa crisp bread, to IKEA, Stora Enso and SAS, Scandinavian Airlines. Data shows these companies impact over a billion people.

*Using historical growth rates and population benchmarks, Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, DC in 2002 estimated that slightly over 106 billion people had ever been born. The world population today is estimated at 7.7 billion, comprising just over 7 percent of this number. (To calculate how many people have ever lived, Haub followed a minimalist approach, beginning with two people in 50000 B.C.)

... according to some baristas who make cappucinos and lattes substituting milk with the oatmeal drink Oatly. Björn Öste, co-founder of Oatly and Good Idea Drinks started with a strong statement referencing non-communicable diseases, claiming “… there are 450 million diabetics in the world and another 2 billion plus pre-diabetic.” He described the foundation of an idea through his brother, professor Richard Öste’s passion for oats in the 1970s. Richard Öste studied in Lund under professor Arne Dahlquist, who in 1963 had discovered lactose intolerance, a condition that makes it impossible to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in cow milk. The fledgling food scientist and future chemistry professor realized there was a market for an alternative to cow’s milk and started experimenting with oatmeal. The predecessor to Oatly was formed in 1994 with a group of investors and his brother Björn. The first years were focused on the Swedish market but Oatly recently ranked the ninth most innovative company in the world, one of the 20 hottest brands in the U.S. and one of the world’s 25 most innovative consumer brands. Better than milk” according to some baristas the brand now has an impact on the lives of 50 million people, and the brothers have started a separate company, Aventure, to pursue other areas of research and development.

680 million served

Nordstjernan covered how IKEA has developed several plant-based alternatives to the traditional food offered at their stores and restaurants: “köttfri” (meatless) meatballs, a lasagna and even a vegetarian hot dog. The vegetarian meatball should be in every IKEA in 2020, with the vegetarian food group representing at least one-fifth of sales by 2022. Even with 400 stores in 49 countries, it was a surprise when IKEA Sustainability Manager Lisa Davis announced 680 million people visit IKEA food courts every year. The world’s largest crisp bread producer, Wasa, is 100 percent carbon neutral and, yes, it’s good for business, according to Brand Manager Kit Burton. Every year, 160 million packages of Wasa crisp bread are sold by the Filipstad, Sweden-based company, which turns 100 years old this year. While air travel has been a hot topic recently, not least through the actions of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, Max Knagge, U.S. General Manager for SAS stressed his company’s efforts DECEMBER 15, 2019 35

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L-R: SACC NY President Anna Throne-Holst; Johan Schnürer of Örebro University; Emcees Johan Jörgensen and Louisa Burwood-Taylor; Jonas Wamstad, head of marketing and founder of Drupps, which won the Green Award; Andreas Marcetic of Deloitte and Erik Månsson, CEO of Innoscentia.

tax free sales since the tax free items add weight to the planes, thus requiring more fuel. As already reported, in cooperation with Airbus, SAS is also researching electric alternatives for air travel. A record crowd of over 300 attended the November Sustainology Summit; part one of a program that later in November also covered sustainable fashion.

to reduce its impact on the environment, looking for more sustainable products and services. “SAS wants to take responsibility and drive change toward a more sustainable future, constantly thinking about how to find ways to stop, reduce or replace.” In the future consumers will be able to choose biofuel travel for a surcharge—by clicking on this choice as they book tickets. Flights no longer offer 11151254_NordicReachAd_8.5x2.5_Option1.pdf

Provide choices, consume smarter


Summit panelists discussed the shift from animal to plant based proteins and creating a sustainable value chain. A representative of a green fast-food chain mentioned the importance of making reusablility more of a norm for fast food. Ulrika Lilja, Stora Enso EVP and Head of Communications and keynote speaker, underscored this by stating: “[disposable plastics take] 400 years to degrade and a minute to use.“ The pulp and paper producer is the quintessential renewable materials 4/9/19

11:07 AM

company with a vision of replacing plastics with biocomposites. Nordstjernan has written about how the Nordic forest industry carefully maintains its natural resource. And since 70 percent of millennials are eco-conscious—they want to consume smarter—Lilja and Stora Enso are actively looking for projects that offer new uses for wood. The Finnish-Swedish company became an investor in the tree to textile joint venture at the end of 2018 (Awesome & Swedish, page 37). Johan Schnürer, vice chancellor and president of Örebro University, made an interesting comment regarding processed food versus locally produced and urban gardening: “These are all complements, and complements only to the regular food distribution; and given today’s demands for food in

IMPORTED FROM HOME ©2019 Swedish Match North Europe AB


WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer. 36 NORDSTJERNAN

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Emcee Johan Jörgensen and SACC NY President Anna Throne-Holst flanked by but two of the amazing SACC NY and Gateway crew that make events such as this possible and so successful; Andreas Johansson, left and Gustav Wallin, right.

urban areas, the rational distribution of and some processing of food will have to take place and isn’t necessarily always bad.” Three Stockholm based companies took the stage to talk about their contribution to smart city development. With half a million people moving to Stockholm in the next 20 years, Anna Gissler of Invest in Stockholm has her work cut out for her, not just by creating a sound investment arena but by making sure her efforts go hand in hand with infrastructure and housing. The moderator labeled Mårten Frumerie, CEO of Stockholm Water and Waste Company, as “having the coolest job on the planet.” His responsibilities include the $3 billion investment in the world’s largest membrane water cleaning facility, which will produce clean water from waste water and safeguard the city’s fresh water reservoir, Lake Mälaren.

The Green Award

The winner of this year’s SACC NY-DeLoitte Green Award was crowned before breaking up for seminars and company visits. Two finalists were on stage, one of whom—Innoscentia—had presented a solution to the misleading “Use By” versus “Best Before” labeling that often causes unnecessary waste. Innoscentia offers smart sensor labels for instant food status, either analog or digital, that work through a reactive ink. A company representative pitched their services by claiming “10 percent of food waste is due to confusion” and stated how the “best before date has reached its best before date.” Its labels either change color

as a packaged organic product emits certain gases or sends a signal digitally to an app in your phone. The Green Award went to Drupps, an Uppsala based startup that makes water from air. Yes, you read that right, and Drupps does it with unmatched energy efficiency through an absorber and an abstractor. The production is easily scaleable since the technical solutions are readily available through components for the desalination industry. Their formula for water shortages works in any climate, with any humidity and is a solution for areas with scarce water resources. The impact of the combined presenting companies and speakers? Just over a billion: 1,126,492,855 people. It may sound like a lot, but this summit reminded us of a key aspect for the future: [Better technologies for a more sustainable future are not philanthropy …] Impact investments are still return driven. Ulf Barslund Martensson Photography: Pontus Höök For more info on the organizer and to read up on future events, see; on the finalists for the SACC NY-DeLoitte Green Award, see and

Next big thing? Fabrics of wood pulp. TreeToTextile AB is a joint venture originally between H&M group, Inter IKEA group and innovator Lars Stigsson. The company was founded in 2014 with the purpose to use wood pulp, or cellulose, to make textile fibers in an environmentally friendly manner. Lars Stigsson, a chemist who has founded several companies and, among other things, teaches at Lund University is the CEO. In December 2018 TreeToTextile announced that Stora Enso had joined this partnership, and also support the industrialization of TreeToTextile’s production process by setting up a demonstration plant at one of its Nordic facilities. For more info, wee Painless at the dentist. In the 1930s two Swedish scientists, Nils Löfgren (1915–67) and Bengt Lundqvist (1922-52) conducted large-scale experiments leading to the development in 1943 of the local anesthetic LL-30. Astra, the pharmaceutical company, took over the development work that year, and by 1948 it had developed Xylocaine®. When Xylocaine was launched, it signified something of a revolution in the local anesthetic field, because it anesthetizes with virtually no delay. Nils Löfgren was also a member of the team that developed the local anesthetic Citanest® (1957), which resembles Xylocaine but has fewer side effects. Geoblocking against terrorism. After five people were killed and 14 injured in a 2017 truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden is rolling out new technology to prevent acts of vehicular terrorism from ever happening again – in Stockholm and perhaps around the globe. With the help of GPS, a geoblocking technique has been developed that in tests has shown it can prevent a vehicle from being hijacked and physically limit its speed to prevent it from entering certain areas. While on GPS, Håkan Lans, regarded as one of Sweden’s foremost inventors was responsible for the further development of the satellite navigation system Global Positioning System (GPS) so that it can be used by aircraft, ships and other craft (GP & C Total System). The GP & C Total System gives the exact position of a craft - vehicle, boat or plane - and information about all other traffic in the area. DECEMBER 15, 2019 37

news in brief

Swedish News Parliament approves 2020 budget

Parliament has agreed to the framework for Sweden’s 2020 national budget, which is based on the January agreement between the government, and the Center and Liberal parties. In total, the framework for expenses amounts to SEK 1,062 billion (~$100billion). Around SEK 20 billion of these are due to various reforms that the government, C and L want to implement. (The budget in the U.S. is $4.4 trillion with a deficit at present of close to one trillion.)

Collecting parking fees

Sweden’s municipalities and regions collected at least SEK 2.4 billion in parking fees last year—an increase of 50 percent over 2014. About one-third, SEK 804 million, was collected by Stockholm City. Data was collected from 292 of the 311 municipalities and regions; more than two out of three do not charge any parking fees at all.

Expecting leaner years

Eight out of 10 municipalities are planning savings in their core services such as elderly care and school and education in the coming years, according to a survey conducted by Swedish TV. The savings will be in the form of efficiency improvements or staff cuts. Kramfors in Ångermanland is one of the municipalities facing the greatest savings, about SEK 50 million. “I have not experienced such great savings in the 10 years I have worked here,” said Peter Carlstedt, municipal director in the region.

One million on antidepressants

Last year, about one in 10 Swedes took antidepressive medication—a doubling since the beginning of the 2000s. Sweden’s population is now among those in the world that takes the most antidepressants. Researcher and psychiatrist Mikael Tiger says it may be because it is less shameful to seek help for depression and the drug prices have dropped. A suicide researcher and professor of psychiatry, says the number of suicides has decreased since the antidepressants were introduced.

Increase in international doctoral students A new report from the Stockholm Academic Forum shows the number of international doctoral students in the Swedish capital increased 14 percentage points between 2008 and 2018. The biggest increases have been registered at the Stockholm School of Economics and Stockholm University. During those 10 years, the proportion of international doctoral students rose from 19 to 42 percent at Stockholm University, which now educates the highest number of doctoral students after the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. In total, 43 percent of Stockholm’s 5,440 doctoral students now come from another country. “It is a testament to the great reputation of our higher education institutions. We know Stockholm is highly valued by foreign researchers, and in international comparisons, we often see that higher ranked universities have a higher proportion of international doctoral students. The reason is, of course, that a reputable university is able to recruit the best in the world,” says Maria Fogelström Kylberg, CEO of the Stockholm Academic Forum, which represents the City of Stockholm and its 18 higher education institutions, in a press release. For more info, see

More Swedes use seat belts

The number of Swedes using seat belts is increasing. In urban areas, seat belt use increased from 95 to 96 percent, according to NTF’s annual report (Nationalföreningen för Trafiksäkerhetens Främjande, the national society for road safety). However, low seat belt usage in sparsely populated areas contributes to Sweden’s risk of missing its target next year—a maximum of 220 fatalities in traffic. To reach the goal, overall usage must be at 98 percent; but that rate is only reached by Halland, Jönköping, Skåne, Stockholm and Uppsala counties and the Fyrbodal area in Västra Götaland.

Technology helps first responders

With the help of new technology, Sweden’s emergency services can receive more specific data about the location of a person who alerts them with a mobile phone. Location accuracy was previously as much as an area of about three square kilometers (just over a square mile), but now help can arrive faster when, for example, the distressed person does not know where he is. For the new technology to work, an updated version of the mobile phone’s operating system is required; only Sweden’s emergency services can access the positioning. The universal emergency number (the equivalent to our 911) in Sweden is 112.

airbags • seatbelts steering wheels •

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