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Swedish Press N Y A


Halmstad: The City with


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April 2019 Vol 90:03 $5.95

03 2019

Sven Nordqvist’s Pettson and Findus Halmstadgruppen Olympics 2026

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Company File

Radars Watching Out for You and Me By Peter Berlin


deon Science Park in the Swedish university town of Lund is a goldmine of technological innovations (see Swedish Press, February 2019 issue, page 14). One of the many tenant companies there is Acconeer AB, a developer and vendor of radar systems – not the big, rotating contraptions found on ships and at airports, but tiny ones the size of a thumbnail. Before getting into the many applications of such a mini-radar, let’s begin with the basics. A radar is a gadget that uses radio signals to measure the location and speed of an object relative to the position of the radar itself. The distance to the object is determined in one of two ways. The first method consists in having the radar instrument beam a radio pulse towards the object, wait for the pulse to bounce off the object and measure the time it takes for it to return to the radar. Since radio signals travel at the speed of light, the distance is simply the roundtrip travel time multiplied by the speed of light and divided in half. The second method is to transmit a sinusoidal radio wave to the object and measuring the phase

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difference between the outgoing signal and the incoming echo. By implementing several radar beams in parallel, it is possible to detect the object’s precise location in three dimensions. The object’s speed is found by making several radar measurements at timed intervals. Imagine, therefore, the many ways a radar can be used to facilitate our daily lives. A robotic vacuum cleaner can be made to automatically avoid obstacles such as walls, table legs and pets; it can even sense a change in texture from carpet to bare floor surfaces and alter the vacuuming mode accordingly. A shopper wishing to place an armful of merchandise in the car only needs to wave a foot in front of the vehicle’s concealed radar to open the lid of the trunk. A driverless car can use a radar to avoid collisions, and radars embedded in the ground of parking spaces can help drivers find vacant slots quickly. Radar technology can even be used to determine a person’s breathing rate

by measuring the slight movement of the chest. The examples are almost endless. This is where Acconeer AB enters the picture, because the company’s radars do all these things and more. Since radio signals penetrate just about anything other than metals and water, these tiny radars are easy to integrate into devices such as smartphones, vacuum cleaners, and plastic-covered slots inside car bodies. Acconeer radars are also unaffected by stray light and dirt. They consume a minimal amount of battery power, and they can be programmed to perform a large variety of measurement tasks. One limitation is the relatively short reach of the radar signal – approximately 2 meters (6 feet), but the company is working on extending it to 10 meters. Acconeer AB was founded in 2011 by Dr Mikael Egard and Dr Mats Ärlelid, together with Mårten Öbrink, Professor Lars-Erik Wernersson, and Lund University. The CEO is Lars Lindell. The company is represented in the US by DigiKey Electronics in Thief River Falls, MN, and also in Korea, China, Japan and Russia. The Acconeer website (www.acconeer. com) provides details about their product line, along with videos that explain some of the practical applications for the company’s radars.


Interview with Ambassador Olofsdotter Halmstad – A Surprise for Visitors in Search of Something Different

parts of the world. The daylight has a special quality, perhaps because it reflects the golden beach sand. Impressions are amplified by memories from one’s childhood.

By Peter Berlin


n the March 2018 issue of Swedish Press we published an exclusive interview with Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish Ambassador to the United States. In our follow-up interview she reminisces about growing up in Halmstad and highlights the city’s many attractions for today’s visitors. Please describe your childhood and your enduring roots in Halmstad. I was born in the 1960s in Söndrum a few kilometres from Halmstad city centre. That is where I went to school, and then we moved to nearby Frösakull on the seafront. My parents still live in the house that they built there in the 1970s. They are now 89 and 85 years old and live comfortably thanks to excellent support provided by the Hemtjänst (home care services). My mother remains quite active and plays golf. I visit my parents as often as I can.

The view from Ringenäs Golf Club. Photo: Jesper&Fredrik Studio2/

Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter Photo: Andrea Belluso, House of Belluso

During an interview for Hallandsposten a few years ago you stated that “Halmstad has everything.” Please elaborate. I think Halmstad is a marvellous city – but, then again, I always say that! In addition to several movie theatres, discos and restaurants, there is an impressive new public library that juts out into the river Nissan. There is also a superb art museum half-way between Halmstad and Frösakull called Mjellby Farm which is owned and managed by the daughter of one of the artists in the Halmstadgruppen (see page 18). They put on special exhibitions particularly during the summer. Halmstad has some fine beaches where people have fun swimming and playing. Visitors are particularly drawn to the scenery made up of rocks, beaches and pine forests. There is also an amusement park, and people play golf and soccer and go wind-surfing. The range of activities is almost endless. It felt good growing up as a teenager in that environment. I adore the ocean and still find the landscape extraordinarily beautiful, even after having visited many other

Why would someone from the USA or Canada want to visit Halmstad? Halmstad is a city with a population of around 90,000. North Americans visiting Halmstad will receive an authentic impression of what Sweden is really like and how the Swedish middle-class lives, because the city is of a size that is easier to grasp than bigger ones like Stockholm and Malmö. A holiday visit to Halmstad is particularly recommended in the summer when the sea temperature reaches 25 deg C (78 deg F) and beyond, something people who are not from there find hard to believe. For anyone interested in playing golf it is a veritable paradise with 7 or 8 golf courses; the course in Tylösand is one of the finest in Europe. The sea, the scenery and the golf are perfect for people who enjoy the outdoors. Halmstad is a perfect destination for anyone in search of something different.

Public library and art exhibition hall by Nissan river. Photo: Sophie McAulay

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alk around the port city of Halmstad and you’ll be struck by the crowned hearts adorning everything from bus stops and trash cans to garden gates and grocery stores. Pay close attention to the architectural influences in the old town square, near Saint Nikolai Cathedral, and you’ll catch sight of some of the northernmost timber frame houses in all of Europe. These small details – potentially insignificant to the undiscerning eye – are subtle remnants from a time when Denmark ruled Halmstad and the surrounding Halland province.

City of Halmstad. Photo: Patrik Leonardsson

Halmstad, situated in the southwestern part of Sweden midway between Gothenburg and Malmö, and bordered by the 186 km long Nissan river, was first mentioned in a Danish book published in 1231. Many believe the city’s name derives from the Danish “Halmstaede,” meaning something akin to “Strawtown.” Another, less believable theory discussed in the city’s own

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The City with Three Hearts k By Lara Andersson travel brochure, is that “Halmstad’s inhabitants defended the town against the Danish by putting tar onto sheaves and then throwing them from the town wall onto their rivals.” Originally located slightly more inland in an area now known as Övraby, Halmstad moved five kilometers south in 1320, most likely to gain easier access to the Nissan and ensure a more robust coastal defense. The city received its first official charter in 1307 (marking 2007 as its 700th anniversary). From the 1300’s up until the 1600’s the Danes developed the region, building – amongst other important architectural sites – Saint Nikolai Church in the 1400’s. In its new location, Halmstad served as an important fortified border town and, for a brief period, acted as one of the most important meeting points for Norway, Sweden and Finland, as delegates of the Kalmar

Union – a union uniting the Scandinavian territories under a single monarch between 1397 and 1523 – held important negotiations there. It was such a crucial point in Scandinavian history that the Kalmar Union elected its King in Halmstad. Perhaps one of the region’s most notable historical figures is the Danish King Christian IV. He granted the city its coat of arms with its signature motif of three crowns and three hearts. Many believe he took inspiration from a previous Danish monarch, Valdemar Sejr. Sejr reigned from 1202 until 1241, and his children and grandchildren had the distinctive crowned hearts in their signets, making Christian IV’s choice three hundred years later a respectful nod to his forefathers. After years of development and expansion, a devastating fire in August of 1619 burned down most of Halmstad, save for a few key structures: Saint Nikolai Church, Norre Port

Halmstad Castle. Photo: Jörgen Hagman

(the only town gate left of the original ones that Christian IV inaugurated in 1601), and the Danish Castle built at

the beginning of the 17th century in a particular style known as Christian IV’s renaissance. The King swiftly conceived of a new city plan and set construction in motion. Much of what you see in today’s Halmstad is due to his vision. It is important to note that, though the Kalmar Union had long been in existence at this point, many attempts had already been made to overtake Halmstad from the time of its inauguration. Amongst others, the Swedish insurgent Engelbrekt and his troops marched on Halmstad in the 1430’s. In 1534, during Denmark’s largest civil war known as the Grevefejden or “Feud of Counts”, Swedes overtook the city. However, it wasn’t until 1645 that Swedes officially conquered the Halland territory, when the Second Treaty of Brömsebro declared Halland Swedish for the next thirty years. The Treaty of Roskilde in 1658 made this settlement permanent, and the final battle between Denmark and Sweden, called the Battle at Fyllebro, took place just outside of Halmstad in 1676. Once Halmstad fell into Swedish hands, the city continued to flourish. In 1678 Swedish King Karl XI held his Riksdag (parliament) meeting in Halmstad, inviting 279 Swedes to discuss the state of the country. Shortly thereafter, in 1686, Halmstad’s first factory, a tobacco production site, was constructed and opened for business. By 1737 the city’s fortifications were demolished and

Carl Milles’ Europa och Tjuren. Photo: Helene Karlsson/

tobacco crops were planted in their place to keep up with the high-paced demands of the newly industrialized city. In the following decades, Halmstad saw massive increases in its population growth. In 1800 the city had 1,317 inhabitants. By 1850 the number had doubled to 2,761, and by 1900 the population reached an unprecedented 15,387 inhabitants. During the 20th century the city opened libraries, sports halls, museums and concert halls. Appreciating and creating art became a driving impulse for a select few of the city’s inhabitants, when fraternities such as Halmstadgruppen (see page 18) thrived on artistic synergies. Fast forward to 2010 when Halmstad’s population had grown from 48,800 in 1990 to 58,577. Today, the city focuses on being forward-thinking and multicultural. The municipality’s webpage elaborates on a vision for Halmstad in 2020 that emphasizes three key goals: (1) ensuring that the city is a place where

“people can meet in safety, with respect and love;” (2) where people can “grow through education, enterprise and new thinking”; and (3) all while enjoying an atmosphere that “instills a desire to prosper through activities, a community spirit and a quality of life.” With these noble ambitions, combined with the fact that the region is known as a popular travel destination, it comes as no surprise that Halmstad won the accolade as “Super Municipality of the Year” from lifestyle magazine Dagens Samhälle in 2018. “We look at how the municipalities have performed historically in important

The beach life in Tylösand. Photo: Patrik Leonardsson/

areas and also measure their strength through a number of forward-looking factors,” said Anna Sönne at Dagens Samhälle. “The ambition is to identify exciting examples of how to successfully run a municipality.” Halmstad has secured its title as a coveted area to live in and will continue to evolve in years to come. Engraving of the City of Halmstad by Johannes van den Aveelen for Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna, 1690-1710.

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‘They stayed together through thick and thin...’ Committing Dreams to Canvas By Peter Berlin


hy is the memory of dreams so transient? It may be that dreams are often too surreal for the brain to anchor them to reality, and hence to retain them. Many surrealist painters adhere to the Freudian theory that dreams reveal insight into hidden desires and emotions, and these artists are keen to render their insights onto canvas. Our fascination with surrealist art is triggered by the liberating juxtaposition of familiar objects in a dreamlike setting that defies the laws of logic and physics. Surrealist art is almost exactly a century old. It was pioneered primarily by French artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray

who had their roots in Cubism and Dadaism – art forms that emerged as a protest against capitalism, bourgeois values, the nightmare of World War I, and anything to do with established norms. These forms gradually developed into Surrealism which took a step back from the anarchy and abstractions of the earlier “-isms” by re-introducing recognizable shapes. The surrealists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, and created strange creatures from everyday objects that allowed the unconscious to express itself. Household names in surrealist art include painters like Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Max Ernst. Less well known are the Swedish artists Sven Jonson, Waldemar Lorentzon, Stellan Mörner, Axel Olson, Erik Olson and Esaias Thorén. During the 1920s, each of them found surrealist inspiration while studying art in

Germany, France and Italy. The initial reaction of the general public to their art was largely negative, so they turned to each other for moral support. In 1929, the six artists formed the Halmstadgruppen. Remarkably, the group stayed together through thick and thin until the death of Mörner fifty years later. Sweden had a long tradition of national romanticism which favoured a re-interpretation of the country’s folk art and architecture. The surrealists were seen as defectors from the accepted aesthetical norms, thumbing their noses at social conventions and “good taste”. Over time, the Halmstadgruppen’s surrealist art matured to the point where they were invited to exhibit their paintings in various European capitals alongside respected surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí, André Breton and Paul Éluard. However, the paintings of the Halmstadgruppen differed

Grupporträtt av Halmstadgruppen, Stellan Mörner, 1936. Olja på duk, Halmstads kommuns konstsamling/Mjellby Konstmuseum. Bilden är beskuren.

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from those of their famous peers by mixing pure fantasy with real features from the Halmstad surroundings. The Group also distanced itself from the atheist leanings of the surrealist movement by accepting assignments to decorate churches and chapels. The six members of the Halmstadgruppen were true contemporaries. Sven Jonson (1902 – 1981) grew up in Söndrum near Halmstad, the son of a seafaring family. He started out as a house painter and soon developed an interest in fine art. Following study visits to Cologne and Paris, Jonson and his friend Esaias Thorén founded a group of artists called The Young Ones and co-opted the painter Axel Olson as their tutor. Later they met the son of the governor of the province of Halland, Stellan Mörner, who secured them assignments to execute wall paintings in Halmstad Castle. Many of Jonson’s paintings capture the vastness of the sky, the ocean and the desolation of endless beaches. Jonson’s travel mate Esaias Thorén (1901 – 1981) also grew up in Halmstad. Initially he wanted to become a musician but soon turned his attention to painting. His style favoured objects laden with symbolism and people moving in lively or dramatic environments. Like Sven Jonson, Axel Olson (1899 – 1986) grew up in a Halmstadbased seafaring family. As an adult he travelled to Germany and Italy to study painting. After his return to Halmstad he worked for a while in the advertising business to support himself financially. He and Lorentzon had their artistic breakthrough when given the task of decorating the ceiling and the pulpit in the chapel

Sven Jonson: Portalerna, 1938

at nearby Skavböke. Later in life he suffered from cataracts which threatened to blind him. Following a successful operation, his paintings became noticeably brighter in colour. The Young Ones were joined by Axel Olson’s brother Erik and their cousin Waldemar Lorentzon, forming the nucleus of the emerging Halmstadgruppen. Erik Olson (1901 – 1986) was arguably the most cosmopolitan of the six in the Halmstadgruppen. Not only did he study in France and Italy, but he subsequently went to work for his tutor, the painter and cinematographer Fernand Léger at the Académie Moderne in Paris. In 1935 he settled down near Copenhagen where his paintings included a satirical picture of Adolf Hitler. After Germany invaded Denmark in 1940 he found himself on the Gestapo blacklist and had to return to Sweden. Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1950, his paintings often featured religious motifs, with the biblical deluge as a recurring theme. Like Jonson, Thorén and the Olson brothers, Waldemar Lorentzon (1899 – 1984) grew up in socially humble circumstances. However,

he was fortunate to find a patron in the Mayor of Halmstad, Georg Bissmark, who sponsored his travels to Paris to study painting. From 1950 onwards he devoted himself almost exclusively to painting surrealist murals in churches all over Sweden. In contrast to his colleagues in the Halmstadgruppen, Stellan Mörner – or more accurately Count Carl Stellan Gabriel Mörner af Morlanda (1896 – 1979) – spent his early years on the family estate Esplunda near the city of Örebro. After obtaining a degree in art history, he travelled to Germany, Italy and France for further study. Many of his surrealist paintings feature castle interiors, probably inspired by his upbringing at Esplunda. In his later years he also became known as an author and a talented theatre stage set designer. His death in 1979 spelled the end of the Halmstadgruppen, even though the remaining members lived on for another few years. Art enthusiasts will find a comprehensive collection of works by the Halmstadgruppen at Mjellby Art Museum near Halmstad. The permanent exhibition, currently closed for restauration work, will re-open on May 11, 2019. See also

Waldemar Lorentzon: View from the terrace.

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Profile for Swedish Press

Swedish Press Sample Apr 2019 Vol 90:03  

Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...

Swedish Press Sample Apr 2019 Vol 90:03  

Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...