When it was time to celebrate the so-called Linné Year (back in 2007), the Swedish government (with the Social Democrats at the helm) invested 27 million SEK ($4,037,877). Now, with the anniversary of author August Strindberg’s death (1849-1912) coming up, only pennies are added to the budget. In spite of the fact that the current government decided to support the Strindberg Year, it seems it might be too late to plan anything. And with only 200,000 SEK ($29,737) earmarked for the venture, how much can really take place?

“It is, of course, welcome money for us here at the Strindberg Museum, but it is like spitting into the ocean compared with what Norway and Denmark did when they honored Henrik Ibsen and H. C. Andersen,” says Stefan Bohman, director of the Strindberg Museum. Observing a great name like Strindberg will of course draw attention to Sweden and that means international marketing, something that is of priceless value. “The usual route is to begin planning five, six years in advance,” says Åse Berglund, project manager of the Linné Year, the Birgitta Year and the Bernadotte Year. “That way you can bring together different viewpoints and budgets.”

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With only one year left to the Strindberg Year, there is still no executive group and very little money. “That we are not giving more money has to do with our priorities,” says Erik Kristow, political advisor to Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth. Instead it is now the city of Stockholm that takes over the major part of the responsibility of the planning and budgeting. “The Strindberg Year in Stockholm will have its own project leader, whom we will employ now,” says cultural commissioner Madeleine Sjöstedt, who also points a finger at the state for being too late. “They should know Strindberg was a playwright and that the time for planning at theaters is a year and a half.”
Strindberg was an extremely important writer of his times, his plays are still being performed around the world and his is one of few Swedish names known internationally. At his funeral in 1912, 60,000 people followed his coffin to his final resting place at Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.

The Strindberg Museum is located at Drottninggatan 85 in the so-called Blå Tornet (the Blue Tower), which was the last home of Strindberg.
www.strindbergsmuseet.se