Unemployed refuse to move.
There are certain requirements for unemployed people in Sweden, requirements set up by Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish unemployment agency). One of them is that the unemployed must look for jobs not only where he or she lives, but in other towns and cities too. When Riksrevisionen (the Swedish National Audit Office) did a check, however, it showed that Arbetsförmedlingen hadn’t followed the requirements. Says Karin Ericsson from Arbetsförmedlingen’s Eastern Region: “(Moving) is of decisive importance for somebody looking for a job. It is difficult to ask of somebody to break up from his or her family, but it is also our job to make sure that rules are being followed. We’re not breaking the rules deliberately, it’s just a difficult question and we have to work on our attitudes and values.”
Students drink too much.
One out of every ten Swedish students drinks too much, according to an analysis done by Folkhälsoinstitutet (Swedish National Institute of Public Health). One of every six male students and one of every 14 female students ages 18 to 24 get drunk every week, which increases the risks for illness, violence and accidents. It also leads to poor study habits. Folkhälsoinstitutet now requests that all Sweden’s colleges and universities provide guidance and keep routine alcohol consumption controls available. “The aim is to have all universities work with a long-term and structured drug-preventative plan,” says head of project, Elisabet Flennemo in a press release. About one of ten Swedish students drinks so much they fall under the category risk consumers. They consume more than 14 so-called standard glasses per week. Screenings, routine check-ups, and advice are some of the ingredients that are part of the project in decreasing the drinking.
Karin Larsson 150 years.
It’s 150 years since Karin Larsson was born. Karin who? Karin Larsson, wife of the more famous Carl Larsson, painter. Sweden is celebrating because Karin Larsson is important: She had fresh ideas and thoughts on interior and furniture design, fashion, textiles and gardening. She was, in short, a style icon. Lilla Hyttnäs, the Larssons’ famous home in Dalarna, was not a joint creation, although Carl Larsson mostly took the credit. In reality it was Karin Larsson’s oeuvre. “To show Karin Larsson in all her glory has been a dream for many years,” says Marianne Nilsson, curator at Carl Larsson-gården. “Her hand and her eye is present in all the rooms here, especially in the amazing fabrics that give the home such coziness. One hundred years later, Karin’s designs still feel modern and not until now is she receiving the attention she truly deserves.” It was Carl Larsson’s watercolors of the house and family life at Sundborn that made him a beloved artist and brought him international fame. But the work to lift Karin out of her husband’s shadow began in 1967 with a biography written by a son-in-law, and really took off with the exhibition “Karin and Carl Larsson — creators of the Swedish style,” in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1997. And now, eight decades after her death, Karin Larsson is again in focus. Recently the book “Karin Larssons värld — inredning, trädgård, mat, mode, textil” came out, and her passion for gardening is the focal point of “Åt solsidan på Sofiero,” an exhibition in Helsingborg. Carl Larsson would often compliment his wife in private, among friends, saying: “Anything she touches becomes beautiful” and “Karin is always right,” but outside the home she was not known. She was born Karin Bergöö in 1859 and died in 1928, nine years after her husband. She came from a loving and affluent family and received Lilla Hyttnäs as a gift from her father. It was in the Scandinavian artist colony in Grez-sur-Loing, France, that Karin and Carl met. They moved permanently to Sundborn and Lilla Hyttnäs in 1901. The Larssons went against the heavy dark interior, the fashion of the time, by letting light and color into their home. “They both dared to be different, even provokingly so,” Nilsson continues. Did Karin feel bitter about having to quit her own artistry in order to stay at home and take care of her husband and their eight children? Says Nilsson: “I get that question a lot, but it doesn’t seem like she did. Rather it seems that she blossomed at Sundborn after many years of traveling around. She had the peace there to develop her feel for textiles and her passion for gardening.” Carl Larsson’s paintings frequently features beautiful flowers, but they were always arranged by Karin.
Swedish filmmaker sued by Dole.
Not too long ago we told you about a new film called “Bananas!*”, a documentary by Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten about the banana import business. The film is a David versus Goliath story about the efforts of lawyer Juan Dominguez who represents fruit workers who claim they’ve become sterile after Dole sprayed them with a banned pesticide. Dole is now suing Gertten for defamation. “I never believed that things would go as far as them suing me,” Gertten said to Dagens Nyheter. “Dole came with all these threats before they even saw the film.” The people at Dole claim that Gertten refused to make the changes necessary to the film and “persisted in publicly screening it and touting its accuracy in the face of court rulings that the story was false and amounted to ‘extortion.’” Gertten himself believes that the threat has helped boost interest in the film, but at the same time it requires large amounts of energy and is costly. Dole unsuccessfully tried to block a screening of Gertten’s film earlier this year at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Top year for Swedish blueberries.
This year’s blueberry harvest promises to be the best in a long time. The forests are full of berries that are already ripening a bit in the southern parts of Sweden. Unlike last year, the frosty nights came late this year, when the time of flowering was already over. And since the unripe berries handled the frost well, the outlook is positive. The only obstacle now is drought, according to Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences).
What’s the best summer tune ever? Metro.se polled its readers and Gyllene Tider’s “Sommartider” won. Other popular songs in the poll were “Summer of 69” with Bryan Adams, “Sommaren är kort” with Tomas Ledin, and “Sol, vind och vatten” with Ted Gärdestad.
“Painting is like a long mediation.”
Was the spring stressful? How do you wind down? How about taking a painting class on Öland? Ölands folkhögskola, situated in Skogsby some four miles away from the bridge to Kalmar, provides classes for the beginning, aspiring painter, and one of them is Dagens Nyheter’s Söndags editor Astrid Johansson. She writes, “The orchids have bloomed already, but cat’s-foot, almond blossom, and golden hardhack are still in bloom, coming out of the limestone cracks everywhere. We’re spread out, one by one, eight women and one man, among the low juniper bushes and the blackthorn bushes, surrounded by sketch blocks, canvases, paintbrushes, paint tubes, and palette-knives. We’re silent, we’re focused on our paintings.” Many folkhögskolor have weekend-long summer classes and the most popular classes focus on arts and crafts, many of which are designed for beginners. The teacher in this class on Öland, Sofia Sundberg, got the idea two years ago. “Whenever I tell people I am an artist, they all say ‘I would love to paint, but I can’t.’ I refuse to believe that. Everyone has the motor skills to paint, all you have to do is to get the technique and knowledge in order to proceed. Most people find it very enriching to dive into color and shape. You grow a bit as a person if you find new ways to express yourself.” One of the participants, Alex Borg, wants to work with art in the future: “In school it was never fun to paint because we got graded. Now it is fun.” Another participant, Catharina Jonsson, is a teacher and housewife, for her the class is necessary. “I feel like I need it. Painting helps me to shut off all problems. It’s like a long meditation.” For more info: www.olandsfolkhogskola.se
For other folk highschools around Sweden with summer classes, see www.folkhogskola.nu