EU's 10th richest: Stockholm. Sweden to bolster Afghan force. First Swede to join Virgin space launch. Stamped: Victoria and Daniel. Daniel’s Royal Education. Opera starring IKEA. Greta Magnusson Grossman.
EU's 10th richest: Stockholm.
The Stockholm area stands as the tenth richest region in the European Union, according to calculations from the EU's statistics agency that covered 271 European areas. London had first place ranking, while Stockholm's performance put it far ahead of Copenhagen, which only came in thirteenth. Luxembourg, Brussels, Hamburg, Prague and Paris were some of the cities ahead of Stockholm, while the poorest regions were Romania and Bulgaria. Stockholm scored fourth place in another evaluation that listed the European Union's places which have the most promising economic futures. Stockholm has around 75,000 more employed than three years ago. With numerous funds flowing into the telecom and life science sectors, foreign investments in Stockholm have continued through the recession.
Sweden to bolster Afghan force.
Sweden plans to send 30 additional soldiers to Afghanistan, the Swedish Armed Forces said. The troops are from the country's strategic reserve and are to join Sweden's FS18 force based near Mazar-e Sharif in northwestern Afghanistan, the Defense Ministry said.. A statement released by Swedish Armed Forces said plans to send additional troops were in the works but were advanced following the deaths of two Swedish soldiers in Afghanistan.
"The soldiers based in Afghanistan usually go on leave from time to time," said Lena Parkvall, a spokesperson for the Swedish Armed Forces. "These extra troops will enable them to attend funerals and to get some rest." Sweden currently has some 500 soldiers in Afghanistan.
First Swede to join Virgin space launch.
Joining some 300 private persons who have already plunked down $200 thousand apiece for tickets, a man from the city of Malmö in the southernmost Swedish province of Skåne will ride in 2012 to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two. His flight, which will reach a height of 110 kilometers and enable eight passengers to see ”black” heavens and experience weightlessness, will be launched from the Virgin Galactic Spaceport California's Mojave desert. Subsequent launches for Europeans will be from Sweden's own space base which is under construction far north above the Arctic Circle and outside the city of Kiruna in the province of Norrbotten.
Stamped: Victoria and Daniel.
Crown princess Victoria and Daniel spent over an hour going through the final details in the special stamp that features the two of them. They are happy with the result giving it thumbs up. “The meeting went very well,” says Britt-Inger Hahne, one of the ones responsible at Posten’s offices in Kista, north of Stockholm. A photographer captured the princess and her fiancé as they climbed out of one of the royal court’s exclusive Volvo S80’s. It is the first time Daniel Westling is seen in public since his and Victoria’s visit to Afghanistan in January. Recently media has speculated that he might be seriously ill, but those rumors were later denied and Westling looked stronger than he has in a long time. Posten (Sweden’s post office) produced similar stamps in 1976 featuring the newly wed King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. This time there will be three different special stamps with portraits of Victoria and Daniel, and they will be made public on May 13.
Daniel’s Royal Education.
The royal court is giving Daniel Westling an education, teaching him more about the way the court is organized, and giving him background information about ceremonies connected to the court as well as offering him more history of the monarchy. Westling will visit the court’s different departments and will also have to study a certain amount of political science in preparation for his new “job” as Prince. This tailor-made education will run for a year and a half, and Jan-Eric Warren, former Ceremonial Master at the court, will be Westling’s study guide. For more information about what goes on at the Royal Swedish court, www.royalcourt.se
Opera starring IKEA.
British composer Tom Lane has, as his exam work, composed an opera called “Adventures in a furniture store”, in which the audience wanders through the rooms of an IKEA-furnished apartment. In one of the rooms a baritone voice can be heard moaning: “Billy, Billy, Bil-ly!” while failing to get the popular bookshelves together. A choir of female voices chants fatally over other IKEA equipment. But Tom Lane is not the first to bring IKEA to the operatic stage. Last summer Katharina Wagner (Richard Wagner’s great grandchild) put up “Tannhäuser” in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands and when it turned out there wasn’t enough money for the set design, Katharina and her German team went to the local IKEA store and bought whatever was needed. Richard Wagner would have liked that, he was an advocate of a democratization of the art of opera.
Greta Magnusson Grossman.
Chances are you’ve never heard of her before, but Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-1999) was one of Sweden’s most original architects. “The advantage with being a male furniture designer is that men are stronger physically,” she said. Magnusson Grossman was a pioneer within the so-called functional style and her furniture, lamps, and textiles are now shown at Stockholm’s Arkitekturmuseum. She went from one groundbreaking project to another, from a young woman furniture designer in pre-war Stockholm to a big name on California’s architectural scene in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Magnusson Grossman was awarded a scholarship to enroll at Konstfack (then known as Högre Konstindustriella Skolan) where she excelled in her mastery of technical drawing. In 1933 Grossman and Konstfack classmate Erik Ullrich opened Studio, a store and workshop, at Sturegatan 12 in Stockholm. From Studio, Grossman took on numerous commissions designing unique furniture and interiors, garnered abundant press attention and accolades and exhibited frequently at Galerie Moderne, a cultural Mecca in Stockholm at the time. The unique approach to Swedish modernism that she brought with her when she moved from Stockholm in 1940 proved to be incredibly popular in the U.S.. She opened a much-publicized shop in Beverly Hills in 1940 selling her own designs billed on her business card as “Swedish modern furniture, rugs, lamps and other home furnishings.” She attracted celebrity clients such as Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine and Gracie Allen and began making connections that would lead to a number of projects both from her own shop and from Barker Brothers’ Modern Shop launched in 1947, for whom she was designing exclusive pieces and taking interior design commissions. Grossman’s most enduring work in Los Angeles came in the form of her built architectural commissions. Between 1949 and 1959 Grossman designed at least fourteen homes in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco and one back in her native Sweden. Of these, at least ten are still standing. The homes were often perched on stilts at the top of a hill, overlooking a canyon, with magnificent views through curtain walls of glass. The homes featured extensive built-in shelving and the uniquely open and free flowing floor plan popular at the time. The exhibition at Arkitekturmuseet includes architectural commissions in Sweden as well as Northern and Southern California and designs for the many companies she worked with including Barker Brothers, Ralph O. Smith and Glenn of California. The exhibition also includes exemplary pieces of furniture and lighting, prototypes and textiles, original drawings and photographs, and film clips. www.arkitekturmuseet.se