Singer-songwriter Robyn’s on top after breakdown
With three new records and her own club, Swedish artist Robyn is yet again on top. But a year ago, she reveals to Norwegian paper Verdens Gang, she had a breakdown. “I felt very anxious,” she says. After three years packed full with successes, Robyn hit the wall at the beginning of 2009, coming home from a European tour with Madonna. “It was so sad. I had no gigs planned, but at the same time I also felt very worn out.” The 30-year old star says that she felt cornered by expectations and hopes and that she feared the schedule ahead of her. “The thought of being in the studio for a year and a half, and thereafter having to tour for another three years, and then perhaps not begin another album in another five years didn’t make it better.” The solution, she says, was to rearrange her life. In agreement with her management, Robyn decided to launch her latest album in three parts, and open a dance club with a friend. Now, she says, she feels on top of things again. “I’m exactly where I want to be!” Often compared to Madonna, Robin Miriam Carlsson, better known as Robyn has a following all over the world. For a sample of her music and to find listening parties celebrating her new CD around June 11-18 in Boston, Chicago, LA, New York San Francisco, Seattle... see www.robyn.com

Swedes still love Spain
More than 50 years have passed since the very first charter trip from Sweden to sunny Spain, yet Spain remains the numero uno vacation destination for Swedes. Last year, 1.1 million trips taken by Swedes ended up in Spain. Thailand doesn’t come close to those numbers. The magazine Vagabond presents an overview of Swedes’ wanderlust, and it show that neither terrorism nor environmental hazards or economical crisis can really quench that lust. Last year, 6.8 million Swedes traveled abroad, quite an increase compared to the year 2000. “Swedes are traveling people, we have a good economy and I also believe our geographical position plays a major part,” says Per J Andersson, editor-in-chief of Vagabond. Over a million Swedes chose to travel to Spain, including the Canary Islands, last year. Especially the island of Majorca has become popular again. Robert Petterson, who gives lectures on tourism at the tourism research institute Etour in Östersund, believes Spain’s enduring popularity has to do with accessibility, habit, a variety of choices, as well as the very reason why people travel. “The most common reason Swedish people travel is because they want to experience peace, relaxation, sun and bathing in the ocean. And that’s one of the reasons Spain is more popular than say, England or France,” he explains. Following Spain in most popular tourist destinations, is Germany. “Germany is easily accessible for us Swedes. Thailand (which is number 5) is a country you cannot reach by placing yourself and your family in the car and go. Thailand needs marketing, and Thailand often means organized trips.” During the first decade of the 21st century, traveling to Thailand increased with 68% among Swedes. And then there’s South Africa, which has increased in popularity with 800%. Does that have to do with the country itself or that the supply in trips there has increased? Pettersson thinks it’s a combination of the two. “South Africa has gone from apartheid to being a country with positive vibrations. There are of course negative aspects of South Africa like AIDS and irresolute politics, but it still is a better image than it used to. Africa is an interesting continent to many people, but many countries there are simultaneously a bit frightening, South Africa is more like Africa Light, it seems a bit easier to handle.” Other countries Swedes like to travel to are: Tunisia, Croatia, Malaysia and New Zeeland. Trips to destinations like Morocco, the Dominican Republic, Singapore, and Ireland have, however, decreased. Most Swedes go abroad during the month of July, and the average traveling Swede is middle-aged with no children (4.3 million people traveled without children, compared to 1.3 million with children). The top five destinations for traveling Swedes are thus: Spain, Germany, England, France, and Thailand.

Sami skeletons found
57 skulls and 6 Sami skeletons have been found in Uppsala University's collection of catalogues. The University, which wants to come to terms with its past, has begun a count of the Sami remains. The majority of the material is to be returned to Sami ownership, but archaeological material can be difficult to return because of its historical value, according to Egyptologist Geoffrey Metz at the University Museum Gustavianum. The Sami Parliament wants the Swedish state to return the exhumed remains.

Is the monarchy worth 17 SEK?
That’s what it costs each Swedish taxpayer every year to keep the monarchy going – 17 SEK ($2.17). Is it worth it? In the Swedish TV program “Det kungliga bröllopet” (The royal wedding), journalist Ebba von Sydow asked people in the streets of Stockholm what they thought, and, amazingly, most people were OK with handing over 17 SEK to the upkeep of the royal family. “I think it’s not a lot of money, and they say that they bring in more money than they cost, so I think it’s OK,” one young man said. A young woman, probably around Princess Madeleine’s age, said: “I’m not that involved in this issue, but they’ve always been there, so why not?” A slightly older man, presumably in his 60’s, said he was fine with paying the money: “I might even be willing to pay more,” he offered. Only one young man posed the question that perhaps the Swedish government could find something better to do with that money. What do you think? The staff at “Det kungliga bröllopet” added the allowances granted to the Royal household and the Royal palaces, which this year is 125 million SEK ($15,972,456.40), and divided it with the number of taxpayers, which according to Skatteverket (the Swedish tax agency) this year is 7.4 million people. That makes 16.89 SEK or 17 SEK.