Peeling bananas – Swedes’ lot in Norway
In Sweden there were no jobs, so what was Linnéa Nodelijk and many other Swedes with her to do? They went to Norway and found work as banana peelers – a job Norwegians themselves refuse to take. “It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done,” says Linnéa. “But even though it’s a nasty job I make more money here (in Norway) and that’s always good to know.” There is an estimated 80 000 Swedes working in Norway, most of them are there to make money during a short period of time. Says Elisabeth Andersson, a Eures (European Employment Services) job advisor in Karlstad: “I’ve never met anybody peeling bananas in Norway. But what we have seen is that young Swedes are having an easier time getting jobs in Norway than in Sweden. And they have a great reputation over there. They are driven, and know how to ‘take’ people.” When asked if it wasn’t perhaps a bit degrading for Swedes to take jobs like that, Andersson answered: “We don’t have jobs like that and instead of being unemployed, I can’t see how it would be degrading. They get references, and it says a lot about a person when he or she goes abroad to live and work.”

Stardoll is hooking up with Mattel
Stardoll, the Swedish online fashion game and the world’s largest website for teen and tween girls, has announced that they have signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Mattel. Mattel, the world’s largest toy company based on revenue, is famous for producing the Barbie dolls. "We are pleased to be working with the world's largest toy company in a partnership that will see Stardoll moving from the virtual into the physical world," said Mattias Miksche, CEO of Stardoll Network from Nuremberg where he is a featured speaker at the International Toy Fair. "This year we are very focused on entering the licensing space so that our members can experience Stardoll in new and exciting ways; Mattel is making this a reality for them."

Pizza most expensive in Stockholm
The most expensive pizza in Sweden can be found in Stockholm – not much of a surprise there. The cheapest pizzas are in Södertälje and Malmö, according to a survey done by A Vesuvio pizza in Stockholm costs on average 63 SEK ($9.79), while in Malmö the same kind of Vesuvio costs 50 SEK ($7.77) on average. The classic Vesuvio consists of tomatoes, cheese, and ham and is one of the most popular pizzas in Sweden.

Hallström makes movie in Sweden
For the first time in 24 years, Swedish film director Lasse Hallström is shooting a movie in Sweden. “It’s the first time it feels right,” he says. The film is called “Hypnotisören” (the Hypnotizer) and is the first in a planned series based on the novels about the policeman Joona Linna, written by Lars Kepler (a pseudonym for Alexander and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril). The shooting is scheduled to begin next winter, and a premiere is planned for fall 2012. “It’s fun that it is a thriller,” Hallström continues. “It’s a genre I like but have never worked with before. It will be fun to scare people.” The 64-year old Hallström is one of Sweden’s most successful directors internationally. His “Mitt liv som hund” (“My Life as a Dog”) received an Oscar nomination and opened up doors for Hallström in Hollywood, where he went on to create films like “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “Chocolat”. The last film he did in Sweden was “Mer om oss barn i Bullerbyn” in 1987. This time he takes his wife, Swedish actress Lena Olin, with him home. “Yes, Lena will come with me. Our daughter Tora is in boarding school, so she will stay in the US. We’ll see how long we will stay in Sweden. I keep everything open. I hope to do more Swedish films.”

Brigitte Bardot blasts Swedish wolf hunt
French screen siren turned animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot blasted Sweden’s wolf hunt as “retrograde” in a letter to Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren urging a halt to the cull. "How it is possible to act in such a retrograde fashion in a country like Sweden?" the 76-year-old French icon asks. "Minister, I am begging you, spare those poor creatures by stopping the hunt and letting the already fragile (wolf) population strengthen itself", she wrote. The European Commission launched legal action against Sweden in January for allowing hunters to shoot 20 wolves this year even though the species is threatened with extinction. As of Wednesday, all wolves but one had been shot in this year's month-long hunting season, which ends Tuesday. Sweden argues the hunt, which was reopened last year after a 46-year hiatus, allows it to strengthen the gene pool of its largely inbred wolf population. The Scandinavian country wants to keep numbers at 210 animals, and plans to import wolves from Finland and Russia to replace the culled ones. The hunt is highly controversial in Sweden. On Sunday, protestors marched through central Stockholm carrying 20 coffins to symbolize the number of wolves in this year's hunting quota.