Christmas season is in full swing in Stockholm—this photo of Stockholm's Centralbron with Stadshuset in the background, on left, was captured by travel editor Bo Zaunders during a recent trip to Sweden's capital. This year, the government has a message to shoppers...
Shoppers urged to 'buy Swedish'.
The Swedish government has called on the nation's sense of patriotism and is advising consumers to "buy Swedish" this Christmas to protect jobs. "If you open your Christmas present and it says 'Made in China' then you haven't done much to secure Swedish jobs," Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said according to a report in Aftonbladet. The Swedish government announced on Friday that it plans to spend 23 billion SEK ($ 2.8 billion) over the next three years on increased support for the unemployed and more funding for high school and vocational training. Measures included the re-introduction of a tax deduction for home improvements to boost the maintenance services sector among other initiatives as the government battles to ward off a deep recession. The prime minister has now gone one step further and appealed to Christmas shoppers to do their patriotic duty and buy Swedish made goods this holiday season. Measures to beat the feared slump have varied across the European Union as member countries oscillate between taking coordinated action to tackle the economic gloom and doom, and taking care of more national concerns. Sweden's plea for patriotic purchasing mirrors the call of the Irish government to its people. The British government meanwhile decided last week to do its bit with the announcement of a temporary cut in sales taxes (VAT) in a bid to boost sagging demand. Reinfeldt said on Friday that he is however not keen on hasty temporary measures that would then be retracted in a couple of years as the government resisted calls to raise child benefit to give families more spending power this Christmas.
Krona slumps to new euro low.
Sweden's currency slipped to a record low against the euro on Friday, while also falling to a five-year low against the dollar. The euro is now trading at 10.69 kronor, while the cost of the dollar comes in at 8.43 kronor. Earlier in the day, the government proposed pumping 23 billion kronor ($2.8 billion) into primarily the labor market and construction sectors over the next three years in a bid to cushion the effects of the global financial crisis. "The content of the crisis package represents a suitable first policy step for stimulating the economy in 2009. But we want to see more of everything," said Fredrik Bystedt, head of the public finances department at the National Institute of Economic Research (Konjunkturinstitutet). Bystedt said the government need to start planning now for further stimulus measures in 2010 to stave off a deepening economic crisis.
Swedish universities - state owned or not?
Do you think Sweden's colleges and universities should be independent from the state? The Local polled its readers and the result was that 46% said "yes" and 54% said "No". There are 14 state universities and 22 state university colleges in Sweden. In addition there are 3 independent higher education institutions that are entitled to offer postgraduate programs: Chalmers University of Technology, the Stockholm School of Economics and Jönköping University Foundation. There are also 9 independent program providers that are entitled to offer undergraduate programs and a number of course providers entitled to award qualifications in psychotherapy.
Göteburg man survives air crash.
"It was almost religious, a miracle," said the wife of one of the pilots from Göteborg found alive after crashing a small aircraft in icy waters in northern Canada on Sunday. Martina Wallén Hansen had resigned herself to a life without her husband, Danish pilot Troels Hansen, who had crashed his small aircraft in icy waters near Iqaluit in northern Canada. Then she received a call from the Swedish foreign ministry to say that her 45-year-old Danish husband and his 25-year-old Australian companion, Oliver Edwards-Neil, had been found alive. "It feels like I have been wrung through a mangle," Wallén Hansen said. Troels Hansen, who lives in Gothenburg with his family, bought the small Cessna Skymaster aircraft in Ohio and together with Edwards-Neil, was planning to fly it home to Sweden. Early on Monday morning Martina Wallén Hansen heard a knock at the door of her home in the quiet Gothenburg suburb of Mölnycke. Two uniformed police officers informed her that the plane in which her husband had been flying had crashed. There were no signs of life or of the plane. "It was a shock. Complete denial. All the symptoms that you read about came to the fore, I shook and it felt like I was in another world," she said. After a long wait the phone rang at 3.50pm and Wallén Hansen then heard from the foreign ministry that both pilots had been found - alive. "I had by then already planned for my whole life with the children, how I would survive and take care of them." The feelings of shock then returned. "Everyone screamed and laughed, it became hysterical. We called and told everyone and it felt that there was something to believe in after all. It was almost religious, a miracle."
How well do you know Stockholm? Take Expressen's test. 1. What's the name of the Stockholm restaurant with 2 stars in the Michelin guide? 2. What dance was shown for the first time at Berns salonger? 3. How high up is Gondolen? 4.What's the name of Stockholm's oldest still existing out-of-town restaurant? 5. Which restaurant was Carl Michael Bellman's personal favorite? 6.What profession did the founder of Berns Salonger have? 7.What singer got her career started at Wallmans salonger? (Key: 1.Edsbacka Krog 2.Cancan 3. 33 meters 4. Stallmästaregården 5. Ulriksdals Wärdshus 6. Pastry chef 7.Charlotte Perrelli).
Swedish shorts to Sundance.
Two Swedish short films have been picked for the independent Sundance film festival. More than 5,000 films were sent in and 88 were chosen - among them Patrik Eklund's film "Istället för abracadabra" (Instead of abracadabra) and Jonas Odell's 'Lögner" (Lies). The former won a prize at the Göteborg film festival, and is a film about a boy who persuades his father to perform as a magician on the father's birthday. "Lögner" is an animated documentary where a thief, an innocent boy and a woman who has lied all her life talk it out.
Elsa Beskow's story to Hollywood?
Director Björne Larson wants to take Elsa Beskow's fairy tales and turn them into an English-language family film. "I have the rights to make a feature film of Beskow's story ‘När trollmor skötte kungens storbyk’ from ‘Bland tomtar och troll’, and that's a beautiful story." Larson has already written a first script called "Troll" with Lars Johansson and is now knocking on doors at producers in Hollywood. "It's a long process, but there's interest," he says.
Victoria's Nobel Dress.
The dress that stole the show, the Nobel Prize Party that is, it wasn't Silvia's icy blue one or Madeleine's chocolate brown one (with a frilly bolero over the shoulders) no the dress of the night was the one on Crown Princess Victoria. She looked positively regal in her raspberry colored gown, and she blew the others away.