Below is an interesting selection of the alleged top attractions in Sweden. To me, they’re all true.

Sweden like many other countries is going through A LOT of changes. Good or bad depends on your perspective, but good for you who moved here 40-50 years ago is not the same as good for me (who permanently moved 12 years ago), and bad for me doesn’t necessarily mean you even want to hear about it! Everything isn’t rosy anymore, not even in Sweden, and as a regular reader, you know it.

When you have lived abroad long enough—that is, not in Sweden—you tend to develop a rosy, nostalgic picture of the country of your origin. Your old home in many cases tends to be viewed through a pink curtain, through a haze of not wanting to see what is actually happening in “this, the country of the glory and the heroes ...” (old Swedish lingo: “ärans och hjältarnas land").
And yet, it is summer. Summer in Sweden is soft, sweet, long overdue and like nowhere else. Clean and crisp nature is showing off its almost outrageous purity in this season of long sunlit nights, wild flowers, pine scented forests and sail-dotted seas.
So, rest assured, for us “temporary visitors” from the Diaspora, Sweden is still as beautiful, as magical on a summer’s night in the archipelago, as breathtaking in its crisp, natural scenery and in general, as much an idealistic picture as it ever was.

Nordstjernan is not printing during August. For continuous updates on events and major news from or of Sweden, see www.nordstjernan.com, and from all of us:
wishing you a happy, safe summer!

Ulf Mårtensson & staff

Top attractions in Sweden

All Travel Sweden (part of the European Travel & Tourism Board) has gathered the top attractions in Sweden. They are
1. LaplandThe largest intact wilderness in Europe, covering a quarter of the total area of Sweden yet with only 5 percent of the population. Lapland is probably best known as the home of Santa Claus.
2. Skokloster Slott Castle A magnificent 17th century castle as well as one of the most fascinating Baroque museums in Europe, it is renowned for its unusual interiors as well as its vast collections of paintings, furniture, applied art, tapestries, arms and books. The castle also houses a restaurant, conference facilities and an automobile museum.
3. The Viking Town of Birka Birka is situated on a lush island in Lake Mälaren, about 18 miles from Stockholm. It was a major port over 1,200 years ago. A new museum houses finds from extensive excavations around the site. Visit the museum and see how the Vikings lived.
4. The Hanseatic town of Visby A former Viking site on the island of Gotland, Visby was the main center of the Hanseatic League of the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th centuries. Its 13th century ramparts and more than 200 warehouses and trading establishments from the same period make it the best preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe.
5. Gripsholm Castle Located in the small town of Mariefred on Lake Mälaren outside Stockholm, Gripsholm is a stunning Renaissance castle built in 1540. The castle contains exceptional Renaissance interiors as well as a theater and the world's oldest and largest portrait collections.
6. Sareks National Park The enchanted landscape of Sareks National Park plays hosts to over 100 glaciers as well as mountains reaching over 2,000 meters. It should only be experienced with the help of a guide unless you’re an expert in outdoor survival. The best views are over the lake and delta of Laiture on the Rapa älv, near the eastern edge of the park.
7. Öland Öland is a tiny island boasting many ruins, fortifications and nearly 400 windmills! The biggest Iron Age ring fort on the island, Gråborg — with a diameter of 200 meters — is an incredible sight. Nearby, Eketorp has been partly reconstructed as a museum to show what a fortified medieval village must have looked like. Equally impressive are the ruins of Borgholm Castle which was eventually burned and abandoned early in the 18th century. Also prominent are the lighthouses at the northern and southern tips of the island. Öland is a popular place to celebrate Midsummer.
8. Old Uppsala Located just outside modern day Uppsala, Old Uppsala is regarded as the most important prehistoric monument in Sweden and the cradle of Swedish civilization. The three "Kungshögarna" or royal mounds, where dead kings were burned and buried, are situated on a ridge and can be seen from miles away. A fascinating site, there is plenty of interpretive material on site to guide you through the long and interesting history of the area.
9. The Kingdom of Crystal Many of the world’s most famous glassworks can be found here, in southeastern Sweden's province of Småland. The Kingdom of Crystal came into existence when the first batch of glass was melted in 1742 at Kosta, now the oldest glasswork in Sweden which is still producing handmade glass. In the Glasshouse see the artists work in front of the furnaces. This trip is a must, especially if you are looking for bargains in crystal treasures.
10. Stockholm The beautiful Venice of the North and the Swedish capitol, Stockholm is situated on 14 islands separated by wide bays, broad channels and narrow waterways. Surrounded by unspoiled countryside, the city is also peppered with lovely parks. In the heart of the capitol the contrast between old and new is striking: an ultra modern city center adjacent to the cobbled alleys and medieval buildings of Gamla Stan (Old Town).