Swedes often enjoy their connection with nature and the environment. Their love for nature and respect for all living things are deeply ingrained in their culture. The best example of this bond is the Allemansrätten, or the Right of Public Access, a Swedish law that allows everyone free access to nature and the use of public spaces in nature, regardless of ownership.
This touch of nature is most keenly felt at the Icehotel, which is rebuilt every year in the village of Jukkasjärvi. This hotel offers a unique experience where you can sleep on ice and snow.
In this land where the Northern Lights, dense forests, and the mysterious archipelago have become a natural platform for reflection and introspection, Ingmar Bergman and his character Antonius Block in the film “The Seventh Seal,” who, as he traversed Sweden, search for the meaning of death and life.
And if the meaning of life for you is the joy of living and enjoyment in every day, and if you happen to visit Sweden during Friday between the 20th and 26th of June, then you are in the right place at the right time.
Dancing around Maypoles (known as midsommarstång) adorned with flowers, wearing handcrafted flower crowns, lighting bonfires, frog dancing… these are just some of the traditions Swedes practice during the Midsummer holiday.
This folk tradition dates back to the time of the veneration of goddess Freyja and celebrates the arrival of summer and the period of fertility. It usually takes place on the first Friday after the summer solstice, starting around noon and lasting until the next morning. While the tradition may vary slightly in different parts of Sweden, what is common to all Midsummer traditions is that families and friends come together to dance, sing, eat, and celebrate.
And no one dances, eats, and celebrates more than the strongest and bravest girl in the world, Pippi Longstocking. Sweden is her home and the home of her author, Astrid Lindgren.
Modern Sweden is one of the most progressive and advanced countries in the world. This country is synonymous with innovation, inclusivity, and a quality of life that is no less exciting than Pippi Longstocking or the characters in Bergman’s films. In Sweden, technology plays a crucial role in everyday life.
Swedish start-ups and tech companies, such as Spotify and Skype, have become global icons. Innovations in IT and engineering make Sweden a leader in the digital world.
The fusion of past and present in Sweden becomes evident through the contrast between technological innovation and cultural heritage. While Sweden celebrates its high-tech achievements and progressive values, impressive Gothic cathedrals, such as Lund Cathedral or Uppsala Cathedral, serve as reminders of the rich historical and religious dimensions of the country. These cathedrals, with their remarkable architectural details and deep spiritual traditions, stand as a testament to the enduring values of culture and history in modern Sweden.
While we listen to ABBA and their hit song “Dancing Queen,” we also enjoy Fika, a Swedish coffee break. This Swedish concept of a coffee break is much more than just sipping coffee. It is a social experience where people spend time together over coffee (or tea) and something sweet, like cinnamon rolls (kanelbulle).
Europe House organised its first Fika coffee gathering with the Ambassador of Sweden.
More about the event: “Coffee with the Ambassador of Sweden”: