Welcome to With Love from Sweden, a cozy and light newsletter about all things Swedish.
How have you been? I had to take some time off for boring reasons, but I hope I will be able to keep a regular schedule from now on. Thank you for your patience!
Last time I asked for newsletter recs, and I got some really good ones! As promised, I will share them with you:
Weird and Wonderful World - a platform for uncovering the most compelling, unique and unseen places and spaces. Think Atlas Obscura meets Yelp meets The Infatuation meets Thrillist and you’re halfway there.
John Naughton’s online diary - always interesting with a good musical alternative to the morning’s radio news
The Whippet - Science, history, weirdness and 0% contemporary politics
Rowdy Kittens - a newsletter about creativity, curiosity & cats
Living Beautifully - a regular newsletter to share and inspire a different way of looking at the world: we have all had enough of ugly
Life: examined - about living with intention, asking big questions, and making sense of life in Portugal
The Mallorcan - A free weekly email all about Mallorca
Bonus tip 1: 39 Helpful Newsletters For Creators - Josh Spector
Bonus tip 2: The Sample is a newsletter platform which helps you discover great newsletters outside your bubble. (I think some of you have found this newsletter through the Sample?)
Thank you so much to readers Alicia, Deborah, Vanessa and Luke for your recommendations!
Last Sunday we changed the clocks to standard time, so the sun sets before 4.30 pm now. I don’t mind the darkness - it’s cozy and restful and the light will come back - but in winter I try to get some daylight every day by taking a walk at lunch instead of (or in addition to) in the evening.
The birch trees are still mostly green.
Swedish “Snackis”* of the Week
Not really this week, but to honour the most important event of this week - the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference - let’s enjoy climate activist Greta Thunberg owning the stage by rickrolling the Stockholm Climate Live concert in front of 12.000 screaming fans, which was a “snackis” a couple of weeks ago. However, many people in Sweden seemed to be unfamiliar with the phenomen rickrolling, so it was mostly reported as Greta Thunberg singing and dancing to a 1980’s song.
This week, as always, Greta Thunberg tells it like it is. Let’s hope someone listens.
A *“snackis” = talk of the town, buzz of the week
Swedish Haunted House of the Week
The tiny village of Borgvattnet with about 50 residents might have the most ghosts per capita in Sweden. Rumours have it that the vicarage from 1876 is the most haunted house in Scandinavia. The first story of spooky presence in the house is from 1927 and many reports of sightings have followed. For the brave there are ten beds in five bedrooms in the house. Anyone who lasts the whole night receives a certificate of bravery. (I haven’t been and I’m very easily scared so I’d probably not last very long in that house!)
Halloween is obviously not a traditional Swedish celebration, but in recent years it has become a big thing: pumpkin carving, Halloween parties and kids doing trick or treating (“bus eller godis” in Swedish). The Swedish corresponding holiday tradition is All Saints’ Day, which is the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. The Friday before All Saints’ Day is a half working day for many, and on All Saints’ Day candles are lit for lost loved ones in cemeteries and at home. People also lay flowers and wreaths on graves on All Saints’ Day.
Swedish TV of the Week
I watched Scener ur ett äktenskap/Scenes from a marriage, both the Swedish original from 1973 written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and the American remake which premiered on HBO a couple of months ago. The acting by Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson in the original is incredible. It was more like watching a play than a TV series due to the long scenes and limited change of sets.
The gender roles are outdated and with modern eyes there is clearly a “bad guy” in the original, so some of the tension is probably lost on a modern audience. I really enjoyed seeing the decor and design in the original - it looked a lot like my grandmother’s! I also enjoyed the remake, especially to see how it has been altered and tweaked to be relevant in 2021. It looks a lot more “polished” than the original, but I guess that’s what we are used to nowadays. I recommend both - especially together.
Speaking of TV, BBC Culture named the 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century (a bit early maybe, but it feels like last year was 100 years so why not), and the Swedish (and Danish) series The Bridge (which I have mentioned a few times) placed at number 34. If you haven't watched it yet, you’re in for a treat!
More Swedish streaming news! Draken Film (literally translated “The Dragon Film”) is a Swedish streaming service owned by Gothenburg Film Festival. They have created The Bad Movie Index: a constantly changing membership price on Draken Film that gets lower, the more bad movies people watch on other platforms. A smart idea, don’t you think?
Aaand lastly, the much anticipated The Unlikely Murderer - a dramatization about how a man claiming to be a witness at the 1986 assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme may have gotten away with murder - will premiere on Netflix on Friday.
Swedish Song of the Week: Dancing on My Own by Robyn
Rolling Stone Magazine updated their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list which resulted in some big changes. Swedish Robyn placed as number 20 with her song Dancing on My Own, which I think came as a surprise to many. I adore Robyn and her music, so it sounds about right to me!
My favourite song by Robyn is probably Hang with me, but it’s hard to pick one!
In case you haven’t seen it, this version of Call Your Girlfriend is cool.
Swedish “Fika”* of the Week
I haven’t baked anything recently, but I look forward to getting back to it. To be honest I haven’t been having a lot of “fika” either, but this was an unpretentious “fika” with two Swedish “fika” staples readily available in any store.
On the left “mazariner”, a tartlet with almond paste and icing, and on the right “havreflarn”, very thin crispy oatmeal cookies here dipped in chocolate. I don’t think I have ever tried baking either, but here is a recipe in English for “mazariner” and here is one for “havreflarn”.
*fika = a relaxing and cozy coffee/tea and pastry/cake break, pronounced “feekah”
Oh, and since I bashed the Swedish Academy pretty hard last time, I should mention that (most people in the know agree that) they did a good job in selecting this year’s Nobel Prize laureate in literature. Maybe a corner has been turned.
I hope you’re having a lovely beginning to November, and that you are staying warm and cozy. If you liked what you just read, don’t be afraid to click the heart icon.
With love from Sweden 💛
English is not my first language, please excuse my Swenglish.