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Here I gather some fun additional info about Sweden in no particular order for fun reading and also some links.
It is too much text to get properly translated so I hope you have some indulgence for some amount swenglish.
Everything you read here you may perhaps regard as the authors own personal opinion and shall not be regarded as
the fully truth even though I try the best I can!

Did you know that all adult americans use a swedish word and object every day…

Regarding John Ericsson's exploit in science of…

What was that about Goths and Geats…

“A beautiful mind”, the movie about a professor of maths who didn't got the Nobel Prize!

There is one country where it lives more swedes than in Sweden…

Polar bears on the streets in Sweden, do you believe that?

Did you know that Bronx in New York actually is (was) swedish?

Why does it calls “Swedish massage” in the porno…

Our ancients Norse story of the creation of the World, and were they really heathen?

Viking stuff as why where they more openminded than we are today, and where did they go and why does every
english-speaker actually speak swedish, and why do we think at vikings as berserks when they were not?

Our Midsummer Eve tradition and the real truth you didn't know about Santa Claus! And the book and movie
The Thirteen Warrior where Vikings fights Vendols or Dimos, or what?. And berserks…

Swedish food that has killed kings, and about buns, swedish meatballs, herring and small beer etc etc…

Food that kills us slowly, read about me loosing wheight and about a interesting food-lecture. And why the three eyed
frog could make the world more peaceful.

What was that about brackish water and the Man-of-War Wasa…

The tragic death 11 sept 2003 of Swedish foreign minister
Anna Lindh…

Sweden, the best democracy in the world, not? Strong and free women's equality during the Middle Ages and today.
And illegal car chase through Stockholm, and why are Sweden the
ultimate utopia? The Skandia/ABB/Enron-bubble and
why greed works. Commercialization, advertising, moral and Epikuros. And five-six other “The Matrix” matrixes...

The best LTTC I read so far this year, and rap-artists ignorance of the poor…

More or less famous swedes…

More than 75 places reviews and link to here, click here to see which and what they write,

Did you know that all adult americans use a swedish word and object several times almost every day in every week? You didn't?! The object and the word I'm thinking on is “dollar”, it comes from our swedish Middle Age money “daler”, daler is the same as dollar! Fun, right? Don't ask me why this happened though!
The swedish daler was introduced by Gustav Vasa 1534. Daler comes in its turn from the Bohemian “Johannistaler” that was these days Euro. After a reformation 1776 daler became instead “riksdaler”, divided up in 48 shilling at 12 runstycken [12 piece of runes]. 1855 it was changed into “riksdaler riksmynt” and was a fourth of one riksdaler. The Goldstandard and the monetary standard “krona” we have still today was introduced 1873 from France. This year (2002) almost whole Europe, and France, joined together about “euro” except Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain.
Click here to see our swedish hologram money!

Why not take this money-story from the very beginning, the americans did not only lend our word for daler but did you know it was also Sweden that was first in the world to came up with the idea and use of papermoney? So maybe it is us you shall blame for the corrupt monetary system in the world?!
Anyway, here we go: In the beginning all people trade goods with each other, the goods that was exchanged had always roughly the same value, otherwise you had become cheated, twentyfour eggs was trade for twelve bottle of milk or one shoe on your horse... the Vikings was very good at trading most all over the world but the merchandises was more like spicies, leather, swords, gold, silver etc.
In time it become naturally to pay with gold- or silvercoin instead when trading, gold doesn't become as easy rotten as eggs. The value of a coin was the value of the amount metal it was made off, one had often to use a balance to weigh the coin to be sure of the value when doing business.
Hallmarked coins was used from the days of Olof Skötkonung in the10th century, long before the “daler”. Still the value of the coin was how much metal it was in it. (Olof Skötkonung was by the way the first King of both Svear and Geats, therefore the first swedish King.) However during Middle Age Sweden run short of gold and silver, we had not much of these metal in our kind of rock and the era of the Vikings bringing gold home was to its end, so we had to use coppers instead. Though coppers have some amount less value so in time the coins grew bigger and bigger. In the end a coin could weight more than 20 kg (44 pounds), quite cumbersome to walk around with only one of these coin in your pocket not?! These are in fact the biggest metalcoin in the world existing.
In the middle of the 17th century a man named Johan Palmstruch (1611–1671) came to Sweden from Livland (= Estonia + Latvia, which was conquered by Sweden at this time 1561–1710: “The Good Old Swedish Time” it was called though they were conquered!), he had the idea to do as they did in the rest of Europe; to start a bank. Eager encouraged by the Swedish king Karl X Gustaf he started the first bank 1656: Palmstruchska Banco in Stockholm. As the first bank in the world he begun to make banknotes 1661, (the heavy coppers was for a long time out of fashion so that was not the reason) the banknotes was by the way already with watermark and other safetythings. And it made immediately success! Much easier to trade expensive things with a few banknotes than plenty piles of coins or gold.
However as many things going well it sometimes comes a day when it must go down, after a few years they had sold too many banknotes related to how much gold they had in their vault. People got suspicious and went to change their papermoney into coins and when some did it other followed and the bank become bankrupt… this was the year 1668, this could also be one of the worlds first bankruptcy! Johan Palmstruch was sentenced to death, but was reprieved and became a free man already 1670.
Palmstruchska Banco was then taken over by the Swedish Parliament and became “Riksens ständers bank” later “Riksbanken”: the Bank of Sweden. Which are still today the oldest bank in action in Europe!
Swedish crown (SEK) are the eight biggest currency in the world though we are so few inhabitants (8.5 million). Sweden are the twentieth biggest economy (total GNP) though we are so very few, we are the fourth best in GNP per capita. There are more info if you click the papermoney-picture above.

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This site was Cool Site of
the Day June 19 2002!

During whole July 2002 this was
also nominated for the Cool
Site of the Month! You can't
vote anymore for “Sweden
Viking Age”

Scroll down to see what
Sweden's biggest PC-magazine
and Spain's biggest daily news
wrote about this site!

See how this site are rated
amongst other international
VR-sites on this site where
you can find many more
panoramas from all over
the world!

Once this was also the link of
the week at Viking Heritag

Travel over the Baltic Sea to see
panoramas of Tallinn, a former
Swedish territory! An era they
surprisingly call “the Good Old
Swedish Time”!

This site was made with
QTVRAS, Strata StudioPro,
Adobe Photoshop -Illustrator,
-Golive -Livemotion and
MM Flash.

Regarding John Ericsson's exploit in science of engineering when he constructed and built Monitor in only 100 days I wrote it usual takes years to build something like a new battleship. I read somewhere it would usual have taken six years to construct something like this! On top of that during these 100 days he also maked more than hundred new innovations that got protected by patents. Monitor become the predecessor of all armoured battleship thereafter. Before the invention of the propeller he got known as the inventor of the steam powered fire pump, and with the steam engine “Novelty” he was in a contest with “Rocket” 1829 but lost because of a small damage of some small part, Novelty was though otherwise faster and better than Rocket in many ways. Later in his old days he constructed several sun panel machines but he got not that really succesful at all with that.
When he died 1889 he got the funeral of a hero, after the great homage was done in America Americas biggest battleship brought his body over the Atlantic to Stockholm where a big pavilion was built only for this purpose, and then he was slowly carried in a custommade railway carriage to his home town Filipstad, where he was put in a big mausoleum. I will someday if I afford go there to photograph his grave and show you here.
Though John had a big brother that was even more known! At least here at home. His name was Nils Eriksson, he built the Göta canal through whole Sweden (from west to east of course) and maneged to finish it in right time! A distance by 182 km, where 87,4 km is the dugged canal with 58 floodgates, the rest natural channels and seas. A great touristic adventure for tourists even today I belive. After that he built a even longer canal in south Finland. And after that he was in charge of the building of all the State-owned swedish railways around Sweden.
This was two quite ingenious brothers right?

And yes, I almost forgot, what I wrote about Monitor's victory over Merrimac are not maybe the fully truth, Herman Lindqvist, a swedish historical author that I quote on this are perhaps maybe not all that true, the info about the hole big enough to drive through with a horse-drawn carriage could actually be about another ship than Merrimac, that Monitor won is maybe not that easy to find either, some say the battle was a draw, some say and the facts speaks, in my opinion, that Monitor won a technical victory since Merrimac was prevented to accomplish further attacks against Minnesota.

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Here is what Sweden's biggest PC-magazine “PC för alla” [PC for everyone] write about this site in theirs summeredition 2002 (it was originally in swedish, mine translation):

Sweden's history comes to life

It's score 10 points of 10 possible. (!)

A virtual museum that sometimes feels like interactive TV, where you get served a great portion swedish history with direction towards Sörmland. Illustrata begins with a shorth description of the swedish history in english. Then when the show aim towards Nyköping and Sörmland there are possibilities to spin pictures on castles with sound and music which convey different moods which makes the experience very vivid. One step in right direction on Internet!

+ Very professional picture-walks (panoramas) that make the most from the net's possibilities.

- Why does it not exists more?

–Thank You for that!

Scroll down to read what Spains biggest daily newspaper wrote!

What was that about Goths and Geats you may wonder? Once I happend to view a episode of the beautiful Jenny Jones (or maybe it was Ricki Lake, don't remember) and the issue for the day was Goths and youngsters dancing at black (goth's) nightclubs with various degrees of drugs in their bodies. Jenny, or Ricki, told that Goths come from southern parts of Sweden and they were half vampires and drank human blood!
This is as I wrote in the intro ridiculous wrong! Not so polite either against 4 million Swedes. Perhaps Jenny or Ricki only mixed up Goths with Geats. But all you kids dressing up like goth's, learn your history instead. Perhaps this is all about money, invented by the owner of the nightclubs and the drugdealers to catch gullible youngsters into the abuse of narcotics and earn money on theirs addiction. However it is not cool to take drugs, if the dealers had existed in Viking Age they had most certain got their heads chopped of. It is only a weakness to try to escape from the presence. I assure you with a smaller booze on mead occassionally this was the furthest a Viking should have gone, to be willfully at such selfish burden to those around them as an drugaddicted are should have been punished with death or at least got them banished. I'm not against that you dress up as Goth's, that's pretty fun, just keep out from narcotics since the only way that leads is into misery and death. It is simply not cool. Just for wimps.
And girls, be extreme careful with alcoholics too, there is many men waiting for you to take advantages over you when you are drunk. Be careful and take care of yourself.

Actually, after some time I have understand the question abouts Goths are much more complicated than this, and the science are divided, the view I wrote above is perhaps close the common swedish science apprehension, however in every other country exist another version and I shall very short try to tell it as I remember I heard it. Actually Goths could have something to do with Geats but more obvious could be that they come from our biggest island Gotland in middle of Baltic Sea, and then spread around the shores of Baltic and eventually further down in Europe and then became the Goths that the kids in america above are exaggerated trying to imitate.
Don't know if I got it right this time, I suggest you find more fair literature yourself.

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Spain's biggest daily newspaper, “El Pais” wrote this 4 July about this site in theirs supplement CiberP@is (it's my translation, originally it was in Spanish of course):

History. World of the Vikings
Shows the wilde era of Vikings and illustrate objective the time of Swedish Viking Age, the development illustrates visually and with text (in english and with animations) the story about the time of the Nordic.

–Thank You El Pais for that!

Vikings lost in space!
These Vikings together with the surrounding of Nyköping, Sweden's biggest historical VR-site, is the first Swedish site that is transmitted in outer space! This autumn year 2002 european surfers connected via Sat@Once towards the Astra satellite can watch and vote for this site in a project together with ESA (European Space Agency), SES-ASTRA and Yahoo with today more than 14 000 connected surfers!
If you want more info about what it is: http://www.sat@once.csp.it

“A beautiful mind”, the Hollywood movie about a professor of maths who got the Nobel Prize in reality but not in this movie!? The crew behind it must have slept their time through school. (They had not to learn english in school as we must, couldn´t they take that time instead to learn a little bit about foreign countries? Or at least when spending millions of dollars on a movieproduction someone could at least have looked it up in a encyclopedia?) However… the movie implies that the most known and finest prize in the world is called “the Noble Prize”. Maybe it is noble but nevertheless the correct name is “the Nobel Prize” after the Swede Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite 1866. It is thanks to him mankind could take the leap and seriously begin mine ore for steelmaking to build machines, houses, ships and cars and everything made by steel. Without him Hollywood had not been able to make movies as King Kong climbing the skyscrapers, Titanic, Indenpendence day or Armageddon but still would have to produce western movies! So give him at least the credit and call the prize correctly after him: the Nobel Prize! It is not either very polite to all these scientist who won the Prize for astounding discoveres to be so ignorent about theirs achievements.
Someone maybe wants to make a protest here, yes, maybe someone had later come up with dynamite ten, twenty or fourty years after Alfred Nobel, yes, maybe. But now he did, please credit him for that anyhow. And give him a thought, maybe the world had looked as in the 60's today without his invention, maybe…?

I must also say I am very proud of the exist of the Nobel prize, the englishmen got MTV award, the american and the french has the film award, they give prices away to those that already are celebrated... for what, they can sing or act and learn to say or sing phrases other has written, right? Nobel give away awards to a few that have some amount of intelligens, “genius and taste” and have worked very hard many many years to achieve something importent for the benefit of mankind. That is something to encourage I must say!

OK, now I have seen the picture, a very excellent movie by the way, but I really didn't hear or saw where they should have said Noble instead of Nobel, I guess the newspaper that wrote about this must have had all wrong. So I apalogize and let my mistake to stand here uncorrected, it could perhaps learn someone how to correctly spell to Nobel.

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This is also picked as Classy Site Pick Award at Duke of Urls site for August 2002, it's a seniors internet group known as the "50+ Friends Club", established in 1995, and an important part of the web-famous 50+ comprehensive site.
–Thanks Duke of Url for that!

Furthermore it got a very fine review in "Biblioteksbladet" under the vignette "nätnyheter": "Sweden's best historical site!" it said, further comments unnecessary.

I also got Nyköping municipality's culture encouragement award 2002, actual it's the first time someone got it for spreading culture with help of a computer!
–Thanks very much for that!

Sweden's official homepage "www.sweden.se" links twice to here:

Speaking of Titanic… did you know there is one country where it lives more swedes than in Sweden?
Yes… in America it lives roughly 10 million descendant's of swedes, in Sweden it lives only 9 million! Of which one million is immigrants.

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More than 75
places over the world review or link to here, click here to see which and what they write, this makes Museum NY to a more frequented museum than Nyköping itself, many thanks to you all!

Some believe there goes polar bears on the streets in Sweden! Well, you who have seen the panoramas from the square may have not noticed any polar bears, and it doesn't exist any in the woods either, some ordinairy brown bears though, but no polar.
Some other cool bigger animals in our fauna is elk, which in fact is the most lethal animal around here which kills most people (in car accidents) (and I don't mean it is the elks that drive!), (by the way, one ancient king I can't remember made a whole army of elks, pretty scary right?! Maybe the soldiers also was too scared to ride this beasts since it didn't get that successfully, or maybe they just were afraid of gunshot!) in north we have reindeers and some very few musk ox, bear, deer and roe deer, fox, wolf (too few actually, you can count them by a vey few hundreds), wild boar (too many is my humble opinion), and the coolest of them all our wild cat; the shy and beautiful lynx that are almost impossible to come in sight of. This beautiful animal is in my opinion the Queen of the woods (if the elk is the King) but are also as the wolf counted in a few hundreds, too bad. But as most often this is about the eternal question about animals living on conditions of the human...
In a few of our lakes there also lives a big fish that in swedish is called “mal”, can't find the english word for it in my dictionairy, maybe it doesn't have a english word, however it can get very very old, the record in length is 3.6 meter, it is quite ugly and can weigh up to 250kg! It is the biggest freshwater fish in the world. It is said it can eat small children, but do not try to catch any, they are placed under protection!

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Must tell you about something fun I did one day this summer, I showed the surroundings of Nyköping to a friend of a friend, a history teacher from Berkeley University of California and the friend is a teacher in Latin, it was performed in swenglish of course, but despite that they told me this was even better than the visit to Birka they made the day before!
Birka is an island full with plenty old stuff from Middle Ages and is widely known, this shows how fun and interesting a visit to Nyköping can be after have seen it virtually right here!

Bronx in New York, did you know that the name Bronx comes from a swedish sailor with the name Jonas Bronk (alt. Jonas Jonasson Brunk or Bronck) that came to New Amsterdam in the early 17th century and bought this land from the Indians? Now you do. Jonas Brunk was born the year 1600 in Sävsjö in the middle of Sweden and became early a sailor. Soon he become a captain and sailed on India and Japan and finally married a dutch women Teuntie Joriaens in Amsterdam the year 1638. The year after he bought a piece of land from the Indians a little north of Manhattan that these days was called New Amsterdam and settled down, built a house, it was called the Bronk's Land, and still do today. Bronk died already 1643. Bronk still today have descendants in USA.

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Why does it calls Swedish massage in the porno districts? I have two clues to that, a swedish director Vilgot Sjöman once maked a movie with the swedish name “Jag är nyfiken gul” [I am curious yellow] (1967). For the first time in a movie the actress Christina Schollin showed in one scene her tits while bathing in a lake! This got some attention these days and after that people thought Swedes were a little bit sinful. Just because of half a minute naked women breast in the reeds!?!
99% of the porno movies that imply they are swedish are in fact not, just girls with blonde wigs shooted somewhere else. By the way, prostitution are legally forbidden in Sweden, one of few countries, so it is paradoxal that the country that associates almost most with porno are the country that are the least sinful!
EDIT: Recently I read in a book another explanation why it´s called swedish massage and etc, and quite serious one, during the cold war after WW2 Sweden that was governed by the socialistic leadership experienced a flourishing prosper without parallel in the world and this was a sty in the eye of the leaders of the right-winged America, Ike Eisenhower had to find out something that could make us to not look so good, propaganda with other words. At this point it happened that we in the school begun to educate in sexual continence and protection, and as you certainly know the americans always has been conservative in these issues so this was perfect to misinterpret and use as propaganda. Suddenly Sweden was not so superiour any more. No ideologic threat any more. Swedes were suddenly moralic inferior. And the worst is that since USA has such cultural influence in the world this quite effective propaganda was spread around the world.

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Ours ancients norse story of the worlds creation is in some parts vaguely similar with some other cultures, this is quite fun so I shall try to give you a short description. Though bear in mind this is mine interpreting, it could have some errors, it is hard to find a good version of text that explain this:

First there was a big nothing: “Ginnungagap”, between the world of light and warmth “Muspelheim” and the cold dark world “Nifelheim”, in this energyfield a big giant hermaphrodite man called “Ymer” arised from. From his armpit and feet's perspiration the hoarfrost-giants “Rimtursarna” was born! An old cow that seems to have been there always: “Audhumbla” fed Ymer with milk. The cow Audhumbla also licked out a man from a stone: “Bure”. Bure's three grandchildren “Oden, Vile and Ve” soon appeared at stage, they killed the first giant Ymer and the blood from Ymer drowned almost all the hoarfrost-giants. The Gods made then the Earth from the body of Ymer, his blood became lakes and seas, his flesh became the soil, his hair became to forests, his head became heaven, his brain transformed to clouds, and his teeth and bones became mountains and stones.
Thereafter these three cool brothers Oden, Vile and Ve (or sometimes also Oden, Höner, Lodur) walked a day on the beach and found two trees, from the first ash-tree the first male human was made: “Ask” (ash=ask) and from the second elm-tree the first women “Embla” (elm= alm/embla) was made. Oden gave them life, Höner gave them reason, sense and movement, and Lodur gave them senses and emotions. “Ask” is same word as ash-tree, the human Ask and the ash-tree Yggdrasil points at a relation between humans and the spiritual cosmos.
In the heaven's middle the Gods (=Asarna=Aesir) built a castle/house named “Asgård”, Oden had a house named “Valaskjalf”, one another more wellknown house was “Valhall” where Oden and the Valkyries welcome the dead warriors. A golden house “Gimle” where the just and upright dead humans come after the death. This heaven was carried up by the ash-tree Yggdrasil, the humans was somewhere beneath in “Midgard” and the dark forces under the roots. From the roots three springs murmur, one goes to Nifelheim.
Oden, the mightiest god, at last gave his own's life to himself by hanging himself in the tree Yggdrasil!?!

One could wonder what they put in their mead to think this out?! Maybe it's because they didn't have television? Well, then I shall not write about the almost other hundreds gods we had, that is too much even for me! Must say that the Christian story of the creation are very boring compared to this. I read that the complexity and range of fantasy Nordic mythology has is only comparable to Celtic and Greek mythology! However I've read somewhere Celtic and Nordic have many connections, presumably they got same origin: Erils or Arils (Pale blondes or redtops mostly existed only in England and Nordic.) There are also some new facts pointing on that what we call Celtics today in role plays, fantasys etc are much made up fantasies made by Irish monks that wrote down and spiced up more than 500 years old fairy tales, the real Celts were instead the ancestor of mostly all european people, not a particulair group with a same and distinct culture but everyone, besides the Vikings and areas of Ireland and Scotland where the real Celts children lives today with most of their language still preserved. But this is no theory of mine - and I can have misunderstand something - so don't flame me, take this instead as a startpoint for your own exploration!

Were the Vikings really heathen?
I accidently read this in the beginning of a book, an interesting aspect, were the Vikings with their Aesir cult heathen or religious? Supposingly not religious in the meaning we thinks of religion of today. A religious person today maybe live as everybody else the whole day at work and at home but takes five minutes or ten or more to make or think something religious, or goes into the church on Sundays.
The Vikings on the other hand were perhaps not even aware of that they were religious, because if everyone are religious and are living with it from the morning to night where most things they did and make also had a religious meaning, like sow and harvest, eat and kill the animals for food, build a house or ship, it was impossibly to look at it from outside and see that they were religious. Almost like a bird in a cage, the bird doesn't know about the existents of the woods because he has always been in the cage and therefore he thinks that the cage is his natural place to live in and he has no reason to even begin to think about if there is an outside.
So at the same time the Vikings let them be permeated with their gods all day in almost every daily duties, they lived inside their religious lifes and were really full-time religious, but they didn't know that they were religious. And this answere the headline question, they were not at all heathen, they were much more religious than many are today, their lifes were religious, but they didn't believe in the right God to be titled religious in the eyes of them who came from southern Europe.
At same time they got a more relaxed attitude to their religion, a more practical attitude, they had to since they never had survived else, so they never spend time on prayers and to sit still and think as many do today. They lived on and occasionally got theirs feasts instead where they invoke the gods and suchs things, and most work on the farm or ship or whatever did consist of something religious, but when Christianity came they were quite openminded and adopted it within a few hundred years, first added as just one more God to the existing gallery of gods, and then after time and supposingly with pressure from Christianiced kings they become more and more Christian. The Kings have also thereafter into modern times decided which type of religion we should believe on, from Catholic to today Protestant Lutheran. Though most swedes today are not noticeable religious.

The gods of aesir cult are many beacause they were added on in a long road of time and by different people from many places which the Vikings were. It is not an invention as the Bible that was written by a few men about one main event. That's an interesting distinction.
In another place here I write about that Vikings were skilled traders and travelled far away into East to peacefully trade, then we learned there were other beliefs and attitudes, not inferior, just only different.
Maybe it is because of this background people from the North tends to be more openminded and understanding of different peoples belief and habits and have long time worked for peace and understanding. I can mention Olof Palme for just one example.
We do also believe on to separate religion and politics, religion is up to everyone to practise at home, but politics must stand outside to serve everyone none regarding faith..

By the way, the middle-east religion Christianity tells us that hell is hot, very hot, the ancestors to the Vikings didn't wasn't very experienced of warm climate so for them hell was a very cold place, same idea though…

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Why were the Vikings more openminded?
The image of Vikings are in the west that they were berserks, that is not what is teached in the schools in the East, there they learn that the Vikings were skilled trademens. The truth is somewhere between but with the main focus at Vikings as skilled trademens. The cause is the attacked monk we robbed on gold could write, and since these were tragical events they wrote about it of course. However in the East less was written about us because there we didn't rob but instead trade peacefully, that is not that much worth to write about. (BTW, because of the trading culture every viking could read, not bad to be for thousends year ago?!) But why this difference? First we did not spending all our time robbing monks on gold in the west, we maked trade and settled down peacefully there also, not much worth meantion that either, but the real cause was that people in the west was poorly organizated, it was easier for the vikings to quickly land the ships from open water, ride in and swing the swords and take the gold like from sitting birds. However in the East there was a much stronger and heavier built defense, some few vikings didn't had a chance if they come in misdeed, so the only thing was to stick peacefully to trading. We even maked trade with caravans coming from China.
So with that in mind it seems that the Vikings knocked down more west-european than Orientals. That is pretty much against the common opinion about Vikings.
One could also say that within this time Vikings trade all over Europe and the East but today when we are within EU we raise customs against countries outside EU. That's why the headline about the Vikings were more openminded!

Why did the Viking era eventually die?
The Vikings trade merchandise from the west Europa to East where they got paid with silver. Most of the bigger silver mines was located in the East. Mostly all silver treasures found in Sweden from Viking Age are silver coins and stuff from the East. Dugged down in the soil during times of violence and then forgotten. And then found thousends year later, much found on Gotland. However the silver mines run short and new silver mines was found in the middle Europe, then the trading the Vikings did between got meaningsless. Simply.
At same time the Vikings maked the last unfortunately raid, called the “Ingvar's march” (?), ended up with thousends dead men died of some disease deep down away in the East. This event is the final point ending the era of Viking Age. Then disturbances within Svitjod during early Middle Ages in the progress of making Sweden united maked everyone enough occupied with those internal contentions to have time to even think on making more tradings or robbing abroad. Of course later on we got involved into long severe wars with other european countries. But that's another chapter.

Why does every English-speaker actually speaks Swedish?
Yes, if we stretch the truth a tiny tiny little bit we could say every English-speaker actual speaks a late version of swedish, I can almost hear you ask why and how! This is how, before Viking Age in England there lived Celts, they got partly conquered by Romans, during Viking Ages Saxons from south-west Denmark (vikings) and Anglor from north German/Netherlands (half germans and vikings) settled down in south England, these become Anglo-Saxons, which in short gave the name “England”. Also Juts from Jutland in Denmark settled down here. During this time also other Vikings settled down pretty much everywhere on the islands. 1066 in Hastings the Anglo-Saxons got defeated by the Normands from Normandie with its leader William the Conqueror. Those Normands was as I told before in the Splash-intro actually old vikings that had settled down in Normandie = Land of the man from North. Though at this time they speaked more French than Swedish. So all those folks were actually formerly vikings blending in with the locals and then fighting each other again, and again! The Normands then stood unbeaten ever since then though the somewhat faulty name England didn't changed and the Normands blended in with the rest of the locals. Or something like that.
During Viking Age a dialect of swedish was told in this area just as in the North and Iceland, but during Middle Ages the Englishmen blended together with the French and became a mix of Teuton and Roman, and Swedish become influenced by German and later on in the 19th century also by French and even later by English again. The most truthfully swedish are today actually speaken on Iceland - where mostly Norwegian and Swedes Vikings settled down - but is called Icelandic. To be fair I should mention that this time Danes and Swedes spoked roughly the same language and it was then called Danish because Denmark was slightly stronger. (Did you know that the Danish flag are the first flag in the world? And the second flag in the world very soon became the Swedish?) So if I was Danish I should say Danish instead of Swedish but... it's almost the same thing, we say swedish today since Sweden later grew bigger and stronger.

So English and Swedish has many similarities but not enough so I can write english perfectly, but anyway, some modern words we've recently got from English like “scanner” and “layout”, a little older words we got from France and German but even older words English instead inherit from Swedish, like bread (bröd) and soup (soppa) and knife (kniv) or house (hus), in the splash-intro I wrote about Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday that comes from our ancient aesir Gods: Tyr, Oden, Tor and Frej, or Frigg, maybe not everyone are thinking on that those very common words comes from swedish Aesir cult!
But the older common things the more similar words we share, like (I put the Swedish word inside brackets, please note that the english copied swedish): Head (huvud), hair (hår), eye (öga), nose (näsa), ear (öra), mouth (mun), tounge (tunga), teeth (tand), breast (bröst), arm (arm), hand (hand), finger (finger), thumb (tumme), knee (knä), foot (fot), toe (tå), blood (blod). Knife (kniv), (fork has no similarity since it didn't exist then), hammer (hammare), axe (yxa), house (hus), home (hem). door (dörr), tree (träd), bush (buske), grass (gräs), sea (sjö), boat (båt), starboard (styrbord) – simply the side where the helmsman stood, sail (segel), mast (mast), row (ro), live (leva), life (liv), die (dö), cat (katt), cow (ko), horse (häst), goat (get), swine (svin), elk (älg), stone (sten), etc, you see common words abot the human body and navigation mainly.
Words like father (fader), plough (plog) comes from our even earlier common Indo-European inheritance. But you easily see why I can say englishmen talks a late version of swedish.
One exception to the rule is the word window, here has englishmen kept the Viking word for window: “vindöga”, that means wind-eye, but we have paradoxically lost the connection and says “fönster”, earlier “fenster”, that comes from Germany.
In almost the same way the word unknown comes from the swedish okunnig, however in swedish we say today okänd instead.
By the way, in the same manner the meat that was prepared by the lowerclass vikings was called calf (kalv) or swine (svin), or sheep, but when finally served on fine dishes for the upperclass they were instead called in french: veal, pork and mutton.
...so therefore I say every English-speaker talks a late version of Swedish, to some part, but take a look at the Erik's chronicle in the Castle-area here, there we can trace some similarity between English and old Swedish but we can also easily see that spoken Swedish hasn't changed that much.

Why do we say the “civilizations cradle” stood in the East, Orient, Greece etc?
And why does many depreciate the importance of the Vikings and why are the image of Vikings in the west that they were only berserks? Why were we savages and the Christians from east the civilized? Etc, etc...
You maybe already have got the point, all this viking stuff on these pages are here to try to reflect the new facts we got about the Vikings and transmit a more balanced view on Vikings. As I have wrote before it is the the robbed monks and priests that wrote about theirs terrifying experience of the Vikings, but those who we trade peacefully with didn't write much at all, health remains silent as we say. The Vikings themselves didn't write that much either since we didn't had papyrus but only stones to carve in, we did actually carv much in wood but wood burns and get easily rotten, so much that could be told about are not longer existing. (Actually all vikings could read and write, the few wooden items found shows example on short “letter” messages like “we meet down the harbour when sun goes down” and also some love poem, something like this: “My love to you is hotter than all fires together”) Also our houses was made of wood and grass to hold the cold outside and also those houses burns down or rotten easily. We does not have the easy sandstone to build with either but just hard granite. The Vikings and all them before was also a people of sailors, with all the large impenetrable woods everywhere in North all transports had to be made on water, even more easily on the ice during winter. So there was not meaningsful to build big houses and citys that can tell us about earlier grandiose civilizations. So just because there is not much left written about us and not much old houses found it is rather unfair to say we shouldn't be civilized, not? Are the only cultures that built big houses civilized?
One can also say that they who conquer tells the story. Christian Spanish that killed Indians thought they were savages, in some way did the Christians from south regard our belief and way of living to be uncivilized, and neglected the good stuff we did or maybe just didn't see it. The conquerer acts with superiorety over the worsted, just like happendes much even today. In fact we were not just savages doing nothing before the civilized Christians comes with ideas from south-east, Stonehenge, a giant astronomical calendar, was raised 2000 year before Christ, before or at same time as the pyramids, the shipscraftsmanship stand highest in the North, the art of goldsmith was also the highest in the world, poets and musicians stood high in esteem, democracy, the wide and complex Aesir cult same or even more complex as the Greek mythology can't be invented by just savages, we maked trade with west and east, the Orient and even China and built cities in Russia and we even gave it its name; Rus, as in people from Roslagen or Rurik the Viking, the art of metallurgi was not that high as in the Orient but not that much behind. The Splash-intro showed you some good reasons to not look upon our ancestor as wild backward uncivilized but equals and perhaps just slightly a little different. We didn't just sit and wait for the "civilization" to come, but then the so called "civilization" come from south and new ideas blended in and formed simply what we are today.

Read an interesting theory yesterday in the newspaper, when we were hunter and collectors in small societies smaller than let's say 100 individuals it was gossip and social control between humans that controlled everyone so not anyone could escape ones obligations. When the community grew and gossip couldn't alone control everyone religion took control over the humans, and priests made norms of how to behave and look and even think and etc, this happends all over the world. And then even later when communities grew even bigger we built the society with laws, police and politicians that tells us how to behave to fit in and not be a burden, simply a bigger control system than gossip…

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We have a few norse customs left that has survived through Christianity, one is the Midsummer Eve tradition, when we still today raise a with flower decorated huge maypole and around that in a ring with the children dance childish dances! The pole is a symbol for fertility and the point of time is a tribute to the sun. In short we celebrate the peak of the sun after a long dark winter. This far north we have rather few hours of sun at midwinter but around midsummer we almost see the sun 24 hours per day, that must be celebrate!
Santa Claus is maybe not a Norse phenomen but an old Nordic mythologic being mixed together with a Christian saint from Italy! Yes, it is not something Walt Disney invented! In fact most of the Father Christmas and the tradition we know today with Christmas presents are coming from the Nordic. This is the story on the whole, I could be wrong in some few details but on the whole it should be the truth:
In old days we believed there were small brownies living beneath our houses, they looked almost the same as us but reached us only to our knees. They wore grey and red clothes and pointed caps. They took care of ours animals when we slept during the night. In gratitude for them we around Christmas time put out a bowl with porridge for them to eat. Of course the porridge was gone next morning so this was clearly a proof of their existens!
We also had a tradition perhaps since Viking Ages that early on Christmas morning we run to our neighbours and knocked theirs door and threw in a present, this present were though in the beginning only something weird, or a simple wooden log, with a note attached where something mean (just for fun of course) was written. We blamed the Christmas goat for doing this heinous deed. The swedish word for Christmas is: “jul”, to knock on the door is in swedish: “klapp” so that gives that our word for a Christmas present are “julklapp”, and still is. With other words we haven't to the whole adopt Christianity since Christmas still is named “Jul” in swedish. In same way our word for Father Christmas are therefore “Jultomten” (not either Father Christmas or Santa Claus) where “tomte” is our word for a brownie. Soon I will come to why our brownie took over the role of the goat.
With the entrance of Christianity many things became out of fashion or even became forbidden, the most populair things had to change to something that suited the Christianity better. The Midsummer Eve tradition I wrote about had to change a little, no maypole for a while in some areas of Sweden. After many years with Christianity the Italian saint Santa Claus much celebrated in south Europe finally made the entrance to Sweden. In some way our Christmas brownie seems to have grew a few centimeters and taken over the name Santa Claus and this transformed brownie took over the present giving idea somehow from the Christmas goat. Some mixing was made here during years I can't exactly give further details about.
1874 the swedish childrens' book illustrator Jenny Nyström drew hers version of the swedish Father Christmas that was a bigger version of our brownies. This is the version Walt Disney pretty much later on made into the little fatter and solely red coloured Father Christmas we think on today. There is though a small issue where exactly he lives, at the northpole some says, the Finns says he live in Finland and we say here, this argument is solved temporarily by sending half the letters that are addressed to Santa to an adress in Finland and the other half to an adress in north Sweden (Falun is my guess).

In the book and movie The Thirteenth Warrior (or The Eaters of the Dead and The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in A.D. 922) when in the movie Antonio Banderas plays the Arab Ibn Fadlan who 922 AD as the thirteenth member in a group of Vikings travels back home to the North and helps them to win over the Viking's enemies, the “vendols”. The book is built upon a true text by Ibn Fadlan and is the only written text about Vikings that has survived through time. The content that are so extensive that most experts believe it is a true story, however the interpretation can vary, please read the thrilling and fascinating book yourself and you will see that Ibn Fadlan gives something between fairly objective to subjective view on the coarse but in the length nice and winning way of the Vikings. Maybe not always in a positive way, but a few things depends on the interpretation of the old text.
As an example Ibn Fadlan writes about a basin of water that goes round between the Vikings and the leader begins with washing his face and hair and spit into the cup and then the basin passes over to the next man that does the same, with the same water. However, if this was true the Vikings should had been extincted by germs long before, the truth should probably be that the cup instead was a bathtub that the men washed them in in descending order. And if one knows that a pious Mohammedan only wash himself in running water he would probably think that even if the water was exchanged between every man the basin was contaminated by previous use since it was not running water. So, actually the truth could sometimes be very far from what is deciphered from the old texts.
The most interesting part comes when they will fight the “Vendols” or “Dimo-animals”, the vendols describe as more animal than human and they wear bear skins and live in caves deep in the forest. Who were the vendols then? It is so much written about this part so it can't be just made up for fun. Pretty much speaks for that the vendols actually were a last group of Neanderthal men, we are called Homo Sapiens Sapiens (2x sapiens), and we and the Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis are two branches of the group Homo Sapiens. And remember that late research tells that Neanderthals was highly skilled, not as the common belief is that they should be more like animals, they stood roughly speaking as high as we on a scale of development. Some believe that they were early mixed together with Homo sapiens and we are a result of these groups melting together. It sounds pretty logic though that Neanderthals that were physically well suited to live in cold climate (they had a bigger nose that stood better against cold) could live long time hidden in the big forests in the North. Vikings were seafarer and lived mostly at the coasts so it could be a good chance that the Neanderthals lived long time alongside the Vikings but hidden in the great forests until they finally got permantly exterminated by a combination of inbreeding and driving out of competition by the Vikings.
There are much material to read about this on the Internet, just make a search on Ibn Fadlan (or “Risala: Ibn Fadlan's Account of the Rus”) and read for yourself.
It's pretty interesting stuff, read the book, it is also very fun, but take his stories with a grain of salt. Remember that from an erudite Arab's point of view Vikings could look more coarse than they actually were.

According to the danish story “Gesta Danorum” a soldier that wanted to be engaged by the king had to be able to attack one, stand against two, give way a little for three and without shame flee from four! A dead soldier is to no use.

Some few words about the berserkers, and they didn't eat mushrooms, in Gesta Danorum the author Saxo Grammaticus describes a real berserk from Hälsingland (north Sweden) named Hartben, he was so big and violent so twelve members of his own berserk gang had the only assignment to hold Hartben so he should not kill too many innocent people. When he got really hungry he could eat glowing charcoal and when he was too hot he cooled off by hold his fists into a fire. That is what we call a berserk haha!

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Swedish food that has killed kings, and meatballs etc…
I start with my favourite bun: “semlan”, in english: “a cream bun with almond paste eaten during Lent”! (Now I understand why it is only eaten in Nordic, it is too exhausting to pronounce it in english!) (I suggest that you instead learn the real name of it: semla.) It is a bun from Middle Age but despite that it is the most delicate and tasty thing I can think of. We eat them traditionally from Christmas to Eastern and more often at Tuesdays why they are also called “Fettisdagsbulle” [fat-Tuesday-bun]. You can eat them plain to only a cup of coffee or you can eat several within bowls of hot milk as a whole dinner-meal. My big brother has our family's record, he once ate eleven of them! I can manege maximum five or six.

The bun above is a larger “luxury” semla, wider and with more cream and almond paste. If you want to experience a mouthful of heaven and you can't buy “semlor” in your local bakery you can do them easily at home: Buy or bake your own plain buns of wheat preferably with cardamom in. Chop of the upper top of the bun and spread a layer of almond paste there, you can make it a little bit softer and adding small amount of milk or some yolk of an egg to it. Then you whip some whipping cream, you can do it with lowcalorie cream if you must but it must be of a tasty brand, put a generous layer of the cream at the almond paste. Put the top of the bun back again on top of all and powder some vanilla sugar at the top. Voila! Serve to coffee as they are, or in a bowl with hot milk if you want to eat them in a medieval way: “hetvägg” [hot wall] (don't ask me what that name comes from but maybe it is after you have eaten a few hot ones it feels like you hit the wall?).
You may think it looks unhealthy with all the cream and almond paste, though you have more bread from the bun so it is not that unhealthy after all, and then you sometimes must allow yourself something of the good! But the feeling of satisfaction it gives are better suited in the colder season when the body needs more fuel to hold its temperature. Latest news is also that fat from cream are not that unhealthy that some have thought, I'm not saying it's healthy but sugar is what we really shall look out for, my believe is that if you eat a semla you get enough fat, sugar and bread so you go satisfied the whole time to next meal without eating any candy!
Actually one old swedish King Karl Fredrik I guess died because he ate too many semlor! …I can imagine many other worser ways to die in, right?

Above the semla you see two ordinairy swedish cinnamon buns.

It's a little bit interesting how our climate gives us our habits of foods, since we half the year have a colder climate we can easily store things as milk, cream and butter. In southern Europe they have not this luck but have to use olive oil instead and drink wine. Though to make a salad with a little bit of oil in are much healthier than eating cream and use butter so are the simple bottomline that you can't make tasty gâteaux with olive oil! In moderation though one could add! The colder climate have also made that we have a wide variations of wheaten bread that satisfy one's hunger where in southern Europe it is more common with small and very sweat things at coffeetime. The swedish cinnamon bun is one example which comes in many variations.
To go further on this sidetrack with climate you know Muslims from the Orient, saracenerna as we called them in Middle Age, and Jews by all means doesn't eat pork, they have a religious believe that pork is unholy. My guess is that from the beginning that comes by more practical reason than religious, why should a pig be more unclean than any else animal? Today we know it is in fact a very clean animal, like cat's they relieve themeself long away from where they eat and sleep for an example, and mudbath even human does nowadays... and then are the pigs the animal beside apes who looks most like us so why call it unclean? However one must understand that in warmer regions as in the Orient meat from a pig gets bad faster. Deadly bad if one's unlucky, so to save humans life saracenerna's spiritual leaders proclaimed simply that pork is unholy and should not been eaten to prevent people to be tempted to risk their lifes. There are no religious reasons behind that but just to preserve human lifes. However here in north we live in a big refrigerator half the year and have no issues to conserve pork in a healthy way so I hope everyone understand that too.
Back on track. Gingerbread biscuit we also eat during winter, if you haven't tried these sometime you must, they are very delishious, of course depending on what brand you choose. Try also them with cedar taste or lemon taste if you can get. I guess every single Swede remember the moments from theirs childhood when mum baked the first gingerbread before Christmas and the kids could guzzle on them with a glass of milk. This is also a cake with medieval ancestries even if they today are much tastier. In swedish they are still called “pepparkaka” [peppar = pepper], though it is no pepper left in them today.
Something old and that gives you something warmth to eat that we has as tradition to eat at Thursdays are “ärtsoppa” [pea soup]. Our king Erik XIV died 1577 because someone had poisoned his pea sup! Pea sup shall otherwise be eaten with a little mustard and spiced only with some thyme. And a small glass of Swedish arrack punch too if you want. And I prefer a glass of apple-cider too, as it was eaten in old days… by the way, apple-cider and beer is the old swedish drink to have to dinner the time before we could import red wine.
Glogg, in swedish “glögg“: mulled wine served with raisins and almonds, are also very great a cold day in winter. But not many knows it is quite delishous served cold with an icecube in the summer too. The Swedish king Gustav Vasa (1496–1569) even had one special glogg-maker employed only for making glogg! So try glogg if you can find it but I can't recommend the one without alcoholic, it must be a little alcohol in it for the sake of good taste.
Swedish meatballs are also great stuff, no king have died because of them what I know but the story tells it was our warrior king Karl XII that had eaten meatballs in Turkey, liked them and brought them home, remade them a tiny bit and who knows then made them famous over the world as Swedish meatballs! The swedish way to eat them are with hot potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberry jam and a glass of milk or beer. Go to nearest IKEA department store and test it there if you can't make them at home.

Pickled herring are also a swedish delicate speciality I must mention though it has nothing directly to do with our kings. One could say pickled herring is the swedish sushi, but I shall immediately explain why it is not. Often when a famous international popstar visit Sweden there is always one stupid young journalist that must try to feed them with pickled herring. God knows why! Often the journalist first say it is some sort of raw fish and dangle the small piece of herring in front of his nose. Of course the poor famous popstar thinks it is disgusting!!! But for the first it is NOT raw, it is pickled! That is a HUGE difference! Then you shall eat it together with some soured cream with some chives on and hot fresh potatoes with butter and a glass of cold beer. Try that and you understand why it is so delicious it has its own distinguished place at the Swedish Midsummer Eve dinner table!
By the way, pickled herring exist in many flavours, one I like particularly well is a new one with garlic taste. Classic tastes is also mustard and the oldest classics of all is pickled in onion that must be on every table. There are many new nice tastes, dill, lingonberry, mustard and honey, “archipelago-”, “country house-”… Well… wonder why but now I suddenly got hungry…
One fun thing about pickled herring is it is the most equal dish of them all I can imagine, it is cheap so everyone affords it, on Midsummer Eve every swede from north to south and from the poorest man up to the King and his Queen sits and eat exactly the same food, pickled herring and hot fresh potatoes!

Falukorv = sausage from Falun, has nothing to do with Kings either but has an interesting story. When in the Middle Ages mining the big and deep coppermine of Falun they had to use a lot of ropes to get the ore and the water up to surface. Strong ropes could only be made from animal hide and sinew. This became though a big problem, animals had to travel from far-away to here to only become ropes, and they ended up with a huge stock of meat they didn't know how to preserve. The clever German and Wallons working at the mine came up with this sausage and it became soon a good export product to the rest of Sweden!
Personally I prefer this sausage together with some redhot spicies. Or the simpliest and most cheap you can make for dinner is this sausage sliced and fried in a frypan served together with macaroni and ketchup, I can't came up with anything so cheap and simple but yet so tasty as this!

A final note, small beer [svagdricka] is an old drink we doesn't drink that much of nowadays, it's little like beer but darker and sweeter and with lower percentage of alcohol, like something between beer or porter and root beer drunk at Christmas... but it is still available, test it, it is surprisingly tasty! By the way, do you know what root beer drunk at Christmas is? It's hard to explain, it is almost as Coke but made with similair spicies as Glogg and not that much sweet as Coke, in my opinion it is much tastier than Coke. I guess though you can only find it in Nordic during wintertime and Easter.

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Food that kills us, today in the modern West food is slightly “poisioned” because of the industrial chemical pollution and more often by what chemicals they put in the food, but also what is left out because of how the food is treated. snip

Violence on TV and computer games that kills us, and the peacefully three eyed frog.
Read in the newspaper yesterday about something interesting, you know most humans have two eyes directed in one direction thus giving us the ability to see in stereo, to see depth, many animals has the eyes on each side of the head to better see approaching enemies from every angle. This makes the difference if it are a hunter or a victim. However scientists did a interesting experiment with a frog, frogs have one eye on each side, they first carefully analyzed the brain of a frog and then they took the poor frog and surgered a third eye right in the middle between the two other! After a time they analyzed its brain again. The human part of brain that receive vision in stereo consist of threads of braincells from each eye that lays together, by turns, so the brain can more quickly calculate depth. A frog for an example have instead one vision centre for each eye that sends the info to the rest of the brain, but this frog with three eyes and stereovision had within time also developed the same threaded pattern in its vision centre as the human brain!
We have for long time knew that persons that lost skills or vision or etc in car accidents can develop other skills or reveal same skills in new parts of the brain. The conclusion this and the frog experiment gives is that the brain can adopt or transform itself after conditions you give it. You can learn the brain and train its skill, that is what you do when you read books or practise maths or music or whatever. So if you lets say practise much maths for an example you will also change your brain physical to better understand maths! So a brain that gets no good practise during teenage will stay put on a lower level than a brain that gets more practise!
However my conclusion is also that if you feed the brain with much violence from TV, movies, computer games during all childhood and teenage as many kids do today it must result in a brain that are good in violence!? Right? So parents who read this, give this a thought, don't you rather want your children to learn and practise love and understanding instead of violence and war? If so, you should perhaps look at what your kids train their brains with more carefully.
Here in Sweden a few are talking again about to reenter censorship of violent movies, that should comprise TV- and computer games also, if we really want a more peaceful world we perhaps should also ponder on what is the cause of the increasing violence. This puts also responsibility on those who makes violent movies and games.

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What was that about brackish water and the Royal Swedish Man-of-War Wasa? The Baltic Sea consist of something called brackish water due to its small inlet through Öresund between Denmark and Sweden with salt water and all the outlets all around of fresh water. That means it is not only great to swim around in with your eyes opened but it also means that the worms that elsewhere in salt water eat wood doesn't like the un-salt conditions so a wooden ship that has sunk in the Baltic preserves rather well during many hundreds of years. That's why Wasa is so well preserved though it has been in the water for more than 300 years. In fact they have harder to preserve the ship nowaday since the air affect negatively on the wood and the chemicals they have preserved it with now slowly changes into nitric acid or something like that.
So take the opportunity to see it before you can't. It's the most visited tourist attraction in Sweden and its well worth a visit if you are in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, before you go here to Nyköping of course...

By the way, have you ever concidered that Sweden is an island? I have never done that, but more than 90% of all transports to and from Sweden comes over water. Technically it is a peninsula but that part of Sweden that are attached to Norway and Finland are so long away so not even 1% of the swedes have ever been so far north so we could say the feeling at least is that it is more like an big island.

The brackish water and our rich archipelago on the east coast is our pride and is where we living at the eastern parts of Sweden likes to be in the summer. However it is only something swedes seems to value. A cabinet minister I have forgot who told this story. They should receive some delegates from southern Europe and pondered how they should make the best of their visit. They decided that best should be to take them out on a trip out in the beautiful archipelago and have a picnic. However the noble delegates come then in fine clothes and the women with high heels and not anyone of them understood why the crazy swedes had brought them out in the desert nature! They was used with and wanted luxury restaurants, big cities and lots of people, they could not see what the swede was so thrilled about the sun, the water and a hell of small islands without any restaurants or nothing like that on. Total disaster! Simply we are totally different cultures, many of swede's dreams how a perfect summervacation shall be is an island in the sea totally without anyone else but just water and the sun and a flat rock and perhaps a good book. That is luxury for us. Maybe it is because we have sun a smaller period of the year and historically long time ago brought up in pretty desert area, Sweden have today only 9 million inhabitants but on an area roughly the same as Germany and France together, maybe that's why we like the nature that much.
Speaking about nature, in Sweden we have something called "allemansrätt", it's so unusual so there are not even a name for it in english what I know but it means legal right of access to private land. We can walk everywhere in the forest we like and gather mushrooms, berries and flowers and raise a tent for one night, but its a freedom with responsibility, one are not allowed to go closer private houses than 100 meter, or within sight, and not pick vegetables under protection and not leave litter or make any damage, and for your own safety not enter unknown fenced pasture etc. One could say that in USA you have the right to shoot anyone that trespass, but in Sweden we instead allow everyone to walk everywhere, that shows how different we think.

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Anna Lindh. After thirteen hour of struggle for life after being brutally stabbed by an insane person Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh dies 05.29 in the morning of 11 September. Anna became only 46 year old but she became after hard work and love Sweden's voice of humanity, sense and decency in this world of insanity. She was the type of politican that burned of a belief and desire that we could do some change to the better for the world and make it a safer world for everyone. She became not only respected by most swedes and by all of the international leader that respected hers intelligens, knowledge, strong belief, devotion, courage, etceteras but she was also highly esteemed by her worsest political opponents, and that shows how much unique politician she was. She was realist but also an unyielding optimist. She was predetermined as the forthcoming prime minister of Sweden and rumours says also to a leading role within the European Union.
She was grabbed away from us before she got the chance to show her full potential and to make even more major change to the better for the world.
This crime was not only suicidal against Anna but also Sweden, our democracy and our open society. It's a crime directly aiming to you and me. Sweden are one of, or perhaps the world's best example of a working democracy and perhaps almost an utopia speaking about democracy, solidarity, welfare and openness. She was active in questions about many trouble spots in the world and had many chances to be killed but she got murdered in the fraudulent safety at home in a exclusive clothe shop in central Stockholm.

I don't recognize Sweden any more, this is not the Sweden I grew up in, Sweden without Anna is not the Sweden I want. The Sweden I grew up in and my childish dream about an idyll like Astrid Lindgren's “Bullerbyn” or “Lönneberga” or “Pippi Longstocking”, yes an utopia, but it stay now even more in the distant future. And this should ring a bell for our politicians, theirs biggest challenge must now be to find out how we shall turn the negative development into a positive so we gain back security and welfare to all again.
For Anna Lindh's memory let us cooperate for a better Sweden and a better world.

By the way, Anna lived in Nyköping, the picturesque town and its surroundings you can see in our NY-museum.

I read an interesting article of how the consequences of this was seen in German, and this I guess is not standing for German alone but every southern European country, it was pretty long ago I read it but in main parts the writer recognized a common view of that we swedish citizen was blue-eyed and stupid to believe that a minister could walk around alone on the streets without at least ten body-guards around watching out for threats. This event showed clearly that Anna couldn't. However, is it something to be proud of that in Germany, France, Italy, America, whatever, a politician can not walk outdoors without a whole bunch of bodyguards and bulletproof limousines?! Is it? I and many other believe that a politician must be able to live an ordinairy life and go out and meet common people and everyday life as everyone else. Anna could and most politicians still do. To have such a society is something to be very proud of. Tell me otherwise, how could politicans make decisions for a society if they are not present in it?!
The discussion here goes though in different main furrows, first, in such a debate-climate where Anna Lindh had a leading role SÄPO (Swedish Security Police) should had been guarded her the last weeks before the EMU-election, just as a few others ministers had protection. Here they made a huge mistake. Secondly the man who performed the murder is insane or psychotic sick, he should if the welfare system had worked been locked in in some psychiatric hospital or something. However in the 80s the politicians decided to let over care of psychotic people from county council to local government and at same time decided that to lock in people was not very nice act to do, they should get own apartments instead and be cured. The local governments took the extra money and put instead in theirs empty holes and didn't put them in new places where psychotics could get custody or gave them somewhere to stay. Most of the people became without care, roof and food and become down-and-out. New psychotics and drugaddicts was not getting the care they should and there we are tody with Anna Lindh's murder as a possibly result of this. Not only she has been murdered but many other because of this misdirected humanism. This is not anything to be proud of. But if we get this in order we maybe can continue to have a society where politician can safely walk around like you and I without guards, maybe…

By the way, european newspapers has printed reports that the number of murders are higher in Sweden than any else European country. Guess it was 800. This number is all wrong and is based on a misunderstanding, the number shall be less than 100, Sweden are amongst the very safest country to live in. The number 800 is the number of reported suspected murders, here is every death first reported as suspected crime, but then when the cause of death has been known it can be erased, though here had the wrong first suspected number got used.

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Sweden has the best working democracy in the world, not? Yes, I believe we have, it is not perfect but still the best example in the world of a working democracy, not America, nor any country in EU is close (possible besides Switzerland and Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, however to make this somewhat easier for me I regard all nordic countries as Swedish just for the moment, they have all been Swedish from a historical point of view and we are all the same people with same history since long ago so…), but how can I say so you might wonder... I shall try to explain but before that I shall remind you that politics really are not one of my strongest skills, the thoughts that are coming are also only my own personal thoughts and shall not be regarded as the fully truth, however this pages are not paid buy anyone else but me and I am unpolitical so I dare to say that I at least tries my best to give you an independent point of view, or at least my own view. Read this with this in mind and perhaps take this only as something you can start to discuss from or start your own investigations from. If you encounter anything that you feel are wrong you are welcome to write to me: “jochum(at)illustrata(dot)com” . With all that said let's start.

Since Viking Age and most possibly from Iron Age or even much longer before that, we had democracy here in Sweden, or the Nordic, not really as we thinking of democracy today but anyway a sort of democracy. The word “democracy” comes from Greece and Athen where all free men had a vote already for more than 2 000 years ago. The same we had also here but our word for it are not known, if we had a word, we might have taken it for granted, the closest I can think of is maybe the word “ting”, that means the place and time for where and when we voted. However, every free, not convicted man, but no slaves and no women had then a vote each, during Viking Age and before. Exactly as in Greece. (Slavery was by the way forbidden here already during the 14th century. (USA as late as 1865)) The “kings” on this time was kings over much smaller territories so when having “tings” 100% of the free men could come and vote. Even a better democracy than of today! It was also so that if a king didn't do as the men wanted he could be thrown of the throne.
A tale tells that during a raid on the coast of England or somewhere the enemies send out a patrol to negotiate about making peace, they called out that they wanted to meet the king or the chief of the band whereby they got the answer: “Here we are all kings, you have to speak to us all.”
However, during Middle Ages three smaller areas with each one king at the throne in Sweden become united under one king, it was these tree areas: West- and East Götaland (folkungar and erikar), and Svealand (sverker). The unified king was Birger Jarl and the new country was named Svea Rike [Svea Kingdom], soon later and more easier spoken: “Sverige” [that's Sweden in swedish]. However the Kings power was sent from God and everyone had to do what the King decided, many fought though to become the new King and many thousends swedes have died in combats against many of our kings that followed, with blood was Sweden shaped into one united country. King Vasa (Gustav I Vasa Eriksson 1496–1560) was one of the most important kings that unified Sweden, that's the good side he is remembered for, but not everyone remembers the thousends swedish opponents that died in combats against him, to defend theirs freedom and land, but that is as most often like life is, everything good have a reverse side of the medal, and the contrary. One shall not forget also that a king also defend his kingdom and its inhabitants against threats from other kings abroad, however they who hold the weapons was most often peasants' sons and not the Kings. However most Kings accepted our old thinking of freedom and as long they got their tenth in taxes they leaved many local decisions to the locals. Often the Kings also sought for the support from the important farmers to combat the nobility so this is like a tradition we still can see remains of in our local way of democracy, our local municipal council have almost the most power but also obligation toward us. The taxes I pay goes for an example mostly to my local municipality, to child-care, schools, eldercare, hospital, fire brigade, sports and culture, water, public cleansing and other local expenses, not much at all to the State.
Well, in a monarchy controlled by a king, is not really what we can call a true democracy... (By the way, Sweden is the oldest monarchy in the world! Yes, and we still are a monarchy but at same time a democracy, since our King has not the legal political rights left to decide anything political) however farmers that owned their square of land could feel anyway great freedom over theirs life... During 19th century the King was dethroned and we got the four estates: the nobility (adel), burgher (borgare), the clergy (prästerna) and the farmers (bönder) that maked all the major decisions in the State. Again the farmers was represented here as a heritage from our Viking past. Even a few women, widows after dead farmers husband had a vote.
Whith the entrance of the industries a new class was born, the workers. Workers had not any land to harvest, no sea to fish in, they could strictly only work in the factories and got salary to buy food for, they had no influence or any rights in the society, not even allowed to vote. They gathered often in unhealthy conditions in the cities near the factories. The dissatisfaction grew and they formed trade unions to speak for them: one person are no one but thousends are a power to count! It says the first Swedish demonstration or strike occured at the Nyköping's square amongst workers at the shipyard, that's another story though. Other movements was also formed, temperance movement and liberal nonconformist movements, (John Locke, englishman, father of liberalism “1632–1704”) these and other, like some intellectual leaders and leading personality in the field of culture begun to demand for equality amongst all people, 1842 public schools for everyone helped the situation, in order to be able to have general elections people must first learn to read and write to understand the society and why and what they shall vote. Of course the Church had long before begin to learn people to read so they could read the Bible. General elections was introduced slowly thanks to much work and struggle by all the movements but without much violence, no revolutions or wars, at most five workers was shot down during a demonstration in Ådalen 1931. Sweden was not alone in this, many other countries had much harder fights for freedom, like France for an example. However Sweden was one of the latest countries in Europe with women's suffrage, 1921 also all women could vote for the first time in general elections. Today however, many Swedes are not thinking of all centuries of struggling to achieve our freedom to choose our representant and does not vote at all in the last voting, 1998, was only 81% of Sweden's all adult population voting. This election 2002 it was down to 79%. Most often it is they who does not have much power otherwise that should have most use of it that doesn't vote. Strange, isn't?

Speaking about women, many thinks women were oppressed and there was no equality before in history since they got suffrage as late as in modern time, and women was oppressed but just in the nineteenths, before that in the “dark ages” the situation was actual much more equal than you could imagine, of course they seldom had a vote in a political way but they had the responsibility of the home or farm, and these days the farm was a big place with many employees and much work to do, the work were splitted equal betwen the sexes, the men worked with the heavier duties and the women with all other duties and they were quite many in a farm these days. All women was much needed, later on with all wars it got more women than men but then when the vanful was headed into the cities during the 19th the surplus of “useless” women increased, all women couldn't find a man to marry and they was not of same use in the factories as the men, comparatively to the country before where every women was needed. And you know things that are needed gets more “value” and gets more precious. Also already these days if the man died the wife inherit everything and most often also their vote.
Additionally when a man and women should get married in the Middle Ages, and before, the woman's parents should give a large amount money or silver to hers new husband, that you maybe have heard of, but the day after the marriage the man also gave his wife a “gift of dawn” most often a jewellery or a farm or something with exact the same value as hers present the day before. This gift was solely the women's and if the man should make something wrong like beating her she had the choice to leave him and take hers “gift of dawn” with her for her support, so this was a guarantee that she should be good treated by her husband, this also gave her a sort of independent “style of life” and I think it is also quite romantic tradition. From these days we also have the tradition of the hen party, though here we doesn't call women hens but maids. But the question of equality maybe are not only similair with the question of suffrage…
It is interesting how the view at women could vary because of outer factors, for an example in the very north where the men could spend months away from home hunting or with reindeer keeping and in the west where the men spent many months out fishing and selling the fish, as far away as England, the women had to do everything needed at home, they should harvest and trade and make food for the children and heat and repair the house and etcetera and especially during times of wars when as much of 50% of all swedish men were killed the women had to do the men's work also. This maked the women strong and indenpendent, and the men had to depend on the women because otherwise they could not leave home.
But in areas where the men worked in the fields nearby, often even so close they could see home and watch what the women did and they could come home every day the men had the women under full control, under such circumstances the women never got as much freedom and responsibility and not as much equality as the other women. If we expand this theory to include women from other older cultivation areas like the middle east you see how long the absurd backside of the men's need of control over women has gone, they are often locked indoors, not allowed to do a common job and must wear clothes so they can't even be seen by other men, the control is total and the freedom for the women is most often pretty close zero. Of course here we also talk also about a major impact of religion, but we could perhaps explain the view the religion got from such outer issues as simply in this countries for long time the women was not needed otherwise than to give birth to children.
To connect to the beginning, why should we have the best democracy then, we were not the first? Okey, I am very proud to present the fact that Sweden like many other modern countries has protected by our constitutional laws freedom of speech and of opinion; we have further also rights to demonstrate, and we have the right to gather together for political meetings everywhere, actually if I'm correct informed this is still not the case in USA, where demonstrants must walk all the time!? I'm not sure of this. We also have freedom of the press so we can guard the politicians, inform us what's happen and express our opinions and we have freedom of religion. But what I'm most proud of is our principle of publicity, (though it is not a constitutional law) don't know if this is the right word but what I mean is that we pay and vote for our politicians to represent us, what they then do must be perfectly transparent, visible to us who they represent and pay them, no secret classified documents, (except military secrets of course). Swedish politicians have also the freedom of report everything in their jobs to everyone, including the press. This sounds pretty obvious but it is not, I believe Sweden are the only country within EU that have this principle but we tries to introduce this thinking to the whole EU, that is of some strange reason very difficult, but why? If theirs politicians doesn't have something to hide they shouldn't be so anxious, right? This have also been a source for conflicts with EU since some swedish delegates used with our free thinking takes secrets classified material home and share here openly for discussion! I believe EU thinks that everything is secret unless it comes from the official organs?
One sidenote, I heard that our “Riksbanken”: the Bank of Sweden, (which are the oldest bank in Europe) it takes them two weeks to reveal any information you want, but for the European monetary unions bank it takes twenty years! Correct me if I'm wrong.
One fun difference that Sweden also are unique about is a law that prohibits anyone to be forced to reveal somebodys name, if the police suspect I know the name of a murderer or something they cannot force me to reveal his name against my will, you know like a common american detective TV-serie where they often with “mildly” violence force someone to point out somebody else, that can't be done here, because we doesn't belive such a coerce make any speak the truth, at least it doesn't stand through the court. You know how the police coerce confession in old dictatorships, after enough violence everyone confess anything, not necessarily the truth. So in the end after some violence I should point out a murder even if I didnt know who it was. Then the misery only got double. One good thing we should export to other nations.
One rather odd side effect of this is that a couple of Swedes are the only ones in the world that have recorded the only actual true car chase made on film, at Stockholm night streets, Getaway Stockholm, perfectly illegal of course with real police hunting them, however the authors claim these movies should be impossible to do in any other country simply because of this, as long they trust their friends of course... or the police takes them.

One thing Sweden got widely known for in the 1930–40 was what was called the “Swedish model”, in the times of depression after the crash in the twenties every nation tried to wait for the bad times to go over. Though in Sweden the swedish prime minister Hjalmar Branting made something completely opposite, he put money of the government into projects where people got work, he gave allowances to unemployed, when people got work and money they could buy food and clothes and that made more job opportunities to farmers and etceteras. And the wheels come into rolling, and we showed the world how to do.
Sweden have for long time guarded about the poor. Our widely known high taxes, too high in many eyes, have in the past ensured that every Swede had an decent ground level of security, when I grew up Sweden was in fact an utopia in the world, the word utopia means in fact something that doesn't exist, but that the utopia Sweden existed is a fact. Sweden was in the 60–90 a fully working real utopia where noone had to starve or be without shelter, schooling or healthcare. That is something really fantastic and we shall not forget that something like that is not impossible, just very hard to achieve. One cause to this is shall we not forget was our policy of neutrality in the Second World War that gave us a good start, but that is only one reason. Other reasons were our traditions for school, equality and democracy. For one example everyone had the right to an equal and extensive and free school that no country has yet come close too. Not even Sweden today since politicians have teared much down and replaced it to parts with private alternatives. (Why we know so much about king Karl XII wars is because of the thousends letters the educated soldiers wrote home, already in the beginning of the 18th century! An heritage from our reading vikings?!) Every kid and adult had free health service and dental care, kids still have but for adults the costs has raised so much that not many in the lower classes afford going to the dentist.
Lower class I wrote, everyone belonged to the middle class, there were a few higher but they were few and paid the taxes for a while. Almost every ordinairy family did afford a brand new Volvo if they wanted. Everyone could get a well payed job. Sweden were in time of prosperity in a way that came everyone to part.
Of reasons that could be discussed, and I am not the man to explain this, these times of prosperity got a huge dent in the beginning of the ninetieth. (To dispute what caused this is a real good way to kill a party... or if you have nothing to say you can always start a debate about who to blame, then you get hundreds reason why, the fun thing is both sides have almost equal right, or wrong, I am satisfied to say it went simply into worser times, leaving the causes out.) Sweden are though still a nation of hard working men and women, here comes some facts:
Sweden are the 13 or 15th biggest exporter in the world, this is though we are only 8.5 million inhabitants.
Sweden are the 20th to 22th biggest economy in total GNP, though we are so very few.
Counted per capita we have the fourth best GNP.
Within OECD (30 of the major industrial economics) we came on split second/third place in productivity.
Regarded in return of invested capital Sweden comes on fourth place, after China, USA and Singapore.
Swedish crown (SEK) are the eight most used currency in the world, though we are so few.
Sweden are the second best in the world on the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking that measures economy, health, education etc.
Sweden is the best country to give birth to a child in. We have also the lowest amount of infant mortality and also we live longest in the world.
In WISP (Weighted Index of Social Development) that is something similair HDI but has much wider and more criterions, much social, we are actually on first place followed by the other nordic countries and then followed by central Europe and south Europe and last USA before the rest of the world.
And this is a guess I throw in, I have no chance to check it but I think I've heard it sometime, counted per capita we are number one in terms of amount of Nobel-prizes, that is a good measure of how good education and other factors are in a nation. If you hear about something new discovery in medicine it surprisingly often comes from swedish scientists.
Counted per capita we have made most inventions in the world. (BTW, did you know it was a swede that first invented the electric lamp-bulb? Though his application of patent was delayed a year so Newton got the credit!)
Though we are so much fewer than the bigger nations in Europe we produce one of the four European fighter aircrafts, to develop such a system is the most expensive thing you can do, actually we are the first in the world that has the fourth generation aircraft in daily readiness for action, not even USA with all theirs power beats our technology. (It is such a threat to them that Powell have made threats toward the Czechs to prevent them to buy our aircraft instead of the americans, that is not a very clean way of doing business, not?) And also swedish submarines outperform americans, they are not bigger but they are invisible, that's much better if you are a submarine that you can't be detected and become a target. A few examples of that 30 times bigger are not necessary better.
A second guess is also that we per capita are the greatest nation within sports: skiing, ice-hockey, football, tennis, table-tennis, swimming, horses, athletics, golf etc etc, though we are so very few... tell me if I'm wrong!
A third guess that is not at all wild is that we not only believe in every humans equality, we also believe in humane treatment of animals. We are the country with the most and best laws that shall protect any animal from suffering. Until theirs death of course. This wiew we are trying to impose on all European countries. We know that animal have feelings and can feel pain, I think it's obvious but it is not at all obvious out there in the rest of the world. This view we have much to thank our dear author Astrid Lindgren for and hers descriptions of a idyllic past when we lived closer our friends.
A forth guess is that we are also amongst the top best within environmental protection, we believe that the less chemicals and pollution in the circulation of nature the more the forests, seas, animals and us the top predator of everything are staying healthy.
The two last ratings are example on things Sweden have been forced to lower its standard to aclimatize us to Europes lower standards when we entered EU, luckily EU have also in many areas tried to raise theirs level to meet up. A final guess is also you are pretty fed up on me now.

that is not bad for a nation of crude Vikings. In history swedes have had a great impact on the development of the world, within inventions, science, literature, design, music and arts or whatever, and most often only in a good positive way, we have not ever been a colonial power even if we have tried a little. As I wrote before in the Splash-intro Vikings helped to build cities in Russia, trade peacefully with the Orients, discovered continents, our driving force can't come from nothing! That's why I dare to say that the Vikings were people to admire. I hope I can have changed someones delusion of the crude violent dumb Vikings?

But. Though it goes so well for Sweden, all swedes doesn't get equal much of theirs share of the progress today, slowly a lower class are growing in numbers, especially amongst immigrants, unemployed, sick people, older. We are still on a decent level, actually the highest level in the world, but the tendency are there if one look and you don't have to look very carefully. It manifest itself in for an example slighter higher amount of criminality. The more unfairness in society increase the more envy and crimes grow, when everyone had prosper and was happy there was no need to make crimes. So simply the only way to effectively defeat crime is to give everyone a place in society and a goal with his life. That goes also for more widely issues the world over. I'm thinking on terrorism as well. Well, that's not an easy task, but anyway... One odd side-effect of this that I read about is on the otherwise very low numbers Sweden have in dead people in traffic, increasing security in cars and on the roads have made Sweden to the safest country regarding traffic, however with the increasing numbers of criminals and drug addicts – and these groups you can easily understand are not very receptive of any tips whatsoever in how to increase the traffic safety – the goal of 0 dead in traffic the government had are not ever going to happen. And this is only one of all effects, the human suffering and costs increase for everyone in many ways when one begin to allowe more criminality.
So, shall Sweden lower itself to the standard of the rest of Europe or the world, or could we - though we got the highest rate in WISP of all countries in the world - find ways to somehow come back to the tremendous utopia the community “folkhemmet” (the Home for the common Folks which was what the utopia was called) we once were part of when I grew up? Why does not the parties debate this interesting question rather than quarrel on each other? Can we ourself as citizens do something to lead the direction? That are good questions. I have no answere for the first questions, for the third I am not a good model myself, the ship has already left the harbour for my part to make any impact or change, but for young people I strongly recommend to read many books, that is a good ground to stand on in many aspects of the life, get a good solid and high education, stay curious, don't bother to try to be cool, it's easy to act cool, it's just to shut up, but to be intelligent is much harder. Don't believe in evening papers when they pay tribute to murderers and criminals, they should instead write about all people that makes something good, no one writes about them. Don't believe what advertisment and commercials try to fool you with, the life is not about who looks best and is most slim, or dress most expensive, or who is most popular or famous, that is a pseudo-world they try to impose on you to make you buy more things. Life is about knowledge, sympathy, love and care, make good things and many other things you can came up with better than I. Learn to read and write excellent and doing maths etc are not only essential for job-opportunities later on but it is also the only way to not let anyone, including society, step on you.
Can't help to say some words about the WISP index, it clearly points out that Sweden and the other Nordic countries has succeeded in a social politic that are human and fair and comes to everyone's part. For an example USA got the highest GNP [BNP] index but only the richest can enjoy it, USA has one of the most unfair welfare injustice and though they could higher prosperity for everyone they only do it for the richest, and they got instead a huge part poor people, such an old fashioned politic view has we luckily not seen here during most of 20ths. My believe is that could be partly because of the poor people in USA doesn't vote, if they had they would have voted for politicians that could go for a more fair welfare policy. One cause of this if I shall continue to believe is that the poor class is uneducated, educated people tends to vote more. Educated people are a threat to the leading politicians because they can understand the unjustice and they can write and make a opinion that got power to make changes. That's why in many non-democratic countries the leader will not make any efforts to higher the knowledge level of the people because then they get people that sees the unjustices and could write loud and strong protest manifesto or gather to a revolt. In Sweden, as an example of the opposite, the liberal politician early saw that in a fair democracy education is the most importent thing considering of all, actually democracy demands education and enlightenments to work. Another cause if I shall continue believing could be the strong belief the americans have of the one man's success, yes it's true in america one man can from practically nothing make success and become something whatever that earn millions bucks a month, this belief supported by movies etc makes them though to forget of the other many more millions persons that doesn't get success and fame. So is it really better that one get success and all the many and millions stay poor or that everyone can split the money? And, is importent to remember, a system with justice doesn't prevent anyone to get success either.
A few thinks swedes have lived in a cocoon of self-satisfying and a will to exclude the outside world that burst in the arrival of the depression in beginning of 90s, but I would put it like if you have got something good it is only natural that you want to keep it and defend it.

Don't know where I shall put this, but I try here: Have you ever heard of Skandia? Maybe Enron? OK, it's almost the same thing. The few top directors of Skandia gave each other all higher salaries, and all higher bonus on the result, however though the result gone down for Skandia their bonus kept raising and the men in the top of the boarder of Skandia could collect million and millions of Swedish crones each. They earned more money than the Swedish prime minister or the King and could live happily in luxury in their big castles, like a newborn aristocracy.
However when the classic aristocracy in the past often had a slight interest of peoples welfare (don't believe in everything you see in the movies, aristocracy quite often really had also an responsibility for the society) these newborn aristocracy of the business world has none so ever responsibility, they have just one thing in common and only one interest in their mind: greed.
The first sign of the fall of the great moral power nation that Sweden was begun with Asea Brown Boweri's Percy Barnevik who almost got a whole billion when leaving ABB, and then many men should follow. It reached its peak here 2003 with the insurance company Skandia and with Enron in USA. A few men thinking theirs intelligence actually are worth so much money. But it is not about intelligence, it's just about greed. A matter of a matrix of self-deception. The company should had evolved quite good if not better without theirs help. However to call them the new aristocracy is way to kind, I want to call them the new garistocracy, or gre-aristocracy, or greestocracy. (in swedish "garistokrater") If you got a better name write me.
One another english or german reporter I saw on telly said regarding the murder of Anna Lindh and the debacle about Skandia that this year had Sweden lost not only its lead as a pioneer nation but also its innocence and now we Swedes must face the reality like everyone else, …sorry, he added. Exactly as I wrote in the chapter before this the reporter was sad of this progress in wrong direction, it was not Sweden that should adopt down to the sad reality everyone else lives in but it should had been the rest of the world that should had increased theirs level of sanity! Instead of putting our labour in building a better society we must now face reality that there are people, even among swedes, that instead wants to tear everything down with murder and ripping off us all our money just of selfish reasons. Greed works. Greed is one of the three worsest sins and greed is not just about money, a person that is greedy also doesn't care about other beings. How could he, it's the other guy's money he want! So greediness also shows those persons' lack of humaneness and care for other. Is it that's why we are put on earth, to maneuver out and put our heels into other people? NO! We are here for in an feeling of love and understanding build a good society for everyone to live in and to put new citizens to earth to follow this. Do you think we are successful doing that? Do you think those businessleaders in Skandia - or Enron or whatever - that only wants more millions in their own pockets makes this world not even a tiny little bit better to live in? Don't think so, they are just leaders of a pack that are not much better than sequence-murderers or spy because they have effectively from inside demolished good human values that makes humans human and a nation a nation. Now we are just as everyone else. …If we had little of our Viking blood still in our veins we should as the Vikings did throw these men down from their thrones. Just mine opinion…

There are a few interesting philosophic aspects in the movie “The Matrix” where the principal character get the choice to take a red pill and learn about the truth or choose to not take the pill and live happily on inside the matrix without the knowledge that his body lies in a bathtub function as a energy resource for the machines. I think that the red pill is what learning is about. To gather information and wisdom and learn things about society, oneself and others, where the school is only a small but the first contributor, IS the red pill. The pill that opens your eyes and let you see and understand the truth, then you can act after your wishes and you can influence your daily life and future or work for the justice of others and it’s the only way to give you power to not let anyone or anything step on you, they will anyway try but you have at least a chance to defend yourself. Because there are only two types of people that Hitler and Stalin and etceteras could gather in theirs armies, they who want to gain power over others and they who are ignorant (uneducated). Do you really want to live in a bathtub for ever? It’s your own choice.
A science-fiction that claims to be of top quality must be credible, like Bladerunner or even “2001 a Space Odyssey”, the latter maybe not that probable but it is at least not unlogical. If we look at Matrix so could the basic idea with a computer simulated world, the matrix, where human brains live their lives inside, much possible be true in about a thousends years or so, but I think it is illogical and not at all possible that the robots would invent such a thing. It would have been more credible if the authors said that the robots had the humans as hostages because they wanted to cultivate brain tissue or something biologic stuff they could use to their computer brains, or whatever, but NOT to get energy, because to feed human bodies to get the energy the bodies then produce is to waste more energy than they get out, completely illogical… and therefore not probable.
Furthermore I don’t think that robots will ever fight for their lives, they could be programmed to fight to survive or to mend themselves but they have no real apprehension of their own existense and that it is to end someday, because a robot can live forever, one have to have a measured life to understand what living is.
Besides the machines had already won, the non-beaten humans hid far down in the earth and was not a threat anymore, so why should a machine continue a useless campaign of extermination? Maybe only if they could feel hate, and that will a machine never feel. So here I belive the story slips slightly again.
The best idea of Matrix is the idea that we already live inside a computer generated matrix, we really can’t prove that we don’t, or? However I feel regarding to my objections above we could assume we do not…


Other matrix I already mentioned is the consumer matrix that manufacturers and advertisment, commercials, movies and magazines try to fool you to be caught in, the need for luxury, need of self-reward and arrogance they want to catch you in and form your life style just only because to earn more money. When you are trapped you spend your money on expensive clothes with cool logos on, even if the quality of them are worser than the clothes without logos, they doesn't sell products but brands. If you are a young girl you will spend enormous amount money on fancy clothes and make-up, just to give yourselves a little self-esteem and for the believe it's the only way to catch a guy. Actually when you have grew up a little more you will encounter that you only had been fooled, I can tell you already here the truth if you want, your beautiful ego or soul does not exists in your clothes (clothes are only textiles), or in your makeup, or in a well rehearsed tough attitude, your beauty is only valued of whom you are and how you think and acts. I know it is hard to leave this matrix because it is everywhere, not only hard to leave for kids but for older too, but if you want the truth, try to view it from outside and put your valueable time and money on better things, like education is only one example. Buying things doesn't replace life. It's a parallell matrix you can get the grip on if you take the red pill! I don't mean you shall entirely stop buying nice clothes if that is yours interest, people must consume to keep the jobs and the wheels rolling on, I mean only that you shall reflect on the cost and time you spend and think if it is really that you want to do or if it exist more importent values within the real life.
The commercial and consumer matrix was already known for thousends year ago, already the old thinker Epikuros said that to consume is a fraud to life, to consume cannot replace the real value of friends and love, basic human needs. He warned of the result if we continue buy things instead of think of what is a actual major concern to us. One hundred year later Diogenes built around the square in the small town Ocioanda (or something like that) a huge wall with the messages to the people to be careful to buy too much things, the first advertisement in the world were then anti-consuming! You didnt know, huh?!
This impact all advertisment and commercials has on us to fool us that it is importent to be the coolest, slimmest, richest and most admired person changing clothes every year to adopt us to the latest trends stress or pressure us and our identity and prohibit us to form our own personal identity. All different superiour identities are thrown at us every day and we shall adopt everyone and that say for itself that teenages growing up in this inferno cannot find their own identity under such circumstances. And if you can't get your own identity you can't feel secure and you cannot become a fully whole individual. And then you will spend more time and money to keep continue buying your fake-identities and become the obedient consumer the industry want you to become. But you only got more and more depressed.
The trend of young women cutting themselves seems to increase in the westworld, the explanations of this behaviour differs but what must be true is that they of different causes doesn't like themselves, feels unsure and have questions about theirs identity, quite often they comes from homes without one of the parents and a part of them have even been abused. But I think the pressure these girls get from advertisment, TV and movies, magazines, porno, and persons around them to be slim, beautiful, sexy, (of some reasons seldom smart?!), rich, cool, trendy, whatever, under this bombards they got all time every day they can't get the time to form their own identity and the pressure creates ticking bombs ready to explode. They also feels very inadequate by this competition of supermodels, faked improved pictures, and artists. It is not very hard to see that this must create problems and one way of this is to cut themselves to let it out. Boys have it easier, we can choose to be like a footballplayer or a computergeek but we also doesn't have the role to play the one who take care of us boys and be good and at same time must be sexy, we have to be tough but that is almost all we have to be and not many can fulfill that with pimples and no muscles, but if we doesn't succeed in school it doesn't matter much, we can become something anyway.
And on top of this I ponder if a girl goes on diet to become slim and sexy she also gets less vitamines and etceteras, this making her mind less functional in an age when all other problems comes by nature, this on top of the pressure from media described before it is only a question of how many girls that will begin to hurt themselves. Solution? I have none, but one small thing to do could be to eat more correctly. However I really think the problem are more complicated and much of the problem lies in the society and its pressure. Let girls grow up in less hurry and with less demands. How to achieve this you could ponder on. If someone with these problems happendes to read this, I only want to say: relax, you are fine and enough beautiful as you are, try to see through the messages you get from everywhere, they comes from an industry that wants to earn bucks on you, don't believe everything, use your mind and think for yourselves, think constructive, relax, everything will become better when you get a little older…
About consumption and commersialism I saw something interesting on telly, it was a women representing advertising agencies that said about commersialism that it is not their fault, everyone has the right to advertise their message, it is only that today it is only commercial forces that advertise, all the values religion and usages, moral and the government stay silent and advertising just sells stuff, not values. And in a time when the government and the church doesn't provide moral, traditions, ethical and importent values we only got the messages from them who want to sell us stuff. She said also that youngsters nowadays doesn't want to get knowledge from different sources, they have not time nor interest, they became instead more and more interested to buy a ready kit of a lifestyle, for an example if you are a skater you dress yourself in the right skater brands and you listen on skatermusic and acts like a skater and party as a skater and you also think and vote as a skater, the whole kit. Kids are not interested to spend time to build their own view on the world with reading a lots of books and articles or whatever, they only want to fast get a cool slim look in the simpliest way. Politic goes trendy. But when people doesn't build their own values and knowledge they will get mature much later, or perhaps never. And if they doesn't make their own opinion they can vote as the trend is that day, or worser, they just maybe will vote for those who got most money and makes the best and coolest advertising campaign. If people gets so easy to mislead it is easier for someone new person like Hitler to take the control. One could also add that these trends becomes more and more like religions. Harder to tell the difference, and it is not a good way of development, I would rather seen the knowledge increase instead.

One another example of a “matrix” many desires to enter is just as good lie as the glamour-matrix above, the drug-matrix, people earn money on other peoples drug-addicts, that is actually the only big truth and the only reason, when you take a pill or anything it is purely and solely only a result of a few peoples eager to get more money. Why does every drug abuser take the risks just to leave this reality to another unreality? It is much more beautiful to instead try to make ones life and others to the better. Children in Africa that fights for theirs life every day should not believe if you told them that there are people in the rich countries that at same time tries the best to actually shorten their lifes. A more effectively way and safer way to leave your reality if it's boring for a moment is to read books. Do I sound boring? You have maybe not found the right books. And for you that anyway will continue experimenting with drugs there are two easy rules, don't mix alcohol and pills, don't drink alcohol you don't know for sure where it comes from, two easy rules if you want to stay alive longer. If no adult have informed you yet you should know that every form of narcotic, especially ecstacy, can mess with your brain already from the first pill, if you not die you can become a vegetable in various degree.
About alcohol, youngsters have a need for testing what they believe adults are doing. However alcohol is very hazardous for the young body. I saw on TV a interview with a very young man that defended himself after a very wet night with the words that everyone else adult boozes so he only wanted to do the same. I must say, adults doesn't booze at all that much youngsters think, I understand that when they meet a drunken guy that are threee-four older they believe he is adult, but he isn't, it's just another young immature kid, 99 % of the real adults are not out every friday and drink their heads off. The few very adults you see out is that one percent that is always out drinking. That's the truth. So don't blame others for what is really only your own responsible.
As for young girls and alcohol I only want to say: don't! Girls have much less tolerance of alcohol and if you not dies in your vomits directly caused of the alcohol there are men out there waiting for to take advantages on you and then your only hope if you doesn' immediately get maltreated is to hope for that that man doesn't carry Aids or other bad diseases. No, it is much wiser to act adult in the first place.

Another thing I came up with when driving today that could be another matrix is the traffic, some people behave without sense and drives as I heard someone described it, as “if they had an pineapple in theirs arse”. People tends to change personality like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as soon they get behind the steering wheel, nothing becomes more importent than to win two seconds just to arrive first to the red light. One could wonder why two seconds of their lifes becomes so much of importance so they could risk their whole life to gain those few seconds?! What is it for mighty force that can change a young mother or father of many children to a possible assassin behind the wheel? Maybe it is as they who believe in the matrix-theory thinks, they who made up our matrix couldn't predict how we should react in a fast little metal vehicle so we acts like if we stand outside the matrix?! We can't be controlled from outside the metal shield!
A very importent benefit with driving more carefully is that you save gas, and therefore makes less pollution and the planet and we all can live longer. The higher speed or bigger car, the more and brutal accidents and more pollutions, that's the facts! And you have the chance to make a difference!

Another “matrix“ we happened to discuss in school is the development of the news media-industry. News tends to all over the world change into more of big flaming headlines with less content and objectivity but more of scandalous wallow in scandals and others failures. Maybe because of economics reason we gets more of less news, but necessarely not with more deep. Even political aspects as who own the news company and do they have influence on which news they will let us see or read comes into play. A piece of news with higher entertainment value goes around the world instead of a news with a importent content.
So if we get more news that are controlled and perhaps adjusted we get also a distorted realistic-apprehension of the same world we live in! That is really a “matrix”, we live in the reality but at same time we live in the distorted reality the news conwey though it should be the same reality! If we are not aware of this we will suddenly also vote on wrong leaders. We must be able to form us a free opinion of the world to gonna be able to make the right decision who we shall vote for.

Okey, that's all for today, close your school-desk, (many moral lectures it became in the end!), (but you will encounter just the same thing when you grow up, I promise!). Please bear in mind this is only my personal thoughts and beliefs that's springs into my mind that I print here, I'm not expert or anything on politics or its history or anything else written on this page. Though I hope all facts presented are true and what I really wants most of all is that you start to investigate things yourself and start think for yourself.

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The best LTTEC I have read so far this year, and rap-artists ignorance... Today I read something good in my daily local paper, as most daily papers in Sweden they have a daily page where citizens can write to discuss something of immediate interest (in english: letters-to-the-editor column, in swedish just simply: insändare) and today I must give the award of the best LTTEC this year though only half of it has passed to Kjell Wiklund, clergyman of the Swedish Church. In a matter of another subject he answered someone that wondered why does people on earth starve to death if God exist? This question you may often have heard from children and I at least have never heard a good answere, well Kjell had one. I must first say I myself are not religious, but that doesn't stop me to listen at what good things religious people could have to say and most religions have many good things, morality, humanity that are worthy to consider, one must not forget that all religions have sometime at least the same origin.
However, Kjell Wiklund answered the question with that God has made enough food to all people in the world, he really has, however mankind has not been very good to take care of the responsibility we got from God to use our gift with responsibility and justice and let everyone get their share of food, as an example. We in the richer countries have the last centuries traded with the poorer southern countries and we have been very good at deciding the price. If I had been better in english I could have put this perhaps in a better way but I hope you understand. Kjell meant that God gave mankind the mission to be responsible of the life and progress on earth, this is what makes us to human, but we have not taked care of this very good and therefor there are poor people that starve in our world.
A very good explanation, right?
That must also mean that a politician that doesn't make sufficient efforts to help poorer is not a good human, right? Or a good Christian, right? Think about this for a moment,
As an heathen I may cut out the part of God and replace that with "nature" or "life" or something, and the message is still as good as before. We, you, and I have a responsibility to nature and all people around us and for nextcoming generations to keep earth in good shape and not unnecessary drain its resources. This is a matter of course in some cultures, for Vikings, Indians and every small group of people that lives in the rain forests close to nature knows how to take care of nature so they can keep on living on what it gives for countless generations ahead.
However, north countries (but I must say that the really north Nordic countries have some clearer conscience in this subject than many other) have not been fair when trading with poor countries and if we had taked better care of our gift many more less people had to starve. But it is not too late to make a change. You and I can make small things that are nice to our enviroment, for an example we can buy grills that are driven by electricity instead of charcoal, we can refuse to drive too large cars or SUBs, we can buy food that are made without chemical and poisons and suffering for the animal, we can buy clothes that are not made by small children in Asia. We can refuse everything about narcotics and prostitution because that is also oppression of other beings. Etcetera.
But we can also make small things that makes big difference, we can vote on presidents that will not neglect the agreement of Kyoto and thereby prohibit a development that leads to millions people will be homeless because of floods and millions acre of fields will become in too hot climatezone to cultivate anything on and making many more millions people doomed of several causes. Do you think a leader that doesn't sign under the Kyoto-protocoll and keeps on supporting a society and lifestyle that pollute earth most of any country in the world can claim to stand for humanity, modernism, or is a good Christian? I will not write what I think, you have a mind to form your own opinion with. You could also think on that people gets the leader they earn, the leader we vote for represent us both inside and outside our country and what that representant do is an act of the people who voted for him. Do you want to be represented by a moviestar for an example and think he is best suited for the role to make the best political decisions so then you shall vote for him.
But we can all vote on leaders that change the rules and makes the trading with poorer countries more justice and make our climate better. We can do that if we want and I hope we want. It is our responsibility.

Something I find peculiar and rather fun, but maybe perhaps sad, is the rap-culture we can see in music-videos most often from USA where black people makes great music of course but in their videos they always drive in big expensive and shiny fuelthirsty cars or trucks, and wear shoes and clothes with logos that most often are made in poor countries by small children, and pretend to live in big castles in superfluous luxury. This they do at same time they sing about the unjustice they have been exposed to in the ghetto?! I can't get this to match, I can't understand, are they just ignorant, or are they sending a message that it is cool to oppress other humans if you yourself once have been oppressed? Should not black people that were much later in history exposed to oppression remember this more freshly and not repeat this in return to other poor people?
Here the younger people thinks it is cool to be enlightened and fights for justice, next after USA and England Sweden are the most exporter of rock and pop-music to the westworld, and some are inspired by rap but I can't remember even one single swedish video that tributes big chiny cars and labour of childs.
This was just a personal thought from me, I could very well be wrong.

To get back to the subject, for a long time ago I, and many many other with me, read the book by Robert M Pirzig “Zen - and the art to maintain a motorcycle”, the exact original english title I don't know but this could be close. A very nice book. If I remember right the central idea of it was the word “quality”, if only as one example we pretend that you work in a garage and if you put no effort and thoughts into your work the motorbike will not get hundred fixed and you yourself will not feel satisfied and you will feel miserable to the end, even with you life, if you instead put some effort and joy in whatever you do you will make better result and feel happier. Something like that, this can do for everything you do in your life. Quality.
Kjell the clergyman wrote about that God gave us responsibility over our life and our actions and over the globe. I would like to put the word Quality after Responsibility. Responsibility and Quality is two good words, not?

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More or less famous Swedes I shall try to collect here. If I should start with musicians? What is life without music…
If you want to learn more and to really get acquainted to the swedish disposition and pretty much meet the guy who started everything you can't neglect Carl Michael Bellman, poet and musician 1740–1795. Much could be sayed about him and his music and his consideration about the swedes and the society but I am not the right man to do it. If you want to hear three CD's with interpretations of Bellman you can buy the very excellent, if not the most, CD by Cornelis Vreeswijk (Spring mot Ulla, spring) a modern interpretation, he has also made “Movitz! Movitz!” together with Ulf G Åhslund, and then we have Fred Åkerström (Till Carl Michael) a slightly more traditionell interpretation. I guess there are many more than hundreds more CDs that interpret Bellman. Even by foreign artists all over the world. His music feels still today fresh. Or you can buy books with his lyrics or about his life as Ernst Brunner's “Fukta din aska” [Moisten your ashes?], it will soon be translated into english so please just only wait. Bellman is so much a human so you can't nothing else than love him.
Another Swede you can't came around is the already mentioned: Cornelis Vreeswijk, troubadour and blues singer and much more. Actually he is the most Swede ever and he loved the Swedes though he never actually became a Swede! He came originally as a youth from Holland and learned to master Swedish better than any else Swede, but he never aquired Swedish citizenship! Though if I must name one Swede that are more Swede of all it must be Cornelis. Every Swedish musician walks in his footsteps. So this is the ultimate guy, or what shall I say!
Another guy is the pianist Jan Johansson you already heard a small part of in the Splash-intro. He took the old Swedish folk music and jazzed it up. A few year even together with Stan Getz. Not much things so differently suits so well together than Swedish folk music and jazz. Too bad Jan Johansson died too early by a car accident.
Another already mentioned artist is Fred Åkerström, famous Bellman interpreter.
Jenny Lind, Hugo Alfvén, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Joe Hill, Jussi Björling, Birgitta Nilsson, Evert Taube, Monica Zetterlund, Barbara Hendrix, ABBA, Ulf Lundell and then we come to todays date, it is impossible to write down every famous artist of today. My favourites is Kent, Cardigans, Bo Kaspers orkester, Per Texas Johnssons trio and Esbjörn Svenssons Trio (more known abroad as EST). The Hives, The Soundtrack of our lifes (or something like that) are also some new swedish bands of today.

Swedish authors? Here is a few old ones: Esaias Tegnér (1782–1846, rewrote Frithiof's saga and attacked already in the 17th century its superficial materialism!), Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783–1847), Erik Johan Stagnelius (1793–1823), Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), August Strindberg (1849–1912, his debute “the Red Room” is actually a very fun satire, don't be afraid to read it!), Gustaf Fröding (1860–1911), Hjalmar Bergman (1883–1931), Jan Fridegård (1897–1968), Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940, “Nils Holgersson's wonderful journey through Sweden”.), Hjalmar Söderberg (1869–1941), Pär Lagerkvist (1891–1940), Viktor Rydberg (1925–95), Nils Ferlin, Stig Dagerman, Dan Andersson, Moa & Harry Martinsson, Ivar Lo-Johansson, Wilhelm Moberg (1898–?, “the Emigrants”, “the Immigrants” and “the Settler”.), Sven Delblanc, Karin Boye, Per Anders Fogelström, Astrid Lindgren, Tomas Tranströmer, Torgny Lindgren and this is only few of mostly dead authors!
Though for they who are interested in Swedish history I could also mention Olaus Magnus (1493-1552, “the History about Nordic people”), Olof Rudbeck (1630–1702, wrote “Atlantica” where he tries to prove that Sweden were the lost Atlantis! Actually he were not totally wrong, many million years ago before or after Pangea I can't remember Sweden and Finland were a small continental plate that drifted around for itself until it connected to what's Russia today, though we can safely say there didn't exist any humans in this early stage of earth's history. …Jan Fridegård (about people at Iron Age to Viking Age), Frans G Bengtsson (“Röde Orm” = the Red Snake, a racy story about the viking Röde Orm), Alf Henriksson, P. A. Fogelström (descriptions of a few families lifes in 18th and 19th century in Stockholm), Maja Hagerman (Viking Age: Tusenårsresan, and about St Birgitta), Jan Guillou (several books about Arn the knight in the early Middle Age, very nice reading), Herman Lindqvist, Dick Harrison and Peter Englund (Middle Age and the time of Great Power and much more), and Ernst Brunner's “Fukta din aska” (Moisten your ashes).!
I'm not sure but I think we have the most Nobelprizes in literature in the world and some thinks it's because we give out the prize but actually it is a big drawback for swedish authors, most believe we should have even more Nobelprize-winners if we didn't been the host for it.

Artists? Not all are famous outside Sweden but anyway: D. K. Ehrenstrahl, Carl Gustav Pilo, Elias Martin, Alexander Roslin, Tobias Sergel, Gustaf Cederström, Ivar Arosenius, Isaac Grünewald, Ernst Josephson, Bruno Liljefors, August Strindberg (yes he was also!), Richard Bergh, Karl Nordström, Nils Kreuger, Prins (Prince) Eugen, Carl Milles, Marcus Larsson, Edward Bergh, Axel Fridell, Anders Zorn, Carl Larsson, Carl Kylberg, Ragnar Sandberg, Bror Hjorth, Sven X-et Erixson…

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