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Genocide vote sparks diplomatic fallout

Genocide vote sparks diplomatic fallout

Published: 12 Mar 2010 08:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2010 08:14 GMT+01:00

"They will naturally express regret over the parliament's decision and present their own view on the issue," said Christer Asp to news agency TT.

Asp explained that the issue, widely referred to as the 1915 Genocide or the Armenian Genocide, is one of the most sensitive subjects in contemporary Turkey and he argued that the vote will affect Sweden's diplomatic and business relations with the country.

"There is naturally a risk for consequences even within trade relations. Naturally we shall work to try to ensure that this does not happen," Asp said.

The Swedish parliament's decision to recognize the killings as genocide has been widely reported in Turkey and all of the major television channels carried the news as their main item on Thursday - with several broadcasting direct from Stockholm.

Though the motion to recognize the genocide of Armenians and other ethnic groups - Chaldeans, Syrians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks - had the backing of members of five of the seven Swedish parliamentary parties, the vote's outcome was uncertain to the last as the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs had recommended its rejection.

But with four centre-right politicians ignoring the recommendation and choosing to vote with the opposition, the resolution was eventually passed by a single vote.

Turkey immediately elected to recall its ambassador to Sweden, Zergün Korutürk, who said she was "very, very disappointed" by the vote.

"I'm disappointed and somewhat surprised because I expected the parliament to adopt the normal position that it is not the job of parliamentarians to decide whether or not a genocide has taken place.

"That is a question for historians, and for researchers to examine before reaching a conclusion," she told news agency TT.

Zergün Korutürk added that Sweden and Turkey had enjoyed excellent relations over the last decade but that this was now certain to change.

"Everything is going to regress. This is going to have a drastic impact on our bilateral relations," she said.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement on his homepage on Thursday that he was cancelling a planned trip to Sweden on March 17th in response to the parliament's decision.

Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt issued a statement after the vote expressing regret over the parliament's decision and underlining that it did not reflect government policy.

"The Government worked actively to make this clear to the Riksdag before the debate in the Chamber, as on previous occasions when the issue has been raised," he said.

Bildt argued that the vote would "not make a positive contribution to the ongoing process of normalisation between Turkey and Armenia" and referred to the commission charged with investigating the events in 1915.

"Moreover, the decision will not help the debate in Turkey, which has become increasingly open and tolerant as Turkey has developed closer relations with the European Union and made the democratic reforms these entail," the minister said.

Speaking to The Local prior to the vote, Left Party foreign policy spokesperson Hans Linde expressed his view that the time had come for Sweden to take a stand on the issue.

"Firstly, to hinder any repeat and to learn from history. Secondly, to encourage the development of democracy in Turkey - which includes dealing with their own history. Thirdly, to redress the wrongs committed against the victims and their descendants," Linde said.

The foreign affairs committee, in its comments on the motion, had argued for an open debate on the issue. It also stated that the persecution of the Armenians and other ethnic groups in 1915 would have constituted genocide according to the definition adopted by the United Nations in its 1948 genocide convention if it "had it been in force at the time."

But the committee stated that it does not consider it parliament's role to rule on human rights issues and that this should instead be addressed by "open research, open access to facts, and free debate."

According to Sweden's Living History Forum, most researchers are now in agreement that the massacres constituted genocide according to the accepted 1948 UN definition. The exception to this is Turkish researchers. The Turkish government has never recognized the events as a genocide and it is illegal in Turkey to claim that it occurred.

The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority which works with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights from both a national and international perspective.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:05 March 12, 2010 by inthewoods
Clearly they havent been to our archieves. Cuz if they did they would know these:

The intention was to move Armenians from Russian border and some other strategic places, which anyone with clear mind would totally understand the reason, after the things with Russians. The process however, failed badly and actions were taken by The Ottomans right after the unfortunate event. In the same year, responsible 1673 people were prosecuted, most of them found guilty and 67 of them sentenced to death. These occured in the same year(1915) so it was a self made decision by The Ottomans, (no parliaments were around to force anything) Also not all the Armenian people were moved, so even this only shows it was never a genocide. These and lots more are documented in our archieves, which we are willing to share, debate on or cross reference with anyone. Only by doing so, it would be fair to make assumptions.

Here's another fact: Sweedish parliament denied the same motion with 38 to 252 in 2007. It feels like there are some doing their job really well. Bravo!! Now EU has a valid excuse not to let us in since we will never accept the word genocide, ever.

I am really sorry your people lost their lives but it was not intentional and was not a genocide!!
10:57 March 12, 2010 by Zeynalov
Democracy will always find its place. It is not a ancient period. The Sweden is one of the father country of Democracy and there is no doubt that they will always support the right side. Not only the Sweden but also the other countries will support the trues. The world is not blind, and they can not close their eyes to reality. I hope they will also react to Khojaly Genocide, and they will support it. I am calling out to Armenia and its Diaspora:

Hey Armenia you can not discover false "Armenian Genocide" and you can not realize it, because it is not reality. There was not any Genocide.

Anar from Azerbaijan
11:06 March 12, 2010 by Luckystrike
Off-topic a little, but has Sweden ever issued an apology for it's roll in Hitler's genocide and war ?
11:38 March 12, 2010 by Audrian
The selective memory of the west is what is wrong with this particular case. I am glad the facts about this war are re-examined and hopefully the perpetrators of the crime would appologise and pay compensation.

The fact of the matter is that Turkey will continue to ignore the claim. It has the footsteps to follow. In our receant history the US committed bigger crimes. In vietnam, three million vietnamese lost their lives and about five million were disabled. In Iraq over one million people were killed. What name shall we give to these crimes. The Swedish government had condemned the first one and has not supported the invasion of Iraq.
11:55 March 12, 2010 by calebian22
Audrian,

Those are some pretty broad strokes you just made.
12:01 March 12, 2010 by inthewoods
@Audrian

Doesnt prosecuting your own officers and giving death penalties count as taking responsibility? Nazi's didnt do that as i recall and thats why the two shouldnt be compared. It was a crime and justice served even before anyone asked for it.
12:13 March 12, 2010 by Alex Coman
Turkey are now entering in the Club Of The Finest:

Russia,

Germany,

China,

Japan

USA, yes, USA,

Australia,

UK,

Belgium,

Indonesia,

Iraq,

maybe Israel...

You know, Turkish, as Michael Jackson sing: You are not alone...

Don t be so jumpy!

Peace!
13:01 March 12, 2010 by Marco Canegrati
Hi all I studied for several years people migration in Italy; concerning the armenian tragedy I founded a lot of documents on foreign affairs ministry and in the Vatican state archives which expressed that armenian diaspora started from 1915 due to the ottoman repression of all minorities, considering that after the genocide, armenians were 200.000 instead of 2 millions before the tragic event.

Best
13:31 March 12, 2010 by jackg
Mrs Koruturk,

You can pay some of the politicians some of the time, but you cannot pay all the politicians all of the time...

You can also pay some of the historians to write books the way you want some of the time but you cannot pay all the historians to write what you want all of the time.

Just accept that it has happened and that this event is a crime.
14:22 March 12, 2010 by ccnyberg
@Alex Coman

How in gods name is the USA, commited bloody genocide. NEVER in its history did it kill off another ethnic group. I fact, USA is famous for its melting pot enviroment where many persucuted groups came to seek shelter. The US, too has made many mistakes in its history which they lived up to, Ie slavery, but never genocide.

Please stop putting names on a list without any proof.
14:28 March 12, 2010 by peropaco
Really bad picture. Seems as if the photographer was either a midget or a kid.
14:52 March 12, 2010 by munched
Not one single day goes by without some reference to the Jewish holocast. Not one. Now, even denying that event's existence is a punishable felony. Bilt is the most usless character in international diplomacy I've seen in the last 50 years and brother, that's saying alot. My grandmother was one of those on the forced march that took the lives of her father, two brothers, a sister and her mother with another newborn brother. She survived the intial massacre due to the White Russian army's stepping in in the nick of time and survived the march as an 8 year old orphan by drinking the rancid water left in tire tracks. If most media were run by Armenians, maybe they'd get the same exposure. Turks are Europeans? God help us..
15:06 March 12, 2010 by Alex Coman
@ccnyberg

This is out of the topic but since you are so innocent, I ll try to help you:

the destruction of native American Indians, killing of 3 mil Vietnamese people, Cambodgia and Laos bombings and killings, backing of Guatemala and other South America criminal regimes and direct implication in some cases, backing of Indonesia genocide in East Timor, in 1999. I m sure there are much more to say, but now I must go to work so that is what I can remember now.

All these worth much more than Armenian genocide, don t you think so?

There must be justice for those poor people from Armenia.

Turkish are just acting stupid.
15:23 March 12, 2010 by Trollfar
And once again, swedish politicians express their 'holier than thou' attitude to the rest of the world, and in so doing they walk straight into a controversy and make utter fools of themselves. The parliament is filled with Insensitive morons.
15:30 March 12, 2010 by Antioche
@munched

Only turks(as a loose term for muslim population in the area when consider 1915) killed people throughout the history right? For example, russians are like the angels? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor) No one can stand the image of Turkish people as bloody murderers and other countries as saints especially in that time(Dont say that other countries accepted their guilt, Europeans decided killings of hundred thousands Bosnians was not a genocide of Serbians just happened 15 years ago) I guess I should agree the saying of 'turks are the jewish of Europe in this century'. We suffered a lot as well in dissolution of ottoman empire with slaughter of our countrymen(civilians) in Balkans after Balkan war millions ran away(like one-third of my friends are balkan descendants) and even in Bulgaria before the 90s as well. It is also strange that when germans did a genocide, only Nazis did it( and even they didnt think by themselves low creatures of turks gave the idea) when russians did, only Stalin did it but for armenian genocide of course inclusively all turks did it.
15:46 March 12, 2010 by bira
As a Swede, it's embarrassing to repeatedly have to listen to the Swedish government continually make fools of themselves on the international stage. This serves no purpose today. We are just becoming less relevant every single day.
15:49 March 12, 2010 by Peaceforpeace
I want to express my biggest respect to Sweden for accepting Armenian Genocide. Genocide did happen and more of that, people were killed in a very violent way, there are many proves and fotos that are kept in the genocide museum in Armenia, nothing can be compared with the way it was done and also as I heard somewhere Hitler was taking some examples from Armenian genocide and he said that noone remebers Armenian genocide so noone will worry also for what he does. This are real words and you can find them in internet and books. Besides the genocides all the churches were destroyed, the city Ani (now in teritory of Turkey) had 1001 churches and now they are all broken. So do not speak about having a war, it was not a war. I am sure someday you will admit it, so once again thanks to Sweden and all the countries that are bringing this day closer! I am not blaming anyone and I am sure if the brainwashing in Turkey gets to the end you will deserve to join the Europe, so be also thankful for showing you the right way!
16:10 March 12, 2010 by here for the summer
As I see it this is about the Turkish government's ability to admit and move on. The way Germany has and the way the US has for various crimes in history.
16:49 March 12, 2010 by VicTaulic
Something to keep in mind: the Kardashian girls are half Armenian.
17:02 March 12, 2010 by Scientific
The only measurable fact is that the Armenian Government did not accept the opening of their own National Archives to Scientific research whereas you can read in all Ottoman side. A recent study (in Turkey) has been printed according to these, showing figures of Armenian population and the missing numbers due to illnesses killings o leaving Anatolia for countries like Syria at those times etc...

Of course when the Armenian side is blocked then the political games are easy to play: just call few guys some hands up andothers down: That's it you have another country recognizing in fact they have no idea at all!
18:53 March 12, 2010 by Antioche
@Peaceforpeace

'I heard somewhere Hitler was taking some examples from Armenian genocide and he said that noone remebers Armenian genocide so noone will worry also for what he does. This are real words and you can find them in internet and books'

This is very classic allegation like you can find this comment of Hitler in books and INTERNET. I heard this argument thousand times but no binding proof just rumors. I also saw a photo that armenian corpses next to Ataturk`s chair that apparently montaged from a original photo of Ataturk sitting with his dogs. So i believe of course there were many deaths in Armenian side but many sutff is fabricated as well by armenians and allied forces which were pissed of because they lost the turkish war of independence as memoirs and stories. If you see how it work in a more decent narration check wilfird helmans post on this page of website:

http://www.armeniangenocidedebate.com/armenians-full-of-contradictions#comments

Still there is not a single order of the leaders of that day in 1915 with execution of a genocide besides the deportation and people are executed for crimes against armenians in the time of war not later.
19:10 March 12, 2010 by Jimmy
@ alex coman

australia and genocide please explain that one. A tip for you it had to happen after 1st Jan 1901. That is the date we became Australians, before that the British
19:25 March 12, 2010 by M-Larson
I hate to say this about my country and my people but why on earth we are like dogs and just follow whatever US proposes???

I'm NOT talking about recognizing it as "Genocide" or NOT...

BTW, do you really think that US cares about Armenians ???

US cares only about Israel. Since Turkey stands by the poor people in Gaza and caused embarrassment to the Israeli war criminals. So, US wanted to teach Turkey lesson and they came up with such issue and make it as a big deal.
19:27 March 12, 2010 by phantomdissenter
At this rate, Turkey is not going to have any ambassadors left anywhere in the world. Who would have ever guessed what a bad career move it was to become a Turkish ambassador. How are these guys ever going to get other jobs? I can't imagine there are too many jobs in the world with "expert in genocide-denial" in the job description. I feel bad for them. Maybe they'll get a job with the Ahmedinejad administration in Iran.
20:06 March 12, 2010 by Alex Coman
@Jimmy

And in Turkey, in fact, Ottomans did it. No turkish. In Russia, soviet communist did all the murders, no russian were involved ...

You really are a bright mind, Jimmy! Carry on!
20:41 March 12, 2010 by phantomdissenter
M-Larson,

Sweden is not following the U.S., they are leading the U.S. The U.S. Congress has not passed an Armenian Genocide resolution, only the House Foreign Relations Committee has. You should be proud that Sweden is not afraid to say the truth in the face of bullies that want to interfere with its internal politics. Our politicians in the U.S. are gutless cowards who treat our nation as if it was a third-rate cess pool. America is supposed to be the leader in human rights; we are supposed to lead the world against Genocide-denial; we are supposed to defend the defenseless. Instead, our useless politicians cower to nations like Turkey who want to cover up Genocides, when even nations like France and Sweden, whom we mock in the U.S., are brave enough to stand up against Turkish bullies. So please be proud of your nation today and your politicians today, because they did the right thing; they did the honest thing; they did the moral thing.
21:46 March 12, 2010 by Vanetsi
Thnak You Sweden for rekognize Armenian Genocide !!! Thank You for Justice ! God Bless You ! Regardly familis --- Sahakyan (Western Armenia -Van ), Gevorgyan (W.A.- Kars ),Khajadourian (W. A.- Digranakert ), Amseyan (W.A.-Sgherd ) , Karabedian (W.A.- Kharberd ), Tadevosyan ( W.A.-Moush) , Khachatryan ( W.A.-Sasoun ), Asatryan (W.A.-Moush ), Gouyoumdjian ( W.A.-Sebastia) , Martirosyan (W.A.-Moush ), Shklanian ( W.A.-Ourfa ) ----- Now all this familis from Estern Armenia ..... after Genocide! Because they gr. fathers & gr.mothers was from Western Armenia , whous parents was killed by otoman turks .
22:34 March 12, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
No one would be alived by now from so called armenian genocide... Sweden becomes very active in COLD war but in real war turns neutral... the cold politics dictates to say yes to america so what the Sweden is doing.. I would really admire the parilment if these memebers dare to pass resolution against ISREAL for the illegal settlement in East Jureslum... but I know here Sweden will become neutral... double standard , biased, hypocrate......
22:38 March 12, 2010 by Clever-Dick
1915, come on guys, drop it, who cares
23:57 March 12, 2010 by vusalix
it's not right to call it genocide.If you want to learn truth about the dirty plans of armenians @that time,then read the NY Times article which published on 13thNov,1914

Here is the link :

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9B03E0DC1738E633A25750C1A9679D946596D6CF
01:19 March 13, 2010 by denizzi
All courts in the world should be closed. Sweden parliament should look at the case. long live democracy sweden ????? Customers in the opposite direction of the world decided that the Swedish parliament are waiting for the decision .. thanks
01:28 March 13, 2010 by armofeli
@ Antioche

Still for me the best way to find smth is wikipedia so go here and read about the Hitler's Armenian quote if you really can't find it anywhere. You will see that it's real, not made up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_quote You people like to say that everything is a lie without even considering the possibility that maybe it's not. Read books , not the turkish ones, and not the Armenian ones but other. A lot of writers of that time all over the world have written about the Genocide. Turkey has to get on from the Denial stage and enter the Acceptance part.

And to those people who say that parliament should not waste their time and resources on these kind of matters, I would like to say that this issue is already an international one and every country's opinion and position is very important. and the fact that it happened doesn't change anything. @ Clever Dick - I am pretty sure that a lot of people in 1920s said the same thing , that's why the Holocaust happened, because the organizers of the previous genocide didn't get punished.
04:13 March 13, 2010 by vegga
So, one vote changed the history. Bravo, How rational is that ? That's what happens when you let the "political animal" to evaluate the history. 131 votes against 130 votes with all those lobby activities ...

And then you read the Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt's speech expressing his concern regarding the ruling and stating ' "History can not be politicized." How ironic !
06:55 March 13, 2010 by No More lies
@vusalix

Presenting some nonsense you want us to believe that genocide didn't happen? Just take a look what are you presenting and what it has to do with the genocide? I don't trust your source but even if Armenians wanted to revolt that wasn't a reason for committing genocide. It was their land and Tatar Seljuk came to their land 10 century ago and occupied their land. What would you do if someone comes to your home and occupies it?
19:57 March 13, 2010 by Nilspet
I think the Turkish reaction is rational. It is natural that their PM canceled the state visit to Sweden. If Russia would politicize the Swedish wars in Russia and elsewhere some hundred years ago right prior to the state visit by the Swedish PM, he would likely cancel his trip or what do you think?..surely not YES Sweden you are right ..we were the bad guy. You just dont wanna sit at the dining table with somebody who has just biasly criticized you. I am no expert on history of Turkey and that region but if you study the history of Sweden carefully....you would find out that Sweden killed a lot as well. In terms of civilization Turkey is a lot greater than Sweden..their empire is one of oldest in the world..they would not let Sweden teach them a lesson. Just like China (5000 years of history) would not listen to the US (300 years old) to be their teacher.

Seriously...do you think Turkey which is a bigger country than Sweden would say "Thank you for your kind words about us". ? I suppose (I hope) that advisers to the Swedish government has done enough homework before taking such the action (irrelevant politicized vote).

If Turkey tears business contracts with Sweden ...it is Sweden that will suffer economically more than Turkey. Swedish tourists to Turkey account for a small fraction of the total number of tourists to the country. Politicians, regardless of which side, should think about the national interests before political gain.
22:00 March 13, 2010 by No More lies
Watch this video and you will see how Turks steal other's culture and then claim it is theirs.

The Turkish Lie:

watch?v=AVJSUYkkXSk&feature=player_embedded
22:26 March 13, 2010 by Someone from Istanbul
" By the time of the decisive Battle of Poltava, Charles had been wounded, one-third of his infantry was dead, and his supply train was destroyed. The king was incapacitated by a coma resulting from his injuries and was unable to lead the Swedish forces. Charles had 14,000 men while Peter had 45,000. The battle was a disaster, and the king fled with a small entourage south to the Ottoman Empire, where he set up camp at Bender with about 1,000 men who were called Caroleans ("Karoliner" in Swedish). The Swedish defeat at Poltava is considered by some historians to be the point where the downfall of the Swedish Empire started and the Russian Empire started to rise.

Exile in the Ottoman Empire

The Turks initially welcomed the Swedish king, who managed to incite a war between the Ottomans and the Russians. His expenses during his long stay in the Ottoman Empire were covered from the Ottoman state budget, as part of the fixed assets "

by Wiki ..

Thank you very much for your " kind " response Sweeden ... We will never forget this ...
12:39 March 14, 2010 by Iraniboy
Very well said Audrian!
13:19 March 14, 2010 by Antioche
@Armofeli

The leaders of Jonturk are killed by armenians(2 of 3) in Europe when they were in Exile after WW1.The killers walked free. Enver died fighting with Russians in Caucasia. 57 that involved in massacres are executed in 1915(soldiers fail to protect armenians or kill them for their valuables) and many others even unguilty were executed by the puppet government in Istanbul after WW1.What kind of punishment are you talking about further?

Btw i hate the idea that even for the holocaust the turks are blamed like Adolf Hitler wouldnt get the idea to kill Jewish otherwise.
16:33 March 14, 2010 by MYousif
Thank you Sweden for not only recognizing the genocide against the Armenians but, including Assyrians as well. Assyrians were victims in the Seyfo Genocide as much as Armenians were. Thanks to the Assyrian community in Sweden for working so hard to bring justice for all ASSYRIANS around the world..........
23:03 March 14, 2010 by atriple
Congratulations to the Swedish Parliament for not being intimidated by a foreign government's threats, or the moral lapse of its' Foreign Minister (Mr. Carl Bildt) who has now lost his credibility. It is never wrong to do the right thing - you did the right thing.
05:16 March 15, 2010 by randyt
First congrats Sweden.

Second, "How in gods name is the USA, commited bloody genocide." You could ask a few native Americans that question and you will find your answer. Is had been reported Hilter used that example to plan his genocide.
16:55 March 21, 2010 by aylin
1

Let us reevaluate Armenia's persistence on the word 'genocide' on political and educational platforms but not in scholar and juricidal platforms from a different perspective:

Let us evaluate why the Armenians urge politicians and school boards to use the word genocide', while vehemently rejecting to present their thesis in scholar and judicial platforms from a different perspective:

Armenia's attitude towards Turkey's land integrity: Article 13 (second paragraph) of Armenian constitution declares the 'Ağrı Mountain' in the Eastern Anatolia of Turkey, as the state symbol of Armenia . Article 11 of the Armenian Declaration of Independence of August 23, 1990; refers to Eastern Anatolia of Turkey as Western Armenia and as such beholds that this area is part of Armenia. Since the Armenian constitution recognizes as a basis "the fundamental principles of the Armenian statehood and national aspirations engraved in the Declaration of Independence of Armenia", it likewise accepts the characterization of Eastern Anatolia as Western Armenia and this, albeit indirectly, translates into the advancement of territorial claims. The Armenian politicians and school books call Eastern Anatolia of Turkey, 'invaded mother land of Armenia' and in Armenia the school children are being grown up being conditioned to be patriots to rescue their invaded land. Even the marches they sing are about this condition. The Armenians who write in such blogs that the Eastern Anatolia cities do not belong to Turkey, as if the present Eastern boundaries of Turkey was not determined by treaties of Gumru (1920), Moscow (1921) and the whole boundaries by Lausanne (1923) Treaties; after the Turkish Freedom War.

Armen Aivazyan, Director of Ararat Center of Strategic Studies, told a news conference that Armenia must never renounce its territorial claims to Turkey http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=28877

Additionally Armenia refused Turkey's recurrent offers to commit an agreement declaring that each country recognizes the other country's land integrity, in 1992 and later.

'It is necessary to stress that we wish to open a road between Armenia and Turkey, not the border, since who said that the existing line is the true boundary between the two countries?", Galust Saakyan, the head of the parliamentary fraction of the Republican Party of Armenia told a press conference on 24 July 2009 (Panarmenian).
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