• Sweden edition
Swedes reflect on the death of Olof Palme

Swedes reflect on the death of Olof Palme

Published: 28 Feb 2011 09:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Feb 2011 09:39 GMT+01:00

Palme was shot dead on February 28th, 1986 while walking home from the movies in central Stockholm with his wife, Lisbet Palme.

His killer has yet to be found, and the shock of having the country's top politician killed while strolling through the streets of the capital had a profound effect – both then and now – on Swedish society

Standing just steps away from the site where Palme was shot, 51-year-old Katarina Sjöndeson of Stockholm, explains that Palme's assassination served as a wake-up call for the country.

“We sort of realized that violence also occurs here in Sweden– violent death,” she says.

“We had never had a politician before that was murdered in Sweden, so that kind of shocked us… But, we should be used to it because we are watching television all the time. So, obviously it’s here as well as everywhere in the world.”

Bitte Lundborg, 68, also of Stockholm echoes Sjöndeson’s statements, asserting that Palme’s death made Swedes realize they weren’t as “innocent” as they had thought themselves to be.

“We thought it was a very open-minded society and things like that couldn’t really happen,” Lundborg says, adding that the assassination is “like a wound” in Sweden’s history.

Standing just a few steps away from the site of Palme’s death on what is today Olof Palmes Gata, 63-year-old Stockholm resident Harry Granberg says he believes Sweden has become a more “closed” country since the event.

“We have been more like other countries [now], I think,” he says, after noting that issues of safety and security which were less often considered by Swedes are now concerns for them as well, and not only citizens of other nations.

While there seems to be much consensus that Palme’s death affected Sweden deeply, there is less agreement over whether the case of his assassination should be left open for further investigation.

Due in part to the ongoing Palme investigation, Sweden recently altered laws governing the statute of limitations on especially serious crimes. As a result, the case will remain open beyond the previous limit of 25 years in hopes that his killer may still one day be found.

“It better be open,” says Rolf Vandenbrink, 52, of Stockholm. Vandenbrink cites the technological advancements of the past quarter-century as reason to believe Palme’s killer could still be tracked down with the aid of new skills and equipment.

Anette Zellen, 47, of Sollentuna is similarly hopeful.

“Why should they close it?” she asks.

“I mean, they maybe can find someone who is responsible for it.”

Yet, others believe the time has come to end the search.

“I don’t think they’re ever going to find who did it,” says Steven, a 32-year-old Stockholm resident.

“For me, it doesn’t really matter who did it or not. It’s so old and you can’t change anything after so many years. I don’t see the point. Even if they would find the killer or know who it is, I don’t think it would matter so much."

Peter, a 55-year-old Stockholm resident, also believes the case of Palme’s killing should be closed, but for more optimistic reasons.

“They probably can close it. Then, maybe someone will come out and say, ‘Well, I did it,’ or ‘I know who did it’,” Peter explains.

“But [if the investigation remains open], that person may still be afraid they would be caught and might not be interested in stepping forward.”

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group determined on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

Floods replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Floods replace Swedish heatwave

The Swedish summer was washed away on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm, including torrents of water flooding down stairways at metro stations. READ  

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child
Protesters gather in Malmö for a pro-Gaza demonstration on July 26th 2014. Stig-Åke Jönsson / TT

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child

The ongoing conflict in the middle east is delaying the investigation into the death of an 8-year-old girl who was found dead in Sweden in May. Meanwhile, over a 1,000 people attended a pro-Gaza march in Malmö. READ  

People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »


24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: