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Another side of Malmö's infamous Rosengård
The omen of the Yalla Trappan restaurant; Drömmarnas Hus youth charity

Another side of Malmö's infamous Rosengård

Published: 02 Mar 2012 14:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Mar 2012 14:02 GMT+01:00

While Malmö's Rosengård neighbourhood is often the subject of negative headlines, the multi-ethnic district is slowly becoming a model for positive change in Sweden's third largest city, contributor Patrick Reilly discovers.

Mention the name Rosengård to anybody in Malmö and you are guaranteed to be met with an opinion – good, bad and frequently ugly.

It’s not a place that provokes a neutral response and normally only makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Located just over four kilometres from the city centre, Rosengård is usually referred to as a suburb.

Click here for a walking tour through the streets of Rosengård

Despite the close proximity to central Malmö, it feels remote and separated from the rest of Sweden’s third largest city.

“Mentally, Rosengård is a suburb but geographically it isn’t,” Dick Fredholm, the head of public relations for the City District of Rosengård, tells The Local.

Unless one lives or works in Rosengård, most people in Malmö are unlikely to make the short journey to the district.

Rents are generally cheaper here – often more than 1,000 kronor ($150) less per month for a two room apartment compared with elsewhere in the city – and the image of a dangerous multi-ethnic community in chaos persists.

More often than not, an unfair national media is blamed for further tarnishing Rosengård’s reputation.

Reporters flock here in droves at the merest hint of trouble and even America’s Fox News arrived in 2003 to portray Rosengård as a virtual war zone to the world.

On one occasion, a media pack descended after hearing of a fire which turned out to have been caused by a malfunctioning electrical fan.

A visiting sheriff from Los Angeles specializing in violent extremism said Rosengård’s biggest problem was its public relations.

“Traditionally it has had connotations with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, falafel, fires and riots but there is an everyday life in between which is quite similar to the rest of Malmö and other parts of Sweden,” adds Fredholm.

Built in the 1960s as part of the Million Programme (Millionprogram) home construction project, Rosengård has long been associated with immigrants.

Most of the original residents came for work, but in more recent times it has hosted a number of refugees from the Middle East.

And a walk through Rosengård nevertheless reveals obvious differences compared to many other parts of Sweden, with shops advertising their produce in both Swedish and Arabic, for example.

A shopping trolley has a message in four languages while the local supermarket points out that its offerings are 100 percent halal.

Pop into the local library and one finds an assortment of Macedonian, Albanian and Arabic titles to name just a few.

Walking into the shopping centre one hears a medley of languages being spoken with Swedish not always audible.

It is estimated that 86 percent of Rosengård residents have immigrant backgrounds, with most having roots in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.

And the way the area is often portrayed in the media might lead one believe that these disparate groups are at war with each other.

But the reality on the ground is rather different.

One of Rosengård’s most popular haunts is the Yalla Trappan restaurant. Staffed solely by immigrant women, the eatery's Middle Eastern-themed menu draws a dedicated clientele of locals…of all nationalities.

“Most of these women have never worked and have no education from their own country. Many of them suffer from depression," says Dorotha Trusz, director of Yalla Trappan which provides work and education opportunities for local women.

"They have only been mothers and never had another role, so they feel isolated when they get here."

The group has branched out into corporate catering and is opening another restaurant elsewhere in Malmö.

“Yalla Trappan is a door to another opportunity. Our idea is to give women a chance to show how Swedish society operates so they can do something good for themselves and also for Sweden," Trusz adds.

A short walk from Yalla Trappan is Rosengård’s very own "White House" complete with a West Wing.

Drömmarnas Hus ('The House of Dreams') has been transforming the lives of the local youth for over two decades.

Its current project, Mitt Område ('My Area'), gives youngsters media skills and has proven to be particularly successful.

Local young people who participated in Mitt Område recently produced a well-received web-tv drama series called ‘Under.’

It’s a love story set in the area with fantasy elements including a magical fish which connects people.

“The kids we meet identify themselves as being from Rosengård, not from Malmö. Often they cannot identify with the media picture of the area,” Sanna Bang Olsson, Youth Coordinator of Mitt Område tells The Local.

“We encourage participation, democracy and engage young people to be a positive influence to give a more nuanced picture of Rosengård.”

Young people also get an opportunity to speak their mind on local radio with a weekly 90 minute broadcast hosted by teenagers discussing topics which affect their community.

On a recent broadcast, a quartet of teens with Palestinian, Iraqi, Lebanese and Afghan heritage had a lively debate about immigration and what it means to be Swedish.

As a follow up, representatives from the local police are expected to make an appearance on air to answer questions from the youth.

The district’s local recreation centre is famous for boxing and is used for a variety of purposes.

After the local mosque mysteriously burned down in 2003 following an attack on the Islamic Center, on Fridays the rec centre also serves as a place of worship for the Muslim community.

However, Rosengård’s willingness to adapt to its community is both a blessing and a curse according to Trusz.

“It is a big mistake to translate everything into people's native languages. Why bother to learn Swedish when your own language is spoken here. It is too easy,” says the Yalla Trappan director.

And the district has its fair share of challenges.

A damning report on the standard of local schools last year revealed an alarming number of pupils don’t go on onto upper secondary education.

“Results in the schools are so bad, 50 percent of the students that leave ninth grade go to upper secondary school so 50 percent go and do nothing which creates frustration," Fredholm, of the Rosengård district council laments, explaining that improving neighbourhood schools has become a top priority.

"There are too few students so the size of the classrooms is being changed so there is more money for teachers per student."

Ambitious plans are also being drawn up that call for the creation of railway station in Rosengård that will give the district a direct link to Malmö's city centre.

Hundreds of new student apartments are also in the pipeline and constructing the district’s own high rise tower is also under consideration.

There is even a project inspired by a literal English translation of the district's Swedish name that calls for a world leading rose garden to be created in Rosengård so the area finally lives up to its name.

Despite the negative headlines, the multi-ethnic district is a community proud of its identity with visitors greeted by a quote from their most famous son – footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic – saying you can take the boy out of Rosengård but not the Rosengård out of the boy.

Innovative social projects, a responsive community and better communications mean the image of Rosengård as a crime-ridden ghetto is slowly changing.

Although the job is unlikely to stop there, as a similar image rehabilitation task is likely to be carried out for the whole of Malmö as well.

“The image that Rosengård had or has is being passed on to the image of Malmö now. What we have been doing here for two years will likely have to be done for the city also," Fredholm explains.

Thus Rosengård appears to be setting the trend for positive change that locals hope will expand to the rest of Malmö, as residents of other neighbourhoods in the city begin to see the once outcast district as a potential model for future improvements to the city as a whole

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Your comments about this article

15:51 March 2, 2012 by Vill
Ah, such heartwarming propaganda. Thank you TheLocal.SE.
16:10 March 2, 2012 by Frobobbles
Malfunctioning electrical fan! I just knew it was all a hoax all the time. Rosengård is paradise.
16:12 March 2, 2012 by azimov
I bet the citizens of Malmo will be delighted at the prospect of a direct rail link to their quiet, sleepy, crime-free city.
17:12 March 2, 2012 by Paul Greer
There's a nasty little line in here - "Most of the original residents came for work, but in more recent times it has hosted a number of refugees from the Middle East.", subliminally implying that refugees from the Middle East have come here not to work.... a case for the press ombudsman, methinks??
17:15 March 2, 2012 by canuk
paul, shut the f. up.
17:24 March 2, 2012 by Rod Munch
I liked the part about the women working in the restaurant. I think that the article should explain WHY these women are uneducated and have never done anything but produce babies. However, that would also inform the reader about the type of mysoginistic culture being mass-imported into Sweden by the thousands on a yearly basis. And the media wouldn't want an informed public now would they?

The rest of the article is b.s. and propaganda. Seriously....blaming the media for exaggerating what goes on in Rosengård?? Haha. We're talking about the place that invented and perfected throwing rocks at police, firefighters, ambulances and busses, ok?
17:36 March 2, 2012 by Larry Thrash
"A visiting sheriff from Los Angeles specializing in violent extremism said Rosengård's biggest problem was its public relations." Am I to assume that better "public relations" propaganda ministry can blame someone else. Probably racism, Swedish culture, Jews, Christians, George W. Bush, cold weather, caucasians, chocolate candy, or a host of others could be the reason. Of course, the residents can never be blamed because they are "minorities". We all know that minorities are pure as the wind driven snow.
18:32 March 2, 2012 by Lemanic
It would be better if it wasn't still a ghetto. The modernistic structure of Rosengård is one of the main reasons why people feel both detained and detached at the same time. Let the grid structure around Rosengård pass through the area as actual streets, not just pedestrian streets, and build hoods with an inner city feel.
19:06 March 2, 2012 by godnatt
@Larry Thrash

Yes, they need to spend more PR time reminding the Muslims they aren't violent as they spend trying to convince the rest of us.
19:56 March 2, 2012 by DaveN
It sounds so nice I want to rent a summer stuga there.
19:57 March 2, 2012 by jostein
Patrick Reilly:

"the multi-ethnic district is slowly becoming a model for positive change in Sweden's third largest city, contributor Patrick Reilly discovers."

And this positive change is fewer and fewer swedes each year, i take it? I guess in Patrick Reillies wet dreams this is the model for all of sweden? The less swedes the better? Why beat around the bush Patrick?
20:34 March 2, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
I've applied for a summer stuga there as well. Thanks to the Local for the recommendation, this Rosengard sounds like heaven, and the place to be for sure. Shall be contacting my estate agent first thing monday morning. Thanks again to the Local. Best to get in quick before the rush.
20:59 March 2, 2012 by blursd
And Jefferey Dahmer loved his mother ... still doesn't change anything.

Also, just a referencing error here ... it is incorrect to say "a visiting Sheriff from Los Angeles." There is (by definition) only ONE Sheriff in Los Angeles County (or any county for that matter) - everyone else who works for the department in a sworn status is a Deputy Sheriff (and in certain situations maybe has the title Assistant Sheriff or Under Sheriff), including those with specializations (i.e. Special Weapons and Tactics, School Resource Deputies, Community Outreach, Public Relations, etc ... ). In most cases the actual Sheriff position is either a directly elected position, or an appointment by a city council - whereas a normal law enforcement position with the department as a Deputy is like applying for any other job.
23:02 March 2, 2012 by Vill
This just in.....Rosengård's real estate values are skyrocketing!
23:09 March 2, 2012 by Toffee_apple
They can bring in programs and try to change the "image" of the place all they like, but unless the immigrants, particularly those from the Middle East, actually assimilate then it will never change. As it says in the article, why learn Swedish if all the signs are in their language and most speak the same language? These people don't want to assimilate. They bring their tribal issues with them and they try to solve these issues their own brutal way. When the Swedes get involved they're accused of being racist and ignorant of other cultures. These people are at home, that's why nothing changes for the better. In fact, it's better than home. They can sit on welfare and earn more doing nothing than working their behinds off in their home countries and even get money for having babies and the more babies the better. They can then bring out their 50 or so cousins who can all do the same thing. Why would they have it any other way? This article is just propaganda. Rosengård (similar in many ways to Fittja and Tensta in Stockholm) is just not representative of Sweden and unless more Swedes move back in (as if) then it never will be.
00:31 March 3, 2012 by phil23456
The entire area should be fenced off and the residents should have to get permits and carry papers to leave.
00:49 March 3, 2012 by TheWatchman
Malmo isn't even Swedish anymore, I like how this is trying to make it seem all lovely and nice. I'll put it this way. If I went in there wearing either a Priest or Rabbi's outfit I'd probably be dead. What a great place to live!
01:18 March 3, 2012 by Svensksmith
Can anyone recommend a good B & B there?
01:36 March 3, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
The Local has sold it to me. I'm looking at buying a nice little summer house there. Apparently its just bad PR that is the problem. The rapes and murders, well, they are just bad PR and if dressed up with a bit of professional PR they won't be a problem.
05:14 March 3, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I used to walk through Rosengard everyday. Saw the same punks every day. The few times I was yelled at and turned to confront them, they scattered like roaches. If they had to pass me on the sidewalk, they'd make way. If you act like prey, that's how you'll be seen. Swedes aren't just easy marks in their own country, they are always the easy marks in southern Europe and South America too. They tolerate it, so they get more of it. Every scofflaw knows a Swede will give up everything he's got if you say boo! OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you know it's true.
07:46 March 3, 2012 by icedearth
Just an info for the locals here. Most middle easterner be it asylum seekers or immigrants are Christians Assyrians. They are mostly Iraqis , Syrians-Lebanese. So there....
10:38 March 3, 2012 by calebian22
Sorry ice, there are about 80,000 Christian Assyrians in Sweden. There are about 500,000 muslims here. So there.
11:23 March 3, 2012 by icedearth
#22 : check the immigration section http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sweden#Immigration
11:42 March 3, 2012 by calebian22
My numbers are from 2009, not 1990 like yours. A lot has happened in the world since then in case you haven't noticed.
12:03 March 3, 2012 by icedearth
lol. my number are from 2010 . here is the quote '' Demographics

According to Eurostat, in 2010, there were 1.33 million foreign-born residents in Sweden, corresponding to 14.3% of the total population. Of these, 859 000 (9.2%) were born outside the EU and 477 000 (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.[9][10] The largest groups were''

over that, I was there and I been around them. Unlike you whom they are your neighbours and never spoke to any of them ;) ... here you go...
12:43 March 3, 2012 by calebian22
ttp://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2009/127339.htm

Well considering your original statement, "Most middle easterner be it asylum seekers or immigrants are Christians Assyrians," what does your Eurostat reference have to do with anything? Number two and three on the list, are from the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Most of those are muslim, not Christian. Combine it with my reference and you are completely wrong. Not surprising, from someone who thinks that Wiki anything is a reliable reference.

As for your interaction with immigrants. Who cares? Anecdotal evidence doesn't support anything but your personal experience. Big whoop.
16:52 March 3, 2012 by icedearth
No one cares and I dont. But they know their community more than anyone even the officials. Everytime something wrong happens blame the muslim immigrant. One or two things you should know :

1- human beings like to congregate wherever they go. Chinese with Chiense, Swedes with Swedes, Arabs with Arabs and so.... Do not let me start opening fire on North American tourists behavior in Mexico. Or Europeans tourists who enjoy Thai's little girls. SO we are all full of $hit.

2-There are bad apples everywhere and in every race. There are bad swedes and good swedes, there are good christians and bad christians... also there are good muslims and bad muslims .. whoever is done bad is disowned by his own kind. they do not represnt it.

I think you are an educated person , so you should know better... and you should travel more . get out of your house... here are my two cents ... im closing replies..
19:02 March 3, 2012 by calebian22
Well, ice I called you on your claims and you came up short. Apparently you do care, because you changed the subject. Changing the subject to other cultural negatives doesn't let you off the hook for your misleading statements. The problems with Rosengård have nothing to do with underage Thai girls exploited as prostitutes.

As for me knowing better, I don't let misinformation pass when I see it. As for closing the replies, as the loser, you don't have that right.
19:17 March 3, 2012 by glimmannen
I am a swede and have been to rosengård, I wouldnt mind living there.

Remember Rosengård gave Sweden a football star.
13:14 March 4, 2012 by rise
#29

Yes Zlatan Ibrahimović was born in Malmö 1981 and grew up in Rosengård. His parents from the former Yugoslavia.
16:11 March 4, 2012 by jostein
glimmannen

Yea, in the future all elven of them will have been "given" to us. Then ill cheer for the danish, norwedgian or finnish team.
20:52 March 4, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
Sounds like a must see tourist destination next time I visit Sweden. Why travel to the middle east when you can see it all in Malmo?
07:52 March 5, 2012 by jostein
#29 glimmannen

Apparently a swedish family:

http://www.sydsvenskan.se/malmo/article1612896/Trakasserier-tvingar-familj-att-fly.html

So, maybe you dont have kids?
11:52 March 5, 2012 by hejsweden
another reason why i dont go to that part of Sweden anymore.
12:00 March 5, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
I'm heading for New Zealand . . .
16:26 March 6, 2012 by lilsocks
4#

What are you chatting about? You are a fool! refugees do NOT move country for work but to escape the country they come from........
01:34 March 7, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
This article is nothing but PC Propoganda! Malmö is nothing but a hell hole overrun by middle easterners. Unfortunatley most of the once beautiful country of Sweden in turning into Muslim-land. I hate what this country has become.
11:47 March 7, 2012 by Brock_and_Roll
Here in the UK we have always suspected that many Swedes were closet Nazis, as opposed to the brave Norwegians who fought them with us. Working for the Swedes for 15 years and reading the comments on here only re-enforces the view that many would not have that disappointed in Germany won the war!

It is hard to know where to start with the comments here.... "less swedes"???? Surely, once you have a Swedish passport you are Swedish as will all the children born of these immigrants?

Some of the ignorance of the posters here belies belief - surely you must all know that a large proportion of the Swedish population emmigrated in the 19th century to the USA? The USA is a country of immigrants - surely no American called Carlsson or Svanberg is considered a 2nd class citizen? Almost a quarter of the US population now speaks Spanish - does Mr Carlsson complain? Over time the cutlures of immigrants assimilate with that of the exisitng population - sure you get problems along the way but ultimately the result is enriching.

The UK is a classic example - sure it has problems, but 60m people are packed into a small island. We have always accepted immigrants - whether Vikings, Anglo Saxons, Normans , Jews, Hugeonots in the past, then West Indians, Africans , Indians etc more recently. By and large after teething problems everyone lives side by side in peace. Our language, cuisine, and habits have asteadily changed - our favorite food is curry. Our language is a total mis-mash of other languages - one of the reasons why it is so successful.

Swedes may have seen the riots in the UK last summer - obviously not a good thing, but you could not fail to notice that the rioters and looters came from every race & background!

Personally, I think a lot of the Swedes that post here should have a long look at their own selves and their so called "Swedish culture" - is it really that good?
13:00 March 7, 2012 by Rick Methven
@Brock_and_Roll

You are 100% correct re the attitudes of a large number of posters here on TL, they are racist, nazi lovers and hate anybody who is not like them. What you are wrong about is that all these vile scum are Swedes. Some such as Migga are shining example of the hard core Swedish democrats, many others are American or English racist trash, who are not living in Sweden and most probably could not find the country on a map. Their sole aim is to cause dissent and to create racial tension where there is none. The Local is an English language paper read by English speakers. In any other forum or on-line paper. these posters would be banned very quickly and posts removed.

Here it seems that anything goes and the scum of the earth flock here in droves. which is good for click through advertising.

Your post comes a day after a UK journalist friend of mine emailed me with exactly the same expression of disgust.

I am a Brit who has lived in Sweden for 30 years. The vast majority of Swedes are warm friendly and welcoming and as far away from the attitude of some of the posters on this site as chalk is from cheese
07:34 March 8, 2012 by AW_S
Scandinavian Detroit :D
00:42 March 9, 2012 by gh2008
immigrants adapt if countries adopt.
06:25 March 9, 2012 by TheWatchman
@Brock_and_Roll

Norway is lovely, isn't it? Are you talking about the same Norwegians whose policemen helped round up the Jews and deliver them to the Nazis? The same ones who 15,000 volunteered and 6,000 ended up fighting for Nazi Germany? The same Norway who recognizes Hamas as a legitimate organization and leaders of Palestine, not an anti-Jewish that intends to kill the Jews? The same Norway who even the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation admits that Muslim students often praise Adolf Hitler in school?

I could really go on and on about Norway, but Norway is far more racist than Sweden ever was. Also, you should realize that none of these people are anti-immigrant. If these immigrants were Korean, Mexican, Italian, Australian, Israeli or Thai, there would be almost no problem. The problem comes from when these 'peaceful' immigrants attack ambulances and fire fighters, shoot people in the streets, threaten mail delivery workers, attack Jews, rape and assault citizens. THIS is where the problem lies.
12:43 March 9, 2012 by phil23456
Why do lefties always scream the word racist when they lose a debate? News flash - It doesn't work anymore! Politically correct multiculturalists are the real extremists, people who oppose immigration are not even racist most of the time.
18:33 March 9, 2012 by Dave N
Brock and Roll has obviously been wearing blinkers and rose-tinted spectacles if he believes the rubbish he spouts about the UK.

He even gets the favourite food thing wrong. Britain's favourite foreign food is actually Chinese. The curry thing was propaganda invented by Jack Straw a Labour politician to please his Muslim voters. And as for "By and large after teething problems everyone lives side by side in peace..." How deluded can you get?

There were riots in Rochdale just a few days ago (by English youths) in response to the Muslim paedophile gang rape trial going on ( 40 Pakistanis implicated) - and since then, another similar case has gone to trial in Burnley. The UK is bubbling with resentment against immigrants.

And the overwhelming majority of the August London rioters were definitely not English. But then, it's very rare to find a born and bred English Londoner in London these days.
21:34 March 9, 2012 by MaoriJafa
Lived in Rosengard for a few years, there's a few dickhead youth around, shitty pizzas at the town centre but that's about it. The sheriff is right it's a PR issue as compared to what is classified in the US as a problem area Rosengard is a joke. Demonised by the wimpy once were viking Swedes and the sad white western immigrants. Grow some balls people you live a life of fear.
05:53 March 10, 2012 by Kublai
@ Brock_and_Roll

Well, it sounds like YOU are supporting todays nazi's. Islam today is what Nazism was 1933-1945.
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