• Sweden edition
 
Swedes hit streets in fight for right to dance

Swedes hit streets in fight for right to dance

Published: 23 Sep 2012 15:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Sep 2012 15:18 GMT+02:00

Unperturbed by the rainy weather and waving placards with slogans like "shake that ass", "live, love, dance" and "dance or die", protesters gathered to listen to speeches in the Humlegården park in central Stockholm before dancing through the capital city towards the Tanto park on the southern island of Södermalm.

The protesters want to get rid of a law that requires owners of bars, clubs and restaurants to obtain a special licence in order to allow their patrons to dance. If owners lack this licence and their guests start spontaneously moving to music, they can be slapped with a fine.

Anders Varveus from Dans, Trams & Acceptans (Dance, Nonsense & Acceptance) - the group behind Saturday's demonstration - called the dance licence "absurd, obsolete and deeply offensive."

Varveus, a management consultant, told The Local that the licence law "infringes on our right to move freely."

"The law does not just apply to bars," explained Varveus.

"If you want to organize a party in the woods and you expect people to dance there, you have to have a license, too."

One of the speakers who addressed the crowds in Humlegården was Mattias Svensson, editor at the magazine Neo and author of the book Glädjedödarna (The Killjoys).

He told The Local that he participated in the demonstration to support the "right to dance".

"People's ability to gather and dance is part of the right of assembly. It is those who want to infringe on this right who ought to be required to seek permits and to be tested by a zealous bureaucracy," he said.

Svensson added that the dance license law is a remnant of the 1930s and 1940s, a time he describes as Sweden's era of "paternalism and moral panics".

Anders Varveus believes the dance licence hampers Swedish culture.

"A gigantic party tourism industry has developed with people who want to party going for weekend trips to places like Berlin, Barcelona and Ibiza," Varveus told the Local.

"But from Sweden the party tourism only goes one way. Very few come here."

He puts this down to the "meddlesome and moralistic" Swedish authorities.

Varveus hopes the law will be abolished before the end of the year and he and his fellow dance enthusiasts may get their way: Linda Nordlund, chair of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) youth wing, and Liberal MP Mathias Sundin have proposed a parliamentary motion to abolish the permit.

Sundin told the local Norrköping Tidningar (NT) newspaper that the dance licence is part of the "complicated regulations and masses of permits that restaurateurs have to keep track of."

"Many of the rules are good and important as they make us feel safe… But this feels unnecessary," he told the paper.

And what if the dance license does not get abolished, after all?

"Then we will organize another, bigger dance demonstration," promised Varveus.

The Local/nrFollow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

17:38 September 23, 2012 by byke
So what happens if you live above a place that designed as say a restaurant that isn't doing to well, which then decides it wants to become a late night tap dancing school?

At present the license protects those around them to stop business from having a free hand to profit at the cost of locals who may object to such.

Personally I cant see what the issue is.

The same way I would hope that bars with neighbors nearby are required to have a license to operate late at night and need a license to play loud music in the early hours.

Yet again, a bunch of lemmings being sold freedom at the cost of others.
19:00 September 23, 2012 by Emerentia
Well, let's meet up outside Anders Varveus house at 2 pm, put on some loud music and dance for a couple of hours each night... I think he would change his mind about this then...
19:44 September 23, 2012 by jamesdean
The dance permit is, as Mattias Svensson touches on, a remnant of the 30s and 40s. Back then, pre-marital sex was still considered dirty and wrong, and dancing was seen as an activity that encouraged youths to have pre-marital sex. The dance permit was not introduced to protect people against loudly dancing neighbours, it was introduced as a paternalistic nanny-state law to try and stop youths from engaging in an activity that might make them sexually aroused.

It's also well worth mentioning that the dance permit is redundant - there are already laws against bars disturbing their neighbours; Bars are already banned from emitting sound volumes over a certain decibel. I'm not sure what the exact decibel level is, but if you live near a bar and the sound leaks into your home over a certain volume level, you can sue the bar. There have been several cases where bars have had to either stop playing music, had to start closing earlier, or been shut down entirely due to neighbours complaining about the volume level.

So, Byke and Emerentia, you don't have to worry about the dance permit being removed - you'd still be protected by the volume laws. A late night tapdancing school could still be shut down for disturbing its neighbours, and having an outdoor party in the middle of the night would still fall under disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct or some such law.

The idea that the owner of an establishment has to get a permit from the government to let the patrons of the establishment dance is simply ludicrous. Dancing does not necessarily make much, if any, noise
07:14 September 24, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Agree with jamesdean. Recall that if you are living over the place, then that implies in all likelihood that you (and the other residents) are collectively the de-facto landlords, and can write up the lease in the first place in a way that protects you from suddenly living over a place that is open with pounding music until 5 a.m., or even if you did not add that clause to the lease initially you can probably terminate the lease later on because of the noise problem. The law sadly adds to the impression that Sweden is over taxed and ridiculously over regulated.

.
09:17 September 25, 2012 by samucs
Have one video about the dance protest on youtube.
14:00 September 26, 2012 by bcterry
Why is islam against fornication? ......... because it might lead to dancing.
Today's headlines
Politics
Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden
Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Photo: TT

Israel's ambassador recalled from Sweden

Israel called home its ambassador from Stockholm "in irritation" on the same day that Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

970
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:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
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.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN