• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedes unfazed by looming 'apocalypse'

20 Dec 2012, 16:48

Published: 20 Dec 2012 16:48 GMT+01:00

A post published on Thursday on the crisis information website run by Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB) strikes a reassuring tone.

"No high alert ahead of the end of the world," it proclaims.

"At the moment, we cannot see anything taking place on December 20th to indicate that panic will break out ahead of the end of the world.

"But if many people start to worry, we're at the ready 24/7."

While the words seem soothing, the agency nevertheless could leave an anxious visitor with a lingering niggle of doubt.

"Is the world going to end on December 21st, 2012? The answer is simple: We have no idea."

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT STOCKHOLMERS PLAN FOR THEIR LAST DAY ON EARTH

In other words, even Sweden disaster response authorities seem to admit that the apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar may indeed take place.

Luckily, I'm ready, even if most other Swedes may not be.

The air is stale here. It smells and tastes like dust. There is moss on the walls and water is dripping from the ceiling.

I am underneath the streets of Södermalm, in Katarinagaraget, part of a big network of tunnels stretching out across Stockholm.

Today, it houses hundreds of cars rather than people hunkered down to survive a catastrophe.

Like the Metro in Moscow, this is the place to be in the event of a nuclear war. And while the Mayan calendar doesn't seem to mention anything specific about nuclear weapons, this feels like a good place to shelter.

The idea was, in the event of an atomic blast near Stockholm, that this shelter's 5-tonne security doors would slam shut, keeping the radiation out and the people inside the tunnels safe.

Apparently, 20,000 people can survive down here.

If they have food.

If they have water.

And I'm here, because the world is supposed to end tomorrow. That is if you believe the hype on the web.

But apparently, not many Swedes do, as I don't see anyone else scrambling to grab a spot next to me in this cavernous underground bunker.

From what I've been told, the Mayan calendar ends tomorrow. There is nothing after December 21st.

Literally nothing.

Some people out there are convinced the Mayans have got the right end of the stick and Friday really is the end of the world. Newspapers and social media sites are filled with stories about people getting ready for one final big bang, thinking the apocalypse is imminent.

According to The Guardian, the fear of the apocalypse has Russia firmly in its grip, with people stockpiling matches, candles, salt, and flashlights while they await the end of the world.

They exchange survival tips online, preparing for the clock to strike apocalypse-nowish.

But Swedes do not care.

“No one has called to ask if the world is really coming to an end. Most people that have been in contact with us have basically asked how to stay safe,” Civil Contingencies Agency spokesman Erik Löfgren tells The Local.

At least one caller, however, (that would be me, cowering underground), wants to know more about what he can do to prepare.

“No matter if you fear the destruction of the world, power outages, or any other threat, the key is to stock up on supplies," explains Löfgren.

"Make sure that you have some water bottles in your fridge, dried or canned food so that you have something to eat, and candles to keep you warm.”

Simple enough, except I'm already in the bunker and all I have is my laptop.

I am also alone, a fact which emboldens me to venture back to the surface to stock up on supplies, but also to talk to others about why they don't seem to care that there may literally be hours left before we are all obliterated.

My quick survey on the streets of Stockholm shows that many Swedes just cannot be bothered taking the Mayan calendar seriously.

Story continues below…

"I don’t believe that the world will end tomorrow," says 51-year-old Eva.

"But if I did, I would spend my last day on earth with my loved ones."

Meanhile, New York-native Mike, 37, hasn't prepared at all for the threat of imminent death and destruction.

“What do you do when the world ends?” he asks, pausing for a second before adding that he'd drink some wine and take up smoking again.

“I haven’t smoked for five years, but if the world ends who cares? Lung cancer won’t care,” he quips.

So why are Swedes unconcerned about the end of the Mayan calendar?

“I think that Swedes in general are used to basing their fears on scientific studies, rather than superstitions and mystical interpretations,” answers disaster expert Löfgren.

He doesn't believe the hype either.

On that note, perhaps I should just head back to the office. Besides, it was rather boring underneath Stockholm.

Eric Johanssontwitter.com/thelocalsweden

Related links:

Your comments about this article

17:55 December 20, 2012 by skogsbo
if mayans were so good at seeing the future, why aren't they around any more?
20:35 December 20, 2012 by SockRayBlue
The calendar had to end somewhere. The sign for infinity hadn't been invented yet...remember, the figure eight on its side. I'm sure the laughing of those ancients is still ringing in the jungle.

Being Swedish I have to agree with the Swedes...what can you do about it? Make love, have a beer and relax. You still have to show up for work on Monday.

Was that Friday morning or evening?
21:03 December 20, 2012 by heroine
People should really stop this propaganda and BS there is no such a thing as end of the world.
22:44 December 20, 2012 by Emerentia
I feel so sorry for those people who live their lives afraid of some apocalypse or armageddon, especially children growing up in families where the parents are obsessed with these ideas and spend all their money on hoarding of canned food and weapons and survival stuff.
02:37 December 21, 2012 by Monica Williams
I really would like some Swedish meat balls for dinner but I am in the USA....So we are eating tacos instead...So much for the end of the world...Lol...!!!...I be working tomorrow and paying taxes now that sucks...!!!
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum seekers leaving Sweden in record numbers
The Swedish Migration Agency offices in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The large number of asylum seekers leaving Sweden in 2016 coincides with a dramatic fall in the number seeking asylum in the country compared to last year.

Long-term damage seen from brain injuries: Swedish study
A model of the human brain. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A study carried out in Sweden suggests that youths who suffer traumatic brain injuries are more likely to experience long-term psychological and social problems.

The Local List
30 Swedish movies you must see before you die
Thomas Hedegran and Rolf Lassgård in thriller The Hunters. Photo: Photo: Per Pettersson/TT

Film buff Christian Ekvall picks out 30 definitive Swedish movies you must see to understand the soul of the country's cinema.

Malmö police catch car arson suspect in the act
Another car blaze earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Malmö police have arrested a man after they caught him setting a vehicle alight in the Rosengård district as the city's spate of summer car fires continued.

Swedes find out how birth control affects your sex life
Swedish birth control pills. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Swedish researchers have investigated whether or not contraceptives affect women's sex lives.

Analysis
Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Police investigators at the scene of the grenade blast in Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The Local speaks to two crime experts about why an eight-year-old boy became the latest victim of gang-related conflicts in Gothenburg.

Trump accuses Ericsson of bribing Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Ohio. Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

US presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke about the Swedish telecom giant at a campaign rally in Ohio.

Sorrow for boy killed in Gothenburg gang attack
The window of the Biskopsgården apartment broken by a grenade. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The eight-year-old killed when a grenade was thrown into the window of an apartment is reported to be a resident of Birmingham, England.

Homes
In pictures: eight of Sweden's most colourful homes
Don't be afraid of colour. Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri

Tired of Scandinavian black and white design? Houzz.se's Amanda Strömberg guides you to some inspiring colourful homes in Sweden – because they do exist.

Stockholm airspace to close for Joe Biden visit
Biden and Swedish PM Stefan Löfven during a March 2015 meeting. Photo: Tomas & Monica Enqvist/TT

Along with traditional aircraft, drones, paragliders and even model airplanes will be banned from the skies while the US Vice President is in Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Why are fewer foreign graduates staying in Sweden to work?
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
This Swedish street artist's incredible murals will make your jaw drop
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Östersund, Jämtland
The Local Voices
'Swedes have the right to decide what's best for their nation'
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
3,354
jobs available