• Sweden edition
 
The Year in Review
Sweden's biggest news stories in 2012

Sweden's biggest news stories in 2012

Published: 21 Dec 2012 17:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Dec 2012 17:01 GMT+01:00

With the end of 2012 in sight, The Local looks back at some of the stories that dominated headlines in Sweden over the past year.

A lot can happen in a year, and 2012 was no exception.

With the new year just around the corner, we took some time to sift through the hundreds of stories that appeared on The Local in the past 12 months.

After a thorough review, we identified a few news stories that not only dominated Sweden's domestic news agenda, but also put Sweden in the headlines abroad.

The birth of Princess Estelle

On a morning in late February, Swedes awoke to news that a very pregnant Crown Princess Victoria had been taken to hospital. A few hours later, the Royal Court made news of the royal birth official:

The Marshall of the Realm is happy to announce that H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria on Thursday the 23rd of Februrary 2012 at 04.26 gave birth to a daughter.

Both mother and child are doing well.

Related articles

--Live Blog: Sweden celebrates new princess

--Naming princess Estelle a 'political statement' by Swedish Royal Family

--Estelle baptized in 'historic' ceremony

The birth of the new princess, later christened Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland, was a high point for Sweden's monarchy, which has struggled with a bout of bad publicity in the last couple of years.

Not only is the birth of Sweden's future head of state significant for the country, the royal birth – Sweden's first in more than three decades – attracted a huge amount of international media attention as well, as did her baptism in May.

Loreen's Eurovision win

Sweden went mad with Eurovision mania in May, when Loreen took home the title for the Swedes in Azerbaijan with her hit Euphoria.

Sweden was behind the singer from the beginning, voting her through in the preliminary Melodifestivalen rounds, and holding their collective breath for the finals in Baku.

Loreen’s whirling and shadowy dance routine in the live performance prompted fan videos from around the world, including one we featured from the UK with dancing animals at a wildlife park.

Related articles

--Loreen win gives Sweden Eurovision 'Euphoria'

--UK wildlife park animals catch ‘Euphoria’ fever

--Fans divided as Malmö to host Eurovision 2013

In July, officials confirmed the 2013 Eurovision finals would be held in Malmö, southern Sweden. The news baffled some Stockholm fans and disappointed some Gothenburgers, whose cities had also been in the running to host the event.

While the 2013 competition to elect Sweden's entrant has yet to get underway, Swedes and music fans across Europe are already setting their sights on Malmö to see who will claim the title next.

Exit Juholt, enter Löfven

After 10 tumultuous months marred by scandal and questions about his leadership, Håkan Juholt resigned as leader of the opposition Social Democrat Party in February, giving way to union boss Stefan Löfven.

The previous head of the powerful IF Metall union helped bring much needed stability to the party, which was stuck in an extended struggle to recover from the dismal election results in 2010 that prompted then-party leader Mona Sahlin to resign.

Related articles

--Union boss tipped as new Social Democrat head

--Silence is golden for Social Democrats' Löfven

--Social Democrats return to top of Swedish politics

Löfven gave the party a bump in polls and, by keeping a low profile, allowed voters and the party to focus on other matters.

Despite an extended period of calm under Löfven's leadership, the electoral prospects of the Social Democrats in 2014 remain uncertain.

Sweden's Twitter success

This year was also a big year for Sweden, or should we say @sweden, when it came to social media.

Officials at Visit Sweden and the Swedish Institute launched an initiative where a different Swede took over the @sweden Twitter account each week – and the world listened.

It didn't hurt that some of the curators issued a few head-turning tweets, including posts about masturbation and one including a picture of a curator breastfeeding.

And The Local was right in the thick of it when US comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert got wind of the account after the world was collectively outraged and curious about Sonja Abramsson’s tweets that asked "what's the fuzz with Jews?"

Related articles

--Storm over 'official' Jew tweets from Sweden

--Colbert dares Sweden: 'Take a chance on me!'

--Sweden says no to Colbert Twitter takeover

Colbert launched his own campaign to take over the account himself, but Swedish officials eventually brushed him off, remaining true to their initial guidelines that state only Swedish citizens can Tweet be @sweden.

The account currently has almost 70,000 followers, and has inspired similar national accounts far and wide.

Racist cake and other debates

Sweden's Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth dished up a heaping portion of global outrage when she cut into a cake at the opening of an art exhibit in Stockholm in April

The cake was designed to reflect widely held stereotypes of a black woman’s body, but when the artist Makode Linde, who was hiding inside, started screaming, it created a scene which caused people around the world to drop their forks in shock.

The minster's racist cake cutting drew sharp criticism from African-Swedes, civil rights groups abroad, and even from Swedish pop queen Robyn.

Adelsohn Liljeroth apologized but ignored calls for her resignation.

Related articles

--Minister in 'racist circumcision outrage'

--'Racist' ads removed for Swedish kids' film

--Black doll cut from Swedish Disney mash-up

Cutting the cake, some said, conjured up images of female genital mutilation, a practice widely considered barbaric but still practiced by some African communities, increasingly in secret.

The incident was one of several which prompted Swedes to debate racial stereotypes in 2012, including the decision to remove Tintin comic books from library shelves, and questions about whether a children's book with multicoloured characters may have also had racist overtones.

And just last week, public opinion was divided once again over whether it was right to delete scenes from Swedes' much-loved Christmas Eve Disney mash-up.

Fantastic football feats

After Sweden's dismal performance at the Euro 2012 football tournament this spring, many fans wondered if the year would give them anything to cheer about.

But a couple of incredible performances later in the year have all but overshadowed Sweden's Euro disappointment, buoying hopes that Erik Hamrén's side may yet achieve greatness in the next big international tournament – the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

In October, the men's national side mounted an unprecedented comeback against Germany, salvaging a draw after being down by four goals, in what the Swedish press hailed as the "miracle in Berlin".

Related articles

--Swedish press hails 'miracle in Berlin'

--Zlatan nets four as Sweden claim victory

--Praise aplenty for Zlatan after 'best goal ever' (includes video)

A few weeks later, Sweden's football fans were in for another unexpected treat when star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic single-handedly beat England, scoring four goals, including a spectacular bicycle kick many commentators claimed was the best football goal ever scored.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this pair of noteworthy performances will be the exception or the rule as Sweden continues its World Cup qualifying campaign.

The fall of the Swedish economy

In 2011, the Swedish economy was fêted far and wide for somehow managing to avoid being sucked into the financial woes that had dogged the rest of Europe.

But the Swedish economy steadily lost its sheen in 2012, proving that not even the much-vaunted and mythical "Swedish model" managed by Finance Minister Anders Borg could withstand the effects of the eurozone debt crisis.

Related articles

--Swedish economy hit by eurozone troubles

--Sweden budget bill sparks heated debate

--Sweden slashes 2013 growth forecast

Already by February, statistics revealed that the juggernaut Swedish economy that broke growth records in 2011 was set for a much more sluggish 2012, prompting a series of interest rate cuts by the Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, and forcing Borg to lower continually his previous bullish growth forecasts.

Borg also found himself in the hot seat when he presented the budget, drawing criticism for overly optimistic predictions and deficit spending.

While the government likes to tell voters that its policies have kept Sweden better off than many other countries, heading into 2013, it appears that perhaps the Swedish economy may not be as exceptional as previously thought.

The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

719
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