• Sweden edition
 
Northern Dispatches
'Swedish boys will court your foreign daughters'
A Swedish family. File: Shutterstock

'Swedish boys will court your foreign daughters'

Published: 06 May 2014 11:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 May 2014 11:31 GMT+02:00

When we were in hospital after having our twins last year a fellow new father warned me that our girls would be much sought-after once they reached marrying age.

“The boys will queue because you have brought new genes to the area. The biggest and best thing to happen to the northern Swedish gene pool was the invention of the bicycle. That meant men could travel 20 or 30 kilometres to meet a potential wife. Until then, a man’s options were slightly more restricted. It was not good for our gene pool.”

Northern Sweden still suffers from population stagnation. Most of the people in our area have always lived here. Even those who head down to Stockholm for work often come back to start a family - I can confirm it’s a great place to bring up kids. But not many Swedes move from south to north. And young people do occasionally head south for excitement and employment and stay for good. So there has been a gradual depopulation of the north.

We were the first non-Swedish residents of our village. For the locals this was a big thing. Many were bewildered (“You left London to come here?”) but most were intensely proud (“We are so glad you’re here to see how beautiful it is.”). And it’s this openness and pride that marks out northern Sweden as such a welcoming place for immigrants.

I’ve come across none of the suspicion and hostility to immigrants that is apparently so common down south. For one thing, Northerners tend to be progressive, politically. Randy, my neighbour, says, “We need new people up here. We need diversity. And it’s always fascinating to come across another culture.”

Marie, another neighbour, has a similar outlook. “Any healthy society needs a mixture of culture. The north also needs fresh blood and fresh ideas.” I’m yet to encounter anyone who objects to immigrants, although I’m sure, statistically, there must be those who wish for homogeneity and the subsequent death of the north.

Fellow immigrants I’ve spoken to at Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) classes have met with little hostility. One middle-aged mother told me of an incident in a small shop when her son had forgotten to bring his debit card to pay for a small basket of groceries “The old man in the shop told him not to worry, to just bring the money in next time. We lived down south for several months. That would not have happened.”

Another woman who had originally moved to Stockholm had nothing but praise for northern Sweden. “We could have stayed down south but we chose to come up here. We are treated with greater respect here. The locals are dependent on people choosing to move here and settle down. They appreciate us and treat as one of them.”

This is the key, of course. The north needs new blood, new ideas, new energy. There is nothing to be gained by fear of the different, by staying the same. Northern Sweden needs to keep moving forward just in order to survive. 

Paul Connolly

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedes 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Swedish actors Peter Johansson, Anna Sahlin and Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Swedes 'most beautiful' in the Nordics

Who is the fairest of them all? Swedes are, according to the rest of the Nordic nations in a recent survey. READ  

My Swedish Career
American teams up with Swede to fight cancer
Matthew Volsky holding the Gynocoular colposcope which is used for screening cervical cancer. Photo: Gynocoular

American teams up with Swede to fight cancer

When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world. READ  

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Arla organic milk. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth

Swedes are spending more and more of their food budget on organic foodstuffs, with major supermarkets reporting double digit increases, according to new statistics. READ  

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow
The cow pictured is not the one in the story, and presumably not cranky. Photo: Mike Groll/TT

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow

Police in southern Sweden have issued a public warning about a pregnant cow on the loose, after two people were sent to the hospital after a hustle with the heifer. READ  

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights

About 170 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm on Wednesday have been stranded in Tel Aviv, with flights between the cities cancelled due to a missile striking near the airport. READ  

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Photo: Mark Lennihan/TT

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax

With EU countries' treatment of Bitcoin varying vastly, Sweden has asked for clear EU rules stipulating whether or not the cryptocurrency should be taxed. READ  

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify
Photo: Spotify

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify

US Internet giant Google tried last year to buy Sweden-based streaming music service Spotify, but pulled out due to the beefed-up price tag, according to a media report on Tuesday. READ  

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Drivers in western Sweden were forced to jam on the brakes after a van shed its load of preserves and juices which led to major traffic problems. READ  

Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
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

695
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
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
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