• Sweden's news in English
 
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

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014
Christmas elk lights in Stockholm. Photo: TT

More Swedes take to the skies for Christmas 2014

Swedes have shown a massively increased interest in travel this year, with up to 300,000 more people taking a flight over the Christmas period compared to last year. READ  

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion
Photo: The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis (ASIM)

US-Swedish newspaper archive nears completion

The Swedish-language press flourished in the US in the late 19th century as Swedes moved in, and a new project to archive and digitize the wealth of historical material is set to go live in 2015. READ  

South-East Asian tsunami: Ten years on
The wave Sweden will never forget
Tsunami "Wall of Remembrance" in Mai Khao in northern Phuket. Photo: TT

The wave Sweden will never forget

The Local looks at how Swedes are remembering the tidal wave that shook South-East Asia exactly ten years ago, leaving 543 Swedes dead. READ  

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise
A family of lynx. Photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden's wild carnivore population on the rise

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines. READ  

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: TT

Swedish parties in secret election talks: report

The government and opposition parties are reported to be conducting negotiations in a bid to avoid government chaos, putting the new March election in doubt, according to a media report. READ  

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds
An elk, known as a moose in northern America, crosses the road. Photo: TT

Swedish police warn of migrating elk herds

Police in northern Sweden have urged holiday motorists to be careful after reports of unusually large herds of migrating elk. READ  

My Swedish Career
Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future
Filippo Vanzo. Photo: Private

Meet the Italian sketching a new Swedish future

For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local chats to Filippo Vanzo, a freelance illustrator who started to picture life in Stockholm after meeting his Swedish girlfriend online. READ  

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas
Photo: TT

Icy roads as Swedes head home for Christmas

The Swedish weather agency has issued a warning for icy roads across the country as many city-dwellers head out to the countryside for Christmas. READ  

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård
Photo: TT

Bomb blasts rock Malmö's Rosengård

Police suspect that a rental dispute is behind a twin explosion which rocked the area around Ramels Väg in the Rosengård area of Malmö over the weekend. READ  

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win
Photo: TT

Romanian beggar lands bumper lottery win

A Romanian man who slept under a bridge in a Swedish city and lived by begging recently landed a 210,000 kronor ($27,000) lottery win after buying a ticket on impulse, saying he now wants to build himself a house. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
National
Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Gallery
People-watching: December 20th - 21st
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Blog updates

22 December

A Tale of Three Cities (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on my blog, Sir David King, The..." READ »

 

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life 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

828
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options