• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Perspective: ‘Russian sub’ alert
Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters
The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike
Grounded Lufthansa planes. Photo: TT

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike

A strike by pilots at German airline Lufthansa will affect over 20 flights in and out of Sweden over the next two days. READ  

National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Photo: Shutterstock

Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars

A dentist in western Sweden is offering free dental care to his town's Roma begging population. READ  

Ebola crisis
Stockholm patient does not have Ebola
Infection clinic at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Stockholm patient does not have Ebola

UPDATED: A patient at a Stockholm hospital was told on Monday morning that he does not have Ebola, after he was forced to spend the night in isolation. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No let-up in search for foreign vessel
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

No let-up in search for foreign vessel

A hunt for foreign underwater activity near Stockholm entered its fourth day on Monday as Sweden’s armed forces vowed to keep searching “day and night” for what media reports suggest may be a damaged Russian vessel. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast
Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Pictured: 'suspicious object' off Swedish coast

Sweden’s Armed Forces have said it is likely a foreign power is conducting operations in Swedish waters, and have released pictures of a suspicious object seen in the Stockholm Archipelago. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub
The HMS Visby combs the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday as the military operation continues. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Mystery deepens over reported Russian sub

Mystery deepened on Sunday over a Swedish military operation triggered by "foreign underwater activity" off the coast of Stockholm, amid an unconfirmed report of a hunt for a damaged Russian submarine. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
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?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
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
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
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

984
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