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

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

All aboard! We're off to the island of Gotland for our Property of the Week - a home right in the heart of Medieval Visby. Whether you're looking to buy or dying to look - this is the place for you. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year
Stockholm Pride. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Stockholm Pride glides into seventeenth year

The largest pride festival in Scandinavia is back for the 17th year in a row. The week promises to be packed with activities - and a glamorous opening gala with Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst. READ  

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Preschool teacher arrested for child rape

A man has been arrested on the suspicion of raping a child at the preschool where he is employed. READ  

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting
Police at the scene. Photo: Niklas Luks/TT

Police arrest 17 people after fatal shooting

Seventeen people were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday after a man was shot dead in central Sweden. Several of the suspects were already known to the police for gang crimes. READ  

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

Cops find 15kg cocaine stash in woman's car

A 35-year-old woman faces charges for aggravated narcotic crimes after police found 15 kilogrammes of unusually high-concentrated cocaine in her car. READ  

Opinion
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

The top six ways the US and Sweden differ

Back home in the US and with a solid Swedish stint under his belt, contributor Steven Schier has listed what he thinks are the six biggest differences between Sweden and the states. READ  

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
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
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
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

730
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