• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

The Local · 19 Aug 2014, 17:40

Published: 19 Aug 2014 17:40 GMT+02:00

"A lot of Swedish kids wear Yankees caps, which is a baseball team from the Bronx. I bet they don't even know it was named after a Swede," former New York commissioner Brian G. Andersson told The Local. 

All that is about to change, if Andersson gets his way. The New Yorker has collaborated with Swede Roy Gustafsson to celebrate a piece of real estate - but more than that, the Swedish roots behind it.

Indeed, the southern Swedish city of Sävsjö and its 11,000 inhabitants are about to hold what may be their biggest party ever. And it's all to celebrate a man named Jonas Bronck - the Swede who gave the famous New York Bronx borough its name.

Jonas Bronck, born in 1600 in Komstad, a small village outside of Sävsjö, didn't stick around in his hometown for too long. He became a sea captain in the Dutch merchant navy and sailed to New York in 1639, settling there with his Dutch wife.

New York wasn't quite so crowded at the time, and the Swedish sailor bought the lands which would be nicknamed after him and known forevermore as the Bronx.

And this weekend, his hometown is going to celebrate the 375th anniversary of that very purchase.

Roy Gustafsson, co-founder of the Jonas Bronck Center, moved to Sävsjö some years ago when he first heard of Bronck. He struggled for the first six months to get some kind of project off the ground, but faced resistance from the municipality.

The Sävsjö council found it unlikely that posh New Yorkers would have any interest in a small town in Småland and figured that Gustafsson's project was as doomed as the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. 

Gustafsson's frustration was boundless.

"You should be proud of your municipality and do something good and positive for the community," Gustafsson told The Local. "But in Småland people stay in their corner. It's a redneck area. Even now that the event is about to happen people have been positive, but still a bit hesitant."

Roy Gustafsson in front of the Jonas Bronck Center Photo: Anna Hållams/TT

But luckily, Gustafsson finally got a home run. Someone all the way in New York was also looking into Jonas Bronck - and that someone was Brian G. Andersson.  

Andersson had been researching Bronck for 30 years before he finally contacted Gustafsson, eager to touch base with someone else interested in a Bronck project. 

"It was encouraging to find that someone else wanted to build a cultural connection," Andersson explained. "This is a big anniversary for Sweden, but it is also new for them."

Andersson, who is of Swedish origin, added that he hoped the event would promote a connection between New York and Sweden.

"We hope for a sister relationship between Jönköping and the Bronx. This could open up business and cultural opportunities."

The anniversary of Bronck's settlement will kick off on Friday, August 22nd, with a concert. There will be a variety of activities and exhibitions throughout the weekend, including cruising with American veteran cars and motorcycles by the religious MC gang, Holy Riders.

Story continues below…

Descendants of Jonas Bronck visiting from the US will also attend the event, including a priest who will hold a service at the church of Bronck's christening.

"The locals of Sävsjö have been very positive about the event and the stores have been decorated with American flags," Gustafsson said. "I am proud because many unemployed people have been working on organizing the event for over a year."

In 2016 Andersson hopes to celebrate 400 years since the birth of Jonas Bronck. He will also be arriving this week in Sweden to attend the event.

"It is very fulfilling after so many years of work to attend the celebrations," he added.

For more information about Jonas Bronck and the schedule of the weekend's celebrations in Sävsjö, visit the official website here.

Isabela Vrba/The Local

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fears new funding rules could hobble Swedish startups
Elin Olsson funded the development of her innovative smoke detector through crowdfunding. Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Crowdfunding is a risky business, but could Swedish plans to regulate it make it too hard for small companies to get investment?

Ikea recalls chocolate over nut allergy fears
Ikea has recalled several chocolate bars. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB Scanpix/TT

Don't eat these bars if you are allergic to nuts or almonds.

Did this Swedish cop just make the arrest of the year?
Mikaela Kellner in action. Photo: Private

Imagine wrestling a criminal to the ground – while wearing a bikini.

Sweden's champion prawn peeler hauls in a big catch
Prawn peelers in action. Photo: Bengt Johansson

The Olympics are getting closer, but Sweden already has a new champion in an hotly contested "sport": prawn peeling.

Baby dies after midwife denies woman's request for c-section
Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

The midwife insisted on six attempts at vaginal birth before an emergency caesarean section was carried out.

Don't let them bite! Bedbugs proliferate in Swedish hotels
Swedish bedbug fighter Jonny Ström does his thing in 2014. Library photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The number of bedbugs in Swedish hotels has doubled in recent years, according to figures from pest control firm Anticimex.

Swedish state agencies 'outsource jobs to spies'
The Stockholm headquarters of the Swedish Security Service, Säpo. File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Foreign countries are trying to infiltrate the Swedish state by winning government contracts, it has been claimed.

What's on in Sweden
The most stunning Swedish festival spots this week
The Norberg Festival at an old ore mine. Photo: Peo Bengtsson

How about a party on an island, in an old quarry or a former mining camp? That's all on offer in Sweden this week.

Swedish police backtrack on 'gunfight' claims
The scene of the shooting on June 22nd. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Police have retracted a claim that a suspected gunman had fired shots at a patrol unit before officers shot him dead.

Crayfish poachers send Swedes' blood boiling
Has anyone seen this crayfish? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Oh no, not just before crayfish season!

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,372
jobs available