Godless dogless Stockholmers

Two reports in Svenska Dagbladet this week confirmed what Swedes outside the capital would say they already knew: Stockholmers are a mean bunch.

Not only are they the most tight-fisted people in the country, but apparently they don’t like dogs much either.

SvD’s Sunday edition picked up on a report from the Swedish Church, which looked into churchgoers’ relationship with the collection plate. The faithful of Norra Härene, in Västergötland, are the most generous in the country, digging deep for an average 71 crowns per person last year, while Stockholmers could only manage a measly 7 crowns each.

Whilst making no comment on the contribution from Stockholm, Norra Härene’s vicar humbly refused to claim credit for his congregation’s generosity.

“It’s part of the natural piety of the western Swedes,” he said. “After Palm Sunday’s service, for example, there were 25 one thousand crown notes in the collection plate.”

Such natural piety meant that the Swedish Church relieved its regulars of 230 million crowns last year, but any satisfaction was tempered by the news that at the same time, record numbers of people – almost 60,000 – left the church.

Perhaps they’re switching from God to Dog. According to the Swedish Kennel Club, the number of dogs in the country has risen to 800,000, with more northern Swedes owning them than anyone else.

Only 3% of Stockholmers have a dog, the lowest in the country. And, as city folk do, they tend to favour the more uncommon breeds, said the Kennel Club’s Lena Olsson.

“The people in the city want to stand out from the crowd,” she said. “But to have an Alsation or a Labrador is like driving a Volvo.”