The advert for airline Fly Nordic referred to the capital as ‘Fjollträsk’, translating literally as ‘Mire of Queens’. The name is commonly used in rural Sweden to allude to the common image of Stockholmers as less red-blooded than their country cousins.
A Stockholmer living in Östersund, northern Sweden, was offended when he saw the advert in a newspaper. He took the matter to the Red Cross, which runs an anti-discrimination office in Östersund.
Stockholmers living in the county of Jämtland, where Östersund is situated, frequently complain of negative attitudes towards the capital.
“The word Fjollträsk is used in a very insulting way here in Jämtland. There’s always a negative focus on Stockholm in Norrland and here is a big company using this negative term,” the Red Cross’s Anna Ebenmark told The Local.
“‘Fjolla’ (‘queen’) also sounds negative, but this case isn’t so much about homophobia as it is about negative attitudes towards Stockholm,” she said.
Sara Gustafsson, director of marketing for Fly Nordic, told news agency TT that the advert was not intended to harm anyone.
“I come from northern Sweden myself, and for me ‘Fjollträsk’ is a light-hearted term for Stockholm. We wanted people to laugh at the advert,” she said.