Stockholm native faces discrimination in Malmö

A Stockholm-born consultant living in the southern Swedish town of Malmö claims he is being discriminated against due to his Stockholm dialect.

“I’m being victimized, despite that I’ve lived in Malmö for eleven years,” Patrik Hammarberg told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Hammarberg laments that hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t hear a demeaning joke poking fun at his “Stockholmska”.

As evidence for his unfair treatment as a non-native resident of Malmö, Hammarberg tells of his plans to purchase a farm outside of the city for conversion into a meeting place for pensioners as well as a community centre for young people.

During initial discussions carried out over email with the municipality, which would have rented the space to house the centres from Hammarberg, the Stockholm native received positive signals towards the concept.

“They thought it was a good idea since both things were known to be desired by local residents,” said Hammarberg.

“But when it came time for personal contacts and the officials heard my Stockholmska things ground to a halt. I was written off.”

According to Hammarberg, the estate agent with whom he was working on the deal harboured the same suspicions that public officials in Malmö are in the habit of giving people from Stockholm and Gothenburg short shrift.

Malmö native Anders Rubin from the city’s planning office, and fluent in the local “Skånska” dialect, denied that Hammarberg’s accent had anything to do with a slowdown in negotiations.

“If a senior centre is needed in Bunkeflostrand, where should it be? That’s not something you can decide over coffee,” he said, referring to the area near Malmö where the farm is located.

But Rubin didn’t shy away from expressing a sentiment, if somewhat in jest, that people born in Malmö may have a certain concern regarding outsiders.

“We natives are huge minority in our own city,” he quipped.

“Why would we direct our indignation only towards people from Stockholm?”

Mats Porsklev, an administrator for the Limhamn/Bunkeflo district, added that his office hadn’t settled on opening a senior centre and that even if it did, it wouldn’t likely be housed in the location suggested in Hammarberg’s proposal.