“Stockholm – The Capital of Scandinavia” is the recently adopted name for the Swedish capital and greets visitors on all transport links heading into the city. The slogan, adopted to promote Stockholm internationally, has been controversial with some Danes and Norwegians, who dispute the claim.
There are also voices of dissent from within Sweden and now Nätverket Språkförsvaret (‘The Language Defence Network’) has reported the council to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for falling foul of the new language law (språklagen) that came into force on July 1st 2009.
The network has also reported the Stockholm Visitors Board, Stockholm Business Region and Stockholm Entertainment District for their use of English.
According to the network, the widespread use of English by the Stockholm bodies is an attempt to appear modern.
“It undermines Swedish as it signals that English has a higher value, that it has status, while Swedish is a language for out in the wilds,” Per-Åke Lindblom, a spokesperson for the network, said in an interview with Sveriges Radio on Tuesday.
The new language law stipulates that Swedish is the main language of Sweden and establishes that public bodies have a particular responsibility to ensure that Swedish is used and developed.
The network, which describes itself as “a grassroots movement to defend the Swedish language” wants JO to force the names to be changed to Swedish.
Per-Åke Lindblom also told SR that he would like to see the Stockholm Visitors Board develop its foreign language material, pointing out that most visitors to the capital do not come from the UK or the USA.
The group has previously reported the Swedish government to JO for its use of English email addresses.
The new language law, the first of its kind in Sweden, came into force on July 1st.
Aside from establishing Sweden as the country’s main language of communication, it also classified five other languages – Finnish, all Sami dialects, Torne Valley Finnish (Meänkieli), Romani, and Yiddish – as official national minority languages.