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Swede probed for leaving baby outside US eatery

The Local/dl · 17 Aug 2011, 08:34

Published: 17 Aug 2011 08:34 GMT+02:00

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The incident took place last Friday outside the Bueno y Sano taco bar in Amherst, Massachusetts in the eastern United States, according to several media reports.

“We’ve received a report of suspected mistreatment of a child. It’s under investigation and we plan to look into whether the child is in safe hands,” Cayenne Isaksen of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The Swedish mother left the infant outside the eatery while she went in to order tacos, leaving the child unattended for approximately 10 minutes, the Reuters news agency reports.

She told police that she “found nothing wrong with the situation”, emphasising that it was common practice for Swedish parents to leave young children unattended outside a restaurant.

The case is reminiscent of a similar incident which took place in New York in 1997 when a Danish woman left her 14-month-old daughter outside a restaurant.

The woman was subsequently arrested and the child placed in a foster home until a court later revoked the move.

The Danish mother was later awarded $66,000 in damages following the incident.

Despite the Swedish mother’s defence that it was common to leave infants outside cafés and restaurants in her home country, other patrons of the Bueno y Sano taco bar maintained she had exercised poor judgement.

“I’d never do something like that and I think it’s irresponsible behaviour,” local mother Stacey Dalmau told Aftonbladet.

Story continues below…

However, police in Sweden are doubtful as to whether the incident would be considered a police matter in Sweden.

“The child wasn’t in danger and the mother claims she had an eye on things,” Kjell Ahlin of the Stockholm police told the newspaper.

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Your comments about this article

09:12 August 17, 2011 by jeffi_in_denmark
Leaving one's child unattended outside an eatery is indeed unthinkable in the USA or Canada. It just is not done. It doesn't make a difference if the parent had "an eye" on her baby. The USA is just not the sort of place where this time of thing is done, even though yes, it is common and accepted in Denmark and Sweden.

Just like we need to remember what is common and acceptable in Sweden, so do travellers need to remember what is common and acceptable elsewhere. Neither is right or wrong, just different.
09:36 August 17, 2011 by axiom
@ jeff_in_denmark

When you travel abroad you must always remember that a whole new set of rules become applicable. You therefore play on the side of caution.

The first time I saw this in Sweden I was astonished, but nonetheless it really is common place.

Hope she still has and keeps her kid, any other outcome would be disastrous.
09:39 August 17, 2011 by cowboykodp
I can't believe these damn immigrants.

They will not integrate, and they want the laws of their own country put in place in the US.

Christianity is just so incompatible with .....oops,

Sound familiar. Lets hear now why this is sooo different than the "parasitic immigrants in Europe".

To you Mr. Uncle and the likes... Time for the hypocritical rants to begin.
09:52 August 17, 2011 by Smokebox
Sweden maybe. USA! Never. To many kids go missing and it only takes a few seconds. My girlfriend takes her child out of the car if she has to go into the gas station to pay. Better safe then sorry.
10:17 August 17, 2011 by Atlas
Bottom line is: What is acceptable social norm in your country, can't and won't be an acceptable social norm in another one.
10:19 August 17, 2011 by conboy
social norm? neglect is a criminal offence. Read the article again!
10:24 August 17, 2011 by Arcticeric
this is not the first time I've heard of this happening ... hope all goes well and that the authorities are understanding!
10:28 August 17, 2011 by 0007
stupid Americans
10:39 August 17, 2011 by cmbsweden
It's not the smartest thing someone ever has done....I understand why she thought it was okay, but still.......
10:53 August 17, 2011 by Lemon1987
Those bloody tacos !, howevr, this kinda reminds me of the beginning of movie The Clerks 2 with famous Jay and silent Bob swear - rap scene :)
10:53 August 17, 2011 by mikmak
It's funny, I wonder if all the parents with little fat kids that were actually *in* the taco place will also be charged with "neglect". Mean world syndrome...
11:00 August 17, 2011 by PonceDeLeon
And here I thought peopled only got probed at airports in the US.
11:00 August 17, 2011 by engagebrain
It should not depend on what is the norm in different countries, but on what actually constitutes a real risk for a child.

Are Americans more likely to abuse/abduct/injure a child that is not closely supervised ?
11:03 August 17, 2011 by flintis
The kid was probably better off outside among all the fumes from the gas guzzling vehicles than inside the fast food place amongst all the obese guests & the stink of hot fat.
11:05 August 17, 2011 by nyh2o
YES! I was so surprised by this when I first came to Sweden that I blurted out that it must be considered child abuse in any other part of the world -- clearly that is true! At least it was during the summer and not during the winter when its -20C outside and the children are out there while the parents enjoy a nice warm dinner inside the restaurant -- an usual sight in Stockholm. Crazy Swedish parenting!
11:10 August 17, 2011 by liban91
i hate pple who cnt use the rules that they made.
11:20 August 17, 2011 by mikmak
@nyh2o: It's even more common in places like Finland (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18767347). "Children took longer naps outdoors compared with naps taken indoors. Outdoor temperatures ranged between -27 and +5 degrees C". Crazy parenting is only relative to what you are used to, as well as relative to what is in fashion right now.
11:31 August 17, 2011 by cattie
I came to Sweden in 1997 and remember being so shocked at seeing the prams outside restaurants and cafes. Then the incidenct happened with the Danish mother in New York. That story made headlines in Sweden.

I do think it is child neglect in USA. When you go abroad, especially with a child, one reads up on guidelines. If one kept giving their baby tap water in a country with a high rate of dysentery, I would call that child endangerment. Who cares if the tap water is safe to drink in Sweden? Your baby is at risk drinking it.

I would never leave my baby outside a cafe in Sweden, either. It is only nostalgia for a safe secure Scandinavia of days gone by, that lulls parents into complacency. It will only take one horrific episode of kidnapping in Copenhagen or Stockholm to by splashed across the evening tabloids for the practice of leaving babies outside to end. In a baby pram, a kidnapper and baby could be gone in seconds, while the mother pays for her tea.
11:32 August 17, 2011 by Tennin
I have yet to see anyone in Sweden leave their baby outside in a pram while they're inside a store/restaurant etc.
11:42 August 17, 2011 by Lp74
I think it is bad in Sweden too. I always choose to go into a place where I can take the pram if my child is sleeping. Totally bad parenting, no matter what country she is in!
12:00 August 17, 2011 by Åskar
I agree with Tennin. Not once have I seen an unattended pram outside a restaurant or a store in Sweden.
12:03 August 17, 2011 by David S
@smokebox - there are only about 115 non-family child abductions in the US in a year. Given the number of children that makes the chances of a child being abducted from a pram outside a restaurant in the US astronomically low.
12:04 August 17, 2011 by Marc the Texan
12:11 August 17, 2011 by jacquelinee
It is actually dangerous to leave a one year old in a pram anywhere. At one, they are climbing and more than capable of tipping the pram or falling out. And as for Sweden never having anything happen to their kids and blah blah blah. Explain that to the Swedish children who were the stars of the Swedish porn movies in the swedish porn ring. Quit trying to justify neglect.
12:58 August 17, 2011 by David S
@jacquelinee- (1) that's why prams have straps (2) how many of these pedophile victims were abducted by strangers? Any at all?
13:18 August 17, 2011 by Streja
Funny...I watched Dr Phil yesterday and it featured a mum who put hot sauce down the throat of her kid, then put the child in the bathtub and showered him with ice cold water because he had lied about something. Apparently 25% of Americans in a poll said that this is acceptable.

This mum may have been stupid in a foreign country but she was not abusing the child.
13:57 August 17, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Streja

i saw that too and was disgusted. I can't beieve anyone could possibly think that was acceptable.

@David S

Straps can hold a child to a certain degree, but if you have kids then you must know that a 1 year old is not going to sit quietly and complacently in a stroller or pram all alone. There are going to sqirw, wiggle and try to get free. Unless a stoller is weiged down with iron wheels it is easily tipped over by an uneven distribution of weight. I have been in a position to see a baby sitting in a sopping cart tip it over in 2 seconds with the mum standing right there and fall face first into the pavement, cracking his head and knocking 2 teeth out. Things like this can happen in a heartbeat. A child should NEVER be left unattended in any situation.

As far as this statement of yours " how many of these pedophile victims were abducted by strangers? Any at all?", that is the most frightening statement of all. To think it is NOT strangers you have to worry about is really disturbing.
14:21 August 17, 2011 by madadi
viva america, damn the rest of the world.
14:23 August 17, 2011 by mikmak
@ Streja. From what I gather corporal punishment, i.e. inflicting pain on your child, is not prohibited in the U.S. (not at home at least). I guess it depends on who is injuring the child if it is considered neglect or not...
14:23 August 17, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
Infant mortality rates (any death under the age of 1 year of age - not to be confused with neo-natal death rates)

USA: 6.5 per 1000

Sweden: 2.5 per 1000

Source: OECD

Conclusion: Assuming child abduction is statistically too small to register on either set of figures, I'd say that that Swedes are significantly more health conscience as parents compared to their US counterparts.
14:46 August 17, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ EtoileBrilliant

The OECD also stated that Sweden had wonderful Elderly Care Facilities, and we all know the truth about THAT. You must remember, The OECD is only working with statistics Sweden has provided them with and one thing we know for sure, is that Sweden is experT at making sure only the positive statistics make it out of Sweden. Example? 3, 000 complaints of malpractice in the medical profession in sweden since 2009 and not 1 investigation. In true swedish style "Om det är inte på papper, det är inte här." (If it isn't on a piece of paper, it doesn't exist) Press releases and cold hard fact are not always even remotely close to each other.
15:09 August 17, 2011 by Svensksmith
I wouldn't even leave my dog outside of a restaurant in the US. Now my cat.....
15:13 August 17, 2011 by Migga
@ jacquelinee

If it`s one thing I have heard from you all along it`s how Sweden is one of the least corrupt country in the world. And now you go on and say that the statistics provided by Sweden is faulse?

I`m not saying that everything get`s reported but I think Sweden is one of the most honest contries in the world about it`s neglect.

If you think the swedish statistics might be off would you consider that the statistics from the american government could be aswell? Or God forbid the canadian one?
15:15 August 17, 2011 by The_Truthisbitter
I bet such parents are less likely to leave their bank cards in their baby's pram, take in the baby to the Restaurant and enjoy a Taco.

They will rather take in their bank cards, and leave their baby in a pram.

Disgusting logic!!!
15:33 August 17, 2011 by GreenEyednonSwede
This must have been a result of the dirty looks people (staff & patrons) give you when you go to a restaurant in Sweden accompanied by children.

Poor woman thought it would be the same in the US ...
15:33 August 17, 2011 by Daniel Hynes
Has she never heard of the Madeleine McCann case?
15:51 August 17, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Migga

Sweden is one of the least corrupted countries. I stand by that. But it is NOT the most forthwith about its neglect, or maybe it si, but just not forthwith about doing anything about it.

Some of the practices and policies here are way out...like not being able to fire people who have done gross injustices at their jobs. You follow the local pretty closely, so you KNOW about the nurses not being fired for GROSS inhumanities. You KNOW about the breasts being removed and the government officials saying" I know people can be frustrated" I do not need to go over it again. If you have read my post on the recent one that has just been removed from the front page today about not lowering the taxes, then you are aware that I do not paint the USA or Canada with a halo either.

The statistics provided by Sweden are not false. It is just the lack of action on any negativity makes them appear WAY better than they are. Of course health care will look exemplory if there are no records of malpractice. You must be able to understand that. Of course old age homes look great if abuse is swept under the rug, no one is fired so no reports are made.

Swedish government has flaws, just like any other government is flawed, but they are among the less flawed. But accepting, ACKNOWLEDGING, admitting and realising the flaws is essential, and ACTING to investigate, enforce accountaility and work towards rectifying the problem by changing it and irradicating the blight is the only way to strive towards continually improving it's excellence. Sweeping it under the carpet and pretending it is not there by lack of action, ignoring or burying it only perpetuates and encourages it.
17:36 August 17, 2011 by tuerd1982
1st of all, sorry for mother it was really unhappy incidents. 2ed, I agree with some people commented above. US and many other country in the world are not safe as Scandinavians, so mother should not left her child out. 3rd, for a people who don't have a kids, stop your shouting to mother. When you are alone outside and you are hungry but the place which you are going to buy food wasn't suitable to bring trolley tempt many people to do like this.
17:46 August 17, 2011 by idun09
This happened in my local area. I live here, and I find it strange that Americans are so hysterical about children's welfare when it comes to fear of strangers -- many parents drive their children to school because they're afraid to let them walk or take the bus -- but it is perfectly acceptable to let children live in poverty or even homelessness. I hope that everyone will be able to write it off as a lesson in cross-cultural confusion and that she and her child will be able to go on with their lives without further harassment.
18:58 August 17, 2011 by krrodman
I lived in Amherst for 4 years. It is a quiet college town around 90 miles west of Boston. Without the universities(UMass @ Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College), Amherst would be an invisible farm town in the middle of nowhere. Lund, for example, is a major metropolis when compared to Amherst.

While I am sure there are petty crimes in Amherst, major crimes such as kidnapping are almost unheard of.

Would I leave my child in a pram on the street in Amherst? No, but I would never leave my child in a pram on the street ANYWHERE.

Is it child neglect? The charge is about as stupid and ridiculous as it gets.
20:52 August 17, 2011 by Kenny W

I have to agree with Jacquelinee on this one.

Accountability is not a strength of the Swedes. If flaws and mistakes aren't included in the social psyche then they don't get recorded and are therefore not available for further analysis. I never blindly accept anything that a Swede tells me. I prefer to make my own observations.
21:24 August 17, 2011 by krrodman

I agree with your analysis, and would like to add something a bit off topic.

I too was shocked at the number of mastectomies inadvertently performed for what turned out to be benign disease. The government comment, "We suffer for a lack of pathologists" was equally alarming and speaks to a horrific disconnect in the Swedish health care system between the bureaucrats who manage it, and the patients who are victims of it limitations. In any case, is it possible that surgeons are performing mastectomies without a diagnosis of cancer for lack of a pathologist to read the initial biopsy? The simple answer is no. But the truth is a bit more complex.

Sweden leads the world in a biopsy technique called "skinny needle biopsy." It is less invasive than a traditional biopsy(that is the good news), and it costs the health care system less than a traditional surgical biopsy. The problem is, as I understand it, that because the biopsy through the skinny needle extracts very few cells, it may be very difficult for a pathologist to make an accurate reading. It appears that false biopsy results occur because the pathologist may not be qualified to analyze the results from one of the biopsies. In other words, it is not a "shortage" of pathologists; rather, it is a shortage of pathologists who are qualified to analyze the tissue from a skinny needle biopsy.

I thought that you would like to know.
23:40 August 17, 2011 by Smallnose
I think it's bugging Scandinavians again, last time Danish, now Swedish. I see a pattern.
00:44 August 18, 2011 by orlandoswede
Child neglect, no doubt about that!
01:41 August 18, 2011 by soultraveler3
I've been here almost 4 years now and haven't once seen a pram outside a restaurant unattended. It's common to bundle up children in the pram and let them nap outside the home in safe, suburban neighborhoods but not in public places.

It's probably not the best idea either way, to leave a very young child unattended while at home or abroad.

On the Dr.Phil show there were only a couple people in the audience that raised their hands agreeing that it was okay to give a child hot sauce and cold showers as a punishment, MOST of the people there were either crying or super pissed after seeing that. Please don't act like that kind of thing is supported by your average american just to try and prove a point, because it's absolutely not. It's disgusting and illegal and the woman was charged with child abuse after the show aired.
07:12 August 18, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
@ jacquelinee

I agree with your point regarding Swedish health care but we are talking about recording infant deaths. Unless the authorities are literally burying bodies to distort the statistics, I'm afraid my point still stands.
11:37 August 18, 2011 by cogito
Ppl form their opinions based on Doctor Phil? That explains a lot.

Ppl form their opinions based on Swedish government's statistics? The Soviet-like SCB (Cenral Bureau of Statistics) is an excellent example of GIGO (garbage in Garbage Out).

Are there any independent agencies collecting stats in Sweden?

@Jacqueline, keep it up. We need more people like you.
15:16 August 18, 2011 by Uggla
@ mikmak Yeah because all kids in america are fat and all kids who eat tacos are fat.

Come on and get real, Swedish kids are also overweight and eat a TUN of candy on saturday, pasta, cookies, snack cakes, etc...

Your response is a typical racist response. So many racists on the local.
16:10 August 18, 2011 by Grindsprint
This is not acceptable in sweden as so many of the posters here seem to believe just from reading about this one accasion! I have never seen this done. But I can asure you that sometimes americans do this to. it has nothing to do with national social norms.
16:22 August 18, 2011 by Shibumi
I have lived in Stockholm for over 4 years and I have seen sleeping babies in prams outside of cafes in Vasastan (upscale part of Sthlm) in the middle of winter on at least a dozen occasions. The parents were watching the prams from the inside of the cafe behind the glass storefront. The babies were always sleeping very peacefully. My man and I were a bit shocked at first... not by the abduction risk, but by the cold. However, the babies were warmly clothed of course and the cold didn't seem to bother them one bit. The parent could have probably reached the pram within a handful of seconds if needed. Not 100% safe, but not the end of the world either.
18:13 August 18, 2011 by soultraveler3
@ EtoileBrilliant

They're not burning bodies but there's a big difference in what Swedes consider live birth vs stillbirth when compared to the US so it's reported differently.

The main reason that the US rates poorly (when compared to Sweden) on the OECD report is because we have much larger rate of premature babies and premature babies die a lot more often than full-term babies. You have to look at demographics to explain this. People of African descent are much more likely to have premature babies than other groups due to genetics. There's a huge number of people that fit that category in the states vs. Sweden and although the OECD people mention that, they failed to take it into account when ranking countries.

There was an article in the NY Times talking about this a while back. A scientist stated in it that if the OECD would've used that info in the rankings the US would've been placed at #14 instead of #34. He went further saying that if other variables were taken into account and used (I don't remember which ones atm) the US would've been ranked #8. Sweden is ranked #4 currently so there's not that much of a difference, especially if you consider the size and diversity of the states in comparison to Sweden.

I'm not trying to say that one country is better than the other, just that you can't take statistics at face value. To get an accurate picture you need to look deeper into what data they chose to include or not, the sources of the data, how it's collected and who paid for or involved in the study.

Kenny W above said it wonderfully.

"Accountability is not a strength of the Swedes. If flaws and mistakes aren't included in the social psyche then they don't get recorded and are therefore not available for further analysis."
02:59 August 19, 2011 by mkvgtired
It has been stated the number of non-family abductions in the US is very low. Probably statistically zero. (I would probably still not risk it even if it is only a one in one million chance). If it was your family member that was kidnapped it I dont think the one in one million statistic would make much of a difference.

On that note if I only went off of what I read in the news I would never come to Sweden. People are constantly dieing of medical malpractice. Teenagers kill other teenagers and only get months in prison. People beat elderly couples to death over traffic incidents. There are honor killings constantly. Jews cant even walk down the street without being attacked.

I could go on, but I hope you see my point. I have never been to Sweden, but I know several people that have. They didnt mention any of those things, and said it was overall bland and kind of boring. My point is to everyone above stop just formulating opinions on news stories about 1 in 320,000,000 people.

And as one poster pointed out most of the audience was horrified with how the woman on Dr. Phil behaved. I dont know who did the survey, but I would be very skeptical of statistics pulled from Dr. Phil. Not saying anything about the readers on here, but most of Dr. Phils audience I think probably has an IQ below what is considered mentally retarded.
17:43 August 19, 2011 by Watchtower777
krrodman, I am also from New England and while Amherst might be a small sleepy town in your eyes, one never knows what lurks around the bend. For instance I am sure the Swedish couple were unaware of the registered Sex Offenders who are living in Amherst, and probably most of the people commenting here are also unaware. Leaving a child unattended REGARDLESS of whether your can see them through a window or not is unsafe practice. Many things could happen to that child aside from abduction. Choking on vomit, dog attack to name a few. It is not child abuse persay, but certainly this couple should take alot more into consideration. I would have stayed with that child until a parent arrived to be sure it didn't come to any harm.

mkvgtired-you have never been to Sweden yet you spout off news stories that horrify you.. this stuff is happening all over the world, not just in Sweden.

Sweden is a beautiful country with beautiful, kind and friendly people. Do not judge a book by it's cover. I am very happy I moved here.
05:16 August 20, 2011 by bells on the knight
the US is so screwed up.

just look at the wicked child abuse that goes on. anyone heard of 'West Memphis Three' for instance where 3 boys were tied up with their shoe laces, sexually abused and partially castrated?
05:56 August 20, 2011 by Tdye
so, it was a stupid idea for an american, to us we would never do that... but we live here and know how things are here...but she is a Swede... she now knows the rules and it should be dropped...she did no wrong in her mind. the kid is safe it's over..

oh and we never say behaviour we say behavior....
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