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Introducing... Ernst Kirchsteiger

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Introducing... Ernst Kirchsteiger
11:45 CEST+02:00
Introducing... is The Local's guide to Swedish celebrity. In this instalment Rebecca Martin finds out more about Ernst Kirchsteiger - the softly spoken interior decorator-cum-philosopher who annually invades TV screens all over Sweden.

Ok, so what's the lowdown on this geezer anyway?

Ernst? Well, he's more of an institution really. "No summer without Ernst" is something that Swedes seem to all agree on. Ernst is the epitome of the word folkkär or loved by the people - which doesn't mean that everyone loves him really, but rather that everyone knows who he is and will have an opinion on him.

Fine – but what does he do and why are you going on about him?

Ernst is the hugely popular interior decorator who hosted the TV-show Sommartorpet ("Summer Cottage") on the national public broadcaster SVT between 2000 and 2007, where the decorating team chose a random old shack somewhere in the countryside and did it up over the course of one summer. Swedes were glued to their screens.

Seriously – you are telling me about some old interior decorator guy? What's the fuzz with him?

Easy tiger, I was getting to that. I said Ernst has become an institution. There's a reason. How many people do you know who can deliver one-liners such as “Has it ever happened that you have found yourself falling in love with a stone?” or “I want to feel summer all over my body – not just dip my toes in it!” in every show he hosted? I mean, come on! The guy's a philosopher.

Ok, I admit that's pretty... unusual. But why are you telling me about him now?

It's summer – and as I said before – no Swedish summer is complete without Ernst. After leaving SVT, Ernst went over to commercial TV station TV4 – which probably meant a heftier pay cheque – and started filming similar programmes with them.

On Thursday, the latest season of the “Summer with Ernst” show will begin airing on TV4. This season Ernst and his crew have found an empty power station that they are doing up. Riveting stuff!

Power station, you said? What on earth for?

Beats me. But I bet it's good TV. And Ernst recently said in interview that there will be lots of steel beams and concrete. This break from the traditional cottage look is bound to be a hit with ladies of a certain age. As is Ernst, as it happens.

OK, I'll have to take your word for it – but do continue.

I'm telling you - Swedes go mad for this guy, they want to spend each holiday season with him. The show Jul med Ernst ("Christmas with Ernst") featuring Ernst decorating, baking and busying himself with the old crimbo arts and crafts went straight to Swedish hearts.

You are kidding me? Is this guy some kind of guru?

Funny you should mention that – in 2006 he published a book called Ernstologi ("Ernstology") – which featured some of his most famous quotes from the show.

Now I've heard it all.

No, you haven't. In April it was announced that a magazine Hemma med Ernst ("At home with Ernst") would soon be forthcoming – it will be published four times a year – one for each season.

So now there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to decorate and celebrate all Swedish seasons Ernst-style.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here

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