• Sweden's news in English

'Mini Stockholm' invades English Christmas city

5 Dec 2012, 15:00

Published: 05 Dec 2012 15:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A bit of seasonal tedium spurred on Swedish-born Lars Forsberg to come up with the idea.

“In England, Christmas markets now look the same everywhere. It’s become very generic and everything is made in China,” he told The Local.

“So I thought, why not set up a Swedish Christmas market?”

As a long-term resident of Lincoln, where the traditional Christmas market attracts as many as 150,000 visitors every year, Forsberg was keen to involve the local community.

An architecture student from Lincoln University was drafted in to design the red stalls with white gables.

In the nearby grotto, drama students will play Father Christmas and his wife.

"Father Christmas will have to say 'God Jul' in Swedish, then explain to the children that he visits Sweden one day earlier than England," Forsberg said.

"Because he has to spread out the work load over a few days."

The family-focused idea has attracted several business partners.

The Swedish Shop in London jumped on the idea and is shipping everything from crisp bread and blueberry soup to cinnamon buns and Swedish mulled wine (glögg) the 200 odd kilometres up to Lincoln.

There, food will be sold alongside traditional Swedish handicrafts by staff all decked out in yellow jackets and blue aprons.

“We’ll be selling the classic snowball lantern in glass from Kosta Boda,” Forsberg was keen to emphasize.

“Also, all the toys are made of wood, because we wanted to get away from the plastic knick-knacks sold at the usual markets.”

Apart from betting on market-goers’ taste for novelty, what makes Forsberg and his team think the Swedish Christmas market will take off?

"To be honest it’s the rise in interest in Sweden, and Scandinavia in general,” said Forsberg’s business partner Mathew Clarke.

“Look at how Ikea has grown since it's entered the UK. And the BBC has started showing adaptations of Swedish series. Wallander was quite a success.”

For Clarke, the allure of Swedish seasonal traditions is not exclusive to Christmas – he is quite fond of Saint Lucia.

“I like the celebration of light when I know you in Sweden have very long nights where it gets a bit dark and dreary,” he said.

"So the Saint Lucia festival and all the lights in everyone’s windows to warm up the place is quite appealing.”

As the cottages are erected and Father and Mrs. Christmas slip into their red costumes, Forsberg and Clarke already have their eyes set on the future.

A large British insurance company has thrown its weight behind launching the concept all over England next year.

“Hopefully this will grow quickly. You’ll find an authentic Swedish Christmas market in many English towns by next year,” Forsberg told The Local.

Story continues below…

But there are no plans to rest from one December to the next. They plan to introduce the Brits to Swedish midsummer too.

Its success, they believe, hinges on Britain no longer having any proper celebrations during summer.

“We have Mayday but nothing's really done for it. It’s just another day, or at most maybe a handful of people celebrating at a village fête,” Clarke told the Local.

“Nothing in the same vein as Sweden."

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:08 December 5, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I went to a local shop in my hometown last year that sells items made in Sweden and Norway and so I bought a electric candle for my window. I got home and on the back of the box where it had originally said "Made in Sweden" there was a sticker that now read "Made in China" !!! I couldn't believe it. I was so disappointed.

This sounds like a great idea and a lot of fun.
15:33 December 15, 2012 by quincyg
we could do with that in Liverpool next Jul. We had a one day julmarknad

at the kyrka, but the city Xmas market has barely nothing remotely Scandi.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available