If you think you’ve seen US President Barack Obama at Stockholm tourist attractions over the last few days, you’re not wrong. The US embassy in Stockholm has been carting around a life-size colour cardboard cut-out of the president for photo opportunities since last week.
IN PICTURES: Follow Obama as he travels around Stockholm
On Friday, a picture of Obama at the Abba museum was uploaded to the embassy’s official Facebook account accompanied by the hashtag #ObamaInSweden, with a US flag firmly secured in the president’s hand.
The next day, Obama could be seen standing out the front of the Skansen open air museum on the island of Djurgården. Since then, more pictures have made their way to the page including one in front of the Gröna Lund amusement park and one by the Nordiska Museum.
While it’s unclear if the tourist hotspots will actually be on the president’s itinerary during his impending visit, Jeff Anderson, spokesman at the embassy, is taking advantage the chance to showcase Stockholm’s wide variety of tourist attractions.
“The cut-out has also been just as much a chance to highlight various parts of the city, there are many beautiful and interesting places in Stockholm, and we’re always keen to show these to the world,” he told The Local.
“And we’ve had a lot of positive feedback, a lot of comments on Facebook, and a lot of good suggestions. This has been a fun way to hear people’s ideas while we’re still working on details of the schedule for the visit.”
While Anderson couldn’t reveal any concrete plans for the president’s upcoming visit to the Swedish capital, he noted that the team at the embassy was working with the Swedish government and the White House to make sure the trip is a smooth one.
When asked if the president was a fan of Abba, Andersson couldn’t be sure.
“I cant comment on the presidents music taste,” he said with a hearty laugh.
Obama will be in Stockholm from September 4th before departing on September 5th to the G-20 Summit. The visit will cost 24 million kronor ($3.7 million).
Experts expect that free trade and sustainability will be on the agenda for bilateral discussions. However, Dag Blanck with the North American Institute at Uppsala University suggested to Sveriges Television (SVT) there may be more practical reasons behind Obama’s stop in Sweden before heading to the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“Stopping is a way to fight jet lag and rest up a bit – while at the same time signalling that he appreciates Sweden,” he told SVT.
Sweden has been labelled a high-risk country by the Secret Service in the lead-up to the visit, although Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt remained confident that Sweden could manage.
“I think we have some experience, but of course we work together with the security personnel with the Secret Service and the White House in preparing for this meeting,” Reinfeldt told The Local recently.