Five reasons Sandviken could really suit Wyclef

Former Fugees star Wyclef Jean stirred up a right debate in Sweden on Thursday when he said he was planning a move to the small town of Sandviken, two hours north of the capital. But we're not ones to judge, so we've put together this list of five reasons why the rapper might be such a big fan of this rural town.

Five reasons Sandviken could really suit Wyclef
Sandviken railway station. Photo: Tanzania/Wikipedia

Drive north on the E4 motorway from Stockholm. After two hours of grey Swedish asphalt, stuck behind drivers who won't go any faster than five kilometres per hours below the speed limit, you'll arrive in Gävle. Turn west, away from the coast, and keep going. Eventually you roll into Sandviken, an average sized Swedish municipality of 37,833 residents.

This is where Wyclef Jean wants to move. But why?

1. Maybe the Stockholm property market is killing him softly

While the rapper has previously said that he loves the trendy clubs around Stockholm's Stureplan square so much he would like to sleep on their dance floors, the capital's property market is notoriously tough.

In Sandviken, on the other hand, you can snap up a centrally located three-room apartment for less than 300,000 kronor such as this one. Or this.

Wyclef Jean's first step will probably be to fill out the “I want to move to Sandviken Municipality” form on the council website. Once he moves in, the rapper will receive a special magazine about the local area, which is also available as a PDF on the website. He will also be invited to a guided bus tour of the town, as well as a bandy night for newcomers. In Sandviken, they're wild about their bandy and have won the Swedish Championship several times. Bandy is a sport by the way.

2. He hopes the Swedish winter will be gone till November

Winter or no winter, Wyclef Jean may find Sandviken just ever so slightly chillier than he is used to. The average temperature in this region of Sweden in June is 12C. In Haiti, where the rapper was born, it's 30C. At least, because it's Sweden, his house will be well insulated.

But the town's philosophy is that if you can't bring Sandviken to the Caribbean, you bring the Caribbean to Sandviken. Or the Mediterranean, in the case of annual local festival 'The Sandviken Days' (Sandvikendagarna). This year the festival will see visitors enjoy an Italian food market with what organizers refer to as a “large selection of top delicacies” such as parmesan.

3. Sandviken makes a visitor want to speak Spanish Swedish

Wyclef Jean would be walking in the footsteps of some of his celebrity colleagues if he moved to Sandviken, which has seen surprisingly many famous faces come and go.

Hollywood actress Geena Davis stayed here as an exchange student in the 1970s where she studied the local language and attended upper secondary school Hammargymnasiet. And eat your heart out, Woodstock. Jimi Hendrix performed in Sandviken three times between 1967 and 1970. Other artists who have pumped the beats in the town are 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill and Pamela Anderson.

Sandviken also still holds the record for playing host to two matches in the northernmost (Men's) Football World Cup (or 'soccer', as Wyclef Jean would probably refer to it) ever back in 1958, a tournament which saw Sweden take home its first and only world championship silver.

4. He's trying to stay alive*

Few expats will be able to avoid feeling homesick every now and then. But Sandviken may seem more familiar to this American rapper than you think. The town's founder Göran Fredrik Göransson travelled to Chicago in the mid-1800s and was mightily impressed, so impressed in fact that he decided to model Sandviken on The Windy City. And if Wyclef Jean ever returns to the US, he should look up the society 'Sandviken of Chicago', a club set up by Swedish immigrants to Illinois two centuries ago and which still exists today.

However in The Local's experience (and we know a lot about life as an expat) the best way to avoid homesickness is to stay active. And Sandviken has got plenty to offer. The US rapper can hit a strike at the eight-lane bowling alley, have a splash at family-friendly pool Parkbadet or go mountain-biking in the nearby forest.

5. Ready or not, he can come here by train

Sandviken might be small but it has got its own train station and is also connected by bus to nearby Gävle. But if Wyclef Jean would rather want to roll into town in his limousine, the motorway between Uppsala and Mehedeby cut travel times between Stockholm and Sandviken by half an hour when it was built in 2007. It now takes just over two hours to get here by car. The rapper could also fly to the small airport, with a 2,000-metre landing strip, just 20 kilometres out of town – perfect for a private jet.

*Like our puns? This is a slightly more obscure reference to the first track on his debut solo album