Swede’s bottle message returned after 17 years

A Swedish man has told The Local about his surprise when he found himself reunited with a self portrait he sent as a message in a bottle almost two decades ago.

Swede's bottle message returned after 17 years
Tobias Andremo and his bottle message. Photo: Private

Tobias Andremo was having 'surströmming' (fermented herring – a staple of traditional northern Swedish cuisine) with his uncle and aunt earlier this week when a Facebook message dropped in on his phone.

It was a picture of a child's drawing – signed by Tobias himself.

“I thought 'what the heck is this?' But because I am the only 'Tobias Andremo' in Sweden I knew that it must have been I who had drawn it,” he told The Local on Thursday.

And slowly a childhood memory came back to the 23-year-old.

Back in 1998 he had thrown a bottle into the Armsjön lake near the town of Sundsvall in northern Sweden. And now, 17 years later, it had been found by Peter Nenzén, who owns a caravan in nearby Bergafjärden.

“He thought it was nice and said he hoped that it would entice his children to send bottle messages,” said Andremo.

Tobias Andremo's self portrait. Photo: Private

Just last week, a Swedish family told The Local how they tracked down the sender of a mystery message in a bottle when their Facebook appeal went viral – 11 years after it was thrown into the sea by a Norwegian boy.

But while that bottle was picked up by someone from a foreign country, Andremo's message – which was thrown into a lake rather than the sea – did not make it more than 10 kilometres.

“It didn't get very far, but it's been gone for so long so it was great fun in that respect. I had written 'Sweden' on the drawing so I had probably wanted it to get further at the time,” laughed Andremo.

He has now been reunited with the self portrait his six-year-old self penned almost two decades ago.

“I think it's amusing and I've had really good reactions from people after I posted the story on Facebook. It's proof that messages in bottles do work,” he said.