Gothenburgers – who have a reputation for a wry sense of humour – were given the chance to vote on the name for the new outdoor public swimming pool in the Frihamnen area of the city.
The shortlist included a range of other bizarre options such as “Dopp i grytan” (which means “dip in the pot” and refers to how Swedes like to dip bread in meat juices at Christmas”), “Plaskekörka” (which roughly translates as “splash church” – Gothenburgers pronounce the Swedish word for church, “kyrka” slightly differently) and “Blöta Älvsbadet” (meaning “wet river bath”).
But locals decided to choose “Pöl Harbour”, which translates to “puddle harbour” in English, but when correctly pronounced in Swedish sounds distinctly like Pearl Harbor, the US naval base that was attacked by Japan during the Second World War, leaving 2,402 people dead.
Within hours of the announcement, “Pöl Harbour” was trending on Twitter in Sweden, with users divided on whether they found the new name hilarious or deeply offensive.
One user, Alexander Edström wrote in English: “Pöl Harbour…love it!”, while Oskar Edström tweeted the US Embassy of Sweden asking if any officials were planning to take a dip.
— Alexander Edström (@SeniorBuzz) August 13, 2015
— oskar ekström (@oskarekstrm) August 13, 2015
But Chairman of the National Union of Teachers in Gothenburg Gunnar Valinder used his Twitter account to declare the new name “incredibly embarrassing”.
“What have we Gothenburgers done? Gothenburg's new pool called 'Pöl Harbour',” he wrote.
— Gunnar Valinder (@GunnarValinder) August 13, 2015