The Swedish stories that made us smile in 2015
The Local · 31 Dec 2015, 12:05
Published: 31 Dec 2015 08:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Dec 2015 12:05 GMT+01:00
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When you look back at 2015, what will you remember? The cold and bleak summer? Malmö's wave of hand grenade attacks? Sweden's fear of Russia or its raised terror alert? Or... Lenny Kravitz's penis? The rocker hit headlines worldwide when he accidentally split his pants during a summer concert in Stockholm, which became our most clicked-on story this year. Way to stay classy, readers.
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Lenny Kravitz on stage at Gröna Lund, Stockholm. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT
Sweden's global reputation as a hub for gender equality, efficiency and work-life balance can also result in some baffling conversations for those new to doing business with Swedes. In one of our most popular stories of the year we let you in on the secrets of fika, pappaledighet, vabbing and why you should never call a Swede at work after 3.30pm.
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Where's Anders? He's on pappaledighet. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
News that a Stockholm hospital was opening the world's first clinic for raped men stirred a global debate about masculinity norms and the need for gender equal healthcare. “There are myths about masculinity that make it difficult for men who have been sexually traumatized to talk about their experiences,” a spokesperson for sexual education organization RFSU told The Local in June. It eventually opened its doors to patients in October.
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Södersjukhuset in Stockholm, where the new clinic is. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
As much as we at The Local love Swedish people, there's no denying they're a pretty strange bunch. They're efficient but adore a good coffee break, they're fond of queuing except on the Stockholm subway, and they appear cold at a glance but are as warm as a sauna when you get to know them. This article reflecting on their five most peculiar habits was one of your most-shared features in 2015.
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A typically Swedish crayfish party. Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se
Sweden loved its cat stories this year, with everything from a catcam busting burglars in Norrköping to a brave feline saving the day when his owner's smartphone was about to catch fire. But the one you liked reading the most was about 30-year-old Missan, a Swedish pet claiming to be the world's oldest cat. Here's to a happy 2016 for her.
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Missan, the world's oldest cat? Photo: Private
Swedes are some of the best non-native English speakers in the world, often infuriatingly choosing to simply stick to English when talking to expats desperately trying to practise their pidgin Swedish. But there are some quirks of the language that still confound them. The difference between 'fun' and 'funny', for example. Have you picked up on any other linguistic mistakes we missed?
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At least their English is probably better than your Swedish. Photo: AP
Sweden's Prince Carl Philip warmed the hearts of even the most rigid republicans when he married his long-term and former glamour model girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist in a lavish ceremony in Stockholm. The Local was there to live blog every step of the way – and readers from all over the world logged on to follow the royal celebrations. And with a baby expected in 2016 the couple are well on the way to living happily ever after.
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Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
What would Sweden be without a silly children's song about genitals, featuring a dancing penis and vagina – or, as we've taken to calling them after an English translation of the song went live, 'willie and twinkle'. That's 'snopp och snippa' for those of you who preferred the original. The catchy tune was released in several different remix versions and we even heard it being played in Stockholm clubs.
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This story sparked some of the most intense discussions we've seen on our Facebook page, with people sharing their struggles to find a Swedish friend and others defending the shy Vikings. It came after a global survey named Sweden as the worst country for striking up new friendships. The debate prompted us to write this guide to making friends in Sweden – designed to help cheer some of you up! If you're looking for a New Year's resolution, why not make a new Swedish friend in 2016 and let us know how you get on.
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Want to make a Swedish friend? Bribe them with fika. Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se
How would you react if you were falsely accused of being a terrorist and arrested to much publicity after a massive manhunt which hit headlines around the world? We're guessing you probably wouldn't be as cool about it as Moder Mothanna Magid. To show there were no hard feelings he threw a nationwide social media party and invited everyone to his home in Boliden in northern Sweden. His smiling face and laissez-faire attitude quickly made him one of our 2015 favourites.
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