Sweden's ill-fated yule goat burns down a week before Christmas

The Local Sweden
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Sweden's ill-fated yule goat burns down a week before Christmas
Gävle police at the scene of the blaze, with the yule goat corpse in the background. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/TT

Sweden's most famous yule goat, Gävlebocken, has once again succumbed to flames in an arson attack. A man with soot on his hands was arrested close to the scene.


Every year the massive Christmas goat in the Slottstorget square in Gävle, central Sweden, attracts a media storm with locals dreaming up new ways to protect the 13-metre-high creation.

Despite their efforts, including in some years spraying the goat in anti-flammable liquid, the goat usually goes up in flames long before Swedes have opened their Christmas presents.


In 2016, the last time it was vandalised, it burned down on its opening day.

If it had survived this Christmas season, it would have been a historic year for the goat, which has never survived five consecutive years before.

But it was not to be. At 3.38am on Friday, Gävle police got a call that the giant straw buck was on fire.

Police said that a smaller nearby goat was first set ablaze. By 3.41am, both goats had burned to the ground.

According to witnesses, a "tall and athletically built man", wearing dark clothes and a hood, was seen leaving the scene when the fire started.

Witnesses also reported spotting a man changing his clothes close to the scene, who when confronted said he "did not have a lighter".

Police shortly thereafter found the man, who had soot all over his hands. The man, in his 40s, was later arrested. He denies the allegations.


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