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Halland or Haaland? Norway football star brings trouble to Swedish region

The tourist board for Swedish county of Halland has complained that it is being "completely suffocated" on social media, due to people mispelling the name of the Norwegian football star Erling Braut Haaland.

Halland or Haaland? Norway football star brings trouble to Swedish region
Manchester City's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland has caused problems for Sweden's Halland region. Photo: Sascha Schuermann / AFP

Haaland has scored a phenomenal 22 goals in the 15 games he has played in since joining Manchester City this season, generating vast numbers of posts on social media and online. 

But for Halland, the country on Sweden’s west coast that is home to the resort town of Varberg, this has been a minor marketing catastrophe.

Halland is known for windswept beaches like Skrea strand. Photo: Alexandra Hall/Visit Halland

“We are Halland. He is Haaland. The popularity of the football phenomenon is completely suffocating our online presence,” Jimmie Sandberg, the head of Visit Halland wrote in an open letter. 

“To our despair, we now see that all of our efforts promoting Halland are rapidly being wiped away. If nothing is done, we fear our dear region is at risk of becoming a forgotten Atlantis, a place only known in stories and ancient scriptures.”

In the letter, which was posted on his LinkedIn page, with leading football journalists tagged, Sandberg admonished international journalists to check their spelling when covering the footballer, and even included a guide to Scandinavian pronunciation. 

“We want to call upon all football fans, and the global media, to please play close attention when spelling his name and posting online. We are aware that Scandinavian vowels can be quite confusing, so to further assist you we’d like to offer up a small linguistic guide: 

Halland: one A, two L’s = amazing region on the Swedish west coast. Pronunciation: Ha!-land, short first “a” vowel. Hashtag #halland 

Haaland: two A’s, one L = amazing footballer from Norway. Pronunciation: Hou-land, long first “a” vowel. Hashtag: #haaland.” 

Here’s the letter in full: 

Sandberg told The Local that the issue was still a relatively minor one for the region. 

“We were working on our online presence, and then, all of a sudden, when, when Haaland moved to Manchester City, we saw that that he’d started to show up in our searches. We were looking mainly at image search for Halland, and what we saw what that his presence became bigger and bigger, and it was almost only Haaland in all the image searches we did.” 

“It’s not a huge problem at the moment,” he continued. “But when when you have 20 million followers on Instagram, for example, and 1000s of articles are being written about you, and maybe 1 percent are spelt wrong, this causes some problems for us.” 

He said that after brainstorming what to do about it, his team had decided to write an open letter, post it on LinkedIn and tag some sports journalists to see if they could get some coverage. 

“We hoped that Hallands Posten, our local newspaper here would write something fun about it, ” he said. “And then, of course, the dream scenario was that people would actually bring attention to this and see that they’re actually spelling his wrong.”‘

The last few days, though, he said, had been “totally crazy”, he said, with Reuters, the BBC, and even a Nigerian newspaper writing about it. 

“My God, Tylösand, the pearl of our beaches, is being mentioned in a Nigerian newspaper!” he exclaimed. 

He said he suspected that the coverage would not solve the problem with misspellings, but had at least got his region some attention. 

“Maybe we can get it down to 0.5 percent,” he said of people referring to the footballer online as ‘Halland’. “And that would be lovely.”

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CULTURE

The month ahead: What’s happening in Sweden in January?

From defence conferences to sports competitions, here are some of the key dates and events to keep an eye on in Sweden in January 2023.

The month ahead: What's happening in Sweden in January?

January 3rd: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, to discuss the Swedish EU presidency.

January 3rd-13th: Sweden’s men’s national football team to travel to Portugal to play Finland (January 9th) and Iceland (January 12th).

January 4th: Sweden to play the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship in ice hockey. The match starts at 8.30pm and will be broadcast by SVT.

January 5th: The final of the World Junior Championship in ice hockey, which may or may not feature Sweden.

January 8th-10th: The annual Folk och Försvar (“Society and Defence”) conference to be held at the Sälen ski resort. Expected to attend are as usual some of the top names in the world of security and defence, including Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

January 11th-29th: The World Championship in men’s handball to take place in Sweden and Poland. This is a popular sport in Sweden, who won the silver in the last World Championship and the gold medal in the last European Championship.

January 12th-13th: The EU Commission to visit Sweden.

January 16th: Sweden’s annual sports gala, Idrottsgalan, to be held at Avicii Arena in Stockholm.

January 17th: Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to present Sweden’s presidency at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg. On the same day, Sweden will chair a meeting of the EU’s finance ministers in Brussels.

January 18th: Party leader debate in the Swedish parliament, the first one of 2023.

January 23rd: Swedish movie awards Guldbaggegalan to be held at Cirkus in Stockholm.

January 25th-27th: Informal meeting of the EU’s justice, home affairs and migration ministers in Stockholm.

January 27th: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to hold a “Sverigemiddag” or “Sweden Dinner” in Stockholm to kick off celebrations of this year of the King’s 50th jubilee. All of Sweden’s county leaders have been invited, and they are also allowed to bring influential people from their respective regions.

January 27th-February 5th: Gothenburg Film Festival to take place in Sweden’s second largest city.

January 31st: The government has asked DIGG, the Agency for Digital Government, to analyse how a state-issued e-ID (a new, state-run alternative to BankID) could be created and maintained. The agency must present their report to the government by this date.

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