Join the contest! This Swedish candy could be yours

Swedish candy, Swedish food
Now, this is Swedish candy

Do you want to eat some real Swedish candy?

I’m not talking about some lame version of Swedish fish you get in your hometown.

I’m talking about the real stuff, the good stuff. I’m talking about salty and sour licorice, the cars, the bars. I’m talking about the creamy chocolate and the fishermen’s pipes. What? Yeah, you heard me right — pipes. Curious?

If you are, then get ready — because I am officially launching From Sweden’s first official contest — the Real Swedish Candy Contest.

It’s really simple.

All you have to do is tell me why you are interested in Sweden.

The person who has the best — the most entertaining, the funniest, or craziest, or most interesting story — will in no time at all be chomping down on some real Swedish candy.

Just write in the comment field below or post a video on YouTube and attach the link. Or, if you know how, send a sound file.

The lucky winner will not only get real candy, from Sweden, made by Swedes. But you’ll also get a chance to tell your story.

So, why not take a few minutes now to share with us why you love Sweden, or why you hate Sweden, or why there’s just something about Sweden that has got you all pumped up?

Do you have Swedish ancestry? Maybe you read the “Millennium Trilogy” and got hooked? Are you dating a Swede or do you want to come here to study or work?

Tell us your story.

The Real Swedish Candy Contest runs until the end of April. (I, and I alone, will pick the winner.) And I personally will send the lucky winner a package of Swedish candy.

P.S. If you don’t like this offer, then you can continue to eat the old, boring “Swedish” fish sold at your local supermarket.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about the crazy world of Swedish candy, check out this introduction to Swedish candy at the Lost in Stockholm blog.

10 ways to know you live in Sweden

Swedish countryside
You know you live in Sweden when…

After eight years, I’ve pretty much forgotten that I live in Sweden. But every once in a while something happens that reminds me that, yes, no doubt about it, I live in Sweden. Here’s a list.

1. The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces takes sick leave because he’s stressed out.
2. You just went to the bar, split the bill three ways with your friends and you each paid with a credit card.
3. Both leaders of the Green Party went on parental leave at the same time.
4. You don’t have health insurance.
5. Your 3-year-old is having a temper tantrum at breakfast because you ran out of caviar.
6. You just paid $145 dollars to fill your tank with gas.
7. You know what this (below) is and you like it.

Swedish holiday, visit Sweden, Swedish food
Herring, anchovies and a good old traditional Midsummer dinner.

8. It’s almost April and your winter parka is still hanging up in the hallway.
9. You haven’t filled out a form at the doctor’s office in the past 8 years.
10. You take an utfart and an infart and it doesn’t even smell.

This list will definitely have new versions in the future.

Do you have your own list of things that remind you that you live in Sweden? I’d love to see it!

Alcohol, bonfires and choirs

Valborg, or Walpurgis night in English, is a festival that celebrates the coming of the spring. (Although it’s rarely warm in Sweden when people celebrate it on April 30. We all froze this year.)

In Sweden, people celebrate by setting large bonfires and singing songs. I asked a bunch of people what the holiday was for, and they all say it’s some sort of pagan thing, but they didn’t really know more than that.

In practice, people get together and party, especially teenagers.

For those of us with kids, we had a little pot-luck and then headed down to the local bonfire.

More about Valborg.

Peeing on the flowers at Stockholm airport

I found Swedish summer at the Stockholm Airport last week.

Here’s what happened: I had to go urinate and when I got to the bathroom I found that the wall behind the urinals was covered with flowers and tall grass so that it felt like I was peeing into a lovely field on a Swedish summer day.

Swedes, and Stockholmers in particular, have been called conformists and reserved — and in some ways they are. But every once in a while, Sweden surprises me.

Why should bathrooms be serious? They shouldn’t and I give kudos to Stockholm Arlanda airport for having fun with one of man’s most mundane activities — peeing at a urinal.

It’s the little things in life that matter and the illusion that I was peeing in a Swedish field made a big difference for me that day.

Sweden continues to expand nuclear energy production

The Forsmark nuclear power plant on the east coast of Sweden, taken by Arenamontanus

The Swedish government is showing no signs of reversing its plans to expand nuclear energy in the aftermath of the ongoing catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.

According to figures from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Sweden will boost nuclear power output by over 12 percent at eight of the country’s ten nuclear power plants.

A renewed nuclear debate

Less than nine months ago, Sweden’s center-right minority government narrowly passed historic legislation that lifted a 30-year ban on building new nuclear reactors.

Now opposition parties are once again questioning the government’s strategy. Some nuclear experts are expressing safety concerns with particular aspects of the program. And a new poll shows 64 percent of Swedes opposing the construction of new nuclear power plants.

“The government chose nuclear power over renewable energy,” says Anders Lindgren, op-ed columnist at Aftonbladet, a newspaper whose editorial pages are affiliated with the Social Democrats. “The current situation in Japan is an uncomfortable reminder of how badly thought out that policy was.”

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt defended his government’s position on television last week. He said that the world needed to learn from what had happened in Japan. But he emphasized that all energy production had an impact on the environment. Read More