Sunday, January 16

The return to normality in Sweden, from day to night

Let’s say that Sweden usually treats its affairs in its own way. And few things are as appropriate to the Swedes as summer, especially this last post-pandemic delta in which almost no one has left home. «Many of those who have been infected with Covid-19 abroad have been infected in nightclubs», Sentenced epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, head of the Swedish health authority, in an interview with the SvD newspaper, ‘Svenska Dagbladet’. And with this argument he argued that it did not seem like a good idea to introduce in Sweden the mandatory vaccination passport to access nightclubs; that it was best to keep them closed. “The big difference (to face contagion) lies in waiting seated for the drink service or standing on the dance floor,” he concluded.

In this way, and as the wave flattened, during the summer the terraces and the interior of the restaurants were gradually populated; the bathers returned to the pools, the public to the cinema and in the stadiums roared the mob again, that yes, tempered by the limitations of its capacity. In the discos, however, the most severe restrictions remained in force until well past the summer heat.

Viking boarding

With this panorama, the majority of Swedes decided this summer to what is already known as the ‘hemester’, holidays at home -‘hema ‘, a substitute for the classic’ semester ‘, vacations like those of before, of trips and stays in countries with sun insurance-. On the other hand, and dotted with traditions, the Swedish summer begins with the national holiday par excellence, the day of ‘Midsommar’, at the end of June, the longest day of the year. Paradoxically, from that date on, each day is a little shorter than the previous one, until darkness and cold definitely take over the landscape in winter.

These things, well known to Swedish mosquitoes, are what cause these insects to come out of their winter slumber ready to feed off the unsuspecting who venture into their forests during the summer. Although this year, they too, the mosquitoes, have been affected the lack of fresh meat. Tourism has disappeared from the streets and not to mention the forests in Sweden and, in Stockholm, in the absence of the hard-working tourists who once walked the cobbled streets of its Old City, Gamla Stan, there are many shops and venues that have had to close.

Museums and paddle

But do not trust appearances so soon, because there is always room to reinvent yourself and in the face of the proliferation of series and publications that fantasize about the adventures and outrages of the old Vikings, the history museum, the Historiskamuseet in Stockholm, has not missed the opportunity to get on the longship, the boat used by skilled Viking sailors, to navigate the stormy waters of the crisis and thus attract their fellow vacationers.

The roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life in Norse mythology, runs through the exhibition ‘The World of the Vikings’, designed by the Japanese Atsuko Hamanaka Brandt, guides visitors through the social structure, customs, travel, looting, commercial relations, the concept of power or the expansion of Christianity during the Viking era; in total, 350 years between 750 and 1100 AD. C. that changed life in Scandinavia. “We have worked hard to bring small objects closer and to show the Viking society to the public,” the museum’s director, Katherine Hauptman, tells ABC, in front of the outstanding pieces on which the exhibition is based. Balanced in its resources to attract the youngest with three-dimensional simulators, screens and interactive panels, the Historiskamuseet reinterprets the role of container of objects of the classic history museums.

Exhibition of Hilma af Klint in Malmö
Exhibition of Hilma af Klint in MalmöAsa Lundén | The modern Museum

But what came with the summer, Mediterranean vibes included, has gone with it. And, while Stockholm was gradually getting rid of the pandemic, these months numerous terraces appeared on its roofs that offered new views of the city and a wide variety of possibilities to those who climbed on them. From music sessions of all kinds to the opportunity to play paddle tennis on the NK department store, Nordiska Kompaniet, located in the heart of the capital.

The debate does not focus on the vaccination of young people and the media does not make an exhaustive count of the number of waves of the pandemic

Because that’s another: resigned to the lack of relief from the great tennis stars, the legendary Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg or Mats Wilander, the Swedes They have turned to paddle tennis. Two courts of this sport occupy the surface of a single tennis court and, in addition, paddle tennis does not require such a refined technique to have fun with friends, as the always practical Scandinavians have guessed to get carried away by the fever of this activity. To the extent that a floating pontoon crossed the city of Stockholm during the summer, while its occupants played paddle tennis and enjoying the sea breeze.

Great exhibitions

But if there is a landscape to dream of the summer in Sweden, with the permission of the Stockholm archipelago and the island of Gotland, that is the the province of Scania. Neighboring Denmark, Skåne offers the natural landscape that serves as a peaceful setting for the otherwise disturbing and macabre intrigues of Henning Mankell. With long deserted beaches and extensive plains of intense yellows, the region enjoys a rich cultural offer and an economic dynamism that should not be lost sight of.

Destination and habitual retreat of artists and bohemians, Escania has in its capital, the football company Malmö, with a franchise of the Moderna Museet, a museum of modern art originating in Stockholm. There, its director, Iris Müller-Westermann, has once again made a virtue of necessity and, after programming during the worst of the pandemic to Hilma af Klint (1862-1944), now offers the possibility of digitally learning about the pictorial world of this unique Swedish artist, researcher and medium.

Recovered in 2013, Hilma af Klint’s work never ceases to amaze the world. Worthy of occupying a prominent place in the origin of abstract art alongside figures such as Kandinsky, Mondrian or Malevich, Hilma af Klint’s paintings slept the dream of the righteous guarded by her family until in 2014 they were released in a memorable exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The parallel program of the Malmö exhibition can now be enjoyed in its digital version. These are documentaries, talks, meditations and musical improvisations that do not lag behind in originality the surprising trajectory and personality of the Swedish artist.

Around the hybrid

But, like every year, as the days grow shorter and the nights lengthen, the mosquitoes disappear from the forests, resigned to waiting until the light again makes its way into the darkness. With the screaming of the courtyardsIn mid-August the school year started and a hybrid normality prevailed in everyday life. The number of bicycles that have taken over the city is not known, to say nothing of the deregulated scooters that bring authority over their heads. The offices are once again occupied part-time, although, with the obvious danger of contagion in the classrooms, no one dares to banish teleworking.

The debate does not focus on vaccinating young people; the media doesn’t do it here either a comprehensive count of the number of waves of the pandemic and, even if you look askance at any rebound, there is greater desire to dream that, as happens every year, summer will return next year.

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