SwedishFreak’s condensed Swedish history continues today with the sixth and final episode.
The internationally most noticed incidents during the last 40 years in Sweden is undoubtedly the murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme, and the murder of Anna Lindh, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Officially, both incidents are explained as impulsive, random killings by misfit persons. This may be true about Anna Lindh. But Olof Palme had many enemies, domestically as well as internationally, for being unusually outspoken, equally obtrusive on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Consequently, many theories have been put forward about foreign agents as well as domestic conspiracies.
Sweden joined the European Union 1995 after a referendum with a narrow victory for ”yea”. Swedes are however reluctant members: another referendum about the currency yielded a ”nay”, why Sweden deliberately has failed to meet the conditions for the Euro zone – currently a good decision. Voices arguing for EU exit are heard increasingly often.
The current neo-liberal government are losing support after dismantling the welfare system and failing to halt the increase in unemployment. Next general election will be 2014… and then what?
If you missed the first episodes, check out our history page (Culture/History) which presents each of the six episodes, or dive directly into Today and the Future?
SwedishFreak’s condensed Swedish history continues today with the fifth episode; all and all there will be six episodes.
The 20th century started with two World Wars; Sweden managed to stay out of both, and has therefore been critized for cowardry. But in retrospect, with all facts on hand, maintaining Swedish neutrality was probably the best way to support the Western Allies and promote democracy.
And many Swedes tried hard to make a difference: for instance, Raoul Wallenberg, Harry Söderman, and – surprisingly enough – king Gustav V, who had the guts to call on Hitler in Hitler’s office, to scold him for his way to treat the Jews! His effort obviously didn’t have the desired effect, but, anyway !
Between the wars began the building of a modern welfare state, known as Folkhemmet, i.e. ”the people’s home”.
If you missed the first episodes, check out our history page (Culture/History) which presents each of the six episodes, or dive directly into Laying The Foundation For Folkhemmet!
Next episode will follow… shortly.
Make A King From A Republican And End War Forever!
SwedishFreak’s condensed Swedish history continues today with the fourth episode; all and all there will be six episodes.
During the 18th century, remarkable things happened in the royal court: one king was killed by a pastry, another was shot at the Opera, a third was dethroned, and a fourth was created from a devoted republican and anti-royalist.
For more than two centuries, Sweden had constantly been involved in wars with most European countries: Denmark, Poland, Russia, Prussia, Lubeck, Bremen, Austria, France, and England. The 18th century started in the same manner. Finland was lost to Russia, but Norway was conquered from Denmark.
Suddenly – just like that – once the new king had invaded Norway, the warlike attitude ended, and after that, Sweden hasn’t been involved in any war. Peace was made with England without one single shot had been fired.
Next episode will follow… shortly.
During the last few weeks, there have been findings of horsemeat in frozen food, labeled beef, in many European countries. This has upset a lot of people, created large headlines, and forced producers to withdraw large quantities of frozen and canned food, such as meatballs, sausages, meat pies, pasta sauces, lasagne, etc. Thousands of microwave dishes have been DNA-tested to establish what kind of meat that has been used.
One of the companies that have been hit is Swedish IKEA, which has been serving “Swedish meatballs” with lingonberry jam in its inhouse restaurants in almost every country in the world. But stay calm: meatballs will be back on the menu again after a meatball moratorium to find another, horse-free, food supplier.
Horse meat labeled beef has also been found in England, France, Ireland, Poland… triggering furious outcry. A different but really big problem turned up for a food producer in Iceland. One of its main products, a meat pie, containing 30% ground beef according to the list of ingredients, caused a problem in the lab. Testing for horse DNA, they couldn’t find any substance at all of animal origin in the meat pies… The owner of the factory is still trying to figure out how the typo in the label went undetected for so long… “Meat Pie”. (?)
The main problem with the horse meat is of course not the horse meat itself – most reputable chefs mean that fillet of horse tastes better than fillet of beef, and has a higher nutritional value – the real problem is that you can’t trust the label. This is a serious problem that needs serious attention, justifying the ongoing investigations.
(A questionable side effect of this is that thousands of tons of perfectly good food are withdrawn and incinerated because the label is wrong.)
Now there are of course people who refuse to eat horse for various reasons. Some are horse owners, attached to their big pet/companion. Others have less clear reasons, such as considering horses to be in the same league as dogs and cats – you just don’t eat dogs. Or horses. You eat cows, pigs, chicken and turkey.
But why not horses? The reason goes back to 732 AD, and the name of the reason was Gregorius II, occupation: pope. Christianity was fighting its way up in Europe, and one problem on its way was that people in northern Europe, including Sweden, didn’t want to forsake their great pagan feasts, with an abundance of beer and huge steaks. Horse steaks, that is. The pope realized that he couldn’t forbid beer – if he did, he would have to forbid wine as well, and the people in Italy would make sure that his days in the Vatican were ended very soon. But he could ban horse steaks, since they weren’t so common in Italy anyway. So he did.
Appointing the missionary Bonifacius to archbishop of Mainz (Germany), the pope Gregorius II also instructed the new archbishop to forbid eating of horsemeat. The Catholic ban on horsemeat persisted some 800 years, until Martin Luther et al broke free from the Catholic Church. However, since people weren’t used to cook horse, it was regarded with suspicion and never became a big success. And the demand has been continuingly low until today, even if horsemeat has been available, at least in some butcheries.
One funny thing though is the fact that in Sweden, after the last few weeks’ horsemeat scandal, the demand for tenderloin and steaks from horse has grown. I would say for good reasons: there’s no better meat than fillet of horse…