Sweden in Quarterfinals in World Cup 2018

World Cup 2018 quarterfinals Sweden

Like Sweden? Are you a soccer (or football if you are in Europe) fan as well? Now is the time to tune in to the World Cup being held in Russia this year, as Sweden has made it to the quarterfinals!

via GIPHY

Sweden is moving on to the quarterfinals after beating Switzerland 1-0.  You can see the highlights in the video below. CBS Sports also has a good breakdown of the match on their blog.

Sweden is set to play England this Saturday, 7 am PST, 4 pm CET.  And if they win, they will go on to play in the semifinals. They will either play Russia or Croatia, depending who wins the game on Saturday, 8 pm CET.  Things are getting exciting!

Google has a great chart that shows the progress of the World Cup 2018World Cup 2018 quarterfinals Sweden

On the other side, Uruguay will be playing France this Friday and Brazil will play Belgium.  One of these will go up against the final winner in our bracket, which will be played on Wednesday the 11th at 8 pm CET or 11 am PST. (Fingers crossed it is Sweden!)

Where to Watch the World Cup Quarterfinals 2018

Ok, so the most important question is where to watch! Obviously, that depends on where you are and what you have access to. If you have cable, I would check your sports channel.  For example, in the US I know it is playing on Fox Sports. Hulu and Sling TV also offer the world cup if you are a subscriber, but again, for the US only.

If you aren’t able to watch online, always check your local sports bar. Most likely they are playing one or all of the matches!

If you don’t want to go out and can’t find an online or cable option, then you can always watch the live blog of the match for a bit of the fun. Most likely what I will be doing unless I play with a VPN!

Will you be watching and cheering for Sweden?

Remember, you don’t need to live in Sweden to be a Swedish Freak nor football fan!

Swedish Interior Design Style in Nine Words

Orange Scandinavian Living Room Design

You might recognise Swedish style when you see it, but when you actually set out to create your own Swedish style interior, it can be more difficult than you expected. Sure, you can play by the rules, but if you do that, you may end up with a sterile space that doesn’t have much individuality. Rather than following instructions, orient yourself by thinking about nine words that encapsulate everything you need to know about Swedish style.

Space

When you step into a Swedish house the first thing you notice is space. Swedish design lets a home breathe – it’s airy and uncluttered so that every bit of furniture gets enough elbow room.

It can be tough making this work if you have a lot of stuff, which is why Swedish designers are so good at building great storage!

Light

You’ll also notice how light Swedish interiors are. In winter, Sweden can be pretty grim, so designers treat light as a valuable resource. A pale palette using white, cream or light yellow backgrounds lets light diffuse throughout the room.

Forget drapes – windows are simply dressed with linen blinds or delicate translucent fabrics, if at all, to let as much light as possible into the room. At night time (and yes, that can be most of the twenty-four hours in winter!) rooms are well lit, with multiple light sources including pendant lights over work surfaces and dining tables, often making a big statement.

While most lighting is modern and even industrial in design, Swedes also love candles. A candelabra on the dining table brings any home a touch of warmth as well as light.

Simplicity

Swedish design is simple. It doesn’t do drama, chintz, or opulence – whether it’s classical or modern in inspiration, it achieves its effects with an elegant simplicity of means. Furniture has clean lines – it’s not fussy or over-decorated.

Don’t confuse simplicity with austerity, though. Swedish simplicity is easy to live with – it gives you the space and freedom for spontaneity.

Boldness

So far you might think that simple, light, and spacious is nice, but it could be boring. Forget that! Swedish design can be bold and brave. A big bright red rug in the middle of the living room, or a splash of vivid colour on the wall. Take a look at Decorami’s curated collection of Scandinavian furniture if you want to see how it works – there’s a lot of white, a lot of natural wood, and one really striking, bright orange chair.

That’s about the right percentage – all the neutral colours just set the scene for the big statement.

Natural

Sweden is a nation of nature-lovers, and nature is a profound inspiration for Swedish design. Wooden floors are often left light in colour and bare – Swedes don’t do fitted carpets – while walls may be wood-slatted. Wool and linen are favoured textiles, and if there’s leather around, it will often be natural tan rather than black.

Colours often come from nature – mossy green, sky or sea blue, lichen greys. And don’t forget that essential Swedish touch – fresh flowers.

Texture

Although a Swedish interior looks simple, it always feels interesting. Texture is a big thing, with lots of coarse natural fibres. Wood, wool, wicker, rag rugs, can all contribute to a genuine Swedish vibe. Shiny? Not so much – except as an accent.

Efficiency

Not for nothing is Sweden known as the country of flat-pack furniture. Swedish interior design is efficient design – no frills, it’s functional. From pull-out wire drawers in kitchen cupboards to freely configurable wall shelves, storage is made to cope with your lifestyle rather than constrain it. A Swedish interior is easy to keep clean and tidy. It is, quite simply, meant to be livable – and to work for you.

Humour

Just as Swedish interiors have room for a bold statement, they have room for humour and a bit of quirkiness too. There’s something quite wide-eyed and child-like about some Swedish design – children will love the idea of going to bed in a little tent or having a lurid green alligator as a bathmat. Shelves can accommodate the quirkiest collections – miniature teapots, tin toys, antique piggy banks – and the simplicity of Swedish design makes it possible to pull off a real surprise from time to time.

Magic

If you’ve never seen Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander, you really should – it’s the most amazing film, which I’ll always remember for the magical scene in which the children become engrossed with their model theatre. Fantasy and imagination weave their way throughout the film – and every Swedish style house needs a little touch of magic, too. A beautiful eighteenth-century gilded mirror, or a glittering chandelier, can bring fantasy into your interior design – but so can a brightly coloured Mexican painting or a shimmer of Indian silk. Or even a toy theatre!

 

About the Author

Andrea Kirkby writes for Decorami.com, a unique site that lets you vote for your favourite furniture and decor items, save them for later, follow specific collections and have fun while looking for the best things for your home.

PewDiePie’s Part in the Rise of Live Streaming and User-Generated Content

Swedish YouTube star Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, has been the most subscribed user on the streaming site since 2013, and his channel has received over 17 billion views. There is no doubt now that he is one of the most famous Swedes in the world. In 2016, the 28-year-old was named by Time magazine as one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People, and it is estimated that he has earned around $124 million since 2010.

This immense success story was one of the first of its kind, as a new wave of internet users have managed to get rich by producing content on streaming services. Here, we examine the Swedish star’s rise to the top and discuss the live streaming and user-generated content boom.

PewDiePie’s Rise to Prominence

There are so many cool things to have come out of Sweden – Absolut Vodka, the pacemaker, and Nokia mobile phones all originated in the Scandinavian country. There have also been a number of seriously cool people, and PewDiePie has to be up there with the best of them.

The world-famous YouTuber registered his account with the streaming service in 2010. It was around this time that YouTube, which was founded in 2006 by Steve Chen, Jawed Karim, and Chad Hurley, was reaching worldwide fame. In 2010, there had already been 14 billion views of videos, and the company had a 43 percent market share of the online video industry in the United States.

PewDiePie started his channel while at university studying industrial economics and technology management, but pursued it as a full-time career after dropping out of Chalmers University of Technology. Initially, he had to find a job to raise money and temporarily worked at a hot dog stand. The need for subsidising himself in this way was short-lived, though, and, by July 2012, his channel had already surpassed one million subscribers.

The main focus of the Scandinavian’s channel was on him playing video games and commenting on them. He was praised for his friendly style and the way it seemed as though he was simply hanging out with a friend. PewDiePie played a lot of horror and action games in the early days, with Amnesia: The Dark Descent the most notable.

The format of commenting on video games in a humorous style proved to be extremely popular and, by August 2013, the Swede’s channel became the most subscribed on YouTube, surpassing Smosh in the process. He has held the crown ever since, excluding a 46-day stint in late 2013 when YouTube Spotlight earned the most subscribers.

The Live Streaming Boom


PewDiePie took advantage of an industry which grew rapidly as internet speeds got faster and web pages became more advanced. YouTube was one of the leading players in streaming online content but it has inspired many other businesses and services, which have benefited from the booming craze.

Gaming videos sprouted up in such abundance that a new channel solely for gamers emerged. Twitch started in 2011 and focuses on video game live streaming and eSports. Viewers have the option of watching content live or via video on demand. By 2015, the site had 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million views per month.

However, live streaming is far from the sole domain of traditional video games; many online casinos have also used live streams to show things like poker tournaments, while online casino’s like Betway Live offer roulette and blackjack games that have a human dealer on a webcam, to create a more authentic casino experience.

All these different ways of using streaming have led to hugely successful movie on demand services like Netflix.

User-Generated Content Trends


Aside from the rise of live streaming sites which made it easier to produce content online, PewDiePie also benefited from the fact that people began developing a thirst for user-generated content.

Prior to the YouTube age, consumers had to rely on advertising and magazine reviews when making a decision to buy something. Allowing everyday people to upload their own videos to the internet totally changed the game in this regard. It meant that anybody could take a product and give an honest review of it.

Viewers could watch the videos knowing that it was fairly unlikely that the person making them had been paid by a company to promote it. PewDiePie’s videos not only served to entertain people, they also helped advertise the games he was playing in a neutral way.

YouTube has also brought about the rise of the viral video, which is something that can be shared and talked about among friends. These hit videos of things like dogs chasing deer through the park or cats playing the piano have made people realise that anybody can achieve fame now by uploading the right clip. This age of user-generated content is, therefore, surely set to continue for many years to come.

PewDiePie is one of the early pioneers of a form of media consumption that went on to sweep the world. Now he has solidified his status as one of the best content makers in the world, it will take a lot to push the Swede off his spot at the top of the pile.

Why Swedes are Happier Than We Are: An American Perspective

Happy Swedes

As an American, I’m aware that most of us would proclaim that we live in the greatest country in the world because we’re the most democratic, wealthy and powerful. But one thing is for sure: we’re not the happiest. Based on my time living in Sweden, it comes as no surprise to me that this Nordic country continues to appear among the top 10 “happiest” places in the world.

Since 2012, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has released a World Happiness Report, which rates the happiness of inhabitants of 155 countries based on their satisfaction with things like life expectancy, GDP per capita, employment, social support, income inequality and lack of corruption in government and business. In the SDSN’s 2017 World Happiness Report, Sweden was rated #9 (tied with Australia), dropping slightly four places from #5 in 2016. In fact, several (if not all) of the Nordic countries have consistently made it into the top 10. In 2017, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland were ranked #1, #2, #3 and #5, respectively. This is because many of Sweden’s cultural and socioeconomic characteristics are shared by their Scandinavian brethren. In comparison, the United States was ranked #14 in the 2017 report.  

For those with only a limited understanding of the Nordic region (i.e., most Americans), it’s understandable for them to ask themselves, “How can this possibly be?” Given the country’s frigid Nordic climate, you won’t often see Swedes enjoying outdoor activities that I might take for granted living in Miami, Florida — whether it be swimming in the ocean, having a picnic or playing a round of golf. For the record, Sweden does have beautiful, sandy beaches; but when I recently saw Kevin Hart race against Usain Bolt in their latest GameOn challenge, I was 100 percent sure that the venue wasn’t Tanto Beach or Norrfällsviken! So, the question then becomes
“How do Swedes remain so contented, even while suffering through the “deep freeze?”

Unless you’ve lived there, I think it would be difficult for an outsider, particularly an American, to understand why the Swedish results on the happiness scale make sense. Although Swedes get taxed at exorbitant rates that most Americans would find unconscionable, there are several logical (and in my opinion, worthwhile) justifications for this. Sweden has a long-standing system of governmental support for universal healthcare, free higher education, five weeks of paid vacation from work and several other social programs that are designed to assist its citizenry in acquiring skills and job opportunities. This enduring Swedish lifestyle solved most of the country’s “basic” problems some time ago, so the system is well-supported by the populace, notwithstanding the high taxation. Because of these time-honored policies, the things that most Swedes are concerned about these days can legitimately be described as “first world problems”.

And the cultural benefits don’t stop there. Believe it or not, the average Swede makes a significantly larger salary than the average North American. Most Swedish households include two working parents, which can, on average, generate more income per home. Furthermore, Swedes are good at prioritizing their physical and mental well-being and making smart psychological choices. As just a couple of examples, Sweden has an official holiday to engage in sporting activities, and many households have a country home that they use when they want to get out of the city and enjoy nature.

It also doesn’t hurt that Swedes are attractive, healthy and quite liberal and tolerant. I have also found them to be more self-aware, direct and honest than many other cultures. They support each other, they’re trustworthy and in Sweden, the “honor system” works. According to Meik Wiking, who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, “What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good.”

Mr. Wiking’s sentiments lead us to the one word that I believe most succinctly captures the philosophical underpinnings of Swedish contentment: “lagom”. This word is uniquely Swedish, and a direct translation does not exist in the English language, which is the best evidence of the purity of its genesis. Roughly translated, it means something akin to “not too much, not too little,” “sufficient” or “adequate”. For example, you can have a lagom number of meatballs, live in a lagom apartment and have your heating set at a lagom temperature.

For me, this single word “lagom” encapsulates the entire Swedish socially-democratic philosophy on life: that everyone should have enough, but not too much (which is antithetical to the stereotypical American capitalist mindset). From what I’ve studied and personally experienced, Sweden does not have either a massive lower class or wealthy class — it is predominantly characterized by a large middle-class existence. Furthermore, I have witnessed (and elicited) the Swedish distaste for either excessive confidence, braggadocious behavior or conspicuous material consumption. In fact, despite their “happiness,” I’ve found that Swedes are some of the humblest (and oftentimes, self-deprecating) people I’ve ever met.

So, perhaps my fellow Americans should consider putting their U.S. pride aside for just one moment to take a good look at what kind of cultural mindset works. Who knows? If we can find a way to combine our more forgiving climate and plentiful resources with a “lagom” lifestyle, then perhaps the U.S. could even break into the SDSN’s top 10 one day. It’s up to us.

Written by Emily Galich

Emily is an American from New York who has spent the last 3 years in Sweden. When she isn’t learning about Swedish culture and enjoying a fika, Emily enjoys skiing and swimming. 

7 Swedes That Shine Internationally

famous-Swedes

Swedes do not have reputations for beating their own drums of glory. Rather than seek the limelight, Swedes are generally more fascinated by their work than by any honors or laurels that may be bestowed upon them.

Even though they may not care about receiving kudos, we are not hesitant about sharing their accomplishments and contributions to the world, so here is a quick peek at seven Swedes (or groups of Swedes) who have earned international recognition.

ABBA

Formed in 1972 in Stockholm by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (whose initials of their first names spells out the name of the band), ABBA rocketed to international success and recognition.

Popular songs produced by ABBA include:

  • Dancing Queen (1976)
  • Mamma Mia (1975)
  • Money, Money, Money (1976)
  • Happy New Year (1980)
  • Thank You for the Music (1977)

ABBA created a total of 24 albums during their tenure as Sweden’s most famous pop band. This includes eight studio albums, two live albums, seven compilations, five video albums, and two non-English albums.

For avid ABBA fans, you cannot go wrong with a special boxed set on Amazon titled ABBA: The Albums. This nine-CD collection features all eight studio albums along with a fantastic ninth CD replete with rare recordings and bonus tracks.

In the early 1980s, the members of ABBA began drifting apart. Although they never formally announced the dissolution of their band, no new albums were released after a few recording sessions in 1982.

Over the next decade, they made varying appearances, sometimes individually or in pairs, but not for purposes of performing their hits.

However, ABBA’s vibrant and positive music still charms and delights the hearts and ears of music lovers the world over.

The Skarsgård Family

The closest analogy you can get with the Skarsgård family would be to compare them to the famed Barrymore dynasty in early Hollywood. But that would be doing the Skarsgård family quite a disfavor, as there seem to be scads more Skarsgårds than Barrymores, and they are all still kicking it.

Starting with the patriarch, Stellan Skarsgård, the following provides a bullet list of additional Skarsgård members (along with relationship to Stellan), both by blood and by marriage:

  • Alexander Skarsgård (son)
  • Bill Skarsgård (son)
  • Gustaf Skarsgård (son)
  • Sam Skarsgård (son)
  • Valter Skarsgård (son)
  • Eija Skarsgård (daughter)
  • Ossian Skarsgård (son)
  • Kolbjörn Skarsgård (son)
  • Megan Everett (spouse)
  • My Skarsgård (ex-wife)

Of his eight children, six are from his first marriage to My and the last two are with Megan Everett. Declaring that eight is enough (with apologies to the old television series), he was sterilized after his second child with Megan.

Raised an atheist, after the 9/11 attacks Skarsgård set out to study both the Koran and the Bible. He decisively concluded that both books promote violence. He further declared that he cannot justify the existence of a divine being that would create such ludicrous and dangerous creatures as humans.

Obviously, a likable and sensible person!

Dag Wirén

Best known in his native country of Sweden, Dag Wirén also stirs up fond memories for lovers of classical music. Wirén was one of the few 20th-century classical composers who chose to adhere to the romantic style of classical music, eschewing dissonance and atonality.

This placed Wirén in a small class of traditional composers, but his works have held up well over the years. His best-known work is his Serenade for Strings, Opus 11, but a modest search will uncover plenty of other jewels created by him.

Recommended YouTube performances include:

For a fuller backstory of his life and work, check out Dag Wirén: National Swedish Treasure on Swedish Freak.

Astrid Lindgren

For over half a century, Astrid Lindgren has been able to bring smiles and astonish children all over the world with her series of books about Pippi Longstocking, one of the most remarkable young fictional girls ever to grace the printed page.

Despite the fact that there were only three books written about Pippi Longstocking, her tale has been retold and modified over the years through dozens of miniature picture books (designed for preschoolers), plays, and films that have been made about the astonishingly independent and extremely adventurous young girl with superhuman strength.

While Pippi Longstocking is the best-known accomplishment of Astrid Lindgren, these charming tales are merely one chapter in the incredible story of this unusual and dedicated Swedish writer and editor.

After her retirement, she remained active for the remainder of her long life. Here are a few of her accomplishments during her retirement years alone:

  • Recipient of the German Book Traders’ Peace Prize in 1978
  • Her Peace Prize speech influenced Swedish legislation to ban hitting children in 1979
  • Actively involved against the development of nuclear energy in the 1980s
  • Strongly fought for animal rights in the 1980s
  • Influenced legislation (named Lex Lindgren, after her) increasing animal rights in 1987
  • Named International Swede of the Year in 1997

Another page on Swedish Freak will give you even greater insights into Pippi Longstocking and her creator, Astrid Lindgren.

Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman has long been recognized as one of the leading film directors across the globe. Although his work spanned across theater, radio, television, and film, his movies remain among his greatest achievements in cinematography.

His work in films reads like a top ten list of the greatest movies ever made:

  • The Seventh Seal (1957)
  • Persona (1966)
  • Wild Strawberries (1957)
  • Fanny and Alexander (1982)
  • The Virgin Spring (1960)
  • Scenes from a Marriage (1973 for Swedish television)
  • Cries and Whispers (1972)
  • Summer with Monika (1953)
  • The Magic Flute (1975 for Swedish television)

Bergman was involved in filmmaking for over half a century, with his first screenplay “Torment” in 1944; he formally retired in 2003.

He passed away on July 30, 2007, the same day famed Italian movie director, Michelangelo Antonioni, died.

Robyn

Robin Miriam Carlsson is the original name of the popular Swedish singer, producer, and songwriter Robyn. In 1995, Robyn broke into the world of popular music with her debut album titled “Robyn Is Here.” This album introduced two new singles that made the ranks of the Billboard Hot 100: “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What It Takes).”

To date, Robyn has produced 7 original albums, as follows:

  • Robyn Is Here (1995)
  • My Truth (1999)
  • Don’t Stop the Music (2002)
  • Robyn (2005)
  • Body Talk Pt. 1 (2010)
  • Body Talk Pt. 2 (2010)
  • Body Talk (2010)

While better known in Sweden, where her albums typically rise to the top of the national charts (all her albums have found their way into the top 10 in Sweden, with three of them reaching number one), Robyn has also garnered a following in the United States and the rest of Europe.

You can also stay up to date on her website; her latest project invites international dance music artists to remix their favorite Robyn tracks.

Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (Garbo)

Better known as Greta Garbo, Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in Stockholm on September 18, 1905. One of the few crossover actresses whose work in the silent era and the talkies brought her lifelong fame and admiration, Garbo was no typical pinup girl.

Her audacious and liberated attitudes might have raised a few American eyebrows who thought they preferred their women demure and obedient. Garbo soon changed that ideal.

She may have been a screen goddess, but her early years in Sweden were far from celestial. Her mother was a factory worker and her father a common laborer, who died when Greta was 14.

This loss was compounded by the financial difficulties the family faced due to his death. Greta left school and landed a job at a department store. Soon she was being used as a model and even performed in a short commercial, where a director saw her and offered her a small part in a comedic film.

This inspired her to get involved in drama. She was good enough to earn a scholarship to a drama school and appeared in a couple of movies.

Her appearances caught the attention of a major Swedish director, Mauritz Stiller, who soon propelled her to national fame by starring her in The Saga of Gösta Berling in 1924.

Stiller also suggested Greta change her commonplace last name from Gustafsson to something easier to remember and say. “Garbo” was chosen and is now eternally embossed in the annals of film history.

It only took one more Swedish film, Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street), for Garbo (and director Stiller) to snag a contract with MGM.

Her first American film, Torrent, was conveniently a silent film, as were her next four movies. In 1930, she premiered in her first talkie, Anna Christie, which also earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

The list of films in which she has mesmerized audiences includes cinema treasures like:

Many critics agree that her finest role was the title character in Anna Karenina, but she clearly glowed in most of her performances.

It was in the late 1940s that Garbo gave up on Hollywood. It was not long before legends were being spun about the now reclusive star who chose a life of privacy over clamoring fans. For more than 40 years, she called New York her home and traveled with celebrated personalities the world over.

Her death at the age of 84 from pneumonia marked the end of an era and a film legend. While tagged as a recluse who wanted to be left alone, let us close with this quote from Garbo herself:

“I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.”

 

As you can see, there are some amazing Swedes who have really stood out as the top world artists.

What do you think? Who is your favorite Swede that shines internationally?

Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA Founder, Dies at 91

On March 30, 1926, Ingvar Kamprad was born on his family farm Elmtaryd in the local parish Agunnaryd.

While this innocuous statement of fact appears to point to nothing of interest, if you add the initials of this child to the initials of his farm and nearby parish, you get IKEA. Ingvar Kamprad was the man who spawned IKEA out of a simple philosophy and practical approach.

Childhood Ventures

Although Ingvar’s father, Frans Feodor Kamprad, was German, his family had moved to Sweden when he was one year old. For all intents and purposes, Frans was as Swedish as the woman he married, Berta Linnéa Matilda Nilsson.

His family did maintain contact with their German relatives and his father was steeped in his long family history, so Ingvar was influenced to some extent by his German ancestry. More on that later.

Young Ingvar demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. By the time he was five, he figured out how to buy matches in bulk, sell them cheaper than stores, and pocket the modest profit from each transaction.

He quickly learned that it was not the product that was sold, but how you sold it that made the difference. It was not long before he graduated from his match selling enterprise on to larger projects like pens, Christmas decorations, and even fish.

He also discovered the power of advertising and took advantage of announcing his wares in the local papers. The logical next step was for Ingvar to start a simple mail-order catalog, which proved to be another move in the right direction.

There was also the need for assistance in delivering orders received through the mail. Since the milk van made regular stops at his farm, it made sense to contract with the milkman to deliver his orders to the train station.

You could say that this was the first stage of expansion of Ingvar’s business from a one-man operation to a growing enterprise that was tapping into local services and talents to support the growth of his venture.

As he realized that his casual yet persistent efforts to sell products to local consumers was expanding beyond his own backyard, Kamprad decided to formally establish the business that he still operated on the farm where he grew up.

By combining his initials along with the name of his farm and the parish to which he belonged, IKEA was officially founded by Ingvar Kamprad, age 17.

The Birth of IKEA

Throughout all of this, Kamprad stuck to his firm belief that offering materials for less than his competitors produced a surefire path to profitability. By keeping his nose to the grindstone and focusing on finding products customers might want, he continued to grow and succeed.

Also, by expanding his horizons through mail order outreach, Ingvar demonstrated the innovation and flexibility that ultimately led him to build one of the leading furniture manufacturers and retailers in the world.

Not willing to stagnate in one specific product line, he added different items over time. Since there were furniture manufacturers operating near his farm, he decided to add basic furniture items to his growing catalog.

That move was a significant turning point in the life of IKEA.

The Growth and Evolution of IKEA

Very quickly, the numbers showed how much IKEA was making from his furniture division. It took little time for Kamprad to shift gears and focus 100% on offering quality furniture with simple visual instructions for putting together.

As mentioned earlier, imagination is one of the key elements in the success and growth of IKEA. No other mail order business had ever considered selling furniture by mail. It was simply too bulky.

All of that changed when Kamprad noticed an employee taking off the legs from a table for easier transport. Immediately, he envisioned selling furniture in its rawest state: unassembled.

The benefits of this brainstorm were multiple.

Packing furniture was now simplified into one rectangular box that contained all the pieces of the ordered item.

Even better was the savings on factory assembly! By ingeniously suggesting to the end buyer that you can save lots of money putting it together yourself following simple pictorial instructions, there was no need for an assembly line and factory workers.

That is a huge overhead savings that no other furniture company thought of before IKEA began selling furniture in flat boxes through the mail. And IKEA sold lots of those boxes of furniture as the years rolled on.

Practical and simplified thinking led Ingvar Kamprad to consider something previously thought to be impossible to accomplish and to instead come up with a sensible plan to make it happen.

Even more phenomenal is the positive spin that has been put on the idea of putting together your own furniture. There is a name for the strong cognitive bias a person forms towards a product they purchased in which they were personally involved in some element of its creation: the IKEA Effect.

Spreading the IKEA Gospel

When IKEA began growing in earnest and garnering international attention and interest, everyone wanted to know the secret of their success. This was a privately-owned business selling simple furniture, yet it was continuing to expand its reach and influence.

More consumers were becoming enamored with the IKEA approach: simple, inexpensive, and under your own control.

In December of 1976, Ingvar Kamprad offered his philosophy of the success of IKEA in “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer.” Its opening sentence could well be considered the mission statement of this firm:

“To create a better everyday life for the many people, by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”

This 14-page pamphlet offers nine chapters which outline who they are and expresses their values. The first two chapters take up two pages, while the remaining seven chapters are each covered in one page.

The chapters are:

  1. The product range – our identity
  2. The IKEA spirit – a strong and living reality
  3. Profit gives us resources
  4. Reaching good results with small means
  5. Simplicity is a virtue
  6. Doing it a different way
  7. Concentration – important to our success
  8. Taking responsibility – a privilege
  9. Most things still remain to be done. A glorious future!

A thorough examination of his personal business plan, as reflected in the daily operations of IKEA, offers a glimpse into the mind of a practical businessperson who has preserved this basic precept as the foundation of his success: serve the customer well.

A more extensive treatment of the growth of IKEA and the influence and philosophy of Kamprad can be found in the book he co-authored with Bertil Torekull, Leading By Design: The IKEA Story in 1999.

Regrets of a Younger Age

In 1994, it was reported that among the personal papers in the possession of known Swedish fascist supporter Per Engdahl at his death included private letters between himself and Kamprad.

It revealed that in his teenage years, Ingvar Kamprad joined a pro-fascist movement formed by Engdahl called Nysvenska Rörelsen (New Swedish Movement). His involvement appeared to run from at least 1942 until late 1945 and included raising funds as well as recruiting new members.

For Kamprad, who until this revelation had a sterling reputation as a successful businessman who promoted values such as simplicity and honesty, this was clearly a black mark on a previously pure record.

To his credit, he stepped up and accepted full responsibility for his past decisions. Explaining that he was unduly influenced by his father and paternal grandmother, who still had strong ties to their Sudet-German homeland, he was too young to fully understand the choice he made.

In explaining further in a letter to his employees in 1994, Kamprad stated firmly that his involvement with Nysvenska Rörelsen was the “greatest mistake of his life.”

Although documentation indicates that he continued to be in communication with Engdahl into the 1950s, this does appear to be an episode from his distant past. Many youths are swayed by either peers or family members to make choices that in later years were obviously imprudent. It seems reasonable to offer this exoneration to Kamprad as well.

An Unknown Fortune

As a privately-owned business, one can only guess the true value of IKEA. There is no doubt that Ingvar Kamprad is a very rich man. On January 27, 2018 (the date of Kamprad’s death), the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index pegged his fortune at a tidy $58.7 billion, ranking him in 8th place.

Considering that Kamprad touted his frugality every possible chance (for instance, flying economy fares and eating meals at IKEA to save money) and even moved to Switzerland in the 1970s to avoid paying Swedish taxes (much to the chagrin of many taxpaying Swedes), it should not come as a surprise that his wealth is in the billions.

He certainly enjoyed portraying himself as a penny-pinching shopper who drove a simple Volvo, shopped at grocery stores at the end of the day to get better prices, and dressed modestly and inexpensively.

While some critics complained that he also owned a French vineyard, a Swiss villa, and a Swedish country estate, he never lived as ostentatiously as most of the ultra-rich around the world. And no one can honestly begrudge him if he did squander a few million of his billions on fancy cars and vacations (and there is no concrete evidence that he even did that).

Ironically, the Swedish government in 2013 performed an estate inventory that determined his wealth to be at $113 million (750 million kroner). The inventory showed two cars, a Volvo and a Skoda, along with other nominal assets. It also noted that more than $20 million was donated to philanthropic causes and interests in the previous year. So much for friendly governmental evaluations.

Family Interests

Kamprad was married twice. His first marriage to Kerstin Wadling lasted a decade, from 1950 to 1960. Together they adopted a daughter, Annika.

His second marriage was to Margaretha Kamprad-Stennert in 1963, with whom he had three sons: Peter, Jonas, and Mathias. His second wife died in 2011, leaving his four children as potential heirs to his estate.

This does not mean that his children are looking at billion-dollar windfalls from his demise. IKEA was transferred to a foundation that Kamprad created; all its profits are either reinvested back to the company operations or are earmarked for charitable causes.

His sons have been named the heirs of the Ikano Group, a holder of a significant minority stake in IKEA. It has been estimated to be valued at about $1.5 billion. His adopted daughter will receive a bequest of approximately $300,000.

Apparently, by Ingvar Kamprad’s own living standards, these amounts should be more than sufficient for a lifetime of leisure and enjoyment.

The Future of IKEA

In the past decade, Kamprad’s involvement and control in IKEA had been diminishing, by his own choice. This means that the future of IKEA will remain strong despite his passing, as he was more of a figurehead than an influencer.

According to Reuters, trends show that IKEA should top $62 billion in sales in 2020. Not bad for a business that is premised on doing things on the cheap!

While Sweden pays honor to one of their more remarkable entrepreneurs whose rise to the top rivals any other rags-to-riches success story you may have heard, remember these words of wisdom penned by Ingvar Kamprad:

Happiness is not reaching your goal. Happiness is being on the way. It is our wonderful fate to be just at the beginning. In all areas. We will move ahead only by constantly asking ourselves how what we are doing today can be done better tomorrow. The positive joy of discovery must be our inspiration in the future too.

The word impossible has been deleted from our dictionary and must remain so.

(excerpted from Chapter 9, “Most things still remain to be done. A glorious future!” – The Testament of a Furniture Dealer)

While this quotation generally referred to the future of IKEA, it can easily be read as a source of inspiration for any person looking to make the most of their own life.

Just as Ingvar Kamprad made so much of his life.

 

Melodifestivalen 2018 Kicks Off in Karlstad, Sweden

Melodifestivalen 2018 kicked off on Saturday night!

Melodifestivalen is the music competition where Sweden picks the performer that will represent them at Eurovision in Lisbon this year.

This year’s competition started in Karlstad with the first semi-final and will travel around different cities, with the final being held at Friend’s Arena in Stockholm.

How does Melodifestivalen work? Let’s break it down. There are 4 semi-final rounds and a “Second Chance” round before the final.

Each semi-final has 7 contestants.  The top two voted artists will go to the final, and 2 will be given a second chance to attempt to go to the final by competing again in the Second Chance (Andra Chance) competition.

Voting for Melodifestivalen winners is 50% public, and 50% international judges that will participate in Eurovision.

Luckily for all of us outside of Sweden with internet, Melodifestivalen is available to watch on SVT. And it is a great way to practice your Swedish!

[button url=’https://www.svtplay.se/video/16832738/melodifestivalen-2018/melodifestivalen-2018-deltavling-1-deltavling-1?start=auto’ target=’_blank’ icon=’iconic-play-circle2′]Watch Melodifestivalen Semi Final 1[/button]

For those of you who want the cliff notes:

John Ludvik with My Turn and Benjamin Ingrosso with Dance You Off will head directly to the final.

Heading to Second Chance? Renaida with All the Feels and Sigrid Bernson with Patrick Swayze.

Check out the videos of the winners here:

John Lundvik – My Turn

Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off

The contestants were all great.  There was one or two that was pretty ridiculous, like the guy with dancing fruit. He didn’t even seem that surprised that he didn’t get a Second Chance.

 

Melodifestivalen 2018 Schedule

[row] [column size=’1/3′]February 3[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Semi Final 1[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Karlstad, Löfbergs Arena[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=’1/3′]February 10[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Semi Final 2[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Gothenburg, Scandinavium[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=’1/3′]February 17[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Semi Final 3[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Malmö, Malmö Arena[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=’1/3′]February 24[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Semi Final 4[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Örnsköldsvik, Fjällräven Center[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=’1/3′]March 3[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Andra chansen (Second chance)[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Kristianstad, Kristianstad Arena[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=’1/3′]March 10[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Final[/column] [column size=’1/3′]Stockholm, Friends Arena[/column] [/row]

If you have an hour and a half, I highly recommend that you check out the semi-final on SVT.  It is fun to watch and, as I said above, a great way to practice Swedish.

Do you plan on watching the semi-finals for Melodifestivalen or are you waiting for the final? What about Eurovision?

How to Say I Love You in Swedish & Other Romantic Phrases

How to say I love You in Swedish

Jump Straight to the Infographic

I recently found out that quite a few people want to know how to say I love you in Swedish. Always a useful and beautiful phrase to know.

I thought it would be useful if I put together the ultimate blog post for romantic Swedish phrases.

Hopefully, you can either use these now or will be able to use them in the future. Don’t forget to check out the cool infographic at the end of this post!

How to Say I Love You in Swedish

Jag älskar dig. –  I love you.

The direct translation is 100% direct

I (jag) love (älskar) you (dig).

I would pronounce it like

yah-g el-scar d-eh 

Here you can hear the pronunciation.

“Jag älskar dig” is used in romantic situations only.  With parents or siblings, you would say “jag gillar dig”.

How to Say I’m in Love with You

Kär is another word for love, or amorous, and is used when you say “I’m in love with you”.

Jag är kär i dig. – I am in love with you.

You can see “jag” is back, which is I. “är” means is or are. “Kär” is love, “i” is in and “dig” is you. So pretty easy.  I am love in you!

It means “I am in love with you”, but “vara kär” can also mean to have a crush on someone.

Other phrases that may be useful:

Jag tycker om dig – I like you

Tycker om is the verb for like. Be careful, you always need the “om”, tycker by itself means to think! So “I think” is “jag tycker” and “I like” is “jag tycker om”.

Examples:

Jag tycker om Sverige – I like Sweden.

Jag tycker att du är vackert – I think you are lovely.

Jag gillar dig – I like you.

“Jag gillar dig” has the same meaning as “jag tycker om dig” but is a bit more colloquial.  Teens can also use this to mean have a crush on.

Also, please note that with parents and siblings, you would use “jag gillar dig”  when you want to say “I love you”.  “Jag älskar dig” is used for romantic interests only.

Terms of Endearment in Swedish

A term of endearment in Swedish is “älskling” which is something you would say to your husband/wife or girlfriend/boyfriend or your children.  Not strangers.

älskling – darling

It is kind of like “darling” in American English. Or maybe “love” in British English, though I think that may be used more informally.

You can see älskling comes from the word to love, which is älska.

Other similar phrases:

älskade – lovely
sötnos – sweetheart (literally means sweet nose)
hjärtanskär – sweetheart (literally means heart’s love)
kärlek – love

How to Say “I Miss You”

Jag saknar dig. – I miss you

I would pronounce it like yah-g sak-nar d-eh.  

Jag (I) saknar (miss) dig (you).

So “I miss Sweden” would be Jag saknar Sverige.

Hugs and Kisses

Puss och kram! You can often hear this phrase in Sweden.

puss – kiss (peck)

kyss – kiss (with tongue)

kram – hug

Sometimes, kram can come at the end of a letter like (in informal cases):

Kram,

Hilary

which translates to:

Hugs,

Hilary

Puss/Pussar vs Kyss/Kyssar

Both translate to kiss/kisses.  However, the difference is kyss is one of the passionate, full out, tongue in the mouth type of kiss.  Puss is more of a peck. Pretty cool that in Swedish there is a difference!

Romantic Swedish Vocabulary

There is a great list of 44 romantic phrases that Live Fluent put together.  I definitely recommend you check these out, they may become useful!

If you have read this far, most likely you are interested in learning Swedish. I highly recommend LingQ and plan on putting together some coaching/accountability groups together for people learning Swedish who aren’t in Sweden. If you want more information, please sign up for my newsletter and click on “Learn Swedish”.

How to Say I Love You in Swedish Infographic

How to say I love you in Swedish, infographic

New Products: Swedish Quotes Tote Bag & Mug

swedish proverbs products

A few weeks ago we added two new products to our shop! Now you can get a tote bag and mug with a bunch of Swedish proverbs!

Swedish Proverbs tote Bag $25The tote bag is only $25 and is perfect for being green. Use this instead of a plastic bag at the grocery store.  It is also great for books or a quick overnight bag.

You can also choose to get these proverbs on a mug as well, with both 11 or 15 oz sizes available. A perfect gift for someone who is learning Swedish, or just loves Sweden. Prices start at $16.95.

The proverbs include:

Allt är inte guld som glimmar. – All aren’t gold that glimmers.

Borta bra men hemma bäst. – Away is good but home is best.

Man ska inte köpa grisen i säcken. – One shouldn’t buy a pig in a sack.

Kom och gå en mil i mina mockasiner innan du bedömer vem jag är. – Come and go a Swedish mile in my moccasins before you criticize who I am.

Swedish Proverbs MugIf you are interested in learning more Swedish proverbs and quotes, check out our Swedish Quotes & Proverbs page. We also have products with Swedish proverbs, like “Lagom är bäst” and “Borta Bra Men Hemma Bäst“, two of the more popular Swedish proverbs.

Please note that all purchase on our shop goes towards running this site. We thank you for helping support SwedishFreak!

Is there a specific Swedish quote you want to see products made from? Leave a comment below!