Tag Archives: Sweden

Inside the heart of Swedish democracy

If you were in Stockholm before, you must have been to the historical old town and  impressed by the great architectures erected on the islets. Among them, there is a crescent-shape building which carries an special meaning for the nation. “Riksdag”  is its name and “heart of the Swedish democracy” is official definition. In this blog I will discover this grandiose building with you, and touch a bit upon the incredible political system and ideology behind it.

ACCESS TO RIKSDAG

Some says that democracy means open and free information available to the public. So it is for Riksdag. You may enter the Riksdag via

  1. Guided Tour  (Free of charge)

2.  Public hearing, chamber meetings and debates are open to the public. You just need to reserve more time to arrive due to the security check, and better be able to understand Swedish to make more sense for you existence.

Security check

3. Riksdags has its own library , which is also open to public and you may also borrow books.

THE BUILDING

Being the heart of Swedish democracy, the Riksdag building must be located in the heart of the capital. Inaugurated in 1905, and it is then fused with the nearby national bank in the 80s. Today, Riksdag spans the entire Helgeandsholmen, overlooking the water. 

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The career fair towards a sustainable future

Scandinavia’s largest career fair ——- THS ARMADA  organised by KTH Student Union, was successfully finished today. For many, it must be two exciting days of attending talks, submitting CV, talking to company representatives……Instead of repeating those job hunting that you might be already familiar with, I am going to talk about a rather interesting theme that penetrates throughout the fair, sustainability.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY

Although the combination “sustainability” + “career fair” doesn’t seem to be intuitive, it is nothing to be surprised in Sweden, a country in which sustainability is so deep-rooted.

Indeed, sustainability, together with quality and diversity, are the three core values of THS Armada. In the level of implementation, THS Armada has these principles:

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Viewing aurora …… in Stockholm?!

On Tuesday (7th Nov 2017), residents of Stockholm were invited to watch a free, spectacular show —— the display of aurora borealis in the sky.

It was 11.30 pm and I was about to check my phone the last time before going to bed. To my surprise,  there are 50+ unread messages in FB group telling me the same thing: “Aurora alert high” + “Lappis beach” = “Let’s run!”.

Fortunately I didn’t lose my sanity completely; I still remembered to grab au my warmest coat before I rushed.

There are a few groups of people along the beach already. Above them, a light green shade of  “clouds” were forming and de-forming. I called them “clouds” because they were not beams of light; but their texture were more ethereal, amorphous:

There is an explosion on the local students residence’s FB groups with many beautiful aurora photos uploaded by students:

But for those who arrived late, it is not as lucky:

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Living Stockholm I: Woodland Cemetery

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

I decide that Woodland Cemetery is the first blog in my upcoming “Living Stockholm” series, because……because of a few reasons. Firstly it is one of the three, and the youngest UNESCO sites of culture heritage in Stockholm, a representative masterpiece of modern Swedish architecture. Secondly, a cemetery should not be the Stygian theme that people refrain from talking about, or at least the Woodland Cemetery is not. When I pushed open the door at the Woodland Chapel, the world in front of me was immediately lit up by the soft, warm radiation from the sun.

Simply taking the green-line metro towards Farsta Strand, Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården) is 9th station from T-Centralen. Today I am not alone: as I registered for the guided tour, I will walk with a group of about 15 tourists and our guide.

“Landskapet”, the Landscape 

Landskapet” is the most frequent word when one describes Woodland Cemetery. In 1910s, the site is a rural landscape covered by overgrown pines and spruces; a hundred years, a large part of Woodland Cemetery is still a landscape of spines and spruces, mottled with a few chapels, perforated by several paths that have always more pine nuts than footprints.

The concept of making use of the existing landscape proposed by local architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz, won them the international contest that sought a design for a new cemetery site and Southern Stockholm. Although there are a few amendments in the original design, Woodland Cemetery remains to be what Asplund and Lewerentz wanted us to see, to experience and to contemplate:  a barely touched landscape with immense beauty, a place which has magical healing power, and a cemetery for all.

A cemetery for all

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Hi, summer vacation!

Two days ago we celebrated Mid-summer, a day when people in the northern hemisphere enjoy the longest hours of day light! However, Mid-summer is not the pinnacle of summer; instead, it symbolizes the start of summer, the season of vacation!

History of Vacation in Sweden

It is self-evident that paid vacation or annual leave is beyond imagination before the industrial revolution, simply because there existed no such “working class”. At that time, from the chilling Lappland in the North to Skåne in the Southern coast, farmers were working restlessly in their field from sunrise until dusk. Of course there were permanent dwellers in the city, but a large portions of them were monks!

Medieval Stockholm has a population of 5000 – 7000, walkinstockholm.se

Then it came to the latter half of 1800s, when rapid industrialization and urbanization stormed the nation, driving thousands and thousands of people into big cities such as Stockholm and Goteborg. In those factories, workers were able to earn more money, but also took less rest as a compensate. It takes nearly half a century for the general public to recognize the linkage between vacation and health of employees, leading to the legitimization which guarantees  a minimum of 2 weeks paid vacation days in the 1930s. With the popularization of the concept of paid vacation, in 1936 the first nation-wise “Leisure Time exhibition” (In Swedish, Fritiden) was held, which is an event for people to know more and choose wisely what to do during the vacation that they are entitled to.

Fritiden 1936 in Ystad, fritidsdsvetarna.com

Public Holidays and Vacation in Modern Sweden

Nowadays, Sweden is the country with one of the longest public holidays in the entire world. These holidays include:

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