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Advent calendar 2020: 24 – Runestone

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Advent calendar 2020: 24 - Runestone

Finally it’s the 24th of December and Christmas Eve. We round off our advent calendar with a Runestone from Södermanland (Sörmland), the region south of Stockholm. Runestones are Viking Age inscriptions on stones, written with runes, the alfabet in Scandinavia of the day. Inscriptions often talked about expeditions, and commemorate kinsmen who died in the…...

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Advent calendar 2020 – 23: Sweden Hills

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Advent Calendar 2020 - 23: Sweden Hills, Hokkaido, Japan

Surprise—this is not actually in Sweden. It’s in Hokkaido, Japan, in Tobetsu near Sapporo. Sweden Hills is a neighbourhood that was conceived after the Swedish ambassador to Japan remarked that the landscape reminded of Sweden. In 1987, the municipalities of Tobetsu and Leksand (in Dalarna) became sister cities. See Sweden Hills for yourself with the…...

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Christmas calendar 2020 – 22: Luleå Old Town church town (Gammelstads kyrkstad)

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Advent calendar 2020 - 22: Luleå Gammelstads kyrkstad

Just outside Luleå there is a large town which, for the most part of the year, is devoid of people. While eerie, it isn’t abandoned. The red-painted town surrounds Nederluleå (Lower Luleå) church, inaugurated in 1492, funded by regional trade in animal hide (skin) and salmon. Over time, (by 1600 the latest) a town formed…...

Dalarna

Advent calendar 2020: 21 – Dalahäst (Dala horse)

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Advent calendar 2020 - 21: Dala horse

The Dala horse is probably one of Sweden’s best recognised souvenirs. The red wooden horses come from the province of Dalarna, northwest of Stockholm. The Dala horse came originally from the village of Nusnäs near Mora (4 hours by train from Stockholm). Originally a by-product of the furniture industry in the area, it started to…...

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Advent calendar 2020 – 20: Kiruna, the city to be relocated

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Advent calendar 2020 - 20: Kiruna

Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, is about to be relocated. This is because of the large mine adjacent to the city that would harm the city’s geological stability. The iron mine is important for the city’s economy, the ore from which is shipped by train to nearby Narvik, Norway and sold worldwide. The main…...

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Advent calendar 18: Smygehuk, the southernmost point of Sweden

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Advent calendar 2020: 18 - Smygehuk, the southernmost point of Sweden

Smygehuk is a small village near Trelleborg in Scania, which is the southernmost point of Sweden. At this point, it’s actually nearer to the German capital Berlin (321km) than to the Swedish capital (510km)! Sweden’s northernmost point, Treriksröset (the cairn marking the border tripoint with Norway and Finland), lies 1581km away, even further than to…...

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Advent calendar 2020: 15. How did the Advent calendar actually come about?

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Advent calendar 2020: 15. Advent calendar

With 10 days to Christmas, it might be a good idea to look how the advent calendar came about. 19th century German Christians started to develop traditions in timekeeping towards Christmas. In 1851, the first prototype of the Advent calendar appeared—German Protestants started to hang one picture per day on the wall, until Christmas Eve,…...