Swedes abroad matter!
In a recent op-ed in Sweden, the Swedish parliamentarian Henrik von Sydow (M) wrote about the half million Swedes who live and work outside Sweden. That’s one in every twentieth born Swede, and von Sydow explains they're becoming more and more important as ambassadors of Sweden, Swedish values, brands and traditions. It's election year after all....
"The growing number of Swedes abroad," von Sydow writes, "is also an expression of Sweden as one of the world's most globalized countries. Our history of mobility, traveling, and successful businesses have carried Swedish families out into the world."
A history of successful businesses indeed! Today’s Swedish software and game developers or communication and music entrepreneurs were preceded by developers of bus and boat lines, inventors of machinery and packaging, zippers, dynamite or pink grapefruit and the computer mouse.
The importance of Swedes abroad is growing, according to von Sydow, who also refers to a report from OECD that asserts how countries like Sweden may use their potential to revitalize the Swedish economy and further Swedish society. “... By the knowledge, experience and ideas which they possess, they also contribute to the strengthening of Sweden.” Swedes abroad do something important as they increase the world’s knowledge of Sweden and Swedish brands, and often give back to the home country through new ideas, and new thoughts lead to improved conditions and innovations.

Nowhere is this more true than in the United States — home to the majority of Swedish expats, but more importantly home to over six million Swedish Americans, who, although not born in Sweden, contribute just as much, if not sometimes more, to the awareness of Sweden and its traditional values. We do this by gathering to sing, to celebrate and share traditional food and culture or sometimes keep up the language traditions that make up our Swedish identity. It is yet another blessing of America that we can actually remain “American” while also carrying the blue and yellow colors. There are few other places in the world where you can fit in so well by adopting the language and local rules of engagement, and yet remain different in other ways.
In my opinion, the traditional American openness to novelties and new experiences gives new meaning to the expression Vive la difference. Well, everything in moderation of course … as not the least the interview with Greg Poehler on page 4 will attest to.
This week we also share images and impressions from a variety of Midsummer celebrations in America — Sweden in America — sharing what may be one of the loveliest pieces of Swedish traditions with the rest of the United States.


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