Swedes in favor of Euro referendum.
A little over half of Sweden's voters want a new referendum on whether to adopt the euro as their currency, a survey May 20 showed. According to Stockholm-based Novus Opinion, 51 percent of 1,000 respondents said they favored a new vote. Fourty-four percent were against, while the remainder was undecided. The margin of error for the May 5-11 poll, commissioned by the pro-euro Liberal Party, was about 3 percent. Swedish voters rejected the euro in a 2003 referendum by a 56 percent margin. However, the global financial crisis has rekindled debate about whether Sweden would be better off with the common currency. Supporters say the euro would make the country less vulnerable to currency swings, while skeptics say dropping the krona would eliminate an important tool for controlling the economy.

Bergman house up for sale.
The secluded island home where Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman spent his final years is up for sale. Several bidders have expressed interest in the 84-acre (34-hectare) property on the small Baltic Sea island of Fårö, according to Joachim Wrang-Widen at Christie's Great Estates in London, which is managing the sale. Bergman, who died on July 30, 2007, is famous for cinema classics such as "The Seventh Seal" and the Oscar-winning "Fanny and Alexander." He lived in the main house alone after his wife Ingrid died in 1995. The building is partly designed by Bergman and is surrounded by pine forest and meadows. The estate also has other buildings, including a whitewashed barn where he had his private cinema and a writing lodge. "We've had requests from France, Sweden, Germany, and several from the U.S.," Wrang-Widen said Wednesday. He declined to put a price tag on the property. Bergman moved to Fårö after visiting the island in 1960 in search of a shooting location for "Through a Glass Darkly." The filmmaker spent almost 40 years on the island and was buried there. "For the Bergman family this is not a question of a speedy sale, but a correct sale," Wrang-Widen said. "I suspect the Bergman family may have a few thoughts on what type of buyer it wants."

Self-help books on the rise.
In the United States, the financial situation has led to dozens of new titles in the self-help section of the bookstores. And that trend has also come to Sweden. How to save money? Read a book about it. How to avoid being sacked? Read a book about it. The latest one is a book published by Bonnier called “Så blir alla svenskar miljonärer” (How all Swedes can become millionaires) by Per H. Börjesson, due out this fall. Although the self-help book is an American concept (2000 new titles are published each year), the idea is also picking up in Sweden, where the publishing house Natur & Kultur prints about 20 books every year. Says Lena Forssén, responsible for Natur & Kultur’s psychology section: “We have noticed that sales are increasing with the financial crisis, and we can see a trend with books about positive psychology and happiness. And I think that’s needed in times like these.” Two books by Natur & Kultur that will hit the bookstores this fall are “Himmel, helvete och allt däremellan” (Heaven, hell and everything in between) by psychologist Anna Kåver and Bosse Angelöw’s “Se möjligheterna” (See the possibilities).

Shopping camp for girls.
The one week camp (which is arranged by Täby municipality and costs 1300 SEK per girl) is called “Girl & the City” and is aimed at girls 11 to 13 years old. Activities include going to spas, color analysis, shopping and drinking lattes. It doesn’t sound like such a great idea, now does it? Who wants to see young girls with lattes and shopping bags? Recreation consultant Mats Blückert is the man behind the idea, and he says: “Girls start to get interested in those things at that age, and the idea was to show positive aspects of the city.” When asked if lattes and life in the city is something an 11-year-old needs or should need, Blückert says it is a topic that’s up for discussion. “Most adults want them to be out in the fresh air in the forest, but not many girls attend such camps,” he says. Journalist and author Lena Sundström has a girl in the target age group and she says: “I can’t even bring myself to comment on this. It’s like a funny mirror to all this mall-shopping-fashion-and-diet culture that makes me so irritated.”

Fashion for men.
If you’re a guy, then here’s what you need for spring: A pair of rose-colored (yep, rose-colored) studded jeans, a dark blue suit with tiger stripes and a shirt with a Cuba-inspired floral pattern. Are you ready for designer Matthew Williamson? He is the brave Brit whose collection for H&M just hit the stores. “I’m inspired by warm, exotic places,” he says. “There’s always a strong influence of nature in my design which I contrast with neon colors and synthetic fabrics.” Williamson explains that the man he designs for is himself. “I like to be dressed nicely without looking stiff.” And his tips for the rest of the guys out there? “Your clothes are extensions of your personality. Don’t ever feel hampered by your style and don’t be afraid to try new things!”

Amateur fakir.
Forget swallowing a sword or having a magician cut you in half. The torture instrument of choice in Sweden right now is the bed of nails! It can be found everywhere and it sells like hot cakes. And what, one wonders, makes people lie down on a bed of nails? Well, after a few minutes of biting pain, the endorphins kick in and after 10 minutes your back will feel warm and numb and you no longer feel the nails. “After a while you get an increase in oxytocin, the same hormone that’s released when you are cuddled and caressed. You become social, happy and peaceful,” explains Susanna Lindelöw, who developed the Svenska Spikmattan. She adds that there are additional, but so far scientifically unproven, reports of increased blood circulation and help with sleeplessness and constipation. “A lot of it has to do with relaxation,” says Lindelöw. However, Martin Ingvar, professor of Integrative Medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, is skeptical. “I’m surprised people are so easily fooled,” he says. That pain gets the endorphin system going has been scientifically proven (that’s why we feel good when we go for a jog and lift weights), but that something feels good doesn’t always mean it has physical benefits. “The whole concept about endorphins has been commercialized,” says Ingvar. “The statements about how beneficial (the bed of nails) is, are overrated.” But he also adds, if it makes you feel good to lie down on a bed of nails, then by all means do it. For more info: www.spikmattan.com

Dress for studenten.
It’s high time to get a dress for studentexamen. The headgear (studentmössan) you can’t do much about, but you can choose your dress. For many studenten (finishing high school) is the high point of the year, and it is still an important step in a young person’s life. So what to wear? Metro.se gives some advice. Don’t get stuck with the white as chalk color, pick something in ivory, cream or even pale yellow. For an added touch of elegance, check out dresses with lace, tulle, buttons and seams or in beautiful fabrics like silk. Gold goes well with white, and makes everything look really extravagant.