Princess Madeleine back home
Albeit temporarily - the Princess is scheduled to participate at a fundraising dinner for the World Childhood Foundation with Queen Silvia on April 2 in Florida. Princess Madeleine was, however, called back home to Sweden by her father, the Swedish King. Nordstjernan readers know that Madeleine has been living in New York City for a while, and that she has a new boyfriend here (American financier Chris O’Neill). Problem is, she doesn’t seem to be doing much representation, and Carl XVI Gustaf is worried. Writes daily Expressen: “The King wants to know if she (Madeleine) is planning to take part in any of her official duties, as he fears his family will be criticized if they don’t do enough.” Much of course, has to do with the increased scrutiny from the press, and Swedes in general, of the royal family after the scandal book about the King was published last fall. Therefore Madeleine is back in Stockholm and the entire royal family is gathered, looking at their calendars and trying to envision their future. What will next summer be like? Will Madeleine remain in America? Many, not only the King, would like to know.

March 18 in history
18 March 1978: Ingemar Stenmark wins the World Cup in slalom for the third year in a row – and on his birthday of all days! Stenmark was born in Joesjö near Tärnaby on March 18 1956, and was an active skier during the 1970’s and 1980’s. He is today regarded as one of the most prominent Swedish sportsmen, and as the greatest slalom and giant slalom specialist of all time. Stenmark has won far more international races than any other alpine skier in history. With victories of a total of 86 (46 giant slaloms and 40 slaloms) he is 32 ahead of Hermann Maier who has 54 victories to his name. He only won in two disciplines: slalom and giant slalom (the other events are downhill, super-G, which did not exist until 1982, and combined). Stenmark rarely competed in the other disciplines, as he was not comfortable with speeds in excess of 120 km/h (75 mph). Today he is working as spokesperson and product developer for the ski brand Elan. Stenmark was one of the many Swedes who survived the tsunami in Thailand in 2004.

Swedish houses popular abroad
Danes love them, as do Germans and Norwegians. Almost 80 000 Swedish houses today are owned by foreigners, foreigners who are drawn to the closeness to nature in Sweden, the gingerbread work on our “stugor” or the general village feeling. In the last five years, Swedish houses owned by foreigners have increased with 36%. “They want peace and quiet and they want to be near the Swedish nature,” says Christer Stjernfeldt, realtor at Smålands fastighetsbyrå in Älmhult, a real estate agency specializing in catering to foreigners. Since the start in 1993, Stjernfeldt’s agency has sold over 1500 houses in southern Sweden to foreign buyers. He has a Danish and a German broker and says that the sales exploded between 2005 and 2008. This explosion has calmed down during the last two years’ financial crisis however. “But it is still on a high level,” Stjernfeldt says. “And Sweden with its unique nature will remain interesting to foreigners.