Rich in house for poor
The rental apartments in Drottninghuset on Johannesgatan 16 in central Stockholm were meant for poor people. But look inside and you’ll see retirees with very good economies. Built in 1689 on an initiative by Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Elder, the building has broad corridors, beautiful wood doors and paintings in golden frames hanging on the walls. The second floor offers two drawing rooms, and residents also have access to a library, a garden and a meeting hall. Yet Drottninghuset was meant as a home for older women with little money. In the building, which is managed by the Drottninghuset foundation, there are 39 apartments, and rents are fairly low. In today’s regulations, it says older people—men as well as women—with “weak financial situations” are to have priority. But Aftonbladet reports that wealthy retired lawyers and doctors live in the house. In 2007, the county administrative board decided that residents are to have an annual salary of no more than 150 000 SEK ($22,800) to be considered disadvantaged financially. According to Aftonbladet, 32 of the 39 residents make more than that. Some even as much as half a million SEK ($76,100) a year. Many of the residents are OK with the loosely followed regulations. “It’s important to maintain a certain style,” one female resident said. There are currently 200 people on Drottninghuset’s waiting list. Roland Wisbom, executive director, maintains that few people meet the criteria to be considered in “poor financial position.” When asked if it is difficult to find people short of money who would like to buy a cheap rental apartment in central Stockholm, he answers: “Yes, it is.” This doesn’t square with reports in Swedish media of desperate housing shortages in Stockholm. New rules for second hand rentals, and increased requirements for renting apartments by local hosts, has made it difficult for financially weak groups of people to get a home.

Swedish teens think they drink too much
Concerned parents of teenagers in Sweden who sit up waiting to hear from their kids who are out partying, receive a whole lot of scorn. However, many do appreciate parents who are engaged and the majority of the teenagers themselves think they drink too much alcohol. As many as 68 percent of teens ages 14-16 believe that many young people drink more than they should, according to a survey made by Novus, commissioned by IQ (a daughter company of Systembolaget). And Magnus Jägerskog, managing director at IQ, isn’t surprised: “We know that many youngsters do not drink because of the taste of alcohol—it’s very often about the moment of excitement; they really just drink to get drunk. It’s not so strange that many think teenagers drink more than they ought to,” he says to TT. And many teenagers are OK with parents who check in on them—more than 50 percent said it’s great if a parent waits for them to come home. Also to keep the contact is considered a great thing; 7 out of 10 teens say it’s good when parents keep in touch when they’re out partying or traveling. “Young people want their parents to care,” says Jägerskog. Perhaps that’s not what most parents believe.

Spring into spring with Lill-Babs
It’s been a long winter, both in Sweden and the U.S., but finally spring has sprung! What to do with a sluggish, winter white body? No longer can we hide in coats and heavy layers. Popular Swedish singer and entertainer Barbro “Lill-Babs” Svensson has always been famous for being fresh and in shape. She recently turned 75 but shows no signs of slowing down. She, if anyone, might have a tip or two on how to get ready to greet spring and summer. To daily daily Expressen, Lill-Babs reveals how she keeps up: “My best wellness tip is to care about others,” she says. “I always stress, but I’m quite good at doing it. I relax those times when I’m off—it’s something I’ve learned through the years. When I’m in the car, I relax. That’s when I am not disturbed by anything. I listen to whatever music I want to listen to, talk to whomever I want to. Sometimes I just go and sit in the car for a bit to meditate, without even driving anywhere.” Another tip is to make yourself feel pretty. “Pedicures are underrated. Treat yourself to a pedicure and foot massage. Or just take a foot bath at home, and massage each other’s feet.” Lill-Babs says that she takes a warm bath and pours a little oil in it, that’s good for the skin. Olive oil is good, she says—or some other oil that smells good. “And never get sunburned! I love sunbathing, and do it a lot, but I make sure never to get a sunburn. That’s the worst thing you can do to your skin.” Another beauty tip is to snack on cucumber slices: “They taste good and then you don’t go around snacking on junk. You also get water, which is good for your skin and your entire body.” If she gains weight, she avoids bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. “I find inspiration in my work, it’s always changing. Sure, I sing songs I’ve sung before, but it’s never the same: The audience is always new. And caring is good. A smile here, a friendly word there. It’s so simple to care—it costs nothing and you get so much back.” Lill-Babs has always been praised for her radiance and good physique. What’s her secret? “Nothing special. You have to look for that in yourself. Find your own motivation, your own kind of peace.” For more on Lill-Babs, check her website: