Swedes are a twitter over social media success
A Swedish experiment in social media is celebrating its third anniversary, a feat recognized globally in media everywhere. Maybe it’s no longer really an experiment — after three years, awards and results that have gotten other countries to do the same. Every week on Twitter, a Swedish citizen is the lone ruler of Real Sweden, “the world’s most democratic Twitter account.” Democratic because every week for three years — that’s 156 weeks and counting — a different person from any walk of life has been the voice of Sweden on social media. For seven days, that person recommends things to do and places to see in Sweden, sharing diverse opinions and ideas through their tweets. After that, someone else does the same, but differently, conveying not one Sweden, but many. This Curators of Sweden project is an initiative of the Swedish Institute and VisitSweden, both part of the National Board for the promotion of Sweden (NSU), to create familiarity and interest in Sweden. Twitter as a medium is quick and makes it easy to reach the global network in real time. Follow on Twitter @sweden

A real Swedish chef
The 2015 White Guide Global Gastronomy Award has been announced, and for the first time in its nine-year history, the international award goes to a Swedish chef. The annual award recognizes a creative chef of international prominence, an example and inspiration in contemporary gastronomy. Chef Magnus Nilsson, of Fäviken Magasinet restaurant in Järpen, Sweden, won for his unique approach to preparing local food with secrets of the area’s woods, fields and waters. With deep understanding of their potential, biology and sustainability, he delivers it all “in a stunning restaurant culture bridging history and future, local with global, science with art — seasoned with poetry and humor,” according to the judges. Nilsson will receive his award at the White Guide Gala in Stockholm on March 9, 2015. Since Fäviken Magasinet opened in 2009, it has gained international fame for its ultra-local gastronomy and is now ranked 19th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The restaurant is located in an old dairy farm at the resort-like Fäviken estate in northern Sweden, close to Åre, Sweden’s foremost winter sports destination.

Fewer refugees still break records
Dangerous political situations are making it difficult for migrants to travel through Africa to Europe. This will likely affect the number of migrants and refugees who come to Sweden in 2015, probably lowering the projected number from 95,000 to 90,000, according to Fredrik Bengtsson, spokesman for Migrationsverket. This number is still the highest ever recorded. Bengtsson, however, adds that the most important thing is not the number of asylum seekers but that Sweden has plans for their arrival. One way Migrationsverket helps is by organizing municipalities in Sweden to manage the growing numbers of migrants with a new public procurement model for housing and capping the number of asylum seekers living in municipalities that already have a large number. “Through the new model we hope to be able to better decide where new housing centers are opened,” says Bengtsson. Sweden currently takes in more refugees per capita than any other European country.

Legislation that works
Legislation in Sweden has worked so well it’s making some people wonder why this wasn’t thought of sooner — and why more countries aren’t enforcing it. Since prostitution is regarded as violence in Sweden, it was officially acknowledged in 1999 as illegal, a form of exploitation of women and children. The country passed legislation that criminalizes the buying of sex, and decriminalizes the selling of sex. This unique strategy treats prostitution as a form of violence against women in which the men who exploit them by buying sex are criminalized, and the mostly female prostitutes are treated as victims who need help; a third element provides in-depth police training, public education and comprehensive social service funds aimed at helping women leave prostitution behind. And it has worked. Sweden has dramatically reduced the number of women in prostitution. In Stockholm, the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80 percent. Street prostitution and the Swedish brothels of the last quarter century have all but disappeared in other Swedish cities as well. No other country, nor any other social experiment, has come anywhere near Sweden's promising results.