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9 posts categorized "The way the world views us"

June 12, 2014

How to celebrate midsummer the Swedish way


Wherever you are in the world at midsummer time, you will be able to find gatherings of lost-looking Swedes to celebrate with. Follow our lead and you’ll be able to infiltrate the groups inconspicuously.

Choose the day

Midsummer is the longest day of the year and falls around 23rd June. Swedes always move it to the closest Friday afternoon and evening, which is 20th June this year. In Sweden, celebrations are on the Friday evening. Here in London, we can't persuade our bosses to let us drink aquavit on a Friday afternoon, so things get going on Saturday. Check to see what's happening in your local area.

If you are in London, maybe just happen to be passing by Hyde Park. Nothing official, you know, but we gather there is a chance a few Swedes will be meeting up and dancing and singing for a bit. Around midday. Near Speaker's Corner. They have been doing that for years and years, so there's a good chance they'll be doing it again. 


Get outside

It's midsummer, and you're celebrating nature. Go to the park, a lake, or a field.

Don't forget your umbrella.


Wear a garland in your hair

Essential attire for women. You can make a floral garland from wire and flowers and staple it onto your ears - learn how to HERE. Alternatively, H&M do a nice range, being Swedish. Men can wear the garland too, and most do after a few drinks.


White and floral is the style for women - but not so much that you appear to be going to a meeting of Chintz Anonymous. Paired with the garland, it will make you look amazing and a bit pagan. Wear your hair down like Freya. Or Loreen.

Gentlemen, it's all about pastels. Tight trousers (white, yellow), pointy shoes, a pink shirt and Ray Bans. You want to make it seem like all this is a bit beneath you. Sport a fashionable beard or moustache. Google 'Stureplan fashion' for an idea of how actual Swedish metrosexuals achieve this look. 


You need to get yourself a Swedish Midsummer picnic (can be ordered here) or make your own – here’s an easy guide: CLICK HERE FOR MIDSUMMER RECIPES



Means Sandwich Cake. It’s a thing. A cake that is not a cake but a massive sandwich. If you make a Sandwich Cake every Swede in the vicinity will love you forever. Seriously.


A nubbe (the plural is 'nubbar') is a little shot of aquavit and it’s essential to get hold of these. Make sure you bring cold ones to the park. Recommended dose is two beers to one nubbe. Take care, it’s strong stuff - and if you can’t do it properly, Swedes will see through you. Keep your head in one piece until you can speak fluent Swedish (three nubbar or more) and nobody will notice you’re an imposter. 

Buy aquavit at our place - we stock many kinds, both online and in the shop in London 


Drinking songs you need to learn for when you drink your nubbar. Just learn this one (see below) and you’ll be fine.

If you are stuck, sing Euphoria.  


Our maypole is used in June, which technically makes it a Junepole. Like here, it's also decorated with lovely flowers, as well as two circular garlands either side at the top. Just to reinforce the symbolism of what it means (think about it...). We raise the pole around lunch time. If you end up celebrating in Hyde Park in London, you may have to pretend there is a maypole because health and safety means no pole is officially allowed, so we dance around our handbags instead.

Little Frogs

Every Swede sings this song. Everyone. And does the actions, which involve jumping about like a frog.


After the dancing and the cake and a bit more drinking, we get physical.  Games of kubb (a tactical, skittles-like game that has its roots in Viking times), tug of war, arm wrestling and naked mud slinging.

Okay, so we don’t do the last one. Except when we do.



What next?

Dancing. If you are cool and dressed like someone from Stockholm's Stureplan (and, frankly, still standing), you may want to head to a club for some dancing and more drinking. 

Here's a link to the hottest ticket in London town this year 

Here's a really great place to go if you just want to be with Swedes and friends and drink great cocktails More here

If you're up for something more traditional, dust off a CD player and pop on some dansband CDs (and ABBA, obv). Pay a visit to the ScandiKitchen toilets for dansband suggestions. You'll see what we mean.


Seven flowers

If you don’t have a partner, pick seven different kinds of flowers and put them under your pillow and you will dream of the person you'll marry. If you’re not willing to put all your eggs in one basket, head to a bar and revel in the fact that this is the one time of year where Swedes are not at all reserved. The birth rate always spikes in Sweden about nine months after midsummer. 


The next day

You will wake, having dreamt about the person you will marry. There may be images flashing before your eyes of people wearing yellow trousers. Flashes of blue and yellow flags and memories of having an arm-wrestle with a lamp post. Midsummer comes but once a year. Thank goodness. 

Glad Midsommar!

May 07, 2014

18 ways to be more Norwegian

We'll be celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day on 17th May along with the rest of Norway - so we thought we'd make a little selection of ways you can be more Norwegian:


1. When you 'gå på tur' (go for a hike) you always bring a Kvikk Lunsj and an orange. And you never,  EVER, allow anyone who isn't Norwegian to call your Kvikk Lunsj a 'Kit-Kat'.



2. Eat brunost. Enthuse about brunost. Wonder why no one else eats a brown cheese made from whey that looks like brown Plasticine but tastes of caramel and sheer happiness when sliced and put on top of warm waffles that you've made yourself in your heart-shaped waffle iron using batter you keep in your fridge for every occasion that requires waffles.



3. Eat a frozen pizza called the Grandiosa. Enthuse about a frozen pizza called the Grandiosa. The Grandiosa is the best pizza ever. Italy has nothing on the Grandiosa. Nothing.



4. Sweden is good for one thing - the fleske-safari (meat safari). Meat is cheaper in Sweden, so it's worth crossing that border for meat. And booze. And everything else. Everything is cheaper in Sweden.



5. Sweden will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from the price of everything. But of that you shall never speak openly.


(Denmark will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from its easy availability of booze. Which you can talk about).  


6. Wear cool genser jumpers like this. Perfect for occasions such as being in temperatures of -20, Eurovision, fishing and crossing the border to acquire meat.



7. Wear the 'bunad' national dress as if you were born in it. Yes, it itches, but that's part of the charm. You'll keep telling yourself. A lot.


8. If you're well known for something, become a Norgesvenn - a famous friend of Norway. Norgesvenner in the past included the late Roald Dahl and Leroy from Fame. Today, Linda Evans from Dynasty, Bonnie Tyler and A1 have the honour.



9. In the summer, partake in a ‘Grillfest’. For this you should wear a ‘Grilldress’, which is a shellsuit in bright colours. Also required: curly hair and a fake moustache, plus socks and sandals. Harry Enfield's Scousers are your style icons.



10. Celebrate Taco Friday at home. Every Friday. Unless you’re having Grandiosa, then it’s okay not to have Tacos. TACOS!



11. Eat boiled sheep’s head, dried lamb sticks or cod preserved in lye. And fermented trout - that you should also get down with. 



12. Hyttetur. Every weekend, go to a cabin. Any cabin. If you don’t have a cabin near a fjord, go to your garden shed, even if you live in a bedsit in Hackney. Also, on the way, make sure to repeat point 1. (If you're in Hackney, we sell Kvikk Lunsj at ScandiKitchen.)  Use motivating sentences such as 'Ut på tur, aldri sur' (literally: 'out on a hike, never angry').



13. Every summer, go to Syden for two weeks vacation. This basically just means ‘The South’. Copenhagen counts. Or Oslo, if you're from Trondheim.



14. Use the term ‘Utepils’, meaning ‘to sit outside and have a beer, even if the sun just came out four minutes ago’. We do that here in the UK too, but we don't have the word for it.


Utepils Photo Richard Sagen 


15. Flags. Celebrate your flag, every day of the year and especially on 17th May. On this day, purchase seven more flags to your collection. Wave them all around. 



16. Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. Uncomfortable for the mothers, but useful once they learn to stand up and navigate down snow covered mountains. If you can’t ski, don’t move to Norway.

  Snow baby skiing


17. Enjoy your hotdog wrapped in a potato pancake. It's a thing.



And finally: 17th May - 'Syttende Mai'. 

Celebrate Norway's national day on 17th May. No exceptions.

You are proud of Norway. 17th May is the most important day of the year, better than Christmas, birthday and Eurovision put together. The Norwegian Constitution Day is a day celebrated by all Norwegians and Norgesvenner (see above).

Get up, eat Norwegian food, wear a bunad (see above) sing songs about how much you love Norway. Wave flags around a lot. Ice cream. Waffles (see above). Brown cheese (see above). Repeat. Follow with alcohol (possibly purchased in Sweden). Forget how you got home, but wake up loving Norway even more than before.

Happy 17th May, everybody - see you at the ScandiKitchen or the park.


February 13, 2014

WIN: 'The Almost Nearly Perfect People' - by Michael Booth


Did you read the article that got everybody talking a few weeks back? (if not, read it HERE) Are we Nordics not all we're cracked up to be? Who decided to put us on a pedestal in the first place and how do we get down from there without ruining everything? Are we really obsessed with Midsomer Murders? (Ed: Yes).

Michael Booth, writer and journalist, currently living in Denmark (and, we can vouch, speak Danish pretty well) is not sure all is as it is cracked up to be. Well, actually, that is if you only read the article (so don't be offended just yet). In the book, you see, Booth goes deeper into the psyche of what makes us Scandinavians special and finds that, in fact, we might just be almost perfect...

Confused? Don't be. It's a good book and it is worth a read. You can buy it here

We've got a copy of the book to give away - fancy being in with a chance of winning it?

Just answer this easy question:

The statue of the Little Mermaid is in which Nordic town:

a) Stockholm

b) Copenhagen

c) Skagen

Answers by e-mail, please, to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Monday at noon (17/2). Winner will be drawn at random from correct entries. No cheating, no cash alternative, no non-sense and all usual terms apply. 

May 16, 2012

Danish school in London / Dansk Skole i London

There's a lot of talk about setting up a Danish school in London and we're happy to pass on the info in case others are interested in taking part in this.  If you are interested in hearing more about this Danish School you shoudl attend the meeting on 26th June - read on for details.

The school is modelled on the New Model School concept (google Maple Walk for a good example of such a school) - and it will follow the Danish curriculum.  It is fee paying, but minimum fees and non profit.

If you are interested in attending the first meeting about this school, you can sign up by e-mailing dendanskeskole@hotmail.co.uk.

Here's all the info you need - direct from the people who are working on setting this school up:


We would like to invite you to the inaugural meeting for the Danish School in London

The meeting will take place at 7.30 on the 26th of June at the Danish YMCA:

Dansk KFUK
43 Maresfield Gardens 
London NW3 5TF

Who are we?

 ·Eva Lunderskov Papesch, Danish born Doctor, permanently based in the South East for the last 10 years, has lived in London for a total of 14 years.

·Michael Papesch, New Zealand born Doctor, permanently based in London for the last 16 years

·We are married and have two bilingual children. We are missing a bilingual fulltime primary and secondary education option in London and are passionate about making our vision of a Danish-English school a reality

Rationale: Why do we need this school?

·We conducted a survey of parents of 150 Danish children who are predominantly permanently based in London. The results of a survey of the Danish community in the southeast of England, showed an overwhelming interest for the establishment of a school with a Danish Ethos

·This is not a business venture, we are doing this because we have a vision to provide fulltime bilingual education to Danish speaking children in London

Meeting agenda

· Presentation of our initial proposal of a bilingual Danish/English fulltime Primary and Secondary school in North London

· Appointment of a start up group assisting with the next steps of the process, including fundraising, networking, legal and business input

And in Danish:

Kære Forældre

Tusinde tak for jeres positive respons til vores spørgeskema angående en danskfolkeskole i London. Interessen har været overvældende positiv og vi har nu etableret en model for den skole vi håber at starte i efteråret 2013 eller 2014. Vi håber at kunne optage reception/børnehaveklasse elever, men hvis interessen er der, er der eventuelt mulighed for også at optage year 1 elever, når vi starter.

Hvem er vi?


Vi er Eva og Mike Papesch. Vi er begge øre-næse-hals læger og arbejder henholdsvis halv og heltid for NHS. Eva er oprindeligt fra København, men har været bosat i London og the Southeast, i over 14 år. Mike er oprindeligt fra New Zealand, og har været bosat i England i 16 år. Vi har selv to børn og det er vores ambition at give dem en integreret to-sproget opvækst.



Vi har nu fastsat en dato for vores længe afventede opstartsmøde:

Tid: 26. Juni 2012 kl 19.30

Sted:     Dansk KFUK
              43 Maresfield Gardens 
              London NW3 5TF

Sprog: Der vil blive talt dansk og engelsk

Svar udbedes.

Skole model

Efter mange overvejelser og besøg til andre nationalitets skoler og privat skole, har vi bestemt os for at forsøge at oprette en skole der i særdeleshed henvender sig tildansk talende familier, der er langtids bosat i Sydøst England. Vi forventer at tilbyde et independent engelsk curriculum og desuden undervisning på folkeskole niveau i dansk. I en del fag vil der desunden blive undervist på dansk, inklusiv idræt, musik og billedkunst. Grunden til at vi har taget denne beslutning er, at vi ønsker at tiltrække elever der forventer at blive på skolen i mange år. Denne model giver desuden mulighed for,  at elever kan blive optaget på eller forlade skolen, fra eller til det engelske skole system. Dette er specielt relevant ved skole skift omkring det tidspunkt der svarer til engelsk secondary og  efter niende klasse/ GCSE. Skolen vil naturligvis også være åben for dansk talende børn der er bosat i London i kortere tid.  Se desuden vores vedhæftede dokument om vores vision og handlings plan. En mere detaljeret gennemgang vil finde sted den 26. juni.

Blive medlem af opstarts gruppen

Vi leder pt efter personer der er interesserede i at hjælpe med opstarten af dendanske skole. Specifikt leder vi efter personer med erfaring inden for jura, undervisning, skoleopstart, danske ministerier, fundraising, marketing, webdesign, investering- og entrepenuering, byggeplanlægning, arkitektur, regnskabsføring og forældreskab . Hvis du eller din partner har en af de nævnte kompetancer og I er interesserede i at hjælpe med opstarten, er du meget velkommen til at kontakte os via email, eller blot snakke med os den 26/6.

February 08, 2012

How to annoy a Dane

Actually, this article is really entitled "How to pi** off a Dane".  

It's brilliant.  

There are only six easy steps in which to do this.  These include:

Tactic #1: Ask “How are you?” (and not give ten minute to hear the answer)

Tactic #2: Speak their language. 

Tactic #3: Fail to signal in the bike lane.

Tactic #4: Wear your sweatpants in public.

Tactic #5: Smile at their children (or dogs).

Tactic # 6: Act like a human at the grocery store.

You can find out why these things annoy the Danes right here in the article 

We'd like to add that comparing the Danes to the Swedes, Norwegians, Finns or Germans produce the same instant dislike and should never be attempted, even in jest.

Seriosuly, don't.  Even.  Try.

Pedigree-dog-food-great-dane-small-43052if you don't annoy your Dane, he might love you liek this Great Dane...




How to annoy a Swede...

Viking1brilliant photo by jayspec

It's been a week in which we have learnt how to annoy people like us.  

Interesting.  But quite true.

The lovely Kate Reuterswärd has written a blog about 20 ways in which to annoy the Swedes and possibly ensure you never associate with any of those tall blondes again.

Kate's examples include:

1. Speak at an American volume (loudly) in public places, especially on public transportation. 

2. Walk inside with your shoes still on.

3. “I don’t like coffee.” 

4. Tell Swedes who are not from Skåne that Skåne is the real Sweden.

5. Criticize Midsummer.

6. Compare them to Danes.

7. Compare them to Norwegians.

8. Compare them to Finns.

9. Compare them to Germans.

10. Complain about environmentalists.

11. Try to arrange an office happy hour less than a week in advance.

12. Make fun of the Vasa Ship..

13. Install wall-to-wall carpeting.

14. Try to convince a Swede to come to church with you next Sunday.

15. Say you’ve never heard of Astrid Lindgren.

16. Say that Sweden’s government is Socialist. 

17. Corner someone at a party and insist they tell you the secret to why Swedish people are so so beautiful.

18. Lecture everyone on the dangers of candles.

19. Tell people that women should stay at home after their first child.

20. Start a conversation with a stranger.

You can read Kate's blog post right here 


February 07, 2012

Two Swedish girls went to Uganda...

We heard about these two Swedish girls the other month and have been following their progress.  

In short, two Swedish students went to Uganda.  There, they helped set up a home and secure six street kids a school place.  They went back to Sweden, confident that the orphanage was safe and secure and a good environment for the boys to grow up.

Not so.  Soon, Emma and Therese learnt that the boys were being abused.  Severely so.  Physically, mentally.  The environment, under the leadership of a not-at-all-nice man they call Director.  Beatings, punishments, being locked in rooms for days on end.  Not to mention going without food.  Horrific.

Most people would feel pretty powerless being back in Sweden.  What do you do?

Emma and Therese went back to Uganda.  Went to the orphanage.  Collected the boys - all 13 of them.  Then they rented their own house and now live in Uganda, with their 13 boys whom they call "their brats". 

Emma and Theresa work around the clock to provide a safe and secure environment for their kids.  They work, tirelessly, to be supportive, understanding and more grown up than they should be at this age - to have to deal with issues far beyond what most of us could handle.

They have a blog in which they write about their life there.  They talk about the kids, their successes (and sometimes when things go wrong).  The blog is in Swedish, but if you use Google Translate, just right-click and hit "translate to English" and you wil get a pretty good picture of what is happening.

Emma and Theresa fund raise, tirelessly, to cover the monthly running costs of the home for their boys. They are just trying to keep their promise;  to give the boys a home, food, love, schooling - and thus, a future.  They don't need much to keep it going.  But they need it, continuously, and it is getting harder and harder to keep asking.

We've been in touch with Emma lately and asked her to set up a "donate" button for non-Swedish donations.  You will find this on the right hand side of the page.

Even if you don't fancy donating, we are certain you will find their blog an inspiring and worthwhile read.


November 21, 2011

Knitted by Nanas: the Danish fashion knitters

KAFFESLABBERAS // MADS AND ERNA (SUBTITLED) from Kaffeslabberas on Vimeo.

We're in love with Kaffeslabberaserne in Denmark. Meet the group of Grannies who knit for Danish designers Henrik Vibskov and Mads Norgaard. Watch the video and fall in love with the grannies and hand knitted socks, jumpers and everything inbetween. If you want to know more about the knitting by these Nanas, you can read this very good article right here

March 28, 2011

How the world see us: Finland

In 1993, 60 Minutes (the tv show) did a segment of depressed Finland, their alphabet soup words and their obsession with the Tango.

We welcome comments from Finns who remember if life in Finland really was this depressing 18 years ago or if this is gross misrepresentation.


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