Will I find my own Sweden In Warsaw? Even a few years ago I was In two minds abort going back to Stockholm. In Warsaw I was missing ‘swedishness’ – something that would let me feel Scandinavian climate, but most of all – let me encounter some Swedish culture. Yes, I know – IKEA.
It’s truly Swedish, with wide range of Scandinavian ‘this and that’, ginger bread cookies, meat balls, one złoty hot-dogs and Swedish design. And it is nice to go to IKEA on winter Sunday and sooth nostalgic emotions of homesickness. But it would be hard to call it ‘culture’ even with the best intentions. Along with Swedish fellows in misery, we often nagged about the lack of ‘Swedish’ events, meetings, parties. In Warsaw one has to be more persistent to find more Sweden. It takes time, but I’m finally discovering my on Sweden, but not in the North – at the heart of Europe. IKEA stands where it was. But we keep gaining more places where interesting events take place; and people for whom spreading Swedish culture isn’t only a sad responsibility. Yeas, you can find true fiends among them.

On film reviews and shows, Bergman still reigns. But movies of young Swedish directors also get to Poland. The offer of Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities is quite interesting. In its building there are Swedish pictures reviews organized. After the show you can talk to people who know a lot about Bergman and his fellow citizens. The latest review of Berman’s films (again!) was finished by Traffic from the capital city. So there is plenty going on…

There is more opportunities to listen to the music from the North. Nina Persson (A Camp, The Cardigans) performed in Warsaw in April. Earlier we could listen to Air France, who prepared a special DJ’s set. Also in the end of last year girls from Göteborg group called Audrey played a gig in Jadłodajnia Filozoficzna. Basshunter performs here regularly; a week ago I had fun dancing to the music of former Roxerre musician – Per Gessle. On 7th May in Warsaw Philharmonic you can lien to Gotlands Blasarkvintet quintet. Musicians, performing during XVI Probalitica Festival, will delight u with the sound of wind instruments from Gotland.

Embassy. Polish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce. Polish-Swedish Society Exportrådet (Council of Export). And lately also Scandinavian Culture Centre, which exists thanks to group of enthusiasts from Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Younger Generation takes interest not only in literature, film, art but also in discovering another side of Viking’s soul. They organize picnics, where you can have a chat in Swedish, play in traditional games and discuss differences in Swedish and Polish mentality. Above mentioned organizations engage in business contacts. That allows to unify and integrate economically our nations even more – which is right concerning geographical closeness of the countries

There are more and more people eager to learn Swedish. Not only because of job opportunities in my homeland. Lots of course participants declare with no hesitation that Sweden, Swedish and everything connected with that country has been their passion since childhood. I’ve heard that many Poles in ’80 and ’90 found their promised land in Ireland. And after disappointing job of kitchen porter moved to Sweden. I hope they won’t be disappointed ;-) Unfortunately, there are really few language schools in Warsaw that offer Swedish lessons. But it’s still more than a few years ago – so I’ve been told.

Another interesting activity is very popular In Sweden game ‘kubb’. It’s also known in other parts of Europe. It wins advocates in Poland as well. According to the legend ‘kubb’ was Vikings’s entertainment. It’s a team game. All participants are divided into two separate teams. Players throw wooden sticks to shake off all the bricks of the rival. The last one to shake off is the figure of king standing in the middle of the circle. Lately the group of players gathered on Kępa Potocka. See attached picture.

I enjoy all of that. Though it’s still to little of it. And most of all – it’s still too little spoken off. We still need to learn about events from our friends. Somewhere, sometime, someone heard that something is going to be happening. After Per Gessle concert I stayed a little longer with my friend. Officially we wanted to have a lager, but the truth was I hoped for my idol’s from 15 years ago autograph. I had a word bassist. He asked me, what I – Swedish guy – was doing In Poland. He was truly surprised when I replied that I was working, learning, meeting with friends – all the same staff I would be doing in Sweden. ‘But you are planning to go back to motherland soon’ – he said. I replied – ‘Are you kidding! It’s been great here’

Text by Martin Nilsson, Warsaw, June 2009
Translated by Karolina Ubysz

The article comes from the Swedish edition of ‘Continent Warsaw’ publication which can be downloaded (in Polish) [ here ]