The Nordic Reporter

Stories from Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltics

Sweden News Archives 2011 at

The collection of news from Sweden of the 2011, published at

Swedish Mass Apologies to Children of Boarding Facilities

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish state on Monday made a mass apology to anyone who grew up in children’s homes or youth boarding facilities between 1920 and 1980 and was mistreated or abused there.

Speaker of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) Per Westerberg conveyed the pardon. This happened during a special ceremony at Stockholm City Hall.

Among the 1,300 guests on Monday were Sweden’s Queen Silvia, government officials, political party representatives, hundreds of victims and their relatives.

Last year, 866 Swedes testified before a special Swedish Commission of Inquiry into childhood abuse and maltreatment at boarding schools in 196 municipalities. More than 60 percent of the witnesses have been sexually abused, 44 percent mention other physical violence. Some of the witnesses were treated badly in several ways, 12 percent were harassed purely mentally.

A quarter of a million Swedes spent one or more years in an orphanage between 1920 and 1995 as children or teenagers. That is why experts think that the actual number of victims is higher than the official investigation has been able to show, but they do not mention figures. A TV documentary in 2005 revealed large-scale abuses and prompted the government investigation. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 21 November 2011)

Extreme Snow Shortage in Sweden

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Never before since the start of official snow measurements in 1904 there was so little snow in Sweden at the start of what is normally the start of the winter sports season.

All weather stations of the Swedish Meteorological Service (SMHI) are free of snow on Wednesday, the service announced. On Tuesday, an inch of frozen precipitation fell in Katterjakk in northern Lapland, but it melted away the same day.

Last year many of the hundreds of ski slopes in Sweden were already open in mid-October, now the slopes are green. The SMHI foresees little improvement in the short term for winter sports enthusiasts. The mercury will continue to rise and fall around freezing temperature for the next week. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch, 9 November 2011)

Ancient Secret Code Deciphered

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Two Swedish linguists and an American scientist have succeeded in translating a 280-year-old secret code from Germany with previously incomprehensible characters. Swedish media reported this on Thursday.

The 105-page so-called Copiale writings were discovered in East Berlin in the early 1990s and consists of 75,000 letters. According to two linguists from Uppsala University and a California professor of language technology, the document describes the rituals and ideals of the secret Order of Okulis from Germany around 1730.

The Copiale is written in German, Latin letters turn out to be spaces and other characters indicate that a consonant should be read twice. The society paid a lot of attention to eye diseases and how the human eye works, the scientists said. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original in Dutch, 27 October 2011, previously unpublished)

Swede Behind Bars for Catching 13,000 Birds

Published on : by Marcel Burger

A 40-year-old Swede was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison by a judge in Hudiksvall, Sweden, on Monday, for illegally catching a record number of 13,000 wild birds.

A spokesperson confirmed this. The resident from the Hudiksvall area caught the animals between 2005 and mid-2010 in the Gävleborg province. He kept a record of it on his computer. When regional officials came to investigate after multiple tips, they discovered hundreds of eggs and 400 animals, dead and alive, in the garage and a storage shed near the man’s house.

The Swede took, among other things, eagle owls, woodpeckers, geese and owls from the forests, but has said that he never wanted to do them any harm. He released many birds after a “rehabilitation period”. The convict is now locally known as the greatest Swedish poacher ever. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 17 October 2011)

Bailiff Seizes Saab Pearls

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish car brand Saab, owned by the Dutch Swedish Automobile, has lost its pearls. Even before the company received permission from the court on Wednesday to reorganize, the Swedish state-owned bailiff’s organization Kronofogden seized all 109 museum cars of the company.

A Kronofogden spokesperson confirmed this on Thursday. Now the strange situation has arisen that the bailiff is not allowed to sell the cars during the restructuring of Saab, Saab has lost control of the vehicles, but Saab is allowed to let paying museum visitors look at the vehicles.

The Kronofogden hoped to raise money for the creditors with a sale of the museum pieces, to whom Saab says it owes 150 million euros. The bailiff’s organization found less than a million in Swedish bank accounts. The Swedish service cannot access foreign assets.

The show-piece of the Saab Museum in Trollhättan is the ‘primordial Saab’, the prototype of the company’s very first car from 1946. The mayor of Trollhättan, himself a former Saab employee, has already said that he may want to buy the Saab Museum and believes it can count on broad support from the city council. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 22 September 2011)

Swedish Coast Guard Fights Against Major Oil Pollution

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish Coast Guard is fighting one of the country’s biggest oil spills this weekend. On Sunday morning 120,000 litres had already been cleared, but an overall picture is still missing.

A Coast Guard spokesperson gave more details on Sunday. The oil has washed up on and near the Tjörn peninsula, north of Gothenburg. The spokesman suspects that the black substance ended up in the Kattegat after a collision on 10 September between two ships off the Danish coast, but tests have yet to confirm this.

The Danish authorities have already cleared approximately 60,000 litres of oil from the sea. In Sweden, the stuff has ended up in lobster and bird-rich areas. According to the coast guard, it is the worst oil spill on the Swedish west coast since 1989, when a Greek tanker lost 100,000 litres. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (originally published in Dutch on 18 September 2011)

57 Swedes Were Stasi Spies

Published on : by Marcel Burger

At least 57 Swedish citizens were spies in their own country for the East German intelligence service Stasi during the Cold War.

This is evident from the new book Not only spies by professor and researcher Birgitta Almgren, which was published in Sweden on Thursday. Almgren was allowed to look in the archives of the Swedish national security police Säpo.

Although she was not allowed to publish the names of the spies, Almgren describes the work of the individuals in question in detail. Among them are at least twelve teachers, ten engineers, nine entrepreneurs, nine journalists, six key figures in political and social organisations, four confidential advisers such as priests and doctors and two cultural officials.

Stasi’s own archives appartently show that the then East German intelligence service in Sweden was interested in industry, technology, trade, training, military installations and politics. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original in Dutch, 15 September 2011, previously unpublished)

Four Terror Suspects Arrested in Sweden

Published on : by Marcel Burger

On the night from Saturday to Sunday, ten years after the major terrorist attacks on 11 September in the United States, special Swedish police units arrested four possible terrorists during the opening of the art biennale in Gothenburg. Before that, the party in the Red Stone art hall, under one of the city’s main bridges, was evacuated just after midnight.

On Sunday morning, police confirmed that the four are suspected of preparing terrorist acts involving “a real threat to human life or extensive disruption of property”, but the spokesperson did not want to provide the identity of the people arrested or any possible weapons or explosives. The spokesman declined to comment on a possible connection with the commemorations of the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

The evacuation of the hundreds of guests of the art party, including prominent figures from the Swedish artistic world, went smoothly. Some in attendance thought the police action was part of the show. The barriers around the Kunsthal were lifted early on Sunday morning. The Gothenburg Art Biennale is at multiple locations across the city until November 13, and continues as usual. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 11 September 2011)

Secret Service Kept an Eye on Ikea Founder

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish secret service kept an eye on Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad during World War II, because according to the service, he was “a very active Nazi”.

This became known on Wednesday when a new book by investigative journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink was published. Åsbrink works for the Swedish national broadcaster SVT. She discovered a personal report from the Swedish intelligence service dated 6 July 1943. It states that the then 17-year-old Kamprad very actively recruited new members for the fascist organization New Sweden and the Nazi Lindholms movement/SSS, of which he would also be a part.

According to experts, the Lindholm movement was highly anti-Semitic and authoritarian. She is compared to the German Nazi party NSDAP. Ikea founder Kamprad admitted his Nazi sympathies in the 1990s, but called it nothing more than “a short-lived childhood sin”. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 24 August 2011)

World’s First Female TV Anchor Dies

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The world’s first-ever female TV anchor, Gun Hägglund, died after a short period of illness.

The family announced this on Tuesday. Hägglund started her career in 1955 on Swedish radio. In 1958 she first appeared on television in Aktuellt, the Swedish national broadcaster’s news and current affairs program that still exists today. Hägglund thus became the first woman in the world to present the news on a TV screen.

Gun Hägglund loved cycling and spent more than thirty years as chairman and later as a journalist with Sweden’s largest two-wheeler association. She was 79 years old and is left by her husband and two children. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original 23 August 2011, previously unpublished)

Saab Cars Closer To Bankruptcy

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The largest union at the Swedish car company Saab wants to see money for the 1,500 employees at the factory. To this end, a reminder has been sent to the company. After receipt, Saab legally has seven days to respond. If that does not happen, the association can file for Saab’s bankruptcy.

That said the now resigned Saab board member Håkan Skött of the association IF Metall on Monday. Saab’s 1,500 employees were told on Thursday that they were not being paid a salary. The trade unionist said he did not yet know whether bankruptcy would indeed be filed if there was no response.
The Saab employees, thanks to a collective agreement between the unions and the Swedish Swedbank, can borrow up to 20,000 kroner (about 2,100 euros) to support themselves. IF Metall reported on Monday that there are already a few dozen people affected who use it. The union expects this number to rise.

According to the Swedish Association of Auto Parts Suppliers (FKG), Saab now has a debt of approximately 60 million euros with its suppliers. Nearly seventy claims, worth three million euros, have been forwarded by the suppliers to the Swedish judicial bailiff in recent weeks.

At the beginning of 2011, approximately 4300 people were employed at Saab’s approximately 800 large and small suppliers. Nearly 500 of these have been made redundant in recent months: 200 at IAC, which makes instrument panels, 163 at car seat manufacturer Lear, 50 at bumper manufacturer Plastal and 57 at two logistics companies. Twenty Saab advisors from technical agency i3tex are facing the same fate.

Should Saab disappear completely, the short-term impact on the Swedish economy will be limited. This is apparent from an analysis (end of April) by one of Sweden’s most important banks, Nordea. “With the loss of Saab, Swedish industrial production will fall by one percent and per capita income by 0.2 percent. In other words, slightly more than about 50 euros per Swedish citizen,” explains economist Bengt Roström of the bank.

“In total, 8250 people are likely to become unemployed, especially in Gothenburg and Trollhättan. But because the Swedish economy is very strong at the moment, many will find new jobs relatively quickly,” Roström said. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 27 June 2011)

Abba Deliberately Wrote Political Songtexts

Published on : by Marcel Burger

ABBA, the Swedish pop formation that was very popular in the 1970s with hits such as Waterloo and Dancing queen, deliberately wrote political lyrics. The Visitors, for example, from the band’s last studio album of the same name from 1981, is about oppression in the then Soviet Union.

With this, former Abba member Björn Ulvaeus confirms rumours that have been circulating among fans for a long time on Saturday during a Swedish radio program. Ulvaeus wrote all of ABBA’s lyrics and music together with Benny Andersson. The duo also produced the movie Mamma Mia! (2008) and the musicals of the same name.

Ulvaeus says Friday in anticipation of the radio talk that he was aware that a lot of song content would pass by the listeners. ,,Many fans didn’t even know what we were singing about.” Abba, a quartet with singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, broke up in 1983. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original in Dutch 24 June 2011, previously unpublished)

Leaving a Can in Sweden: EUR 88 Penalty

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Sweden is going to put a stop to litter. From July 10, the Swedish police can by law hand out fines to those who deliberately throw their rubbish on the street or lawn. The price can go up quite a bit.

That became apparent on Wednesday as Sweden’s highest public prosecutor has set the penalties for causing a mess. Anyone caught by officers leaving behind one can, bottle, drink pack, fast food box or disposable barbecue must pay 800 crowns (approximately 88 euros). Failure to properly dispose of other packaging containing, for example, chemicals, paint residues or other environmentally hazardous substances or the dumping of a lot of rubbish will result in a fine to be determined or a prison sentence of up to one year.

Throwing away a single cigarette, a piece of chewing gum or a bus and train ticket remains unpunished. Unlike in the Netherlands, there has been a deposit on cans in Sweden since 1984. Just like bottles, these can be returned to any supermarket. According to the country’s recycling monopolist Returpack, 1.4 billion cans and plastic bottles are returned to Sweden every year. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 22 June 2011)

Vattenfall: Billion Euros to French Hydropower

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish energy group Vattenfall, parent company of the Dutch Nuon, wants to invest almost one billion euros in French hydropower plants.

The company announced this on Saturday. Paris will release its hydropower concessions at the end of 2011. Vattenfall says it sees an important growth market for renewable energy in France and is already active there. In 2010, the Swedish energy group sold 6.0 TWu to French companies and electricity grid companies.

Vattenfall is owned by the Swedish state. Domestic energy production comes almost entirely from hydropower and nuclear power plants. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (4 June 2011, previously unpublished)

CIA illegally spied on Swedish soil

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been illegally spying on people far outside the US embassy in Sweden. By chance, the Swedish Homeland Security Police Säpo found out and put a stop to it.

This is reported by the leading security and defence expert of the Swedish quality newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Monday, based on “several reliable sources”. Two CIA agents are said to have shadowed possible terrorists for six months in the first half of 2009 behind the backs of the Swedish authorities. It was only when the Swedish security police were monitoring the same people that the agency learned that a “third party” was active. Säpo demanded an immediate end.

Both the US agents and their then-chief at the US embassy in Stockholm are no longer in Sweden. Last fall it became known that the CIA was also monitoring Swedish citizens directly from the Swedish diplomatic mission, including video cameras.

The US espionage service and the Swedish security police Säpo have clashed several times. In 2006, two Säpo employees disguised as technicians boarded an American plane at Stockholm’s Bromma city airport to gather evidence that the US was secretly carrying terrorists away. Since then, as far as is known, there have been no more so-called CIA terrorist flights via Sweden. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (originally published in Dutch on 23 May 2011)

UNESCO Concerned About Palace Swedish King

Published on : by Marcel Burger

UNESCO is concerned about building plans around the living quarters of the Swedish royal couple. A 21-kilometer-long highway may be constructed alongside the royal palace of Drottningholm, complete with access and exit roads and parking spaces near the palace.

UNESCO has sent a letter to the Swedish UN ambassador asking for clarification about the building plans around the palace, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. Drottningholm, which means Queen’s Island, is on the UN’s World Heritage List. If the highway is built, the complex will have to give up that status, said a UNESCO advisor.

The construction of the so-called ‘passage canal’ has been estimated at more than 3 billion euros. Construction will take at least eight years. The Swedish road and transport service wants to start this in 2012. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (originally published in Dutch on 18 May 2011)

Sweden Hunts Submarines, Again

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Swedish armed forces are investigating photos and witness accounts of a possible foreign submarine that suddenly turned up near Stockholm.

A defence spokesperson announced this on Friday. Images taken in mid-April by a Swedish family at their holiday home in Saltsjöbadet show a large elongated black object in the water with an extension that resembles the tower of a submarine.

The Swedish Navy had no submarine nearby. In the 1970s and 1980s, Sweden regularly hunted submarines, including dropping depth charges. Sweden’s first female submarine commander reported in an interview with the quality newspaper Svenska Dagbladet last year that there is “increasing military activity” in the Baltic Sea.

UPDATE 25 May 2011: The alleged foreign submarine that suddenly appeared near Stockholm in March is said to have been a detached wooden bathing jetty.

A spokesman for the Swedish Armed Forces reported this on Wednesday, after weeks of investigation. According to the spokesman, the photos that a family took of the long dark colossus show a loosened, floating deck that was later salvaged. Ice build-up would have kept the jetty under water.

The fact that the Swedish Navy did not exclude a foreign submarine at first reminded many Swedes of the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, the armed forces were frequently on the hunt for possible Eastern European submarines and even dropped depth charges. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (first part published in Dutch on 6 May 2011; 25 May edition previously unpublished)

Dutch Calculation Error 50 Years at the Surface

Published on : by Marcel Burger

On Sunday exactly fifty years ago, a sample of Dutch shipping bravado from 1628 is at the surface for fifty years. Sweden stowed the Vasa in Stockholm harbour on 24 April 24 1961, nearly 333 years after the battleship build under the leadership of the Dutch brothers Hybertsson had sunk during its sea trials.

The Vasa, named after the monarch who managed to pry Sweden free from Danish hands, was the intended flagship of the then Swedish navy. The Dutch brothers Arend and Henrik Hybertsson ran the shipyards in Stockholm.

The reigning Swedish king Gustav II Adolf wanted the Vasa to be the strongest ship of its time. During construction, he decided that 64 guns (24 pounders) had to be carried, after which project leader Henrik Hybertsson had to recalculate the construction to a huge ship of 69 meters long and 52 meters high (mast top to keel). In order to keep the three-master in balance, Hybertsson thought that 120 tons of stones should be more than enough ballast at the bottom of the bottom.

On August 10, 1628, the hawsers were unloaded and the Vasa began its sea trials. Strong winds made short work of the top-heavy battleship after a mile and a half. Thirty to fifty of the 150 people on board lost their lives. Shipbuilder Henrik Hybertsson did not live to see the sinking; he died a year earlier.

After the salvage in Stockholm, Sweden created a museum around the Vasa. The Dutch calculation error has grown into Sweden’s most popular museum on land with a million visitors annually (2007-2010) in half a century. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (previously unpublished)

Ban on Begging in Public, against Human Trafficking

Published on : by Marcel Burger

A ban on begging in public. This should prevent human trafficking, according to the Swedish town of Sala, which will introduce the ban this year.

This was reported by the Swedish national radio news (SR) on Thursday. Sala, more than 100 kilometres north west of Stockholm, wants the police to hand out fines and investigate organized crime behind begging thanks to the new public ordinance. However, it is not yet clear what the consequences are for street musicians who passively charge money for their performances.

Sala is the first Swedish municipality with a begging ban, which is supported by all local political parties. At the national level, according to the Swedish radio news, only the far-right Sverigedemokraterna (20 out of 349 parliamentary seats) is in favour of introducing a similar measure. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (previously unpublished)

Pippi Longstocking on 20-krona Note

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Astrid Lindgren and the world of her creation Pippi Longstocking will be featured on the new and widely used Swedish 20-krona note, which is worth around EUR 2.20.

The Swedish National Bank (Riksbanken) renews almost all paper money and coins between 2012 and 2016. There has been a lot of discussion about which famous Swedes will appear on the notes.

Bank executive Johan Gernandt announced details during a press conference in Stockholm on Thursday. The former Swedish secretary-general (1953-1961) and peace advocate Dag Hammerskjöld will be on the new 1000-kroner bill (about EUR 110). For the other notes, opera singer Birgit Nilsson (SEK 500), cinematographer Ingmar Bergman (SEK 200), actress Greta Garbo (SEK 100) and troubadour Evert Taube (SEK 50) were chosen.

Astrid Lindgren and children’s book character Pippi Longstocking will replace , author Selmar Lagerlöf and her creation Nils Holgersson on the 20-krona note. Also, founder of modern Sweden Gustav Vasa and initiator of contemporary botanic pioneer Carl von Linné (Linnaeus) disappear from the payment circuit. None of the Swedes depicted are still alive. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 6 April 2011)

After 50 Years Swedish Air Force At War Again

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Sweden will participate in NATO operations over Libya with eight fighter jets, a Hercules transport plane and a reconnaissance aircraft. The Swedish government informed the Swedish parliament about this at lunchtime on Tuesday.

It is the first time in fifty years that Swedish warplanes will be used in a war. The last time was in 1961, when a Swedish air force supported the then UN force in Congo. The Swedish participation means the baptism of fire for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet.

125 Swedish soldiers are deployed with the ten aircraft. It is not yet known from which country they will operate. Sweden has been cooperating with NATO for years in Afghanistan, where Swedish ground troops are stationed. The government decision still has to be formally ratified by parliament, but there seems to be a majority in favor of participation. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (previously unpublished)

Sweden Secretely Flew NATO Agents To Warsaw Pact Countries

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Until 1998, Sweden had a secret unit that dropped of NATO agents in the countries of the Warsaw Pact. It also worked closely with NATO countries Denmark, Norway and the United States in preparation for war with the Soviet Union.

The book Den dolde alliansen (The hidden alliance), published on Thursday, sheds new light on the Swedish defence policy during the Cold War. The highly experienced Swedish journalist and defence specialist Mikael Holmström compiled it on the basis of 150 conversations with soldiers, diplomats, politicians and other key figures. Holmström works for one of Sweden’s leading quality newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet.

The recorded stories show that Sweden brought Western agents into Russia at night with a fleet of ten small civilian, Cessna aircraft. The last assignment would have been in 1998, just before Flight Unit 66 was disbanded due to lack of funds.

In an armed clash with the Warsaw Pact, the alliance of Eastern European countries led by Russia, troops of the US Marine Corps would be deposited around the southern Swedish city of Malmö and in northern Sweden. The US Air Force would operate from Swedish air bases within eight days of the outbreak of war. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 24 March 2011)

Privatization Swedish State-owned Energy Company cancelled

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The planned privatization or sale of parts of the Swedish energy group Vattenfall, Nuon’s parent company, has been cancelled. A narrow majority of the Swedish parliament voted against the Swedish cabinet’s sale plan on Wednesday.

With 172 votes against and 170 votes in favour, the sale of other Swedish state companies or majority interests has also been stopped by the Swedish parliament. These include telecom company TeliaSonera, airline SAS and the national postal service Posten Norden (PostNord).

The Swedish state is the principal or full owner of 57 companies with a total value of approximately 65 billion euros (SEK 620 billion). The government in Stockholm wanted to sell almost a third of that value (SEK 200 billion). Most MPs want to keep control and revenue from state interests for the Swedish people. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 16 March 2011)

Swedish Reindeer Massacred on the Railroads

Published on : by Marcel Burger

Swedish reindeer have an exceptionally hard time on the country’s rail network. In the first two months alone, 400 of them were killed by trains. A record.

This is apparent from railway statistics published by the Swedish National Radio (SR) on Tuesday. Nearly three quarters of the animals (278) died on the only east-west rail link in northwestern Sweden: a route of approximately 130 kilometres between Kiruna and the border with Norway. According to the SR, the scooped animals equate to a loss of 407 tons of reindeer meat.

Reindeer are cattle for slaughter in Sweden and live in itinerant herds. It is not clear why so many animals are dying this year. On many routes, fewer trains ran this winter, because the rail stock could not withstand the extreme freezing cold. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 15 March 2011)

Dutch Most Growing Holiday Home Owners Group in Sweden

Published on : by Marcel Burger

The Dutch are the fastest growing group of foreign holiday home owners in Sweden. Compared to last year, Dutch ownership in the country doubled to 2600 holiday homes. This is evident from figures published on Monday by the Swedish land registry manager Lantmateriet.

A total of 79,000 Swedish holiday homes, approximately 14 to 15 percent of the total, are in foreign hands. Two years ago there were less than 34,000.

According to Lantmateriet, Danes (22,000), Germans (18,700) and Norwegians (16,100) have the most holiday homes of all foreigners. A spokesperson for Swedish real estate agents says that Germans prefer to choose holiday homes on the edges of villages. The Dutch want to be further away from the built-up area and, above all, to be close to or in nature. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 14 March 2011)