Something Swedish


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About The Nobel Prize

This week the winners of the 2012 Nobel Prizes were announced. Aside from knowing that the Nobel Prize is from Sweden, it wasn’t until I moved here that I bothered to learn more about it.

Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833 and died in 1896 with the creation of the Nobel Prize in his will. Being the inventor of dynamite (among 355 other things), he had a large fortune to share. After his brother died in 1888 there was an obituary titled, “The Merchant of Death is Dead,” in a French newspaper that thought Alfred was the one who died. Upon reading this he revised his will many times concerned with how he would actually be remembered. 94% of his 31 million kronor ($4.7 million) fortune was to be used to create awards for those who give the “greatest benefit on mankind” in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, and Peace. It took years to verify the authenticity of the will, set up committees that would award such prizes, and to create guidelines for the awards.

Since 1901 these awards have been given annually by four different committees. Each committee only awards and has influence over the Nobel Prize/Prizes they are responsible for. All of the committees were specifically created for this purpose after Alfred Nobel’s will was approved: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly of Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The award ceremony and banquet for the Nobel Prizes are always held in Stockholm, and the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, on December 10th – the anniversary of Alfred  Nobel’s death. The week leading up to the banquet is “Nobel Week” when the Nobel Prize winners give lectures on the topic for which the award was given. This year each Nobel Prize will award 8 million Kronor (Most split among two joint winners) along with the traditional gold medal and ornate diploma.

Some Interesting History:

  • It wasn’t until 1968 that Economic Sciences was added to the Nobel Prizes.
  • Nobel’s will specified that prizes should be awarded to scientific discoveries from the preceding year, which had to be changed due to awarding someone a Nobel Prize for finding the cure for cancer in 1926. Nobel Prizes are now given to discoveries that have withstood the test of time and which the full impact of has been recognized, which sometimes takes decades.
  • At the time of Nobel’s death Sweden and Norway were in a union, and Nobel asked that The Peace Prize be awarded by the Norwegian Parliament, which in turn created a new committee to do the job. The Norwegian Parliament selects the 5 members in the committee.
  • 77% of the Physics Prizes have been given to discoveries, only 23% to inventions.
  • The Norwegian King did not support the Nobel Prize ceremony and refused to participate because it would be awarded internationally- to foreigners. Unlike in Sweden where Prize winners personally receive the award from the Swedish king, a chairman traditionally gives out the Nobel Prizes in Norway. In 2006 the King and Queen of Norway started to attend the Nobel Peace Prize awards.
  • In 1948 the peace prize was not handed out due to “no suitable living candidate” after Gandhi died that year.
  • 1949 5,000 lobotomies were performed in the US immediately after it received the Nobel Science Prize.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee building was a safe haven from the invasion of Nazis into Norway during WWII because it was Swedish property and Germany was not at war with Sweden.
  • In 1979 Mother Theresa refused to have the five-course banquet for 250 people and instead used the money to feed 2,000 homeless people on Christmas day.
  • The Nobel Foundation has assets of 3.628 billion kronor ($545 million US dollars) and has been exempted from taxes since 1946.


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International Food Fair

Over a dozen tents are in town with different food from around the world for four days. Town square is packed with food, people, culture…and food – it’s amazing and tasty!

Above is what we bought…so far. Cheeses, sausages, fudge, jam, and pastries (French flan, Italian cannolis etc) We found the Italian fudge to be a lot better than the English sort.

Hubby ate Brustwurst both days so far. I switched it up a bit -

First day: Pirogies. Second day: Paella

From the “Best British Fudge” to Traditional paella and churros from Spain

Polish Pirogis and Belgium waffles

Greek Gyrios and Homemade Baklava

Authentic German Bratwurst and Currywurst

French cheeses, Italian cheeses, Dutch cheeses, British cheeses

Sausages from Italy, Holland and Spain

French pastries and Italian pastries

English jams & mustards and Greek olives & dried fruit

Thankfully they are only here until Saturday, or else we would be broke and fat very quickly!
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Some people asked which recipe I used for the kanelbullar in my last post, I haven’t had time to translate it but you can find it here. DO NOT google translate the measurements, use a converter for all the numbers from metric. 1 cup = 2.5 dl etc. Lycka till! (Good luck!)


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Street Theater Festival: “Gatuteaterfestivalen”

Performers and sideshow acts flooded the streets of Halmstad as they entertained us by telling unique stories with magic tricks, illusions, crude jokes, fire juggling, sword swallowing, cultural dancing, claustrophobic acrobatics, music, improvisation, and flipping off of trampolines. The Gatuteaterfestivalen is the only street theater organized in Sweden. Every year for the past 15 years over a dozen performances from around the world- Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Belgium and more, come to Halmstad to entertain.

Many of the acts are fun and light-hearted, while others have a more serious tone and convey meaning and emotion. Some are heavily influenced by culture, while a few were inspired by silent films. Most performances take place outdoors, while a couple have limited seats in small places like moving containers and trucks.

Joel Salom To say that this act from Australia is a juggling act would be an understatement. An hour filled with huge personality, hysterical improve, amazing and unique juggling, singing, cool musical effects, an “accidental” strip tease, and a robotic dog named Erik.

CampingTeatret A Danish Traveling Circus

Tony Rooke – Once we climbed into the small container and were immersed in total darkness, stories unraveled before us in a small light box. With only his hands, magic, illusions, and story telling skills, this performer from Australia creates a magical atmosphere where you forget the man behind the curtain.

Karolin Kent – Hailing from Sweden, this dancer incorporates yoga, martial arts, photography, improvisation, and theater into her performance. Wearing nothing aside from the burden of a humongous and heavy skirt dragging behind her, she makes her way to her stage. Perched atop of a pedestal 4 meters tall, she tries to talk but has no voice – only gurgling sounds. The theme of this beautiful and striking performance is the oppression of women in societies and cultures around the world.

Cirque Inextremiste – From France, an extreme and dangerous juggling, balancing, jumping, and climbing act that keeps the audience on their toes. High on a trampoline with fire, propane tanks, and a gigantic ball, you don’t want to blink and miss a beat. Very funny and interactive with the audience, be careful you don’t get your hat lit on fire!


Cie Circ`ombelico – “Da/Fort” is an amazing show from Belgium worth piling into the back of a warm truck with 40 other people to experience. Silently the performers fill the small “room” with intense emotions of everyday life and relationships through body language, facial expressions, and a lot of acrobatic physicality. You never know if they are coming or going, leaving or staying, falling or rising. No photography allowed, but they stick around to chat afterwards and serve drinks.


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First Job Interview In Sweden

Two weeks ago I went on my first job interview here in Sweden at an international school called Vittra! While I have applied to many jobs over the years I have only been on nine interviews my whole life, this one in Sweden makes 10. But this time I didn’t hand over a resume like usual, I gave my newly created CV, “curriculum vitae.”  The first thing I had to do before my interview was make some adjustments. The format and over all vibe of the CV is much different than my beloved resume:

  • I stuck to English for now, because it is an international school and I was applying for an English speaking position.
  • I was surprised to have to include my personnummer (Equivalent to SS#, but used very differently and more public), and my date of birth and age. I’ve read that it is not uncommon to include personal information, such as marital status, kids, hobbies, and a photo. I decided to stay clear from that.
  • Less bragging. Unlike my resume, this CV was not a break down of every task, responsibility, and achievement. Only  the very basics and a brief outline of job description is needed/wanted. Anything more than that is bad form.
  • I also handed in a cover letter, which is somewhat common in New York but usually for larger firms and professional positions. I have dozens of cover letters for publishing houses I have applied to, but wouldn’t need one for any of my dental assistant or receptionist applications. In Sweden it seems like a cover letter is just as important as the CV, for any job.

Getting ready for my first interview in Sweden!

The interview was with the “Rektor” of the school, which is the headmaster/principal. The actual interview lasted about 45 minutes and was very relaxed and friendly. More of a talk than an interview. We spoke about the differences in private and public schools, between schools in New York and schools in Sweden, between tutoring and teaching. She told me more about Vittra: Continue reading

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