What signified 2016 as a year?
Disregarding Brexit, terrorist attacks, human tragedies of displacement, the celebrity death spate and Trump’s triumph for a moment, what was other important news in Sweden?
One of the most covered stories in the media was Sweden’s refugee policy. As the EU collapsed, and tens of thousands of people streamed into Sweden many Swedes reacted negatively. Eventually the border was closed between Sweden and Denmark – the very same bridge made famous in the detective series ‘The Bridge’. The border closing succeeded in stemming the influx.
Bob Dylan won the notorious Nobel Prize for Literature. Refusing to attend the ceremony in Stockholm, he inspired headlines such as ‘there’s not much rebel in nobel’.
Swedish actress Alicia Wikander won an Oscar. Only Ingrid Bergman had won one (actually two) previously. Alicia officially became Sweden’s sweetheart together with Olympic swimmer Sara Sjöström who brings home a gold, silver and bronze to the mother nation.
The Swedish royals kept the media busy with two baby princes – Oscar and Alexander. The country is divided into cooing royalists, rabid republicans and those who couldn’t care less.
British indie boy band Viola Beach die tragically when their car plunges off a bridge outside of Stockholm in the middle of the night.
Outlying areas of Sweden’s main cities develop into the Wild West. Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm report many shootings and brutal deaths throughout 2016.
The Eurovision Song Contest is held in Stockholm. The city welcomes thousands of visitors and the event is a roaring success. Next year the contest moves on to Ukraine. Let’s see how that goes.
Lots of political resignations happen during the year. Everything from drunk driving to dining with extremists, partying at sex cabarets, lack of confidence and renting out cheap apartments are cited as the various reasons.
Sweden’s foreign minister criticizes amongst others the Israeli state. Her outspoken words earn her an unflattering place on the top ten list of antisemites of the year.
And then there’s the weather. Whether the weather’s hot, cold, windy or snowy, it features as a constant headline in Swedish media. This is at least one news item we know will continue into 2017.
What else will the new year hold? Well, that’s the magic of time. Who knows?
Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be as eventful, terrible and beautiful as the year gone by.