Dagens Nyheter reports from the Emigration Fair (Emigratiebeurs) in Utrecht, the Netherlands, that 38 % of the Dutch population wants to move away from ”urban congestion” and “racism” and, not the least, “traffic jams”. The Northern countries appear to be at the top of the wish list of the prospective emigrants. The interest and participation in the fair increases from year to year and a large number of Swedish towns and municipalities are present, mainly from rural and peripheral areas with decreasing population. Obviously, the immigration of well behaved and highly educated people with good knowledge of languages is a highly attractive perspective in contrast to…well, let’s leave that for the moment. Several municipalities also report very succesfull results, with the Dutch immigrants setting up enterprises (very often camping sites!), thus creating employment and the possibility to keep otherwise threatened schools and small shops alive.
Statistics show that 58 % of people interested in leaving Holland would prefer to move to another EU country. Out of 15 countries, the four Scandinavian ones are at the top whereas Austria takes the 10th place. Sweden appears prominently, according to Dagens Nyheter. Unfortunately no pictures are available but the newspaper writes that red cottages, stuffed reindeers and genuine pine trees are prominently used in the marketing efforts.
It seems obvious that the picture of Sweden is colored by what has become known as The Bullerbü Syndrom, that is to say created by the books and movies from the Astrid Lindgren childrens books. In German speaking countries, the TV-series Inga Lindström has also helped to paint a completely unrealistic picture of a Sweden where the sun always shines and everyone is kind, friendly and blond. (Also they say “Sie”, which is something you would never hear in Sweden but if you do is not a sign of respect.) Nevertheless, one immigrant tells Dagens Nyheter that “you will never get disappointed with Sweden, it looks exactly as you expect it do do.”
Well, it depends on your expectations obviously and hopefully they are not founded only on Pippi Longstockings and the blondes of Inga Lindström. Of course, the weather in Sweden cannot be much worse than it already is in Holland so that may not become a source of disappointment. We can only hope that the fugitives from the traffic jams of the Randstadt will feel at home in the troll forests of Värmland. Meanwhile, Swedes continue to move to the parts of sunny Spain, unfriendly known as “The Senile Coast”.