Sweden - Stockholm

by Kimp 29. September 2016 18:41

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Stockholm Fashion Week
Stockholm has two fashion weeks, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.

Their shows are considered the leading shows for Northern European fashion, showcasing clothes and trends that look great in cooler climates. Most of the events are in the heart of the city, located around Berns Salonger (1800’s restaurant and entertainment venue inside Berzelli Park) and Kulthuhuet Stadsteatern (Arts and Culture Center).

My favorite designer this year was the “House of Dagmar”. A fairly recent design firm founded by three Stockholm sisters, Karin Söderlind, Kristina Tjäder and Sofia Wallenstam. Dagmar was the name of their late Grandmother, who inspired them. They have solid roots in the Swedish Fashion Industry. Their designs are unconventional and focus on feminine sensuality and confidence. I can kind of see a modern interpretation of Grandma’s roaring 20’s, in some of their designs, which is attractive, sophisticated, and playful looking to me. Plus the sisters are all easy on the eyes.

They host one of the events at their house, it’s by invitation only and I didn’t rate (I’m probably about a thousand pages below the bottom of that short list), but if I had, I would have been the first one there, and would have been looking dapper. Black and white shined wing-tip shoes, wide collared white shirt, vest, 3/4 length coat, bowler, cane and all. Looking like a modern day Great Gatsby, arriving in a chauffeur driven 1920’s Mercedes’s Benz Limo. That’s actually a look I can pull off.

I stayed at the Grand Hotel Stockholm, within easy walking distance of either venue.  That’s the big name dropper 5 star Hotel, right on the water. Just across the water from the Grand Hotel, is the Kings Palace, which is on Gamla Stan Island (the old town city center). That wasn’t by design, what happened, was that I forgot to make a hotel reservation.

Many of the events that I go to, are planned and reserved 6 months to a year in advance. I almost always book everything at the same time. As I was assembling the travel documents a week ahead of my visit, I noticed I had forgotten to book a hotel.  When I looked, every hotel in Stockholm was booked solid except for that the Grand Hotel and one of their 5 star competitors. Wow, I really did not want to pay the price of admission for either of those.

So I did what any prudent person in that situation would have done. I social engineered the big name establishment. High end hotels are often overpriced and have lots of barter room. It’s very close to a big planned event, that most people book way in advance, and if they don’t move a room right now, they are unlikely to fill it. Better to lose a little money on a room then to lose all of it.

I called the front desk and told them that their competitor was offering me a room at a price I made up, which was way below what they were asking for their room.  Then told them that I really, really wanted to stay at their hotel, but since the price was so much lower at their competitors, I would probably have to take the other offer. I figured they would counter at some higher price, but the dude says, “Yes sir, Mr. Kimpel, let me see what I can do.”.  Clickety clack, clack, clack, Clickety clack, clack, clack, Clickety clack, clack, clack. “Yes Sir Mr. Kimpel, if you book now, we can give you a room here at that price.”. “Sweet, lets book it.”. The only thing better than a counter offer is an acceptance of my low bid.

It was pouring down rain when I arrived in Stockholm and I was going to have to wait a long time on Public Transportation, so I decided to walk to the hotel, but I under estimated the distance it is was a much longer walk than I had expected. By the time I got the Grand Hotel my pants where drenched from the knees down, and my jacket was quite wet as well, even though I had an umbrella.
I go through the Hotel door and see that the entire entry way, all of the lobby and all standing room in between are jam packed with dudes in tuxedo’s and models wearing long evening gowns and lots of jewelry. I looked like I had been out fishing all day, and had just rowed up the hotel in my row boat, after being out in the rain all day.

I was contemplating going somewhere else for a few hours and coming back when it had cleared out, but everyone was too into themselves and impressing the people around them to notice me, so I strolled on it, trying to be careful not to get anyone wet as I made my way to the reception counter. As I am slowly making my way to the counter I can catching parts of several conversations and am starting to notice that there sure are a large number of gay sounding dudes in this crowd.

While I am waiting for a few people, who were in front of me at the reception desk, I am listening to a few dudes who are talking behind me. Something about great food and a great time at some old ship named Patricia, that is permanently moored, not too far, from the hotel. They are talking about meeting up there on Sunday.  Man I’m starving, so that great food has me hooked and if comes with a great time as well, then I’m all in.

So I find my room, take a shower, decompress a little, get dressed for the evening, and head out to find something to eat very close by. I figured that I would try that ship experience another day.

So Sunday come’s around and I am remembering that food/party ship, those dudes had been talking about. I head out in the evening and I can hear the music blaring from short ways off. I get there and there are not many people in the restaurant area. I am about to head into the restaurant, when I see some sparkles from a disco ball located below decks. Yea, I think I’ll check that out first, before I sit down in the restaurant. Maybe I’ll have a beer first and just hang out for a while. I head down to where the disco lights appear to be emanating from, and go through the open hatchway. Its wall to wall dudes, several without shirt’s on, some in tank tops, some older dudes in kind of normal casual attire. That’s when I realized that this is a Gay club. All of a sudden, that great food didn’t sound so great after all.

On my way back to the hotel, I did manage to find a really sweet, quiet restaurant that served Swedish dishes that I was very happy with. Swedish meatballs with light gravy and lingonberry jam, crispbread, lots of pastries, and great coffee. Swedish pastries seem to usually be heavy in either cream or custard. On average, Scandinavian’s drink two to three times more coffee per person, than any other ethnicity.

Someone told me later, that, the Patricia ship is only a gay club on Sunday. I guess I just happened to get lucky.

Stockholm Sweden

Stockholm is the natural capital of Scandinavia, since it’s the largest city, in the largest country, and it lies in the heart of Scandinavia. Stockholm has zero heavy industry and is consistently ranked at or near the top of the cleanest cities in the world list.
Around 1950, the Swedish visionaries predicted that the Service Industry was going to be the most prosperous industry in the next century. They guessed right, but unfortunately, one of the downsides of a very aggressive modernism approach, is that Stockholm has nearly wiped out its history prior to 1950. Large blocks of architectural history were knocked down to make room for Modern structures.  In that respect, it is more like America than Europe.

One of the benefits of pushing modernization, is that they now have the best Internet Infrastructure in the world. Ultra-high speed fiber optic networks all of the way from the provider directly to their homes and offices.

Stockholm has the largest ICT cluster (concentration of Information and Communications Companies) in the world. 25% of businesses there, are in the business consulting service sector. It also hosts one the of the largest Life Sciences (study of all living things) clusters in Europe.

Nearly everyone is dual lingual, Swedish and English. They speak English with an American professional accent. Mostly because that is representative of World Businesses and World Politics.  Nearly all of their Media programs are in American English as well. They embrace all of the Art’s with enthusiasm and, respect people’s opinions without any bias.

Sweden has a very interesting interpretation of “Freedom of Expression”.  Basically under Swedish law, people are allowed to publish or say whatever they want, so long as it is not defaming or publicly insulting to another person, and it does not threaten the current government. It protects against all forms of bigotry. During the 2010 political campaign, a TV station refused to display one of the campaigns ad’s on the basis that it bigoted non-ethnic nationalities. Then to be fair, they also didn’t display any other campaign’s ads as well, until a court ruled that they would not be prosecuted for displaying the potentially bigoted ad. When the Bigot won, the other party objected saying that foul play had been involved.

The Vasa Museum

From a history and navy perspective, this is off the charts awesome. I will never forget it. In my opinion, this can only be experienced in Stockholm Sweden.

Vasa was the family name of the first ruling family of Sweden. Before them, Sweden had been ruled by the King of Denmark. Lead by the noble Vasa Family, the people revolted, and the Vasa family became the first ruling family of Sweden in 1523.
They were war mongers, and were at war to the better part of 100 years after that. In 1628, they launched the Swedish Navy’s newest flag ship. Besides being very large and packing an abundance of cannon ordinance, it was one of the most ornamental ships ever made.  They commissioned Europe’s best wood sculptor’s and spent more money in the sculptures and lavish exterior painting, then they did on the entire rest of the ship. It was designed to showcase the immense wealth, power, and firepower of Sweden, and to intimidate all opposing vessels.

They hired the most experienced and reputable ship architect, of that time, to design it. This was about 100 years before the mathematics’ for ship buoyancy had been discovered. In those days, new designs would be created by an experienced architect, then they would sail it, figure out what wasn’t working and make whatever correction was needed. Sometimes, that might have involved taking of an entire upper deck. A very costly process, but all they had at that time.

This ship needed to be taller than normal, to be able to hold the crew and space needed for all of the armaments that they wanted. But they also wanted a shallow hull for maximum speed. In ship engineering those are contradictory designs. The taller the ship, the deeper the hull needs to be to stabilize it. Especially a ship driven by sail power, where the wind is attempting to tip the ship over.

The architect had died before the vessel was complete, so another had to step in, and ty to figure out, what was in the original designers head, while completing it. The captain that had been chosen as the first caption was changed at the last minute. The original captain had been around during the building and had lots of knowledge about both the vessel and the design. The new captain was not very familiar with the ship before setting sail.

Swedish people filled the area to get a look at it, as it was launched. Bands were playing, festive celebrations were planned around the launch. The government wanted to showcase all of the armaments on the initial launch, so they had all of the cannon doors open, even on the lowest decks. It was customary to allow family members of the inaugural sailors aboard, during the initial launch. In Navy terms, if you are on the ship when it first launches, you are forever called a plank owner of that ship.
There wasn’t enough wind to move the ship from the dock, so they towed it out into the middle of the bay where the currents would be strong enough to move it without wind, and released all of the towing lines, but had left the sails up during this process. The last tow rope was dropped, a huge gust of wind filled the sail’s and pushed the ship over on its side. Far enough, that water came gushing in through the open cannon doors. Water started filling the lower decks. The sails where dropped, but it was too late, as it had already taken on enough water to start the sinking process.

The captain had stayed with the ship until it was underwater. Almost a little too long, since strong currents from the sinking, nearly killed him. He and the architect and several other key people were immediately arrested and jailed. The trial went on for months, but in the end, nobody was found guilty of negligence and they were all freed. The Swedish Navy was still a powerhouse, even without that ship, they were soon considered a world power.

That Vasa ship sat on the bottom of the bay for over 300 years, before it was raised to the surface. Raising it, moving it and preserving it, is now called Sweden’s Apollo program. In the 1950’s they made a huge investment, into technology for all parts of this process.

Now it is inside of its own museum and is an awe inspiring sight.

It hit me as soon as I got in through and saw the first glimpse. Took me right back to that time. Impressive and mind boggling, how such a huge portable wooden structure could be designed and built.

Stockholm History

The Vikings were the first civilization to settle in what is now, Stockholm. That section of Sweden has a cluster of thousands of Island’s. In the Northern Baltic Sea, ships and boats were always needed to transport people, supplies, and good’s throughout the area. Out of necessity, Viking’s became expert ship builders, building many types of ship’s. They were also very hearty people. A necessity to coupe with the day to day elements that they faced.

Stockholm is where the Baltic Sea meet’s Lake Malaren. A very large lake that gives access to Sweden’s interior. Stockholm’s old town is a small Island named Galma Stan, in the center of the main passageway, with four nearby Islands making up the Modern City Center. Fourteen islands total, make up greater urban area. Lots of water and not many hills, which simplifies land transportation.

The Viking’s probably would have been a peaceful entity had it not been for the existence of their unrelated neighbor. The Saxon’s who occupied what is now Northern Germany. The Saxon’s were also a hearty civilization. The conflict came when they both wanted to control the trade routes throughout the Baltic region. Tensions where always high and one side or the other was going to do something that escalated it. The expansion of the Viking Empire mostly had to do with them looking for a place where they could live without conflict.

Vikings were a three class society. Thrall’s were the enslaved peasants, Karls were the free peasants, who were allowed to own land and scratch out a living. The Jarl’s were the wealthy upper class. My Swedish grandfather was named Carl and I was nearly named Carl after him. Carl probably would have been a fitting name for me.

When Charlemagne conquered the Saxon’s, he also Christianized them. He had a simple rule for the Saxon’s, accept Baptism or Die. When that worked, he set his sights on the Vikings, not because he wanted the trade routes or Scandinavia. He just wanted to get rid of paganism. It took 400 more years for that, but eventually they succumbed.

Sweden was one of the first countries to embrace the protestant reformation. While the concept was born in Germany, the Swed's where the first to implement it on both a small and large scale. Today, Sweden has more registered Luthern's than any other country, but that is misleading. Swed's prefer to worship nature and the outdoors, so they don't attend church that often. The reason the number is so high, is because up until 2000, a person born to at least one Luthern parent was registered as Luthern. Africa actually has the highest Luthern population that regularly attends services.

Sweden was under Danish rule for a long time, until they rebelled and broke away in the 1600's. From 1648–1718 they had a strong ally in France, and were considered a world power. Years of fighting against, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and German left them with both a strong Navy, and a strong Army. After the Napoleonic wars, they turned to peace and have preferred to stay neutral in most conflicts.

Old School Jazz Club

Stampen was one of the best times I’ve had in a long, long time. It’s kind of a small, old school tavern with several rooms, and three different bands playing.  It’s mostly older people, like my age, which looks like the crowd that it caters too.
In the basement was an Old School Rock Gut Blues band, that complimented the beer I was drinking. They looked like they all had about 40 years of experience in the business and were still enjoying it.

A floor up was a Rock a Billy band what had the people hopping to their high energy beat. They looked like they have been doing that since the 50’s. All old equipment, upright bass, 50’s microphone. Great at Jamming. They fit right in with the Stampen moniker.

As soon as one band stopped the other would start. I stood through two sets of each and was smiling ear to ear the whole time. I don’t even remember the band up front, cause I was having such a great time with the other two bands.
I was enthralled watching a dude about 70, who was trying really hard to impress a women who was probably in her late 50’s. I could read the body language and tell what was going on. She was kind of paying him attention from time to time, but then brushed him off and left.  I saw him in the rest room washing the sweat off of his face, primping himself up, putting some cologne on, and looking fairly depressed. I guessed he had struck out again. I said to him, “Dude, that women ain’t good enough for you. Just move on. There’s another somewhere, who will see you for what you are, and appreciate all that you have to offer.”. That's the voice of experience talking.

Story of my ancestors emigration from Sweden to the USA

This story is told in my grandfather's (on my mom's side) own word's. His father emigrated to the USA first, then earned enough money to send for the rest of the family.

Karl Gotfried Ostling

He was born September 23, 1875 and worked on the baronial estate in Smedby, a suburb of Kalmar Sweden. During the summer months he worked 20 hours a day and it was customary to have 4 meals a day. He was a very strong man, loading 20 haycocks a day. He also worked in the white clay. This was used to make white bricks. Smedby was known as the white brick center.

On these baronial estates a Swedish flag always was flown. He like this ide, the USA flag was always flown on the 116 acres (he purchased) in Tuscarawas Country, Ohio. He also worked as a molder of steel castings in Lynn and Cleveland.

Anna Sofia Ostling

She was born February 7, 1880 in Kalmar Sweden. Worked as a milk maid over at Oland, an island near Kalmar. One time she milked 16 coes at one sitting. We lived in Temperance Hall and she was housekeeper and chaplain. Also laundered stiff white starched collars for students at the nearby University. She was industrious. In Lynn (Massachusetts), she worked as a winder of electric works, in the same steel foundry as Karl. She was ambitious throughout her like. It was through her efforts that the married name was changed from Pererson to Ostling.

Karl Arvard Ostling

I was born September 24, 1897 in Kalmar Sweden. I was the oldest of 3 brothers born in Sweden, Ranger and Berger were the others. When I was about 6 years old we moved to Smedby. We lived in the center of village and got acquainted with strawberries where we lived. We we not permitted to pick out own. Now I like to pick my own. A frozen strawberry in ice cream is my favorite.

We moved to Temperance Hall and I got acquainted with red raspberries and price is no object when I can get them. They grew in Sweden near and on stone fences built from stones picked from the barley meadows. There was a train station at Smedby and cherries were sold to passengers at 5 ore per cone. We children looked for money dropped between the boards of the station walk.
Where was a picnic grounds near where we lived and a music band came out from Kalmar with a dance group and we always listened to the band. My father was a good dancer and always thanked the ladies for dancing with him. A very polite man.

(My grandfather's father had come to America ahead of the rest of the family. To earn enough, to send for the rest of his family. The following is my Grandfather's, brothers, and mothers trip from Kalmar Sweden to Boston, Massachusets in 1906.)

Emigration Trip

We left Smedly on September 26, 1906 on the Kalmar Emmoboda Railway. This was a narrow gauge rail for passenger and freight. I could see this train from where we lived and wished I could oil the engine, which was done while still in motion. This track in Emmaboda changed to a larger track which crossed Sweden to a seaport named Gothenberg.

My mother, myself age 9, my two brothers Rangar 7, and Berger 4, left Gothenberg and sailed across the North Sea to Hull, England. It was very stormy and the boar rolled with very high winds. I was very curious about the boar and went up to the top in the middle of the boat to avoid high winds like others had. Mother was very anxious about me and wanted to see me. She told an officer to find me. He didn't believe mother. He said she already had her two boays, he thought she was seasick. But she prevaile, and the officer found me on the top of the boat. We were soaked from the high waves. I told mother that I wished she left me alone. Everybody was seasick!

As we came into the Harbor at Hull, England, a man fell overboard but his large coat saved him from drowning. We traveled by train across England to Liverpool. In Liverpool buses took us to a large boat, the Saxonia. I was amased at the size of the ship. At the bus stop, Ragnar and I held hands, and we jumped on the bus and waved (bye) to mother. She was holding Berger. Mother immediately took the next bus, and we were reunited in this strange town.

The Cunard liner, Saxonia (Steam Powered Cruise Liner), was full of passengers. There were dining rooms and state rooms. A storm ame up and the dining chairs were tied together by ropes to the wall of the room. A man died at sea and was buried by using large weights plunged in the open sea. I saw a shale spouting in the Atlantic Ocian. I walked from our stateroom and was stopped by a sailor from going on deck.

We landed October 2, 1906 in East Boston. Dad was very happy to see us. We were examined for trachoma, an eye disease prevalent in Europe.

We rode by street car from East Boston to Revere, Massachusets where Dad rented an apartment above a grocery story. Ragnar and I went to school and came home one day with mumps. The landlady was scared of mumps. I can still remember her saying MUMPS!!!

(Much more, but for another BLOG, when I write up Boston)

Thank you for reading. I'll see you next time.

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Comments (1) -

Patrick James
10/2/2016 9:44:36 PM #

That is a great family history.  I recall reading about the Vasa and would like to see the museum one day.  I think Gothenburg is where they ship new Volvos out of .


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