In The News: 2018 Year In Review

In the News

In The News: 2018 Year In Review

Each Friday, we recap Swedish-influenced items in the news we find interesting. Today, we’re taking a look back at some of the most memorable stories of the year, month by month.

2018 was quite a year…enjoy!


The year started with the loss of a legend, as IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad passed away at the age of 91. The Minnesota Vikings improbably reached the NFC title game, and their fans’ skol chant became a sensation. We jumped for joy when Alexander Skarsgård picked up a Golden Globe award (among others) for his role in “Big Little Lies.” “Borg vs. McEnroe,” starring Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason and Stellan Skarsgård, earned 10 nominations for The Guldbagge Awards, but “The Nile Hilton Incident” picked up five wins, including best film and best actor for Fares Fares. And speaking of films, “The Square” earned an Oscar nomination.


Zara Larsson
Sweden earned 14 medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, including a gold for Anna Hasselborg and her curling teammates Sara McManus, Agnes Knochenhauer, Sofia Mabergs and reserve Jennie Wåhlin. Some Olympians – Anna Haag, Charlotte Kalla, Ebba Andersson and Stina Nilsson – even got to meet with King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Plogging – picking up plastic litter while jogging – became a thing. And a group of Swedish linguists and researchers from Lund University identified a new language called “Jedek.” Zara Larsson took home the best album award at the Scandipop Awards.



Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimović had a big year in 2018 and made big news when he signed with the L.A. Galaxy of the MLS. Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander made her debut as Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider. Persistent rumors of a Swedish House Mafia reunion got a lot louder. Volvo’s XC40, a newbie in the compact crossover category, was named the 2018 European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show, one of biggest car shows in the world. And IKEA intrigued us with “neatballs” made of mealworms.


Author Margareta Magnusson.
Photographer: Alexander Mahmoud

The world cried when Swedish superstar Avicii (aka Tim Bergling) passed away at the age of 28. Another Swedish music legend, Barbro Magareta Svensson, more commonly known as Lill-Babs, also passed away. The aforementioned Zlatan Ibrahimović made an instant splash in Los Angeles, then conducted epic interviews with the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Dan Patrick. The trend of Swedish Death Cleaning led one of our colleagues to give it a try. Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin wrapped their 18 seasons playing for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks by going out with a bang in their last game.




We barely could remain calm when ABBA announced it was in the studio recording two new songs. Since we’re big fans of “Game of Thrones,” we were captivated by a GOT-like massacre in Sweden. We had no idea what impact leaving Zlatan off the roster would mean when Sweden announced its World Cup roster. And fresh off of 2017’s hit “It,” Bill Skarsgård appeared in another smash, “Deadpool 2” and was beginning what PopSugar called the “Summer of Bill Skarsgård.”



Sweden began its World Cup run, and needless to say, we were hooked as the team was playing – and winning matches – in its first World Cup since 2006. Another athlete caught our eye as Rasmus Dahlin was the first pick in the NHL’s draft. IKEA made international headlines when it announced it was phasing out single-use plastics by 2020. Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip made our day when he made his Instagram account public. News broke that Uma Thurman was eyeing a move to Sweden. Victor Hedman won the Norris Award given to the NHL’s best defenseman. And a Swedish beer with recycled sewage water as an ingredient?





We couldn’t get enough of the World Cup, especially when Sweden won its group and beat Switzerland to reach the quarterfinals, where it lost to England. One of our faves, chef Marcus Samuelsson, had a series premiere on PBS. We were just a wee-bit excited for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” And maybe a wee-bit spooked when Bill Skarsgård reunited with Stephen King for the Hulu show “Castle Rock.”




Robyn returned in a big way in 2018, and it started with the release of “Missing U” ahead of her album “Honey.” There was a jewel heist in Sweden that was straight out of the movies, like “Mission: Impossible,” where Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson starred in the sixth installment and was tabbed for roles in a new “Men in Black” movie and Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep.” Princess Madeleine of Sweden announced her family’s move to Florida. Karma, a Swedish startup we’re watching that strives to eliminate food waste, announced it raised $12 million.






A trio of Swedes – Henrik Stenson, Alex Norén, and Robert Karlsson – helped Team Europe win the Ryder Cup. In hockey, Swede Henrik Zetterberg retired from the Detroit Red Wings after 15 seasons as one of 28 players in hockey history to win Olympic Gold, a world championship and the Stanley Cup. Robyn formally announced her first new album in eight years, and Cher released an album of ABBA covers. Alexander Skarsgård hit “Good Morning America” to chat about “Hold the Dark.” And we were bummed to learn that the “Curators of Sweden” project came to an end.



Was there anything cooler in 2018 than Saga Vanacek, an 8-year-old Swedish girl, pulling a 33-inch, 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden? Was there anything more off-the-wall in 2018 than the Disgusting Food Museum opening in Malmö? Another museum, Sweden’s Nationalmuseum reopened for the first time since 2013. Swedish House Mafia finally made it official…the trio will be going on tour in 2019. Something to watch in 2019: Swedish startup Cellink is making a name for itself in the medical community and is trying to print 3D body organs.



Swedish model Elsa Hosk heated up our winter nights when she was chosen to wear a $1 million bra for Victoria Secret’s annual fashion show. Sverrir Gudnason, fresh off of “Borg vs. McEnroe,” is poised to become the next big Swedish actor after starring in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.” Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson toured the States to promote his new book, “The Nordic Baking Book.” Zara Larsson visited “Today” to perform her latest single.




How big of a year was it for Robyn? NPR ranked her album “Honey” No. 7 in its annual end-of-year list; Slant ranked it No. 1. We were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen speaking out about climate change who was among Time’s teens of the year. YouTube sensation PewDiePie, who has had the most subscribers on the platform for the past five years, is in a battle to stay in the top spot. IKEA starts and ends our list this year, capping 2018 by introducing “salmon balls.”

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