In The News: 2019 Year In ReviewDecember 20, 2019
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.
It was the year of Greta Thunberg, who kicked off 2019 by shaking things up at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Swedish DJ Avicii didn’t have a will when he passed away, but Swedish law mandated that his parents were the rightful heirs to his estate. In sports, Victor Hedman earned the NHL’s Norris Trophy, and swimmer Sarah Sjöström took home her fourth straight Female Athlete of the Year award at the annual Swedish Sports Awards. The McFalafel, the first vegan Happy Meal, arrived at McDonald’s in Sweden.
A Swedish hotel based its nightly rate on how much – or how little – you used social media. In the summer of 2018, there was a crazy jewel heist in Sweden. In February, the jewels, valued at $7 million, were found. Vogue took a look at one of our faves, Tove Styrke. The movie “Border” was nominated for an Oscar – it was called the “weirdest” movie at the annual awards.
A Swedish art project was announced that would pay someone $2,300 a month to come to work at a train station and literally do nothing. A new technology emerged with Swedish municipalities planning to use 3D printing to make pureed food more appealing to the elderly. We also were intrigued by clothes made from pineapple leaves. Polestar, an electric car brand under Volvo, announced it would release a five-door vehicle with a vegan interior. The movie “Midsommar” started to get some buzz, as most of us had no clue what to expect with the upcoming movie. And Alicia Vikander was featured in Harper’s Bazaar, revealing why she avoids social media.
An off-duty cop was enjoying a day at the sauna when he realized the man sitting next to him was a wanted criminal. We got hungry hearing about a stunt by Visit Sweden that had four renowned chefs craft menus for people to cook – and eat for free – at al fresco tables around Sweden. IKEA opened a new store in Norfolk, Va., and we were there for the opening. A 71-year-old Swedish man spent the month running back and forth across the United States. Model Kelly Gale and Joel Kinnaman became an item. Actress Bibi Andersson, who starred in 13 Ingmar Bergman films, passed away at the age of 83. And Swedish startup Bluewater has developed a way to make sea water potable.
IKEA announced that it was working on a meatless meatball. Zara Larsson’s star continued to rise throughout the year. Super chef Magnus Nilsson made the tough decision to close Fäviken, his famous restaurant featured on Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.” Swedish House Mafia made a return to the stage. The HBO series “Chernobyl” premiered and brought plenty of praise to Stellan Skarsgård. The house that was used in the 1988 movie “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” was listed for $750,000. Tove Lo dropped a new song, “Glad He’s Gone,” which would end the year on some best-of lists. And McDonald’s opened a new location, a miniature restaurant that doubles as a beehive.
We were introduced to a new word – “flygskam” – which means “flight shame.” A Swedish startup, Cangoroo, sought to launch sharable pogo sticks in San Francisco. The Polar Prize (often called the Nobel Prize for music) went to Grandmaster Flash. Alexander Skarsgård returned as a bad guy in “Big Little Lies.” Sweden lost to the United States but beat “this damn German ghost” in the Women’s World Cup. Cher announced a return to Sweden for the first time in 14 years. And “Midsommar” opened in theaters across the United States.
On the last night of auditions for “America’s Got Talent,” Swede Chris Kläfford blew the judges away with a performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Archaeologists discovered a Viking-era burial boat believed to be 1,400 years old. Sweden took the bronze by beating England 2-1 at the Women’s World Cup. Sticking with soccer, a Swedish man was denied a name-change to Tottenham. Robyn continued her most-excellent return with an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” Zlatan Ibrahimović always is in the news, but the superstar was featured in an in-depth piece on ESPN.com. The Vasa Order of America named Eric Nelson, the director of the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, its Swedish-American of the Year.
Sweden’s queen, IKEA and Skanska teamed up to help individuals with dementia. Swedish Hospital, founded by Swedish immigrant Dr. Nils Johanson, hired its first canine employee. A Swedish startup created a bike made out of recycled Nespresso single-use coffee pods. Willard Ahdritz, the Swede behind the fast-growing firm Kobalt, was featured in a long-read from TechCrunch. Business Insider took a look at how work-life balance compares in Sweden and the United States. Greta Thunberg finished her sail across the Atlantic and continued to make waves. Chris Kläfford continued to shine on “America’s Got Talent,” and we chatted with him.
Hans Rausing, the former leader of Tetra Pak, passed away at the age of 93. The southern peak of Kebnekaise, long regarded as the highest peak in Sweden, no longer holds that distinction. A Swedish professor made headlines when he gave a presentation called “Can You Imagine Eating Human Flesh?” Did you know that Bill Skarsgård was a dad? He surprised the world when he told Stephen Colbert he had an 11-month-old daughter. Oh, and he also returned as Pennywise in “It Chapter Two.” We caught a first glimpse of Rebecca Ferguson playing a villain in Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep.” Tove Lo made the rounds, including an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” to support her new album.
Swedish archaeologists discovered a phallic-shaped statue that dates to the Bronze Age. Swedish princes and princesses lost their royal titles. Pitchfork released its list of best songs of the 2010s, and Robyn led the Swedes with three songs, including “Dancing on My Own,” which was No. 3. A bronze statue of Zlatan was unveiled in Malmö. Swedish golf legends Annika Sörenstam and Henrik Stenson announced a new golf tournament that will feature men and women competing against each other. Swedish startup Uniti unveiled an affordable electric car.
Joel Kinnaman has grown into a star and got the star treatment from The Atlantic. The NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning played games in Sweden. Swedish archaeologists determined that the Vasa, a 17th century warship that sank on its maiden voyage and now is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions, may have had a sister ship. Zlatan and the LA Galaxy decided to part ways. Swedish death cleaning remained in the news throughout the year, including a big piece in the Washington Post. And a Swedish criminal fell asleep in an IKEA – when police came to arrest him on trespassing charges, they found that he was wanted for another crime.
Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” Roxette lead singer Marie Fredriksson passed away at the age of 63. Max Martin opened up in a rare interview. IKEA has a strong foothold on this planet; now the company is planning for the colonization of Mars. Automated and electric truck maker Einride had a year of growth, including a partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners. Reindeer in Sweden are running out of food. PewDiePie announced he needed a break from YouTube.