📚 Back to school
To: Riedia Readers
Good morning! Today is Wednesday. In today’s edition of the Riedia Sweden Summer Weekly newsletter, we're covering:
Child welfare, staff shortages, Malmö riots, and Sweden's textile history.
—Viviana Levet, Julia Powanda
Solna, Sweden, is set to introduce an open graffiti wall, a project initiated by the Left Party, aiming to offer a designated space for graffiti artists to showcase their skills and reduce vandalism. The decision, made last spring, is currently undergoing investigations to determine the ideal location and technical aspects of constructing the wall.
Local graffiti artists are expected to participate in this endeavor, with hopes that the open graffiti wall will become a vibrant addition to the urban landscape by 2024. The Left Party argues that organized graffiti spaces can decrease vandalism, while opponents, like the Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats, express concerns that it might encourage more vandalism and detract from the city's aesthetics.
Research on the subject offers mixed findings, with the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention highlighting a lack of scientific studies on legal graffiti walls. While a legal wall in Nacka reportedly led to a 46 percent reduction in graffiti in the surrounding area, vandalism increased when the wall was closed. In contrast, Malmö saw an uptick in vandalism near its legal graffiti wall in Folkets Park. Solna's experiment will provide valuable insights into the relationship between open graffiti walls, artistic expression, and vandalism.
In Sweden, there's growing concern over the vanishing act of "invisible staff" in schools. These temporary employees, including teacher assistants and student assistants, are pivotal in ensuring equitable education, as mandated by the Education Act. However, their temporary status often results in their departures going unnoticed in official employment statistics.
Critics argue that these cutbacks are impacting schools, leading to issues like combined classes, reduced availability of substitute teachers, increased workloads for teachers, and even the closure of special education groups. While trade unions are attempting to track these disappearances, the lack of official statistics on the matter makes it challenging to gauge the full extent of the problem.
In 2022, Stockholm received 36,452 child welfare reports, part of a national trend with a 27% increase in reports concerning children aged 0-17 from 2018 to 2021. Stockholm's reports also increased by 24% from 2018 to 2020, not aligned with population growth. Stockholm's social services believe they can handle the load, with digital reporting streamlining processes. Reports primarily come from authorities like the police and, occasionally, private individuals. Concerns about reports arising from personal disputes are rare and usually identified during investigations.
The rising number of reports may indicate increased awareness of children's rights among mandatory reporters and organizations since the Child Convention became law in 2020. Despite this, the correlation between low-income areas and higher report rates persists. The social services operate on a voluntary participation basis, offering support and interventions, but ultimately, parents have the final say when a child's welfare is at stake.
How to Report if you suspect a child under 18 is in danger:
- Visit Stockholm City's website and search for "child welfare report."
- Fill out the digital form with details about the child, your observations, and concerns.
- Submit the report, providing information needed by social services.
The goal is to lower the threshold for contacting social services, encouraging parents to seek help and accept interventions voluntarily.
Violent unrest erupted in Malmö, Sweden, over the weekend, with reports of riots, arson, and clashes with the police. The turmoil began in connection with a planned Quran burning at Värnhemstorget in Malmö, leading to several police reports, including violent riots, sabotage against emergency services, and attempted assault. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of incitement to violent riots.
During the unrest, cars were set on fire, an environmental house was destroyed by flames, and projectiles were hurled at law enforcement. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson condemned the violence, emphasizing its impact on the police's ability to combat serious organized crime in Sweden. The police are now reviewing extensive video and image material to identify those responsible for the unrest.
The police continue to monitor the area, employing drones to prevent, deter, and detect crimes. Authorities have urged residents to avoid approaching violent situations and to seek information from the police if needed.
Trial begins in ICA scandal : The main trial for the ICA scandal, where 18 people are alleged to have acquired 20.5 million SEK through secret insider information, begins on Tuesday. The suspects claim they did not have any secret information, but the prosecutor argues that the circumstances provide enough evidence to convict them. The investigation has been complicated by the suspects becoming aware of the investigation earlier than planned.
Government presents new budget proposal : The government will propose an additional job tax deduction in the upcoming autumn budget, focusing on low and medium-income earners. This comes after the announcement that the threshold for state tax will not be increased for high-income earners, resulting in criticism from the Moderate Party. The opposition parties are in agreement with the government's proposed changes.
Crisis in the TV industry : Viaplay and TV4 are experiencing a turbulent period with CEO departures and cost-cutting measures. Viaplay has seen its share price halved after its CEO resigned, while Canal Plus has acquired a 12 percent stake in the company. TV4 is cutting 100 positions and putting major productions on hold, raising concerns about the future of the TV division.
Spotify employees' salaries : Breakit's survey on salaries in tech-Sweden reveals that Spotify has climbed to third place among tech companies in Sweden that pay the highest salaries, with connections to the US being a contributing factor. The salary package from companies rooted in the US, particularly Silicon Valley, is significantly higher than the Swedish average.
Meta considering paywalls : Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is reportedly considering implementing paywalls on its social media platforms due to EU privacy laws and a recent fine. Users who pay for membership will have an ad-free app version, but details on pricing and launch are yet to be disclosed. The introduction of a paid version will not eliminate the free versions, according to sources.
European Show Jumping Champion crowned : Swiss rider Steve Guerdat and his horse Dynamix de Belheme have secured a flawless victory and become the European champions in show jumping 2023 in Milan. Frenchman Julien Epaillard won the individual bronze, his first championship medal. Swedish fans were enthusiastic supporters throughout the event.
Verstappen's historic win : Dutch driver Max Verstappen secures his tenth consecutive victory in the World Championship series, surpassing the previous record of nine consecutive wins held by Sebastian Vettel.
Duplantis cleared "only" 5.60 : Armand Duplantis easily cleared a height of 5.60 meters to win the competition at the Stockholm Stadium. Despite feeling low on energy after intensive competition, Duplantis still believes he can reach a new world record of 6.23 before the outdoor season ends.
What else is happening in Sweden?
Significant Decrease in Moose Population : Moose hunting in Sweden has seen a significant decline, with the number of shot moose decreasing by a third in recent years. Hunters express concerns that hunting could disappear due to the decreasing population. The decrease in moose population has not led to a proportional decrease in browsing damages, raising questions about the effectiveness of the current management model.
Uncertain future for rental bikes after New Year : Stockholm's rental bike system is facing uncertainty as the city explores long-term solutions following the termination of its contract. A temporary solution with Ridemovi has been implemented, providing 1,500 rental bikes until the end of the year, but the future remains unclear. Subscribers to the previous system can contact Citybike for refunds.
Stockholm initiates moving chains : Stockholm aims to help elderly residents find better-adapted apartments in an effort to increase mobility in the housing market. The project will last for three years and will involve active measures to facilitate moves and research the effects of different strategies. The hope is to improve the living conditions of elderly people and allow them to live an active life for as long as possible.
World through the Swedish lens
Storm at Burning Man : Tens of thousands of visitors at the Burning Man festival in Nevada are stranded due to a storm, forcing them to ration resources. The roads to and from the festival are closed, and the temporary airport is also shut down. Social media posts show flooded areas and muddy roads in the festival area.
European Ski Resorts Threatened : A new study shows that many European ski resorts are at risk of snow scarcity every other year due to global warming, with the number of ski resorts affected increasing with higher temperatures. Even with increased use of artificial snow, it may no longer be profitable to operate ski resorts in 27% of areas at two degrees of warming and over 70% at four degrees. The Nordic mountains fare comparatively better, but there will still be significant impacts on the industry.
Typhoon forces nearly one million to evacuate in China : Typhoon Saola strikes China, prompting the evacuation of nearly one million people in affected areas. The storm, which had weakened from its highest alert level, is expected to gradually weaken further and move out to sea along the coast. Climate change is believed to have intensified tropical storms, causing increased rainfall and stronger winds.
The Nordic Fashion exhibit will be on exhibit at the Röhs Museum in Gothenburg until October 1st. The exhibit showcases twelve installations featuring garments, research, processes, inspiration, artwork, portfolios, and films, creating unique creative worlds. Learn more about the exhibition here.
Käärijä is coming to Stockholm this fall. The dynamic performer will take the stage at Fryshuset. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Sweden has gained recognition as a prominent fashion destination, with brands such as Acne Studios, Filippa K, NA-KD, and of course, H&M. Yet, Sweden's influence extends beyond its fashion brands with a longstanding textile industry.
Linen held a dominant position in Sweden's textile industry until the 1850s. Flax cultivation was widespread across the country, and linen fabrics were meticulously woven both in Swedish households and renowned textile hubs. Linen served as a versatile material, finding application in an array of household items such as clothing and bedsheets, as well as in the crafting of essential items like ropes, sails, and fire hoses.
The linen industry in Sweden enjoyed steady growth until the late 19th century when the arrival of inexpensive cotton imports disrupted the industry.
Today there is a renewed interest in linen fabrics, with local linen producers keeping the tradition alive. Frösö Handtryck produces linen handbags and cushions, Växbo Lin weaves its fabric onsite, and Svenskt Tenn produces colorful textile prints.
by Julia Powanda/Riedia