The London Evening Standard recently described how Londoners are falling for Swedish fashion. but the English have long been infatuated with all things Swedish. What else do we love about Sweden?
1. Ikea - The Swedish furniture store with its iconic box like yellow and blue stores bought style at affordable prices to Britain. Selling ready to assemble furniture and affordable furnishings Ikea was a huge hit and people literally fought to get into their stores. We can't get enough of Ikea style and there is scarcely a house or flat in Britain that doesn't boast Ikea furnishings or an Ikea print.
2. Abba - Springing to prominence in the Eurovision song contest Abba were the first group from a non English speaking country to consistently score in the UK charts. We loved Abba through the seventies and early eighties, got embarrassed by them, and now love them again. The Abba inspired musical and film Mamma Mia has been a huge success and still pack audiences in in London's west end.
3. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other books of the Millennium trilogy have taken Britain by storm. Everywhere you go someone is reading one of them and we are now enjoying the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film. The books portray a darker Sweden we haven't seen before and have sparked a whole new genre; Nordic noir.
4. Their impeccable English - Everyone you meet in Sweden speaks such good English that we can forgive them for the hint of an American accent. Shop assistants apologise in perfect English for not speaking our language better. Bus drivers switch to English at the drop of a hat and are unfailingly helpful. Try speaking in another language to a London bus driver!!
5. Stockholm - What is not to love about Stockholm; a city built on islands, a Venice of the North? Whether it is exploring Gamla Stan (the old town) or enjoying the delicacies at Ostermalm's Saluhall. Stockholm is a delight. .
6. Wallander - Swedish cop Kurt Wallander was an unexpected success on British television, so much so it was remade in English with Kenneth Branagh in the title role. We preferred the original with Krister Henrrickson.
7. Child Care - Sweden is social democracy. Child care facilities are the envy of all Europe.
8. Summer Houses - We envy Sweden its summer houses. What a great life style! The cities are fine for the long winter evenings but first hint of long summer days and the Swedes are off to their summer houses open spaces and the outdoor life.
9. Fashion - Londoners love the cool minimalist look that has come from Sweden. Shops like Acne and Cheap Mondays have helped make Swedish fashion cool.
10 Swedish women - In the English imagination women from Sweden are all cool, blonde and unerringly attractive.