In the shadow of the future

Ribersborg’s cold-bath house in Malmö juts out like a giant capital letter S into the Sound. S as in silence, to apostrophise the title of the Danish journalist and historian Michael Jalving’s book about Sweden: Absolutely Sweden. A Journey Into the Land of Silence. At the bathhouse, I have arranged to meet not only Jalving, but Per Svensson, formerly head of culture at Expressen, now editor of Sydsvenskan and Malmo resident of thirty years. Per Svensson is one of those who have opposed Jalving’s image of Sweden as a country of tacit collusion. Recently they met in an affected debate on Danish television - on the grounds that Svensson had stopped Jalving from appearing at the National Press Club in Malmo; something that, from a Danish perspective, seemed to confirm the low ceiling in Sweden.

Hence the choice of interview location. With views of both Denmark a...

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