The most European country in Europe

“Almost like the Baltic states, he sometimes thought. Sweden seemed to be surrounded by non-existent cultures.” Here is, he goes on to ponder, “the gateway to Europe, through which Swedish writers have ‘forced their way out’ in the past.” And when the German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, twelve years later, travels through Sweden, he experiences the country as no less foreign than Per Olov Enquist experienced Germany, with the difference that Sweden is a completely positive surprise: “Here, no one seems to think of their own interests. No one calls for the base, egoistical interests that other societies are obsessed with.” Both writers sound as if they were talking about another planet.

Today, there are thousands of Swedes in Berlin. The city has become attractive in particular to young artists and intellectuals from all over Europe (and from the United States). They spend their wander-years in the capital of Germany, often ...

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Thomas Steinfeld

Journalist och författare.

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