June 6 has a very different connotation in Sweden than it does in many other parts of the world. In France, the UK and US, dignitaries visit the marble orchards of WW II to solemnly commemorate the Normandy invasion, now 68 years ago. By various sleights of hand, Sweden avoided both World Wars and so June 6th is the country’s National Day, their version of the 4th of July. Celebrations occur all over the country and the one here in Halmstad was held at the open air museum in town.
This woman is a writer and activist who gave an impassioned speech about people in Halmstad taking responsibility for things in society and not just standing around watching. Yes, despite the usual tone of this blog, there are problems in Sweden and she was exhorting the crowd to get involved and take responsibility for them.
Accordians are a staple of Swedish music.
The last thing in the festivities is the singing of the national anthem, which begins “You old, you free,” and ends with “Yes, I want to live and I want to die in the North.” Very Swedish.
In contrast to rockets red glare and bombs bursting in the air, the words to this anthem are about the mountains, the quietude, the green fields, the sun, sky and memories of the good old days (presumably when Vikings were terrorizing the known world).
Afterwards I walked up the hill to the highest spot over the town where the used to hang criminals and took some pictures of the city.
The photos were taken from the top of the tower. It is the highest place in the city. There are three small apartments in the building and a spiral stairwell that runs to the top.
This is a milestone from 1666. Actually, it is a 1/4 milestone. A “mil” is a Swedish mile which is 10 km, or 6 real miles.
The coolest structure at the museum is this old windmill from about 1850. The vanes were destroyed during a storm around 1880 and they weren’t rebuilt until about 1950, I think. Then they got smashed again in the hurricane that his Sweden in 2005, named Gudrun.
Inner workings of the mill. These gears are all wood with iron or steel bolts holding things together.
And that was Sweden’s national day celebration here in Halmstad. Another Swedish tradition checked off my list. Friday comes another biggee.