Friends in a Cold Climate: Norrköping

Stefan became a youth leader at a community center called “Hemgården”, taking over a stamp collecting club from hisbrother, running weekly sessions during autumn and spring. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the speaker's community center organized summer camps for youngsters at a location near Norrköping. These camps included discussions and talks led by people from the United Nations, facilitated by a friend known as "International Kalle," who worked on international exchanges. He was involved with the United Nations team leading these activities at the community house.

Despite the challenges during and after the war, Sweden had better conditions compared to neighboring countries. Stefan reflects that Sweden they had a lack of awareness about other parts of Europe during that time. However, there was a shift towards internationalism in the 1960s and 1970s, with people from countries like Italy and Yugoslavia coming to Sweden to assist in industries.

Regarding Norrköping's connection with Esslingen and nearby towns, the purpose was to foster international friendships and learn about life in other countries. This collaboration provided valuable exposure during this time when Sweden was relatively isolated, lacking television and internet in the 1950s and 1960s.

Stefan recounts a trip where he traveled by train and then took a ferry from Holland to Great Britain, changing trains in London. Passing through London, he noticed poorer districts, contrasting with the perceived equality in Sweden during that time. This observation led him and his company to reflect on societal disparities between countries.

In Neath, which was their first trip abroad, he stayed with a friendly widow who took good care of him and he made many new friends. The trip was filled with scheduled activities, including visits to factories and clubs. One memorable experience was visiting a rock club for the first time, where they watched bands perform—an unfamiliar but interesting experience for them at the time. Stefan’s time with the host in Neath was mainly spent in the evenings and mornings due to the scheduled activities during the day.

Stefan thinks that it's a little bit poor that the youth exchange not continued with countries on the continent and Great Britain. “We should have it more. I think so.”

Metadata Access
Creator de Jager MA, E. J.
Publisher Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Contributor Erik J. de Jager MA, Stichting Reis van de Razzia
Publication Year 2024
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess; License:;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Dataset
Discipline Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Aquaculture; Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Aquaculture and Veterinary Medicine; History; Humanities; Life Sciences; Social Sciences; Social and Behavioural Sciences; Soil Sciences