Sweden’s North: from myth to reality

Reindeer at Nutti Sami Siida, just outside Kiruna, Sweden. (Ryan Tebo / Sveriges Radio)
Reindeer at Nutti Sami Siida, just outside Kiruna, Sweden. (Ryan Tebo / Sveriges Radio)
The myths of Christmas are tied to the north of Sweden in many people’s imaginations.

But what is the reality of living there for the indigenous Sámi people who have been there for centuries?

The idea of the north is essential to understanding how Swedes picture their country and themselves. And the idea of the north is also crucial to understanding how the whole world sees Sweden. But Sweden is a long country, stretching northwards towards the North Pole, and the vast majority of Swedes live in its bottom third. Many have never even visited the northern half.

How can we separate the myths of the north from the reality? Radio Sweden’s Ryan Tebo takes a journey ascending into the darkness of the northern Swedish winter, exploring the myths and realities surrounding Christmas and the north.

First stop: Santaworld in Mora to interview Santa and explore how the myths of Christmas are connected to Sweden and the north.

Last stop: Kiruna, where Ryan visits the Nutti Sámi Siida, which is a living living of Sámi culture and history. There he meets reindeer up close and interviews Káren-Ann Hurri about being Sámi and living in the north. Afterwards, Ryan meets with Sámi leader and activist Matti Berg at his Icelandic horse and ecotourism farm,  

Program produced and presented by Ryan Tebo.

Related stories from around the North:

Finland:  Helsinki has priciest Xmas trees in Finland, Yle News

Sweden:  The energy potential in recycled Christmas trees, Radio Sweden


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