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06 Jun 2016

Swedish innovation is a true reason for celebration

… Thoughts on Sweden’s National Day

As you could read on this blog a few weeks ago, our ”little brother” and neighbor, Norway, recently celebrated its National Day (17 May) with customary pomp and circumstance. We’re living in a competitive world, and I love competition, but even I have to admit that the Norwegians win hands down when it comes to skiing but also in celebrating National Days. At least for now.

We have yet to get used to celebrating our National Day (6 June) in Sweden. Up until 1983, it was known as Swedish Flag Day, and it wasn’t until 2005 that it became a national holiday in the real sense of a day off work.

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Gustav Vasa, King of Sweden 1523-1560

To be honest, most Swedes don’t even know why (or what) we are celebrating. So, for those of you who are curious, here comes a short history lesson:

–          On this day in 1523, Gustav Vasa was crowned king, unifying Sweden as a country.

–          In 1809 a new constitution was adopted marking the end of autocracy.

The original idea came from Artur Hazelius, who founded the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm and held a national day celebration there on 6 June as early as the 1890s. According to (unconfirmed) weather statistics, it was less likely to rain on the 6 June than any other day of the month.

Regardless of the official reason, one thing worth celebrating is Sweden’s long track record of innovation and creativity. No doubt we’re all familiar with Alfred Nobel (founder of the Nobel Prize), IKEA, H&M, Volvo, Spotify, Candy Crush, Skype…

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Midsummer celebration with the traditional Maypole

Even in our own industry we have great examples of innovative companies such as Klarna, iZettle, Swish. It is an exciting and stimulating environment to work and compete in. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why arvato Bertelsmann saw a great opportunity to expand in the Nordic countries.

At arvato we encourage our employees to take part in the development of our services so that we can improve them even further. Here in Sweden, for instance, we have created a “junior committee” to take advantage of youthful creativity and build for the future. It’s not only a good thing for us as a company, but also for our customers.

On 6 June there will only be a few of us at arvato Sweden who will work and provide excellent service to our clients and colleagues in other countries. The rest of us will be recharging our batteries so we’re ready for the real Swedish National holiday: Midsummer. And of course we have the upcoming European Championship, where hopefully another brilliant and inspiring Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimović, will lead our team to glory.

By the way, did I mention that Norway failed to qualify for Euro 2016?

– Dennis Blennskog

Country Manager Sweden, arvato Financial Solutions

finance.arvato.com

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