The Philadelphia Region Celebrates and Honors Scandinavian Culture and Heritage In April 2012
The international and business community in Philadelphia will be honoring and celebrating the countries, culture and contributions of Scandinavia – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland in April 2012 with an event called “Hej! Scandinavia – Scandinavian Month Philadelphia. ”
The Philadelphia Region has a rich and vibrant Scandinavian history. Some of the first Europeans to settle in North America were Swedes and Finns who formed a colony called “New Sweden” along the Delaware River. The settlement existed from 1638 to 1655 and included parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The official flag of Philadelphia is blue and yellow to commemorate the original Swedish colonization of Philadelphia. Today the Philadelphia Region is home to many people who are of Swedish, Finish, Danish and Norwegian descent. There are also a significant number of Scandinavian businesses with major U.S. operations and headquarters located in the Philadelphia Region including QlikTech, Inc., SCA Americas, SKF North America, IKEA, Specops Software, Volvo Group, AstraZeneca, Alfa Laval, Novo Nordisk Inc., Securitas, Skanska, American Shipping Company (f/k/a Aker American Shipping), Nilfisk, Taste of Norway, Nordic Nutrition, Bailine Body Sculpting and H&M America.
Scandinavia has a strong culture of innovation. There are a number of everyday products and technology that are Scandinavian innovations, including the three point safety belt, open source micro IP, Skype, the zipper, the ball bearing, the log cabin, turbo engines, the Celsius thermometer, the milking machine and separator, pacemakers, and paper clips.
Scandinavia is further known for its contributions to creative expression in the areas of art, fashion, design, film, literature and music. In particular, Scandinavian design has been very influential, with a style characterized by simplicity, democratic design and natural shapes. Glassware (littala – Finland), ceramics (Arabia – Finland), tableware (George Jensen – Denmark), lighting (Poul Henningsen – Denmark) and furniture (Danish modern) were some of the genres for the products created. The countries of Scandinavia have a rich tradition of success on international sporting competitions in such events as ice hockey, soccer, skiing, snowboarding, and tennis. In combination with the sport the people of Scandinavia eat healthy and their food is among the healthiest in the world. In fashion, brands such as Acne, Nudie, Cheap Monday, Filippa K, Helly Hansen, Molly, Björn Borg, WESC, and Fjällräven are well known worldwide. Famous Scandinavian musicians include such artists as ABBA, Ace of Base, Agnes Carlsson, A-ha, Lykke Li, The Cardigans, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jan Garbarek, Millencollin, Robyn, Roxette, The Rasmus, Aqua, Europe, Eppu Normaali and Rövksopp.
Scandinavians are known as proponents of human rights and egalitarian values at home and on the world stage. Famous international humanitarians have included former UN General Secretaries Trygve Lie and Dag Hammarskjöld as well as Raoul Wallenberg. In recent years Scandinavians have been prominent in peace-keeping and humanitarian relief efforts in troubled areas of the world.
In April 2012, the culture and contributions of Scandinavia will be celebrated and honored at International House of Philadelphia in collaboration with the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce (SACC), American Swedish Historical Museum (ASHM), Scandinavian American Business Forum (ScanAm), as well as the Scandinavian Honorary Consuls. The program is called “Hej! Scandinavia – Scandinavian Month Philadelphia.”
The events will include a moderated panel discussion focused on Scandinavian business values, a culture and cuisine program with a noted Scandinavian chef, as well as a Scandinavian film screening. For more information about this event, please visit the ihousephilly.org/hej IHP webpage
Financial Manager SACC-Philadelphia
David W. Engstrom