Going to Gothenburg is really special. Going to Stockholm does not feel like going abroad but Gothenburg gives me back the foreign feeling. I don’t know how the trains run, I don’t know how far it is to the airport and I have no idea where the good cafés are. Luckily, I have a very knowledgeable local host, my friend Joraine. I tell people I brought her here, to Sweden. Sweden, I gave you this gift. I am not sure if she agrees but it was after I kept going on about Stockholm that, 6 years ago, she said, “Maybe I should do my internship in Stockholm”. I still have the video on which I teach her to say, “Hej, mitt namn är Joraine och jag vill göra praktik i Sverige”. Little by little, by ended up in Gothenburg in a brand new super nice apartment, now an accomplished Chalmers graduate with a job at one of my favorite Swedish companies. And she even caught herself a lovely Swedish boyfriend. Basically, she is living the dream.
After two shaky, shaky approaches for landing (both in Stockholm and then in Gothenburg), I walked through these two biggest Swedish airport with my nation-branding-eyes wide open. Nation branding, communication and destination marketing are kind of my things. Sweden excels at it like maybe no other. I realized that walking through Landvetter, Gothenburg’s airport, today where there have, among other things, a wall installation with typical wooden benches and grandma’s china up on the wall. You see the people sitting there and get into the West Coast holiday feeling right away. And let me assure you, that’s not a coincidence. Everywhere you also see large walls saying “Välkommen to Volvo’s hometown” or “Welcome to where Hasselblad cameras were invented”. Talk about sucessful partnering up with the business world.
At the core of the Swedish nation brands are four words, core values. Two are exhibited here at Arlanda airport: open und innovative.
Many regions in Sweden pride themselves on their local dialect words but Gothenburg is one of the most famous ones. The happy, good Gothenburger is a cliché that stems also from the dialect which is perceived as a very cheerful singsong. Apparently, the Gothenburg Central Station wants us others to be able to integrate so they plastered their walls with a Gothenburg-language-101. Destination marketing in such a charming way!
Now I shall enjoy the guest room that was prepared for me. What does a good friend in Sweden do when Helen comes to visit? She starts subscribing to amelia, my favorite magazine, so that I get to read it when I come. It does’t get much better than that!