It’s not quite 2013 yet but the northern Swedish city of Umeå is preparing for its year in the spotlight of the Midnight Sun as the 2014 choice of the European Capital of Culture. Each calendar year the European Union chooses one city to organize events that showcase national cultural strengths and have a European dimension.
This coming year Marseille is the designated city and its offerings look fabulous. Umeå won’t be able to match Marseille’s Mediterranean warmth and food, but the north of Sweden (besides its beauty, light, and cloudberries) has something that France doesn’t—the Sami. Umeå is using this opportunity to integrate Sweden’s Sami heritage into its programming. For a start the whole year of cultural offerings is organized around the eight seasons of the traditional Sami Calendar, beginning with Deep Winter––Dálvvie in Sami. For offerings season by season, take a look here.
I love the sound of Deep Winter (in the Swedish-language version of the program they just call it Vinter, which doesn’t have the same ring). If I lived in Sweden I’d love to visit Umeå several times over the course of 2014 for the exhibits and changing round of festivals. I’ve never been to this university town 600 kilometers north of Stockholm, which, for the record, also has more young vegans than anyplace else in Sweden, and a rocking music scene. 2014 will also see Sweden’s first women’s history museum open in Umeå. Another compelling reason to start saving.
|From the festival website. Mini-golf in Deep Winter?|
For more information about Umeå see their visitor site.