Tag Archives: Sweden

Free book shares tips to travelers planning a trip to Scandinavia

2017-08-15

If you haven’t visited any of the five Scandinavian countries before, but you believe now is the time go, a bit of research will help you decide where and when to travel. It is a large area, and the further north you go in North Europe, less people there are. If you go as far as Lapland, there are more reindeer than people.
Reindeer at Aakenus fell in Yllas-Pallas national park Finland, Lapland, north Europe.
Traveling in Scandinavia is an ebook that we have made available for free. You can download the book right away simply by choosing an EPUB or Kindle version of the ebook.

The book includes information on destinations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Cultural insight on people, customs and etiquette are featured as well, because, well, you are supposed to behave in the sauna as the Scandinavians behave.

We have chosen chapters from our travel guides and cultural guide for Traveling in Scandinavia, and even selected chapters from a cookbook, and a history book. All and all, the book gives an overview on Scandinavia from many angles.

It is easier understand the silence of Finns, drinking songs of Swedes and electric car enthusiasm of oil-rich Norwegians after reading chapters from the book.

Some travelers like summer and sun, others snow and fun. Summer and winter are the best times to visit Finland, Norway or Sweden. Unless, you are a Scandinavia expert and know that the peak season for hiking in Lapland is autumn. It is because the color of green in the fells and mountains fades, allowing other colors momentarily shine.

Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia

Get your free copy of Scandinavia travel guidebook

2017-06-22

What is the one thing you know about Scandinavia? Long winters, midnight sun in summer, design, education system, welfare, Abba, HIM, or A-ha? Well, the best way to find out more is to travel in Nordic countries and see how the region is yourself. A good starting point is the book we have put together from travel guidebooks and cultural guides that talk about Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Traveling in Scandinavia is an ebook that you download for free here.
Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia
The book is a selection of travel tips and cultural insights into the Nordic countries. A little bit of information on food and history is included as well.

Here is a taste of Scandinavia for you to explore at the comfort of your reading nook – perhaps before heading out to the North yourself. As the selection of writings show, there are plenty of destinations to see and things to do: city life, mountain biking, fishing in pristine rivers, camping, island hopping, road touring, Arctic adventures, or hiking in the wilderness. If something is missing, Finns will invent it (e.g. wife carrying competition), Swedes will sell it to the world (e.g. entire country available on Airbnb), and Norwegians will win the cross-country skiing world championship (again).

Top 5 scenic drives in Lapland for road travelers touring North Europe

2017-06-05

It is a long way to the north of the Arctic Circle, Lapland in Scandinavia, from other parts of Europe. Yet, so many road travelers make the trip that during the busiest summer season in July and August, popular camp sites can be fully booked if you arrive late in the evening. Enjoying the great outdoors is the primary reason for visitors to drive to the far north, and while doing it, why not enjoy the best scenic drives while on the road.

Here are the top 5 scenic drives in the land of fells, fjords, reindeer and Sami people as ranked in the travel guidebook Lapland. Some of the routes cross the borders of Finland, Norway or Sweden.

Lakselv-Nordkapp

Travelers who are heading to Nordkapp can approach the Europe’s northernmost point from Alta or from Lakselv. The road from Lakselv to Nordkapp is the one to take if you want to maximize your time taking in spectacular scenery. Without breaks, this drive takes about 3-3.5 hours.

A video that shows the sceneries along the Lakselv-Nordkapp road:

Lakselv is located at the southern end of Porsangerfjorden. Heading north of Lakselv, towards Nordkapp, the road (E6 and E69) follows the shores of the fjord. You can admire fjord views practically all the way to Nordkapp, apart from two long tunnels that dive into a mountain and under the sea.

There are plenty of places to stop and take a break on the way. It is really better to stop on the roadside and take time to absorb the scenery, take some photos, and perhaps take a dip in the sea than to drive slowly and block the narrow road. Local truck and bus drivers may want to go faster than tourists even though the road is narrow.

Karigasniemi-Utsjoki

The road from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki may not be one of the best known road sections in Lapland, but it definitely is one of the most beautiful. The road follows Tenojoki River which is famous for its wild salmon and trout. There are many places along the road where fishermen can stay at a cottage and hire a local guide with a boat to fish for the famous Tenojoki salmon. One thing is common for all travelers: everyone admires the varying landscape. The lush river valley, high fells and snow-capped peaks come into view as the road undulates along the river shores.

You can choose to drive on the Norwegian or Finnish side of Tenojoki River. I have only made the trip on the Finnish side where the road was in good condition. Roadside carparks were built in scenic places that provided beautiful views to the river and the surrounding fells. In Finland, the road starts from Karigasniemi village, and in Norway from Karasjok. There are no bridges across the river between Karigasniemi and Utsjoki.

Narvik-Kiruna

The road between Narvik and Kiruna shows the many faces of Lapland landscape. In the west near Narvik, fjords and mountains create the unique scenery Norway is renowned for. From Narvik towards the east, the road ascends to a mountain plateau. Approaching Abisko, a whole new world opens up: mountain peaks, lakes, rivers and scarce vegetation establish a unique landscape that doesn’t look like anything you have seen before. As Kiruna comes closer, scarce vegetation gives way to lush forests as the landscape changes from fells to undulating forests and hills.

The landscape between Kiruna and Narvik is shown on this video clip:

There are many roadside carparks on the way, especially near Abisko. During weekends, the carparks may be crowded as locals head to lakes and rivers to fish and hike into the fells. Abisko and Riksgränsen are the only places where services are available along this road section.

Kong Olavs Veg

Kong Olavs Veg (King Olav’s Road) leads travelers from mainland Norway to the Lofoten archipelago and across the islands. The scenery is pretty much continuously spectacular: mountains, fjords, villages and fishing ports. There is not a dull moment on Lofoten no matter which road you choose to drive. Occasional bridges and ferries along the way let you admire the landscape from the sea as well.

Summer sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Winter/spring sceneries along the roads of Lofoten can be viewed on this video clip:

Roads, even the main roads in Lofoten, are narrow and some sections can be a bit bumpy. Take care that right-side wheels travel on the white line on the right edge of the road, because local bus and truck drivers want to drive at their own speed on the roads they know so well. Plan your trip so that you have plenty of time. Driving across the archipelago is slow because of narrow and twisting roads, and villages on the way.

Bjerkvik north of Narvik is the place to start the road trip to Lofoten. An alternative route is to take a ferry from the mainland (for instance, from Bodö or Bognes to Moskenes) and drive across Lofoten from west to east.

Karesuvanto–Skibotn

This scenic road takes you from majestic fell landscape in Finland to beautiful fjord mountain landscape in Norway. The highlights of this trip are Saana fell in Kilpisjärvi and Lyngenfjord.

This video shows the sceneries between Karesuando and Skibotn:

The starting point is the village of Karesuvanto that is located on both sides of the border in Finland and in Sweden. The village can be reached via E45 from Sweden and via E8 from Finland. From Karesuvanto, head west along E8. The road follows the border river Muonionjoki and gradually ascends to the gently sloping fells. Kilpisjärvi is a destination of its own for travelers. A hike to the Saana fell is highly recommended. Towards west, after Kilpisjärvi, you enter Norway and the landscape changes. Fells get steeper as the road winds down towards the sea. The village of Skibotn welcomes road travelers to the shores of the beautiful Lyngenfjord.

Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image

This was extracted from the travel guidebook to Lapland that has more information and tips for all travelers who are planning to visit the last large wilderness of Europe.

A publisher caught loaning its own ebooks from library for profit

2016-11-21

In some countries, like Sweden, public libraries have an advanced system for citizens to loan ebooks. All parties, libraries, citizens and publishers have been happy to the system, because it works, allows budgeting for libraries, and enables some business for publishers. Now, a Swedish publisher has discovered an old-school method to cheat the system. The publisher’s family members loaned as many their own company’s published ebooks as they could from the library in order to generate revenue from the loans.
acer b3-a20 tablet, 10 inches, Android 5.1
This is how the library system works in Sweden. Digital media distrubutor Axiell maintains a platform that connects publishers and libraries. A publisher uploads ebooks they want to make available for libraries to the system, and sets the price per loan for each book. Libraries search the system for ebooks. When they discover what they want, and the price is right, they make the ebook available for their community.

Each loan of an ebook generates a small amount of revenue for the publisher of the book.

That is exactly what the family of the small publisher in southern Sweden had been ordered to do.

Helsingborgs Dagblad reported that the scheme was discovered in the library of small community Burlöv in South Sweden. The community is so small that library staff took notice of strange peak in loans on the first day of each month. That’s when six family members of the publisher loaned as many ebooks as they were allowed to loan each month. They could borrow 36 ebooks altogether, but in a small community, they had already consumed half of the monthly budget that library had reserved for ebooks.

Family members had been able to get library cards to other nearby libraries as well. They had implemented the same routine in three libraries, at least.

So far, the estimated total profit the publisher had managed to generate is less than 10 000 euros (82 000 Swedish kronor). More libraries may discover they have been cheated as the news spread.

Police report has been filed, and what-went-wrong analysis has started. Publisher’s all ebooks have been removed from the library system.

The case may not be as straightforward as one might think. The family members had legal library cards. They used their right as citizens and library card holders to loan ebooks from public libraries.

Surprisingly, the platform provider Axiell recalls a similar case that happened in 2014. A publisher had loaned its own ebooks, got caught, and was reported to the police. Axiell, however, didn’t modify the platform to detect behavior like this. When asked why, Axiell representative responds that the platform doesn’t store any personal information that could be used to track users.

Axiell has informed libraries that it will fully compensate them, and pay the estimated loss 82 000 krona back to libraries. Obviously, Axiell seeks to settle the case with the publisher in or out of court.

EU confirms that libraries can lend ebooks provided authors are fairly compensated

2016-11-13

Ebooks have been, and are being, lended by public libraries in many EU countries, but on November 10th, 2016 the EU Court of Justice decided that libraries really have the right to do so. The court regarded that the principles for lending paper books and ebooks are the same. The most important point for authors and publishers of digital books is that the court specifically stated that the authors must be fairly remunerated for library loans.
bookshelf, dictionaries
The case was brought to the EU Court of Justice by Dutch authors’ organization Stichting Leenrecht which collects remuneration for authors. The EU court, however, saw the big picture and stated in its press release:

“That conclusion is, moreover, borne out by the objective pursued by the directive, namely that copyright must adapt to new economic developments.”

The EU Court attitude is warmly welcomed, and hopefully spreads to EU nations as well. Authors’ rights to benefit from their work is the number one priority for everyone in the business, but at the same time, the way the rights are used must be developed as the digital era progresses.

The EU Court states:

“[e-book lending] has essentially similar characteristics to the lending of printed works. That is the case as regards the lending of a digital copy of a book under the ‘one copy, one user’ model.” And specifically reminds “… provided that authors obtain, at least, fair remuneration.”

Currently, there are many practices in EU countries how libraries deal with digital books. For instance, public libraries in Finland don’t compensate ebook rights holders anything when citizens lend their works. That’s why publishers and authors are very reluctant to make ebooks available via libraries – one of likely reasons that has prevented ebook market to emerge in the country. In Sweden, publishers can set the price per loan that libraries have to pay for each loan. If a publisher sets the loan price too high, libraries won’t make the book available, but when the price is right, everyone is happy (including citizens who couldn’t get enough of football star Zlatan’s biography).

Surprisingly, The Federation of European Publishers opposes EU Court’s ebook lending decision. The organization represents national publishers’ associations, which tends to mean big publishers. The organization’s concern seems to be (according to the press release) piracy: ebook lenders would loan ebooks only to crack the DRM and keep the books forever, and not return them to the library.

Two things for the Federation of European Publishers to consider: the same piracy risk is present in all ebooks purchased from bookstores, and it would be a good idea for the organization to get familiar with the ebook lending system in Sweden.

New Purchase Options for Scandinavian Ebook Readers

2015-04-19

Amazon dominates many ebook markets across the globe, but there are some corners of the world where local ebook stores thrive. Scandinavia (in this case, only Sweden, Norway and Finland) is not an easy market for a large international company like Amazon to enter because every country has its own language and currency, and above all, the markets are fairly small. Adlibris is the largest Scandinavian online bookstore that also offers a large selection of ebooks.
adlibris ebooks, norge screen shot
At the moment, Swedish customers may choose from 25 000 ebooks, Norwegians have a selection of 23 000 ebooks and Finns don’t yet know how many ebooks there are, because Adlibris’ Finnish ebookstore is waiting for its official launch (ebooks are already available, though). Vast majority of available ebooks at Adlibris are published in Swedish or in Norwegian.

Here are the Adlibris bookstores where Scandinavian customers can shop in their local language and currency.
Finland
Norway
Sweden

Travel photo gallery 2014: Sweden, Scandinavian countries

2015-01-29

In 2014, my travels took me to Scandinavian countries, primarily Sweden. Southern and western regions of Sweden along with Stockholm were the main destinations.

After exploring and staying on the West Coast of Sweden, I had more than enough material and contacts for interviews to write a travel guidebook Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast about this region that is the most popular vacation destination for Swedes after Stockholm.

The nice thing in this part of the Scandinavia was that it was possible to enjoy lively city life in Gothenburg and enjoy the great outdoors in the pristine archipelago of the West Coast.

Book trade professionals in North Europe are familiar with Gothenburg because of the annual Book Fair that is the largest in northern Europe.

Here is the 2014 travel photo gallery where you can find photos of other photographers taken from other places as well:

Bohus fortress near Gothenburg, Sweden.

How Was Finland Created? Lessons from History

2012-10-12

In 2017, Finland will celebrate its 100th Independence Day. It has been a long and turbulent path to prosperity for this Northern European nation, but today, Finland is a stable democracy.

A Concise History of Finland outlines the key historical events that created the nation. The story of Finland starts from the early Middle Ages, and takes readers to the new challenges set by globalization.