Monthly Archives: November 2010

Swedish Santa Lucia celebrations to be held in the Washington, D.C. area during the Christmas season

The Santa Lucia processionSanta Lucia celebration at the House of Sweden

“FOR 20-25 years we have arranged the traditional Lucia procession in Washington,” says Kerstin Hendrickson, who was one of the initiator of this Swedish tradition in the nation’s capital, and is now the coordinator and leader of the group. She works together with Elisabeth Albaugh and Steven Brodd. Mr. Brodd is the organist in Augustana Lutheran Church on New Hampshire Avenue in Northwest D.C., the church where the Swedish community gathers for monthly services.

THE SANTA LUCIA tradition, which originated in Italy, has become a venerated Swedish Christmas holiday tradition and is celebrated everywhere in Sweden on Dec. 13. A young girl is selected to play the role of Lucia, and she leads a procession wearing a long white robe with a red ribbon, and a crown of lighted candles in her hair.

THE LUCIA PROCESSION in Washington often consists of 30-40 children, students and young adults, often with Swedish parents or a Swedish connection. The group begins to practice the traditional Swedish Lucia songs and Christmas hymns in October.

“USUALLY WE DO 8-10 performances each year. This time it will be eight. The first event will be tonight, Nov. 30, with the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce’s Washington Chapter’s Holiday Party at the House of Sweden. On Saturday, Dec. 4, the international Swedish women’s group SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association) will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar, also at the House of Sweden, and the Lucia procession and celebration will be at 4 p.m.,” says Kerstin.

OTHER PERFORMANCES will be in the cafeteria of the IKEA store in College Park, Md. on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The group also traditionally performs at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence Christmas reception.

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Washington-based artist Erica Eriksdotter: “It is all about celebrating life with color”

Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica EriksdotterSwedish-born Washington-based artist Erica Eriksdotter is working predominantly in acrylics. Here in front of her work “Large Lion Sun No. 2.”

“I HOPE TO inspire, make people happy with my art and strive to make the viewer aware of and believe in the vibrancy of life. It is all about celebrating life with color and bringing joy to the room and the viewer,” says Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica Eriksdotter.

WHEN SHE is not at her day-job as a corporate communications manager at a Fortune 500-company in nearby Reston, Va., she is focusing on her art. Painting has been an interest as long as she can remember, and she has painted since she was a small girl. Erica got her first easel when she was seven, and when she was ten years old, she sold her first artwork.

RECENTLY, at the Knock Out Abuse Against Women Gala (www.knockoutabuse.org) in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 11, one of her paintings – “Closed Tulip III” — was offered in the fund raising auction. She is also friends with one of the two founders of the organization, fellow Swede Jill Sorenson, and some of her art will be sold via Ms. Sorensen’s soon to be launched interior design website, LiveLikeYou.com.

Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica EriksdotterMS. ERIKSDOTTER grew up in the mid-size town of Eskilstuna in Sweden, where she finished high school and studied psychology at M?ardalen University. A year later, she came to the U.S. to study communications and public relations at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., outside Washington, D.C. Fresh out of college, she joined the prestigious PR firm Hill & Knowlton.

“WHEN I WAS young, I wanted to do three things – be a successful businesswoman, become a singer and a painter,” says Erica. “Take the chance,” my mother urged me, when I got the possibility to go the United States in 2000. She likes the American dynamic and positive approach to life, where “everything is possible.”

ERICA BEGAN painting water-color landscapes, but since she evolved as an artist, she started working predominantly in acrylics. The artistic talent runs deep in the family. Her grandfather was a painter.

Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica Eriksdotter“I LOVE USING bold and bright colors and highlighting a certain part of the flower or paint it from unexpected angles. There are many layers to each painting. Clean and bold lines and the color combinations characterize my art, and I want to make people happy and feel good. I want the art to be fun, happy, loving and inspirational.”

“A HOME SHOULD rise up and meet you. I like white walls with splashes of color,” says Erica, who focuses on close-ups of flowers. “I am in a flower phase now. Nature is a big inspiration in my paintings, such as English or cottage style gardens, birds singing and being one with nature is a must.” But there are other motives, like the interesting skylines she shows. She is also inspired by the successful Swedish artist Carolina Gynning.

Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica EriksdotterMS. ERIKSDOTTER has participated in several art shows, among them Arts in the Park in Richmond, Va. May 1-2; 13th Annual Shadyside in Pittsburgh, Pa. Aug. 28-29; and more recently at Art Affair 2010 in Richmond, Va. Oct. 16-17. Her next exhibition will be at House of Sweden’s Christmas Bazaar in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Dec. 4, and in January-February 2011 her artwork will be on display in the Virginia State Senate’s General Assembly Building.

HER PAINTINGS can be found in private collections in both the U.S. and Europe. She also does commission work; detailed watercolors for LiveLikeYou.com, an interior design website; produces stationery based on her art; and in the future she hopes her paintings will decorate the walls in companies, hotels and apartment complexes as well as having a company for reprints.

For more information about Erica Eriksdotter and her art: www.studioeriksdotter.com.

Swedish-born Washington-based artist Erica Eriksdotter

Several traditional Swedish Santa Lucia celebrations to be held in the Washington, D.C., area during the Christmas season

The Santa Lucia processionSEVERAL TRADITIONAL Swedish Santa Lucia celebrations will be presented in the Washington area in the coming weeks.

On TUESDAY, Nov. 30, the Washington chapter of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce will have its holiday party at the House of Sweden and Santa Lucia procession will be the highlight of the party.

ON SATURDAY, Dec. 4 SWEA will have its annual Christmas Bazaar at the House of Sweden and there will be a Santa Lucia procession about 4 p.m. at the bazaar.

AND on Sunday, Dec. 5, there will be another Santa Lucia procession and singing at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2100 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, in conjunction with the traditional Swedish advent service, which starts at 4 p.m.

ADDITIONAL Santa Lucia celebrations and processions with the traditional Swedish Christmas songs will be presented at the American Scandinavian Association Christmas Bazaar (www.Scandinavian-DC.org) on Dec. 11, St. James’ Episcopal Church, 11815 Seven Locks Road, Potomac, MD 20854, 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., and at IKEA in College Park, Maryland, on Dec. 12 with two performances.

Former Washington chef Martin Johansson starts Cupcake business in Stockholm

Martin Johansson worked as chef at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C.Martin Johansson worked as chef at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C.

MARTIN JOHANSSON - known by many in Washington as the excellent former chef at the Embassy of Sweden – has returned to his native country and started a cupcake business in the Swedish capital. Many guests were fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy Martin’s delicacies and creative dishes at the Ambassador’s residence as well as at the House of Sweden and the Embassy.

DURING HIS time in Washington Martin Johansson also helped famed Swedish New York-based chef Marcus Samuelsson prepare President Obama’s state dinner at the White House for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last November.

THE SWEDISH daily Dagens Nyheter told about Martin’s new career in an article in the paper’s Sunday edition, November 21 (http://www.dn.se/mat-dryck/reportage/cupcakes-1.1209763).

BACK IN Sweden, inspired by the American trend, Martin together with colleague Mikael Ingeltun started Cupcake STHLM (http://www.cupcakesthlm.se/) – a store with only cupcakes — a few months ago. Now Stockholmers can enjoy their creations and listen to American Jazz.

“It would be great to see all my old friends from Washington and the U.S. over the holidays. We welcome them to stop by and enjoy the delights of our new cupcake bakery,” says Martin Johansson. 

Cupcake STHLM is located at S:t Eriksgatan 83, 113 32 Stockholm. Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 noon – 5 p.m. Tel. 08-83 80 83.

Acclaimed Peruvian pianist Arturo Castro-Guerra performs in Washington at a fundraiser for children in Lima, Peru

Pianist Arturo Castro-Guerra; Blanca Ochoa, Cultural Attach?at the Embassy of Peru; and Fernando Quir?, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of PeruPianist Arturo Castro-Guerra; Blanca Ochoa, Cultural Attach?at the Embassy of Peru; and Fernando Quir?, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Peru

ACCLAIMED Peru pianist Arturo Castro-Guerra held a fundraising concert – “The musical Ambassador in a Diplomatic Journey” – at the Almas Shrine Club on Friday evening, November 19, 2010. The Almas Peruvian Shrine Club of Washington, D.C. is a nonprofit organization committed to bring aid to Peruvian children suffering from severe burns and currently under-going treatment at the National Institute of Children’s Health in Lima, Peru.

MR. CASTRO-GUERRA performed a mixture of classic and traditional music. He offered the rhythm of Peruvian melodies such as “La Flor de la Candela” by Chabuca Granda and “El Condor Pasa” by Daniel Alomia Robles, and other famous musical compositions like “Anthem to the Happiness” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel.

MR. CASTRO-GUERRA WAS born in Lima in 1965 and is considered one of the most distinguished pianists from Latin America. He is inspired by international famous pianists such as Ra?l Di Blasio, Paul Mauriat, James Last and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

THANKS TO HIS great talent and mastery of piano and commitment to Peru, Mr. Castro-Guerra is considered by many as the “Musical Ambassador of Peru,” and has traveled and performed in many countries and around the world. He has won acclaim and admiration internationally.

Leonda Levchuk Leonda Levchuk

Erin Loken and Phynaus WilsonErin Loken and Phynaus Wilson

Duncan Black and Alisa Lachow-ThurstonDuncan Black and Alisa Lachow-Thurston

Mauricio Cuevas and Bel? Barriga Mauricio Cuevas and Bel? Barriga of www.eventosvippass.com  

Peruvian pianist Arturo Castro-Guerra performed at Almas Shrine Club in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, November 19, 2010. Peruvian pianist Arturo Castro-Guerra performed at Almas Shrine Club in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, November 19, 2010.

Machinery Section at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm celebrates its 100th Anniversary

William Michelsen and Maria Polo de la PiedraWilliam Michelsen and Maria Polo de la Piedra

AN ELEGANT and formal white tie event with full pomp and circumstance was held at the Town Hall in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sunday evening, November 14, 2010, to celebrate The Royal Institute’s Machinery Section’s 100th anniversary (www.maskin100.se). The elegant Town Hall is also well-known as the place where the annual Nobel Prize dinner and festivities are taking place.

DURING THE celebration week the machinery section has had many different activities, which culminated with the grand ball in “Bl?Hallen” – a party for all students who have received their degrees from the machinery section — with a fantastic dinner and performance by Fredrik Berling among others, and finally dance in “Gyllene Salen” to tones from On Cue. Monday the 15th was the official birthday.

The Royal Institute's Machinery Section's 100th anniversary in the Town Hall in Stockholm, SwedenThe Royal Institute’s Machinery Section’s 100th anniversary at the Town Hall in Stockholm, Sweden

The Royal Institute's Machinery Section's 100th anniversary in the Town Hall in Stockholm, Sweden

‘Treasure of the Langhe Roero Region’ – an Italian evening event in Georgetown in Washington

Elisa Casetta, Fausto Perletto, Piumatti Franco and Mariuccia MaroloElisa Casetta of Ente Turismo Alba Bra Langhe Roero; Fausto Perletto of Ente Turismo Alba Bra Langhe Roero; Piumatti Franco of Apro alba barolo S. Cassiano; and Mariuccia Marolo.

“TREASURES of the Langhe Roero Region” - an evening event on behalf of the Alba Tourism Office – took place at the showroom of Poltrona Frau in Georgetown in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening, November 16, 2010. At the promotional event guests could enjoy and sample good wines, truffles and delicacies from the Langhe Roero region.

THE LANGHE ROERO area of the Piedmont region is located in northwest Italy, and is known for its wines and fruit production. It is also famous for its white truffle or “Alba Madonna,” which comes from Langhe area, and most famously in the countryside around the city of Alba.

FOR MORE information about Langhe Roero and Alba, visit: www.langheroero.it.

FOR MORE information about the luxurious and plush Italian leather furnishings at Poltrona Frau, visit: www.frauwashington.com.

Ezio Mattiace, Nicoletta and Michael ShaneEzio Mattiace, President and CEO of Poltrona Frau Washington; Nicoletta Shane, Director of Veni Vidi Vitrum, LLC, and her husband Michael Shane

Zanetti Pasolini, Corrado Cantatore, Elisabetta Sarigni Ullmann and Francesco Olivieri Zanetti Pasolini, Dean of Italian Journalism; Corrado Cantatore, President and CEO of International Security Services, Inc.; Elisabetta Sarigni Ullmann, Conference Interpretor, A.L.L.C.; and Ambassador Francesco Olivieri, Head of Washington, D.C. Office, Enel North America, Inc.

Sunny HalliburtonSunny Halliburton

Maximilian Ullmann and Elisabetta Sarigni UllmannMaximilian Ullmann and Elisabetta Sarigni Ullmann

Piumatti Franco, Elisa Casetta and Roberto KokolisPiumatti Franco, Elisa Casetta and Roberto Kokolis

Elisabetta Sarigni Ullmann and photographer Dario ZucchiElisabetta Sarigni Ullmann and photographer Dario Zucchi

“Treasures of the Langhe Roero Region” – a promotional event on behalf of the Alba Tourism Office in Italy – at Poltrona Frau in Washington, D.C.


Professor S?ren Holmberg compared recent elections in Sweden and the U.S. at a SACU luncheon in Washington

Senior Reporter Britt-Marie Mattsson of G?teborgs-Posten; her husband S?ren Holmberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg; and Kate Novak. Senior Reporter Britt-Marie Mattsson of G?teborgs-Posten; her husband S?ren Holmberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg; and Kate Novak.

A COMPARISON – differences and similarities — between the recent elections in Sweden and the U.S. was the topic of a SACU (Swedish American Cultural Union) luncheon in Washington with Professor S?ren Holmberg as the speaker on Thursday, November 11, 2010.

S?ren Holmberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg since 1991, is also Director of Swedish National Election Studies since 1979 and since 1986 a Co-Director of the SOM Institute (Society, Opinion and Media Institute). SOM publishes an influential annual analysis of political trends in Sweden.

Professor Holmberg, who especially focuses on election research, has authored 33 books, 23 SOM Reports and 80 contributions to anthologies on the subject. After studies at the University of Michigan, Mr. Holmberg took his Ph.D. at the University of Gothenburg in 1974. He has been a guest scholar at the University of Michigan, and a visiting professor and scholar at Harvard University and Brookings Institution among others.