Tag Archives: sweden

God Jul!

In Sweden Christmas Eve, this day, is the most important day of Christmas. So here is a greeting from snowy Uppsala, Sweden. Merry Christmas! God Jul!

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The Royal Coin Cabinet

Earlier this week I made a daytrip to the Swedish capital – Stockholm. Stockholm is a city with about 1 million inhabitants (1,4 million if you count the suburbs) and it spreads over two sides of Lake Mälaren and some islands in between. My favorite part of Stockholm is Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and this is where I spent most of my time.   A tradition for me, when visiting Stockholm, is to visit The Royal Coin Cabinet a museum dedicated to currency and of course coins. I go there either to visit the museum or to get my hands dirty among the random coins that are for sale. I often leave the museum with a couple of new coins that I’ve found.   Here are some photos from The Royal Coin Cabinet.

The entrance to The Royal Coin Cabinet. Its Swedish name is Kungliga Myntkabinettet.

The entrance to The Royal Coin Cabinet. Its Swedish name is Kungliga Myntkabinettet.

The museum is located next to the Royal Palace. This is the resident of the Swedish King and Queen.

The museum is located next to the Royal Palace. This is the resident of the Swedish King and Queen.

It’s in this chest that I get my hands dirty when looking for coins that I want for my collection.

It’s in this chest that I get my hands dirty when looking for coins that I want for my collection.

Coins from the classical antiquity – ancient Greece and Rome.

Coins from the classical antiquity – ancient Greece and Rome.

A piece of Swedish plate money from the 17th century. Sweden had the largest copper production in Europe at the time. In order to have coins that matched the value of silver they were made into these huge pieces of metals with stamps showing their value. This is a 1 daler “coin”.

A piece of Swedish plate money from the 17th century. Sweden had the largest copper production in Europe at the time. In order to have coins that matched the value of silver they were made into these huge pieces of metals with stamps showing their value. This is a 1 daler “coin”.

And this piece of plate money is considered the largest coin the world (that’s actually been used to pay with). This one is also from the 17th century and it’s extremely heavy. I tried to lift one and I barely managed it.

And this piece of plate money is considered the largest coin the world (that has actually been used to pay with). This one is also from the 17th century and it’s extremely heavy. I tried to lift one and I barely managed it.

Coins and banknotes from all over the world.

Coins and banknotes from all over the world.

This little boy is found in a small courtyard near the coin cabinet and he’s often referred to as “Iron boy” or “Boy that looks at the moon”. It’s common for tourists and visitors to stroke him over the head and leave a coin by him (the coins are later collected for charity). This day there were a lot of rubles and euros. Someone had also put a hat on his head so he wouldn’t freeze.

This little boy is found in a small courtyard near the coin cabinet and he’s often referred to as “Iron boy” or “Boy that looks at the moon”. It’s common for tourists and visitors to stroke him over the head and leave a coin by him (the coins are later collected for charity). This day there were a lot of rubles and euros. Someone had also put a hat on his head so he wouldn’t freeze.

If you want to know more about The Royal Coin Cabinet you can follow this link!

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Switzerland: 2 franc 1981

Switzerland is probably one of the countries that have kept the same coin design the longest. The ½, 1 and 2 franc coins have had the same design since 1875. In 1968 they switched from being in silver to copper-nickel. I like it when coin series is changed once in a while (I’m for instance totally bored with the current Swedish coins), but I can understand why they have kept the current design for all these years. It’s a traditional design with enough of things going on to keep you interested. The text HELVETIA might be cryptic, but it’s just the Latin name of Switzerland. The woman, who looks like a goddess, is Helvetia herself, the personification of the county – similar to Britannica, Marianne or Mother Svea. You can also spot the Swizz cross on her shield. This cross is featured on the country’s flag and it’s also the base of the Red Cross which was founded in Switzerland.

Switzerland is generally considered to be a country of peace. “I’m neutral! I’m Switzerland!” is quite a common saying and rightly so. The Swizz managed to keep their neutrality even though they were completely surrounded by war during WWI and WWII. Switzerland hasn’t been in an armed conflict with another country since 1815 and that’s wonderful.

But there is actually one country that surpasses that. The last time Sweden was at war with another country was in 1814 when the country tried to force Norway into a union (with a successful outcome). Since then Sweden has kept its neutrality, but this can of course be discussed. Many people clam the neutrality during WWII to just be a charade. And in these days Sweden has peace preserving troops in overseas territories (such as in Afghanistan). Can one really claim that Sweden hasn’t been to war since 1814?

Whatever the case might be, Switzerland and Sweden is two countries that has a long history of peace and I think that this is something that has had a huge positive influence on the countries.

Now if only people stopped getting the two countries mixed up…

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Ukraine: 1 Hrivnja 2004

This is one of two common designs of the Ukrainian 1 Hrivnja coin. The text that reads YKPAÏNA (Okraina) is the name of Ukraine in Ukrainian and above the name you have a trident in the country’s coat of arms. This trident (sometimes also interpreted as a hawk) dates back to the medieval ages. The trident is also strongly connected with Volodymyr Velikij (Vladimir the great) and it is he who is featured on the other side of the coin. Volodymyr was the ruler of the Kiev Rus’ kingdom from the late 10th century until the year 1015. Kiev is today the capital of Ukraine with about 4 million inhabitants. The country itself has about 45 million inhabitants. It’s one of Europe’s largest country, but unfortunately overshadowed by its huge neighbor, Russia.

The early history of the Kiev Rus’ kingdom is very interesting. In the beginning it was actually founded, to a large extent, by Viking settlers coming from Sweden. The Swedish Vikings went eastward (the Danish and the Norwegians went westward) and this led to many places of Eastern Europe becoming colonies and settlements ruled by these Vikings. There’s a theory that the Vikings that founded Kiev Rus’ in the 9th century originated from the region of Roslagen, the coastal area of the province Uppland of Sweden (where I’m at). The name of Kiev Rus’ should by this theory come from Roslagen. Kiev Rus’ later became a vital part in the founding of the Russian empire, or Rossiya. It’s quite a funny thought that some people from Sweden in the 9th century are the cause of Russia bearing its name of today.

Let’s continue with Volodymyr. On the coin he’s holding a cathedral – symbolizing the fact that it was Volodymyr that introduced Christianity to Kiev Rus’ and other parts of Eastern Europe. The cathedral does actually exist in reality, in Kiev. Its name is Sofiyskyi sobor (Saint Sophia Cathedral) and it was Volodymyr that decided that it would be built. Saint Sophia Cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1990 and it’s as beautiful outside as it is inside (but you’re not allowed to take photos inside). I’ve got first hand experiences from this cathedral because I visited it last year, and it was amazing.

Ukraine is a country with a lot to offer – both for travelers and coin collectors!

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The new Swedish coins!

I am quite over the moon today because the Riksbank of Sweden has unveiled the design for the new Swedish coins. For a couple of years it’s been clear that the coins are going to be changed and modernized, and so today we got the final design. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait to 2016 before I can start using them and collecting them.

The artistic theme of the coins is “Sun, wind and water”. Sun, wind and water ought to be things that all swedes like and it’s also a famous song by Swedish musician Ted Gärdestad (1956-1997), in Swedish it’s called Sol, vind och vatten. Intentionally or unintentionally – the coins also give a nice message of sustainability. Sun, wind and water is all sustainable sources of energy.

Besides the new design on the king (which is not final) the new 1 krona will also be in copper with stripes around the reverse side symbolizing sunrays.

A new 2 krona coin hasn’t been minted since 1971 (there’s hardly any 2 kronor in circulation). This new coin will be similar to the 1 krona but it will feature nice swirls of wind.

The new 5 krona will be in brass (like the 10 krona) and it will feature the king’s monogram instead of his picture. The coin will also have small waves of water on the reserve side.

The Swedish 10 krona will be left unchanged.

Overall I’m very pleased with this change. I was not entirely happy about the 1 krona being copper-colored instead of the traditional silver, but I like the new designs and the shiny copper surfaces. So, all in all, I can’t wait until 2016!

For a nice slideshow with comparison to the older coins, click here!

For more information on the new coins, click here!

(The pictures are from the Riksbank of Sweden.)

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Sweden: 1 krona 2009

This coin is quite common in circulation here in Sweden. It’s the latest coin minted in Sweden (apart from the silver/gold “wedding coins” from 2010).

This coin features King Carl XIV Gustaf of Sweden just like the normal 1 krona, but the other side is different. In 2009 it was 200 years since Sweden got separated from Finland and it is this that the coin commemorates.

Finland was basically a part of the Swedish kingdom from the 13th century throughout the days of the grand Swedish empire until 1809 marking the definite end of Sweden’s days as a greater power in Europe. Finland was lost to the archenemy, Russia, and it was a huge defeat. This was not like losing a distant colony; this was a part of the motherland which was taken away – causing a huge political crisis in Sweden. From a Finnish perspective the separation was both negative and positive. Culturally the Finnish people were more connected with Sweden (a lot of them spoke Swedish as their native language). However, Finland would get the status as an autonomic grand duchy within the Russian empire thus taking one step towards independence.

This coin is not commemorating the separation as something regretful; instead it salutes the friendship shared between the two countries since the separation. The text on the reverse side translates into “The wonderful tale of a country on the other side of the ocean” and the stripes symbolize the sea and the sky between Sweden and Finland. The text is from Anton Rosell’s book Studiebesök i Finland from 1857.

It’s a beautiful coin in both design and symbolism.

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