GSE Team from District 2350 Sweden arrives in Adelaide

The Team of Urs Gobel  (Team Leader) , Malin Berge, Fredrik Bråkenhielm, SofieKarlsson and Johan Haglund,  arrivedin Adelaide on flight from Sydney at 5:40pm of Tuesday 4th October.

They were welcomed by members of The Rotary Club of Mitcham and District 9520 representatives.

The team experienced a BBQ tea at the home of Rtn Mary Silver and tasted among other things, Kangaroo and Bush tomato sausages washed down with some Australian wine.

Next door there just happened to be a Koala in a low gum tree.The perfect welcome

The next day the team visited the Wine Research Institute at WaiteCSIRO and attended various individual vocational visits. The evening was hosted by the  Rotary Club of Mitcham  where 75 Rotarians and guests were entertained by the team’s presentation.

Team Leader Urs Gobel receiving club Banner from President Robert Nottage.

Fredrik Bråkenhielm, Urs Gobel  (Team Leader), Sofie Karlsson, Malin  Berge,  and Johan Haglund

Over the esuing 4 weeks the team will visit areas of our District and be hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Murray Bridge, Broken Hill, Norwood, Encounter Bay and Noarlunga East . We wish them all the best during their time is District 9520 Australia.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

City Hall, Old Town & Farewell Dinner – 28/5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Saturday 28th May

We began the day at Stadshuset – Stockholm’s City Hall – with a reunion of sorts.  Steve Gunnarson, the Governor of Rotary District 2350 here in Sweden, had returned from the Rotary International Conference in New Orleans, bringing with him two guests from Australia – our own District 9520 Governor Malcolm Lindquist and his wife Antoinette.  It was great – although strange – to hear some Aussie accents again, and we had fun sharing stories about our respective trips.

We were shown through the City Hall by guide EwaVictoria Westman.  The City Hall has a number of purposes – as a political building where the Council sits, as the offices for the city administration of 200-300 staff, as a representative building for the King, and as a symbol of Stockholm.  It is also famous for holding the Nobel Prize banquet on December 10th each year.

We heard an interesting story about the construction of the staircase.  Apparently, the architect built a number of wooden test staircases and made his wife walk up and down them in a long dress and heels, before reconstructing the best version in marble.  They later divorced – this may have been the reason why!

The other amazing room in Stadshuset was the Golden Hall, which has walls lined with 8 million tiles coated in 23.5 carat gold leaf from Italy and Germany.  There are many amazing mosaic images throughout the room; the highlight being the Peace Queen, who represents the East and West.  Holding the City Hall in her lap, she sits between the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower on one side, and elephants, camels and mosques on the other.

We then walked through Gamla Stan – the Old Town, and EwaVictoria pointed out many interesting sites, including old churches, Marten Trotzigs Gränd – the narrowest street in Sweden – and a square called “Burnt Square,” which exists because the corner house on the street burnt down.  It was then decided to leave the space as a turning point for carriages.

We ate lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town named Zum Franziskaner, which was established in 1421.  Malcolm and Antoinette both chose the reindeer from a range of traditional Swedish dishes, and we all enjoyed the meal.  It was especially interesting to see all of the runners in the Stockholm Marathon passing by the restaurant during our lunch.  There were 20,000 competitors, and the pack of runners seemed endless!

After lunch, we had a few hours free before our Farewell Dinner.  None of us could believe that it was already the day of our farewell, and only a couple of days before we finish our Group Study Exchange and leave Sweden.

We met on the rooftop of a building in the Old Town for drinks and nibbles from 5pm-7pm.  It was great to see some members of our host families from previous towns, and we were especially impressed that Michelle’s first host father Mats from Uppsala made the effort, after completing the marathon earlier in the day.  David’s wife Lyn also arrived from Australia, as they will be touring Europe together after the GSE.

After drinks and a few speeches, we made our way to Järnet Matsal & Bar in Gamla Stan, where we had a fantastic dinner.  We really enjoyed spending time with so many of the people who have contributed to our amazing month in Sweden.  It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye to this wonderful country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Presentations, Foreign Office & Parliament – 26/5 & 27/5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thursday 26th of May

After our vocational days on Thursday, we met at the Hotel Hellsten to attend a meeting of the Stockholm International Rotary Club.  This is a different type of club to many that we have visited throughout the trip.  There is no meal accompanying the meeting, which is conducted entirely in English.  This wasn’t just for our benefit either – among other rules including “no bragging,” members are “fined” for speaking Swedish, with proceeds going to Polio Plus.

Many of the women in the club were also wearing hats, having come to the meeting directly from a hat party they had attended.  After giving our presentation, we presented the president with her very own Australian flag cap – see the photo of all the hats below!  Stockholm International RC also has a website:

After the meeting, we ate at an Italian restaurant around the corner.  The food was delicious!

Friday 27th May

The next day, we gave our presentation for the final time, at a meeting of the Stockholm Strand Rotary Club.  We had a great breakfast, and again received many compliments on the presentation.  It was so strange to do our final presentation and realise how close we are to the end of our time in Sweden.  It’s gone so quickly!

After the meeting, we visited the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where we met with Sten Engdahl, Deputy Director of the Department for Multilateral Development Cooperation.  It was a very interesting meeting, and we all learnt a huge amount about the Ministry’s responsibilities, which include:

  • Foreign and security policy
  • International law and human rights policies
  • Development cooperation
  • Trade policies
  • Assisting Swedes abroad
  • Trade, investment and promotion of Sweden abroad

It was particularly interesting to hear about Sten’s department.  “Multilateral” development means that Sweden works with a number of countries and organisations, including the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank, to achieve development goals.  Each country brings its own strengths to the table to allow change at the biggest possible level.  This also allows recipient countries to do the most with the funds they are given, as they have time to use them, rather than meeting individually with each country or organisation.

Sweden contributes 1% of its gross national income each year to development and foreign aid, which equates to around 30 billion kroner, or around $5 billion; well above the UN standard.

We also learnt about the ways that the Ministry works within the European Union, and with the Swedish Parliament, before heading to the Parliament itself.

At the Parliament, we had a happy reunion with Jessika Vilhelmsson, who organised our GSE program in Enköping and was also Maxine’s host mother.  Jessika is a Member of Parliament for the Moderate Party, and sits on the Tax Committee.  She gave us a tour of the Parliament, and we learnt a lot of interesting facts, including the following:

  •  The Swedish Parliament has 349 elected Members, who serve four-year terms
  • The Social Democrats have the largest number of Members
  • There are fifteen different committees, each of around 17 Members, the most important of which are the Finance Committee and the Tax Committee

Jessika also included a visit to her own office, and the rooftop of the building, neither of which the regular tour groups get to see.  Each Member has his/her own office, and there are also sleeping rooms available for those who live more than 45km away.  Some Members from remote parts of Sweden live in the Parliament during the week, while others from closer regions can’t always get home at night, as sessions can finish as late as 11pm.  There is also a restaurant, gym and swimming pool.

Thanks Jessika for a great afternoon, and for teaching us so much about your work!  It was great to see you again.

David then spent the evening with Urs Göbel while the four girls had dinner with members of the local Rotaract Club.  I arrived fairly late, after hearing film director David Fincher speak at Filmhuset, but it was a great evening and we enjoyed spending time with the members.  It was also get to know Malin Berge, who is one of the team members coming to South Australia in October as part of Sweden’s GSE team.  We’re all really looking forward to hosting her and the rest of the team in Australia.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rentals & Post Production – Kirsty’s Vocational Day 26/5/11

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Stockholm vocational day was a lot of fun, and consisted of two separate visits, with a Rotary meeting in between.

Ljud & Bildmedia

My first visit was at Ljud & Bildmedia, one of Stockholm’s biggest film equipment rental companies, where I met with Kalle Svensson from the video department and went on a tour of the premises. 

Ljud & Bildmedia is huge!  With 23 full-time staff plus several casuals, it’s definitely the biggest rental place I’ve ever been in.  They have a huge range of camera and lighting gear, as well as grip and sound equipment.  This is somewhat different to Australia, where most rental companies tend to have cameras and basic lighting packages, whereas sound recordists would have their own kits and bigger lighting packages, dollies and cranes are owned by the gaffers and grips who use them.

Ljud & Bildmedia have shelves full of cameras ranging from HDV and DSLRs right up to their eight Alexas and eight RED Ones, as well as several professional dollies and cranes.  It was amazing to see all of the gear, but as they cater for 200 jobs a week, it’s easy to see why they have so much of it.

They also had a RED Epic that had arrived the day before, and Kalle showed me through the menu system on both the Epic and an Alexa.  The Alexa especially is a really nice camera and I’d love to get my hands on one to do some shooting back home.

Thanks to Kalle for a great morning!  Check out the Ljud & Bildmedia website here:

DSLR shooters may also be interested in the Swedish Chameleon rig I saw, which was, as the name suggests, invented in Sweden:  I only had about 2 minutes to look at it, but at first glance, it’s great.  It balances your camera so you can leave it resting on the rig when you need to take both hands away, and includes a remote record button on the handle and a follow-focus position perfect for quick adjustments on the go.


After a quick visit to my host mother’s Rotary Club to eat lunch and introduce myself to the members, I visited Stopp, a creative hub that offers everything from CGI through to website design.  Primarily a film and television post production facility, Stopp also has a processing lab (yes, real film!) and facilities for telecine, digital intermediates and colour grading.

I met with Nanna Dalunde, a colourist, and sat in on a grading session she had with two students from Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts.  They were grading a commercial for a newspaper called Situation Stockholm, which they had made as part of their course.  This session was graded with a program called Da Vinci Resolve, and Stopp also has other suites with Smoke and Flame.

After the grading session, Nanna took me on a tour of the facilities.  It was especially interesting to see the film processing lab, as we have to send all our exposed stock interstate from Adelaide, so I’ve never had the opportunity to visit one before.

Nanna also recently returned from Arizona, where she has been working on a documentary, so I was able to view some of her footage and watch an initial cut.  It looks like a fantastic project with really strong characters, and I can’t wait to see the final film.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vocational Visit Lidingö

The island of Lidingö (pronounced Leedinga) is situated 15km north east of Stockholm where the archipelago of Stockholm, a unique maritime landscape of more than 30,000 islands, begins. Lidingö has a population of around 43,000. The most famous residents of Lidingö were Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog of  ABBA  Another not so known person to us is Raoul Wallenberg (August 4, 1912 – July 17, 1947?) a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest and Hungary during World War 2 to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. Between July and December 1944, he issued protective passports and housed Jews in buildings established as Swedish territory, saving tens of thousands of lives. This is a great story and there is a satchel as a monument at the ruins of where his parents onced lived. Check out

As a vocational visit I was taken to a company called Bonver  on Lidingö and met Rotarian Cecelia Versteech. Cecelia and her husband ran a service station in the early 80’s where they also rented videos. They expanded to organise distribution of videos to other service stations and Bonver was created in 1983. Today Bonver Logistics is the Nordic region’s largest distributor of home entertainment products. They distribute products in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland and have the distribution rights to most Paramount, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Universal, Walt Disney and Warner Bros. Located in a disused margarine factory on the shores of Lidingö they pack and distribute DVDs to over 3000 customers throughout the region. Approximately 65% of all video in the Nordic countries is distributed by Bonver Logistics. I was given a guided tour of the modern ordering and packing facilities. Most film distributors have a release date for movies so distribution timeframes are critical. They do not use Swedish Post for their distribution but rather the main competitor Bring as they are cheaper and will pickup 2-3 times per day. The DVDs are pressed in places like Poland and shipped to Bonver. They have a vast warehouse of movies which is space rented by the movie companies. Bonver also have a digital arm called Film2home ( and I saw the team digitalising movies for download and adding subtitles in the 5 Nordic languages. They employ 240 people with two other warehouses and is one of Lidingö’s important businesses. Thanks Cecelia for giving up your time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donna’s Stockholm Vocational Visit: Thursday 27th May

My final vocational visit for my GSE trip involved a visit to Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s leading medical universities. Karolinska was founded in 1810 and today approximately 40% of published research from Sweden originates from Karolinska.

My first visit for the morning was with Professor Bo Burstrom: Professor of Social Medicine at the Department of Public Health. Prof Burstrom’s main research areas are looking at the relationship between poverty and ill health and looking at health inequalities and unequal access to healthcare.

I spent about an hour with Prof Burstrom and we managed to discuss a wide range of topics. I’ve got lots of notes on our discussions but a few select highlights from the morning:

  • Prof Burstrom is originally from the Northern parts of Sweden, which is quite an isolated area and does face issues related to recruitment and retention of medical staff and services.We discussed the incentives available to help increase capacity in these areas.
  • General discussion about healthcare in Sweden: the financial situation between each County Council varies and thus services also vary.
  • Sweden has an impressive track record in regards to maternal and child health, with one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the EU.
  • General discussion about health promotion in Sweden: that it is done on a more individual basis, with less national marketing in Sweden than in Australia.
  • Discussion about the changes in the healthcare system since Sweden joined the EU.
  • Alcohol consumption rates both amongst adults and teenagers and some of the influencing factors. Smoking rates amongst teenagers. Health of immigrants.
  • Prof Burstrom’s research topics: inequalities in health and some of the research that has been done in a comparative nature with the UK.
  • The future of the healthcare system in Sweden and possible barriers.

Overall there was a lot of information gained in such a short time from a very approachable and knowledgeable academic. Probably one of the main messages that I did take away from my time with Prof Burstrom was that you can’t package healthcare, it needs to be given in context of the environment and influencing social determinants.

For the second part of my vocational day I made my way across Stockholm to another campus of Karolinska to visit with the Department of Public Health Science, Division of Applied Public Health. I met with three lovely and knowledgeable women: Fia Simon, Beata Jablonska and Magdalena Carlberg. Again I’ve got pages of notes and it would take me too long to type up everything for the blog but a few highlights from our discussions:

  • Discussions about healthcare, health promotion and actual delivery of healthcare in Sweden.
  • Discussion about mental health issues in Sweden – Beata has recently been awarded her PhD “Self inflicted injury among adolescents and young adults and the role of ethnicity, socioeconomic conditions and school performance”. Chat about the stigma related to mental illness in Sweden, especially in rural areas.
  • Training & Education: ICDP – International Child Development Program that Fia has been involved in. The importance of communication training for health professionals. How Sweden has been advocating motivational interviewing amongst health professionals.

Overall it was another fantastic vocational visit. I gained a lot of information from both visits and it was really informative being able to compare some of the common healthcare issues that both Sweden and Australia are facing. I’ve definitely gained a lot of useful information for both work and my university studies. Thanks must go to Prof Burstrom and Fia Simon, Beata Jablonksa and Magdalena Carlberg for making time in their schedules to meet with me and thanks to Rotarian David Bergknut for arranging such a great vocational visit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vocational Visit in Uppsala

After wandering the streets of Uppsala I eventually found the Music Building of the University, only to find the door was locked! Luckily someone came out a side door and I managed to get inside! I spent the morning observing a rehearsal of a small jazz ensemble, led by professional musician and teacher Ulf Johansson-Werre. The group was made up of a piano, double bass, singer and Ulf on Trombone.  They were amateur musicians who had met and started playing together after attending an improvisation workshop run by Ulf. They played through a number of jazz standards, with Ulf offering feedback and assistance throughout the rehearsal. While they spoke in Swedish, it was interesting to listen and compare each run through, and work out what was changing and improving each time.

That evening I attended a Big Band concert, with Ulf as a guest soloist on piano, trombone and voice! He is certainly a talented man!

Ulf was an inspiring musician and teacher, and an extremely kind person. It was a fantastic experience to see him in action both as a teacher and a performer, and I honestly hope he comes down to Australia one day so you can all see what I mean!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment