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Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A Scandi-Brother? More on Sweden and the Nordics; DNA.

Distilled, Stockholm

Tjelvar's Ship-Grave, Gotland

When I lived and worked in Sweden (with regional duties that sometimes took me to Norway, Denmark and Finland), I would wonder why it was that I felt so much at home in Sweden and the Nordic Countries, with such a strong rapport with many of the people, their customs and ways of thinking.

Out of idle curiosity, I recently decided to do one of those popular mass-market DNA kit tests, to see if the results would bring any surprises.

The estimated British, Scottish and West European percentages came as no surprise, but I was fascinated to find out that my ethnicity percentage for Scandinavia scored a relatively high 27%.

I don't know how much faith one can put in these genetics kit results. They are not very precise. The West European area stretches from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to Switzerland and the Czech Republic; the South European area includes Greece and Italy. There are also concerns about the security of genetic data, and the uses to which it can be put.

Here are some illustrations of my more recent links with Sweden; nothing at all to do with links from the distant past suggested by DNA results; and yet...perhaps there was a (socially- or biologically-determined?) predisposition to feeling a sense of sympathy and belonging? It's not that I fancy that I had some Viking (or Norman) ancestors. Perhaps we all had. My strongest modern links are with Greece, so there can be no direct correlation with DNA - although the Vikings did sail southwards to Greece, as the runic inscription on some standing stones confirm

Food for the Eagle
Gripsholm Runic Stone, Mariefred

British Museum Graphics

Midsummer, Gotland (JP)


Scotland in Sweden:

Strandvägen, Stockholm, where I lived in Sweden.


Ingmar Bergman and Harriet Andersson, Fårö.
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth (14 July, 1918)

Blockhusudden, Stockholm, The Glacial Erratic

Visby, Ruins in Gotland

Feeling happy and at home in Visby!
                                         A lecture at the Mediterranean Museum,

 "Nå står vi tre brødre sammen, og skal sådan stå"): 

"Fienden sitt våpen kastet,
opp visiret fór,
vi med undren mot ham hastet,
ti han var vår bror.
Drevne frem på stand av skammen,
gikk vi søderpå;
nå står vi tre brødre sammen,

"The booming market in DIY genetic tests has a darker side, raising concerns over data use"
 The Times, December 23, 2017

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