The Swedish Queen and I

Queen Silvia Photo: Julia Hetta, The Royal Court, Sweden

Queen Silvia
Photo: Julia Hetta, The Royal Court, Sweden

When Swedes want to compliment me on my language skills, they very often say, “I can’t believe you are German. You don’t sound like Queen Silvia at all!” As I have learned, most of her subjects do not like the accent with which their queen speaks and while I can understand it is somewhat funny that a professional interpreter did not manage to acquire a language perfectly, I still think that Silvia has saved the Swedish monarchy with her regal elegance and her clever sense of discretion.

Language matters aside, Silvia and I happen to strangely share quite some things. Actually, it feels like they keep getting more. We already share the very first thing in our lives: the birthplace. Both Silvia and I were born in the picturesque city of Heidelberg. Also, both of us were born to a German and a non-German parent, resulting in a somewhat darker appearance than the average German. And now guess what? The Queen of Sweden moved, just like me, to Düsseldorf once. In 1963, she graduated from Luisen-Gymnasium in Düsseldorf, a school which happens to me right next to where I lived my first 6 weeks here. And does it even surprise you that both Silvia and I attended an all-girls-school?

I hope Hamburg wins the bid on the Olympic Games and becomes host city 2024 because obviously that’s where I should find love to following the Silvia-path, right?

Hamburg 2024


Good news! I already told you I started caring about Hamburg. Identifying. Bothering about Hamburg’s local politics. Tonight was a huge night for anyone interested in Hamburg. Tonight, the German Olympic Committee decided whether Berlin or Hamburg should get to submit an application to host the Summer Olympics 2024. And they chose Hamburg. Of course – Berlin does not even get their airport done.

Boston is our big competitor, I heard on the radio just now, and do you realize how I wrote our? Rome also applied, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. Italy is hot and you don’t know if Berlusconi will be dead by then or if he will be embarrassing everyone. Whereas Hamburg, a first-time-host in history, could combine the water based and the other non-water based games in a very small circle, due to its good location.

Photo: MoPo

Since the beginning of this year, Olympic enthusiasts have been rallying to get public support for this project. In a few months, they will have a referendum and if the Hamburgers vote against the Games, there will be no Games. That is why someone came up with the claim “Ich bin Feuer und Flamme für Spiele in Hamburg”, literally translating to “I am fire and flames for Games in Hamburg”. In German (and Swedish), to be fire and flames means to really be up for something. Once the public had learned that claim, it was enough to be an Olympic torch sticker on a bus to signal “Yes, Hamburg 2024”. The Fire and Flames are accompanied by all kinds of events such as lighting countless torches with people around the Alster Lake and putting fireworks in the sky that form the Olympics rings. (Only at times when I cannot watch for some stupid reason, of course.)

2024, it sounds like a complete different galaxy time-wise. But it is only 9 years away…