Lasse Anrells celebratory speech to Arvika

Lasse Anrell is a journalist, author and media profile who has Arvika close to his heart. Read here his celebratory speech to our lovely town.

"As Ambassador Emeritus for the wonderful city of Arvika, I would like to take the opportunity to shamelessly promote the most beautiful and best-value place in the world.

Well, it’s great value for Norwegians anyway.

Norwegians are the city’s foremost natural resource and a dynamo in the local industry, both on land and water.

But Arvika is also a museum.
It is home to Sweden’s most distinguished art gallery, Rackstadmuseet. The gallery houses paintings and sculptures by artists from the Rackstad Artist Colony beside Lake Racken, the Swedish equivalent of the Danish Skagen Colony. There you can admire works by Gustaf and Maja Fjæstad, Björn Ahlgrensson and the great sculptor Christian Eriksson. Most of Eriksson’s works are in Stockholm, but the best have remained here.

After studying and working in Paris, Eriksson famously returned with his beautiful French wife Jeanne and tried to teach her to live amongst the simple folks here in Arvika.
This proved quite a challenge.
The women of Arvika are famed for their beauty – at least according to the pop group Sven-Ingvars – but Jeanne was in a different league and dimension altogether. When she was at her most beautiful and most confused in Arvika, somebody commented,

“She’s like an orchid in a potato field.”

That was cleverly put.
Don’t we all feel like that sometimes?

Well, maybe not me. When I’m out walking in Arvika – which I frequently am – my sentiments tend to be quite the opposite. I sometimes feel like a potato in an orchid field, and I’m quite overwhelmed by all the beauty and elegance around me. But I can also feel slightly refined by my surroundings; sometimes it’s almost a spiritual feeling. Arvika brings out the best and most beautiful in ordinary folk. Even in me.

What else should you see while visiting Arvika?

In the past – during an era known as ”Gammelvala ” – a spectacular rock festival used to be organised here, where Goths would socialise with orchids, Mohicans danced alongside potatoes and synth pop fans congregated with post-punk enthusiasts. It was Sweden’s single largest melting pot. A xenophobe at the Arvika Festival would have felt as lonely as a Frölunda supporter watching an ice hockey match at Löfbergs Arena.

What other attractions are there?

Nordellimpan – a traditional bread that puts the better-known Skogaholm loaf to shame. Unmissable.

Klässbols linen weaving mill. Definitely. The Nobel Banquet owes its elegance to Klässbols table linen.

Gammelvala – Sweden’s first and greatest heritage festival. Unforgettable.

Welcome to my beloved Arvika, friends from near and far.

Come and enjoy being orchids in a big orchid field!"