Invasion of the Swedes: A cultural incursion from the north

They revolutionised British design though Ikea; gave us fast fashion at H&M and, of course, we thanked them for the music of Abba. Now the Swedes are taking over in the world of British page and screen.

Fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy are eagerly anticipating the UK release of the film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Friday, and a host of other literary and cinematic imports are set to follow.

Printed after Larsson's sudden death in 2004, the tales of Lisbeth Salander have become a global publishing phenomenon. This week, anticipation for the first film adaptation and next month's paperback release of the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, propelled the Dragon Tattoo to the peak of Amazon's bestseller chart after 486 consecutive days in the top 100. All three books of the trilogy are now in the top 10.

Sales of European crime fiction – spearheaded by Larsson – leapt 150 per cent in a year at the booksellers Waterstone's. His popularity has boosted interest in other Swedish crime novelists, including Hakan Nesser and Mari Jungstedt.

"They take a really hard look at aspects of Sweden such as corruption, exploitation and fraud that are often missing from the usual political narrative of its society: taxes, education, equality, quality of life and the like," said Waterstone's crime buyer Simon Robertson.

Staffan Carlsson, Sweden's ambassador to London, is hosting a seminar on Larsson and the rise of Swedish mystery fiction on 18 March. Carl Otto Werkelid, the Swedish embassy's counsellor for cultural affairs, said officials were "quite astonished" by the "Larsson fever" which had raised awareness of the key role culture can play in international understanding.

The BBC has aired Swedish television's adaptations of Henning Mankell's bestselling Wallander detective novels and bought the rights to 13 new shows. Its own critically acclaimed adaptation, starring Kenneth Branagh, first aired in 2008, had a second series this January.

Its executive producer, Francis Hopkinson, said two more series were planned and claimed Sweden was "exotic enough to be of interest but not far enough away to be alien" to viewers. "In the first series, there's a Swedish minister who's killed," he added. "He says, 'I think the world now recognises that Sweden stands for a little more than just Bjorn Borg, Abba and a bit of skinny dipping in mountain lakes': that was a kind of statement of intent by us that it was going to be a little bit different."

Swedish films enjoyed a record year in 2009 and Pia Lundberg, the head of the Swedish Film Institute's international department, predicted a "similar" run this year, with Patrik Eklund's short film Instead of Abracadabra tipped by some for an Oscar tonight.

UK releases this summer include Videocracy, a documentary on Silvio Berlusconi, and Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth. There are also negotiations taking place for the UK rights for Easy Money, the first adaptation of Jens Lapidus's Stockholm Noir Trilogy.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...

Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

Technical Account Manager - Java, FIX Protocol, FIX 5.0, C++

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...

WPF .NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform