28 June 2010

Sveavägen and Adolf Fredrik's Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's Prime Minister, Olof Palme, b. 30 january 1927, was shot down and killed at the crossroad Sveavägen-Tunnelgatan in central Stockholm on 28 February 1986. The murderer escaped into Tunnelgatan (next photo), up the stairs to Malmskillnadsgatan, which he crossed and continued into David Bagares gate. Thereafter the tracks disappeared. The murder remains unsolved.

The memorial service took place in Stockholms stadshus (Stockholm City Hall) on 15 March 1986, followed by a private interment ceremony at Adolf Fredriks kyrkogård (cemetery).

Hjalmar Branting (1860-1925), who was prime minister of Sweden during three different periods (1920, 1921-1923 and 1924-1925), is also buried at the cemetery together with his wife Anna Jäderin (1855-1950).

The quality of the last photo was not the best, I admit. Unfortunately I had not planned the visit to the cemetery too well, as the graves of the explorer and author Sven Hedin (1865-1952) and the artist Johan Tobias Sergel (1740-1814), among others, were ignored. Hedin was the last person to be ennobled by a Swedish king.

I also failed to take a photo of the Church of Adolf Fredrik. The church is situated in central Stockholm not too far from Sveavägen where Olof Palme was murdered. (Map.) The church was named after King Adolf Fredrik (1710-1751-1771), who laid down the foundation stone in 1768. The church was consecrated in 1774.

The cemetery was visited in early April 2006.

Sources and references
Map link corrected Tuesday 29 June 2010 at 00.20.


27 June 2010

Prince Daniel's name - more comments

The news that Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland has been officially registered with the name Olof Daniel Westling Bernadotte, as I commented on in my blog article of 22 June 2010, has now reached the major newspapers in Sweden. Expressen.se wrote among others about it in an article on 26 june.

But the first one out was actually the Swedish church newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, who published an article on the subject on Thursday 24 June 2010. The paper seems to have been tipped off by Per Westling, who is a development officer for Svenska kyrkans arbetsgivarorganisation (The Swedish Church Employers' Association) and works on his blog Kyrkoordnaren in his sparetime.

I have followed his blog for some time, and read with interest his article on 26 May 2010, where he asked how Daniel Westling's surname was going to disappear when he got married. The legal challenge was that the current name law did not allow a surname to be taken away. Traditionally the members of the royal family don't have a surname and are listed in Folkbokföringen, the National Register, with an asterisk. After reading the article, I put the question on a list of topics for my blog, but didn't get the time to do anything about it before the Swedish Royal Court finally started to update the official website on 21 June 2010 with Prince Daniel's biography (see my blog articles of 21 and 22 June).

I guess most newspaper commentators etc., if they ever thought carefully about the subject, had expected that the established customary law would triumph over the name law. Personally I imagined that a loophole could be found somehow. After re-reading Per Westberg's blog article and then Metro's article of 12 March 2010, which Westberg gave me a link to, I realized that no loophole existed - it was not possible for Prince Daniel to get rid of his surname, which is why he is now the only member of the royal house with a surname.

It is interesting to note that while the king's lawyer, Axel Calissendorf, insists that the royal family has no surname, the Tax Agency, which is responsible for the National Register, is of the opinion that they have, but just don't use it. I find the agency's view to be somewhat self-contradictory, as it has allowed the royals to be registered with an asterisk instead of a surname.

What will happen in the future, then? Kyrkans Tidning mentions that Princess Madeleine was the last member of the royal family to be registered with an asterisk, as she was born under the previous name law. The article refers to konstitutionell praxis (constitutional practice/custom, or perhaps customary law is a better expression) at the time. This could explain why, if I understand the article correctly, also Queen Silvia, whose maiden name was Sommerlath, and Princess Lilian, whose surname when she married in 1976 was Craig, are listed with an asterisk instead of a legal surname. It seems that royals born under the new name law will have to be registered with a surname, which most certainly will be Bernadotte, but I guess we have to wait and see what happens, as the newspaper article didn't comment on it explicitly. As I have said earlier, I think it would be appropriate if all the royals were registered with a surname, as the name law makes it compulsory, but is is probably not a pressing matter.

Let's now wait and see if Norwegian journalists will use their imagination and start examining what the situation is in Norway. The members of the Norwegian Royal Family don't use a surname, with the exception of Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid. I have been told that the royals are registered with their title in Folkeregisteret (the National Register) instead of a surname. As the Norwegian name law applies to every citizen, I see no reason why they should be excepted, even if customary law has prevailed so far. According to Dagens Medisin 9 October 2003, the royals' don't even have a personnummer (official reference number) in the National Register. Obviously enough to ponder about!

Updated on Tuesday 25 January 2011 at 08.30 (minor language errors).


Spa and luxury at San Diego Hills Memorial Park, Java, Indonesia

The Bloomberg.com article Luxurious Cemetery Facilities a 'Happy Place' for Indonesians of 9 June 2010 has been re-published in numerous newspapers around the world, including the Norwegian daily Aftenposten today.

Spa, swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad at a cemetery? You can even get married there! Well, when the official website says that "there is no other cemetery like this", I believe it!


Monaco: Charlène Wittstock's ancestry

Earlier this week I wrote in connection with Prince Albert's engagement to Ms. Charlène Wittstock that I expected more details about her ancestry to be revealed before the wedding next year.

Ronald Elward, who has his own blog, Heirs of Europe, has already started to work on Ms. Wittstock's ancestry (or rather the ancestry of the couple's future children (!)):
There is also a new thread titled Ancestry of Charlene Wittstock at the Nobiliana Forum (you will have to get registered in order to read it).

Updated on Monday 28 June 2010 at 08.00 (minor language correction).


24 June 2010

Monaco: Princely wedding set for summer 2011

Following the engagement between Prince Albert and Charlène Wittstock yesterday, the French newspaper Nice Matin published a short interview with the prince in today's edition. The Sovereign Prince informed that the wedding is going to take place during the summer of 2011.

The exact date will obviously be published later. In other words, there will be plenty of time for Charlène Wittstock to adjust to her future position as the principality's first lady.

Prince Albert seems to have much more contact with the other royal families of Europe than his father used to, so I think we can expect a large gathering of royals in Monaco at the wedding next year.


23 June 2010

Monaco: Prince Albert II and Charlène Wittstock engaged

The Princely Court of Monaco announced today the engagement between Prince Albert II and his long-time girl-friend Charléne Lynette Wittstock. The wedding date has not yet been set.

Prince Albert, b. Monaco 14 March 1958, is the only son of Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) and Grace Kelly (1929-1982). Charlène Lynette Wittstock, who has competed for South Africa as a swimmer and is a former youth worker, was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on 25 January 1978. She moved with her family (parents are Lynette and Mike Wittstock) to South Africa when she was 11 years old. I am sure that more details of the ancestry of Ms. Wittstock will be available before the wedding takes place.

The Sovereign Prince of Monaco has two children from earlier relationships - Alexandre Coste (b. 24 August 2003) and Jazmin Grimaldi (b. 4 March 1992).

Prince Albert brought Charlene Wittstock along for the royal wedding in Stockholm last weekend, something many interpreted as a sign that a formalization of their relationship was imminent.

Sources and references
  • Press release from the Princely Court of Monaco 23 June 2010
  • YourMonaco.com (date unknown; the subpage which partly gave information for the blog article has expired, hence the link has been made unactive)
  • New York Times 5 May 2005
  • A 'Princess Diaries' Moment for Prince Albert's daughter (The Washington Post 5 June 2006)
  • Bye to bachelorhood, Monaco's Prince Albert says (Associated Press 23 June 2010)
Corrected on Friday 25 June 2010 at 11.30 (Ms. Wittstock was originally presented as a former teacher, while according to the Court "youth worker" would be a more correct translation.). Last time updated on Monday 16 May 2011 (birth dates corrected, cf. the comments section below); Friday 23 May 2014 at 08.00 (link made unactive).

22 June 2010

Prince Daniel's name

1. In yesterday's blog article about the royal wedding in Stockholm last weekend, section 2, I commented on the fact that the Swedish Royal Court at the official website in connection with the updating of the Royal Family section to include the biography of Prince Daniel had switched his given names (Daniel Olof instead of Olof Daniel). A minor mistake, but still worth pointing out. The mistake was fortunately corrected today.

In my blog article yesterday I also asked what was going to happen with Prince Daniel's surname, as a legal expert at the Swedish Tax Agency had made clear that according to the Swedish name law there was no possibility to legally "take away" one's surname. The King's lawyer, Axel Calissendorff, had stressed, however, that the royal family had no surname (by customary law, I presume).

The question about the then Daniel Westling's surname was described as "mycket känslig" ("very sensitive"). No conclusion about the surname had been reached when Metro published its article in March 2010.

Today it seems that Prince Daniel will not only keep his legal surname, but that he has also got a new one, Bernadotte. Yesterday he was in the biography presented as "Daniel Olof (sic!), Prins av Sverige, Hertig av Västergötland" (unfortunately I didn't take a screen picture yesterday, but also others had witnessed the wrong name order). According to the biography (see screen capture above), Prince Daniel is now listed as "Olof Daniel Westling Bernadotte, Prins av Sverige, Hertig av Västergötland". For all practical purposes he will of course only be referred to as "Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland", but it is interesting to note that Prince Daniel is the only member of the royal house who has a legal surname. I am quite certain that today's update by the royal court was made with reference to the earlier debate. Still I wonder what happened in 1976 when Silvia Sommerlath became Queen of Sweden. Was the name law at the time different than the current one, or did no-one bother to question the legality of dropping Silvia's surname?

I wouldn't mind if the royal court made one step further and registered Bernadotte as a surname for all the members of the royal house, as the name law then would apply to every Swedish citizen, whether royal or not, but the need of a surname is probably not a pressing matter...

By the way, in the English version of Prince Daniel's biography, he is today presented as Olof Daniel, Prince of Sweden in the first entry, but if you click on the biography link, his full name appears.

2. Over to another, not related subject: It didn't take long for the Swedish tabloids to figure out where Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel had gone on their honeymoon. I am not going to write an independent blog article about this (and I won't bother to give links either), but I would like to add how sad I think it is that the couple couldn't be left alone for a few weeks. They certainly deserve some time out of the limelight. I really wonder what is going on in the mind of these people who feel the need to call the media whenever a celebrity (or a royal, as in this instance) turns up somewhere. Some people are obviously more greedy than others...


21 June 2010

Royal wedding in Stockholm, more comments

I posted some comments about the royal wedding in Stockholm yesterday, but there is always room for more observations:

1. When Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Mary Donaldson in 2002 and when his brother Prince Joachim married Marie Cavallier in 2008, the official website was updated with their biographies within minutes.

Nothing happened at the Swedish Royal Court's website Kungahuset.se on Saturday, as has been commented on in the media and in various discussion forums. Not until today was the section about the royal family updated with the biography of Prince Daniel, and as I write this lines only the Swedish version is available. We still have to wait for the biography in English. You can still find some information in the wedding section, though.

I can well understand that the press information department at Stockholm Palace was rather busy on Saturday, but most of the work in preparing the biographical updates could have been done in advance.

One of the reasons for not updating the website with a new family picture, is according to today's Aftonbladet.se that an external firm has got the task to do the work, which is to include the family monogram. We will have to wait until Tueday for this to be completed. A new and formal group picture of the royal family will be taken in August when the Crown Princess couple returns from their honeymoon.

2. Interestingly enough, Prince Daniel's biography tells that his full name is Daniel Olof, and not the othe way around. The Archbishop certainly used the order Olof Daniel Westling during the wedding ceremony on Saturday, and that is also quoted in Svenska Dagbladet's special wedding edition on Sunday 20 June 2010 (paper edition, p. 6). But the biographical presentation in the same edition (p. 32) says Daniel Olof. However, the website Birthday.se, which I believe gets its information from Folkbokföringen (the National Register), says Olof Daniel Westling. As of now I think Olof Daniel is correct, but I have contacted the Royal Court and hope to get confirmation soon.

In the biography the new prince is presented as Daniel Olof (which could be Olof Daniel), Prince of Sweden, Duke of Västergötland. In other words, he seems to have lost his surname (or at least not used anymore officially). According to the blog Per Westberg - Kyrkordnaren, the members of the royal family do not have a surname in the National Register, and allegedly the surname is replaced by an asterisk (i.e. *). But what will really happen to the surname Westling, Per Westberg asks. He doubts that the government has the authority in law to take it away. In other words, the question remains open.

3. Yesterday I made a link to Expressen.se's Swedish version of Prince Daniel's speech to Crown Princess Victoria. Another version is now published at the official website. This version is the most accurate, as Prince Daniel said some words in Swedish and some in English. But if you want a full translation of Prince Daniel's words in English, then Sveriges Radio is the place to go (thanks to Marianne at GREMB for providing the link).

4. Prince Daniel once dreamed about becoming a professional ice hockey player, something his father Olle Westling briefly touched upon in his speech. Daniel even played at senior level for Hofors HC. His kidney problem, which was discovered after an inury he got in a football match (!), seems to have stopped his ambitions. As I am a great fan of ice hockey myself (although football (soccer) comes first), I certainly appreciate Daniel's enthusiasm about hockey. I presume that he is still interested in the game, and wonder which teams he supports in Sweden and in NHL?

Updated Tuesday 22 June 2010 at 10.55 (minor language error).


20 June 2010

Royal wedding in Stockholm 19 June 2010

The TV set seldom had a quiet moment on Saturday. I watched most of the royal wedding in Stockholm from about 2.30 p.m. until thirty-forty minutes into the new day. Originally I had hoped to see some World Cup football as well, but if I wanted to watch something together with my wife (and we have only one TV set!), then it had to be the royal wedding. An entertaining evening, but the World Cup match between Denmark and Cameroon also turned out to be an exciting duel.

I have made some observations based on what I have watched on TV and read in the various newspapers the last few days, and would like to share some of them with you.

1. HRH Crown Prince Victoria of Sweden and Olof Daniel Westling got married in Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) in Gamlastan in Stockholm on Saturday 19 June 2010. Around 1000 invited guests attended the ceremony, including an impressive gathering of royals from the European monarchies as well as from Japan and Jordan. More than 400 people were invited to the gala dinner at Stockholm Palace in the evening.

Upon marriage Daniel Westling was conferred the titles Prince of Sweden and Duke of Västergötland with the style Royal Highness.

2. The main impression is that the wedding day turned out to be a wonderful celebration of the couple's love for eachother and of the monarchy itself. The Royal Court and everyone who had a piece in the planning and in carrying out the celebrations can be pleased with the fact that everything went so well - no scandals, no accidents as I know of, the weather got better and better throughout the day and the people's participation - around 500.000 went downtown to follow the events - was larger than expected. The main persons and the guests seemed to enjoy themselves as well.

Of course it remains to be seen what impact the Crown Princess' wedding with a Swedish commoner will have for the future of the monarchy in the long run. It is a bit ironic that at the same time as a royal wedding - and the monarchy itself - is celebrated, the polls show that the support for the monarchical institution and the royal house has falled considerably the last 15 years.

3. The Royal Court has received some criticism because it had invited representatives of various dictatorships such as North Korea and Eritrea. The East-African republic has made headlines in Sweden because a Swedish citizen, Dawit Isaak, has been imprisoned since 2001 without a trial. The court has only referred to the advice it has received from the Swedish Foreign Office. All Ambassadors were invited. It might have been a better solution if only the doyen (Mr. Hombessa of The Congo) had represented the diplomatic corps? Anyway, a rather cheap shot from the political left. References have also been made to King Carl Gustaf's infamous speech in 2004 where he during a state visit to Brunei cheered the Bruneian democracy. However, it is easily forgotten that the king based his comments almost word for word on material received from the FO.

4. I watched most of the wedding on the Norwegian channel NRK1. I think the studio host in Stockholm, Atle Bjurstrøm, and the wedding ceremony commentator, Wenke Eriksen, made fairly good job, and it was a good idea to invite designer Wenche Lyche and author Tor Bomann-Larsen to the studio. However, to get more precise information about the identification of the attending guests, it would surely have been better to choose SVT1. I switched over to the Norwegian TV2 from time to time, but didn't watch enough to be able to give a fair review. The royal wedding was also competing with the World Cup, so TV2 didn't cover so much as NRK1 as far as I understood it. Vår Staude and Carl-Erik Grimstad were in the studio. After midnight I watched SVT1. The broadcasting from the events at the Palace was excellent, but the people in the studio - Mark Levengood, Kristian Luuk and Ebba von Sydow babbled away nonstop and were often speaking all at once. What a terrible choice of people to have in the studio!

5. The speeched held during the gala dinner have been received well. King Carl Gustaf surprised everyone by taking the opportunity to congratulate his wife, Queen Silvia, on their 34th wedding anniversary and gave her a rose. His words to the married couple were quite interesting:

No one should believe anything else than that my highest wish has always been - and is - to see you happy. It has therefore always been self-evident to your mother the Queen and me, that you - as any person in our country - should have the freedom to choose your life's companion as your heart desires. I have today seeked to make this point clear by accompanying you to your future husband, and thereby confirming the decision to approve of your marriage according to our constitution.
This way the king explained why he escorted the Crown Princess half-way to the altar. The tabloids have for years claimed to know that the king for a long time was opposed to the relationship,which explained the many years - about 8 - it took from the couple started dating to the wedding. When the then Daniel Westling was invited to King Carl Gustaf's 60th birthday celebrations in 2006 it was interpreted as a sign that the king finally had been approved his daughter's choice. The couple has, however, in a recent TV interview said that they needed such a long time to be absolutely sure, and Daniel needed time to adjust to the idea of giving up his professional career for a quite different role as member of the royal house. We might have to wait for many years before we get the full picture of the long process.

The constitutional aspect is not difficult to interpret. The king - and the government - gave his consent and from the outset, as seen yesterday, it is not possible to doubt that the king and queen have become fond of their daughter's choice.

Prince Daniel's father Olle Westling's speech was impressive as well, but obviously Prince Daniel's own speech stole most of the headlines. He made a very personal speech without manuscript, and parts of it in English as well. I think Prince Daniel from the engagement and onwards has made a positive impression on most people, and I think it is fair to expect that he is going to handle his new role well. It is difficult, however, to believe the tabloids' earlier claims that he was poor in English and that he lacked conversation skills. Of course he spoke English with an accent, but I don't think he would have done so well yesterday - even with some preparations - if his skills originally had been so bad as the tabloids have claimed. One of his best friends ridiculed the claims about Daniel's bad conversation skills in a recent TV interview. The truth was the exact opposite of what the rumours had said.

6. From time to time we have read tabloid stories about alleged difficulties between Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine because she is said to steal the show from her older sister. Such headlines could be seen when Princess Madeleine got engaged in August 2009, and when she returned from abroad just before the wedding the court reporters feared once again that "Madde" would steal the show. What nonsense! First of all, if Princess Madeleine should ever steal attention from her sister it is because the press decides to make such a focus. And no-one doubts that Crown Princess Victoria was the focal point yesterday, as she has also been for quite some time (except perhaps for the few days when the break-up between Princess Madeleine and Jonas Bergström was announced).

7. It is always interesting to note what representatives the various monarchies send to such an important event as the wedding of an heir to the throne is. Eigth European countries sent their head of state - the monarchies Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands and Norway as well as the republics Finland and Iceland. King Abdullah of Jordan was also present. Five European countries sent the consort of the sovereign - Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Spain. And in addtion Queen Rania of Jordan came along. Seven European countries sent the heir to the throne - Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. Same goes for Japan and Jordan.

The United Kingdom was represented by the 7th in line to the throne, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Discussions about the British representation come up every time there is a big royal wedding or funeral. It is claimed that the British monarchs just "don't do" weddings and funerals abroad. Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II's absence could be excused with her age (Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg would surely object to this!), and the same goes for her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. The Wessexes are certainly closer in age to Crown Princess Victoria, but still it would have been appropriate that the Prince of Wales came for the wedding. He had an engagement (meeting with the President of France at Clarence House) on Friday 18 June and could clearly have reached Stockholm in the evening. Would it not have been great if Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales used the opportunity to get to know their European colleagues better? Instead they travelled to South Africa and the World Cup. One of them could surely have travelled to Stockholm.

Of course I don't buy the nonsense some court reporters have served lately that the "bad" British representation is a sign of the alleged ice-cold relationship between the British Royal House and its Scandinavian counterparts. But there are good reasons to ask why the British make such decisions about representations over and over again. Still, it is their loss.

8. Interestingly enough HSH The Prince of Monaco brought along his girl-friend Charlene Wittstock for the wedding. It could be viewed as a break of protocol, as royals are usually engaged when they take their partner to such an high-profile event. Ms. Wittstock was seated behind the Prince of Monaco in the Cathedral. It was of course nice to see her attending an event like this, but could this mean that we now can expect an engagement soon? That would surely be nice, but it could of course also be interpreted that Prince Albert doesn't intend to get married at all, but wants to introduce her live-in partner to the other royals nevertheless. Well, time will tell what will happen at the court of Monaco.

9. There were many members of former royal families present at the wedding. The guest list for the wedding reveals royal names from Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia (Yugoslavia), Romania and Germany (Hohenzollern, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Bavaria, and Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha). All relatives, of course, some more distant than others, but it is interesting to note how they were presented in the guest list. One could get the impression that they represented their countries as they were listed under the countries they come from, although they are all republics. Another way to do it would be, with the possible exeception of the Hohenzollerns, to list them under the category "Members of former royal families".

Don't get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that members of the former royal families are invited - in fact I'd like to see more of them at an event like this.

During the broadcasting yesterday the titles of the former royals were commented on, as not everyone think it is appropriate that they are referred to this way when the countries they come from are well-established republics.

It should be stressed, however, that it is in accordance with protocol to refer to former kings etc. with the titles they had under the monarchy. Former presidents of the USA are still referred to by their title (while the current president is The President of the United States), so why not King Constantine of the Hellenes and Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia?

Another matter is of course people who were born after the monarchy was gone, such as Princess Margarita of Romania and Prince Kyril of Bulgaria. It could be interpreted in an historical-genealogical sence, and their titles as courtesy titles only. Not obligatory, certainly not constitutionally defined, but nevertheless accepted by the reigning royal courts. And that is obviously what matters. Any possible protest from the Greek embassy in Stockholm is probably something the Royal Court - or the FO - will handle.

Photo: © The Royal Court (photographer Paul Hansen).

Sources and references

Updated Monday 21 June 2010 at 08.00 (spelling mistake); 4 May 2011 at 21.50 (spelling mistake).


16 June 2010

Three days left to the royal wedding in Stockholm

The wedding between Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling will as you all know by now take place in Stockholm on Saturday 19 June 2010. The media in Sweden - as well as in Norway and Denmark (and other places as well) - is having a field day, or to be exact - several field days! If you think the attention the royal wedding in Oslo in 2001 got was a bit too much, or the royal wedding in Copenhagen in 2004 for that matter, then I am afraid to say that you will have to expect a much larger "circus" in Stockholm. It has been going on for a while already. And in the coming days, the newspapers will publish an endless number of articles, the many blogs will flourish and the discussions on the various discussion forums covering royalty will go wild. I might write an article or two about my observations of the wedding as well, but my contributions will surely be peanuts to what others will offer in the coming days. Don't get me wrong. This is going to be a great celebration - not only of the happy couple - but also of the monarchical institution, which most certainly will be strengthened by the festivities. I am not the only one who has enjoyed the Bernadotte documentary which has been broadcasted the last few days. There have been many good newspaper and blog articles as well, even though you can also find the opposite...

I made a short visit to Sweden last weekend - to Tanum municipality to be exact, far away from the festivities in Stockholm. But even in Fjällbacka and Grebbestad you couldn't pass a kiosk window without noticing all the special wedding issues and tabloid front pages screaming about the royal wedding. The photo above is of the front page of Bröllups-Guiden, a special wedding issue published by Expressen, GT and Kvällsposten (all Bonniers newspapers which share half of the content). There were probably more than a dozen alternatives, but one is surely enough. The wedding issue gives you an entertaining survey of all the wedding souvenirs you can buy, both the ones approved by the court and the unofficial alternatives. Plates, cups, key-rings, you name it... You will get the full program of the festivities, a useful map of the route the cortege will follow and a flash-back to several royal weddings and wedding dresses in the past. Sweden 1976, the United Kingdom 1981, the Netherlands 2002 etc.

Then there is a presentation of all the guests the journalists claim have been invited to the wedding, and how they are related to the Bernadottes. Surely useful, but not without mistakes. The same old allegation that Princess Märtha Louise of Norway lost her style Royal Highness in connection with her wedding in 2002, and the photos of the Crown Prince couple of Serbia (Yugoslavia) and Princess Margarita of Romania and her husband Radu Duda (titled Prince Radu by King Michael's court) have been mixed up. And you can read the tabloid journalist Johan T. Lindwall's article "Kärlekssagan. En seger för Victoria - och för kärleken!" ("The Love Story. A victory for Victoria - and for love!"). And if that is not enough, the Swedes want to make a bigger wedding cake than the Norwegian Crown Prince couple had in 2001. I hope it will taste well.

Finally, you can read about Haga Palace, where Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel will reside after the wedding. In other words, plenty of stuff to read in order to get yourself prepared. But of course there are alternatives if you are not interested in the celebrations - the royal wedding is still peanuts to the World Cup in South Africa...


15 June 2010

Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, Berlin, Germany

Graves of playwright and poet Bertold Brecht (1898-1956) and his second wife, the actress Helene Weigel-Brecht (1900-1971).

Grave of the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831).

Grave of Johannes Rau (1931-2006), Prime Minister of Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhein-Westphalia) 1978-1998 and President of Germany 1999-2004.

Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof (in full Der Friedhof der Dorotheenstädtischen und Friedrichswerderschen Gemeinden) is situated in Chausseestraße 126 in Mitte, Berlin. The closest subway station is either Zinnowitzerstraße or Oranienburger Tor. The cemetery was established in 1763. I visited the Friedhof in February 2008.



Three Norwegians in NHL - more to come?

Outside the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, Canada (2008).

On Monday it became known that the Norwegian ice hockey player Mathis Olimb of Frölunda Indians had signed a 1-year contract with the Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks. This means that next season there will be at least three Norwegians playing in the National Hockey League (NHL), as Jonas Holøs (Colorado Avalance) and Mats Zuccarello Aasen (New York Rangers) have already signed contracts. And if that is not enough, Patrick Thoresen will most likely be ready for a NHL club soon. He has already terminated his contract with the Russian team Salavat Julajev and might return to his former club Philadelphia Flyers, unless the club chooses to waive its rights.

Three Norwegians playing in NHL at the same time would alone be a new record, and four players would just be fabulous! Of course there is a chance that one or possibly two of the Norwegians will end up playing for the respective clubs' farmer team, but both Aasen and Thoresen will most likely establish themselves in the NHL.

Patrick Thoresen has besides Philadelphia Flyers also played for Edmonton Oilers. Other former Norwegian players in the NHL are Bjørn "Botta" Skaare (Detroit Red Wings), Anders Myrvold (Colorado Avalance, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Colombus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers (he never got any games for Detroit Red Wings)) and Espen "Shampo" Knutsen (Anaham Mighty Ducks (now not "Mighty" anylonger) and Columbus Blue Jackets).

The Stanley Cup champions of 2009-2010, Chicaco Blackhawks, already has a Norwegian connection, as Dustin Byfuglien (usually pronounced BUFF-lin in the States) descends from Etnedalen in Valdres. At the Norwegian Digitalarkivet's users' forum several genealogists, including yours sincerely, are making an attempt to find his roots. Surely there have been many other Norwegian-Americans in the NHL before, such as Byfuglien's stepfather Dale Smedmo, who played for Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1970s.

Sources and references

10 June 2010

Daniel Westling's ancestry

The genealogist Björn Engström tells in his book Daniel Westlings anor från Svartnäs - Med kulturhistoriska utblickar i byar och miljöer under 700 år, which was released earlier this week, that the commoner Daniel Westling, who is going to marry HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden on 19 June this year, has aristocratic roots:
The author is himself an 8th cousin of Daniel's father Olle. See also HD.se's article Daniel Westling och hans släkt from 17 May this year (in Swedish).


General Grant National Memorial, Manhattan, New York, USA

Ulysses S. Grant, b. Point Pleasant, Ohio 27 April 1822, d. Mount McGregor, New York 23 July 1885, served as President of the United States from 1869 to 1877. He married in 1848 Julia Boggs Dent (1826-1902).

The tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America, was completed in 1897, and is located near Hudson River at the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York. To reach the memorial by subway, take either the 7th Avenue-Broadway No. 1 or No. 9 subway train. Both stop at West 116th Street Station on Broadway, two blocks east and six blocks south of Grant's Tomb.

For more information, see the Website of the Grant Monument Association or Nps.gov (US National Park Service). You are also recommended to read Brian Lamb's Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb? A Tour of Presidential Gravesites, which is a great source of information about the gravesites of the US Presidents (and Vice Presidents).


The Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, USA

The main gate at 25th Street, Brooklyn, New York.

The Historic Chapel at The Green-Wood Cemetery, built in 1911.

Grave of the composer, conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990).

Grave of Gudmund Tollefsen Hoelseth (1859-1940) and his wife Hanna Sophie, née Harstad (1863-1927). Gudmund, who was the younger brother of my great-great grandfather Ole Tollefsen Hoelseth, was born at Langerud in Åmot, Norway, and died near Wilmington, Vermont. For the majority of his years in the United States he lived in Brooklyn. Hannah was born in Holmestrand, Norway. Section C, Lot 36551.

Grave of Arthur Gudmundsen Hoelseth (1892-1980) and his wife Marie Byers, née Fuller (1894-1968). Arthur was the only son of Gudmund and Hanna Sophie Hoelseth. Interred is also Arthur and Marie's stillborn son (b/d 1930). Section 138, Lot. 33065.

Grave of Madge Marie Holman, née Hoelseth (1931-1998), the only daughter of Arthur and Marie Hoelseth. Setion138, Lot 33065.

Grave of Marie Hoelseth's parents Rudolph C. Fuller (1851-1909) and Madge, née Byers (1861-1931). Section 138, Lot 33065.

Not sure why I took a photo of this grave. Could it be that one of my friends has Knobloch as a middle name? The family is surely German of origin. Section 92, Lot 5137.

The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as one of USA's first rural cemeteries. It is rather large - 438 acres - and has more than 560.000 graves. The cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. See the website for directions.

The website also provides a list of «Famous residents » of The Green-Wood Cemetery.

I visited the cemetery for the second time in July 2006. The cemetery is an interesting place to visit, but July is certainly not the best month (August is probably not much better either), so avoid the summer months if you can. It can be really hot out there! Please also remember to use good shoes. The cemetery is huge, and if you don't have a car, you will have to walk long distances to find the graves you are interested in visiting.

Updated Tuesday 15 April 2010 at 11.15 (misspelling corrected).


9 June 2010

Sandefjord Church and Cemetery, Norway

Sandefjord gravlund (cemetery) with Sandefjord kirke (church) in the background. The brickstoned church was consecrated in 1903. The old church from 1872 was destroyed by fire in 1900. I am not doing the church any justice in this blog article, as I will focus on the cemetery, so I will have to write a piece about the church later.

The cemetery was consecrated on 3 October 1883, while the chapel (the yellow building) was ready for use in November 1884.

Family grave of the shipping family Dahl.

Gunnar Dahl (1892-1893) and Thor Fredrik Andersen (1890-1904). The former was - as far as I understand it - the son of Thor and Alfhild Dahl, the latter seems to have been a son of Thor Dahl's sister Anna Olivia (?) and Karl Fredrik Andersen.

Shipowner Thor Dahl (1862-1930) and his wife Alfhild, née Freng (1862-1925), parents of Ingrid Christensen, mentioned in the Sandar Church and Cemetery article, part I.

Thor Dahl Jr., b. 1890, died in the Atlantic in 1921.

Shipowner Peter Anton Grøn (1833-1903).

Grave of shoemaker and storekeeper Anders B. Hasle (1868-1939) and his family. A grandson married into the Hoelseth family. Sandefjord Skofabrik (Shoe factory) was established by Hasle in 1908.

Grave of shipowner Alf C. (A.C.) Olsen (1891-1955) and his wife Martha, née Reiersrud (1892-1965) as well as of their son Anton Christian (A.C.) Olsen (1918-1999). A.C. Olsen owned the Åsly estate behind Sandefjord Railway Station. The main building was demolished in the early 1990s and the estate, which included a large fruit tree park, was split up into smaller properties. One of them was bought by my parents.

Captain C.O. Larsen (1860-1924), who died in the Ross Sea on board the Sir James Clark Ross, and his wife Andrine (1863-1950), née Thorsen.

Grave of my granduncle Gunnar Johan Ekeli (1906-1983) and his second wife Berglioth (1917-1989). The other graves belong to Berglioth's family.

This picture (scanned) was taken in August 1988 and shows the Ekeli family grave, which was demolished in 2002. Interred were my great grandparents Torkild Johan Ekeli (1878-1939) and Gunda Helene, née (Ragnhildrød) Hansen (1879-1962) as well as Gunda's mother Johanne Lovise Hansen, née Jakobsdatter (1854-1946) and Gunda's brother Jørgen Hilmar Hansen (1875-1940). The grave of Gunda's third son Gunnar can be viewed in the background.

See also Part II (7 March 2011).

  • Tor Bjørvik. Reder- og skippergårder in Sandefjord, 2009
  • Einar Krohn Larsen. Et landemerke på prestegårdsgrunn. Sandefjord kirke 100 år 1903-2003.
  • Digitalarkivet.no (church books)
Updated on 7 March 2011 at 09.40 (link added).