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In the midst of darkness - Swedes' relationship with light

Published måndag 19 december 2016 kl 13.13
Curator: The Nordic light is very special
(6:20 min)
Maria Maxén, a curator at the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm.
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Maria Maxén, a curator at the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. Credit: Frank Radosevich / Radio Sweden.
Candles were extremely rare and expensive in Sweden, up until the 1900s.
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Candles were extremely rare and expensive in Sweden, up until the 1900s. Credit: Frank Radosevich / Radio Sweden.

Sweden is known for its extreme cycles of sunlight and darkness. But how do these changes affect country and the people who live here?

Late December is the darkest time of the year in Sweden. The south of the country gets less than 8 hours a day of sunlight and the far north will have to until early January for their next glimpse.

And Sweden's relationship with light is a special one. Maria Maxén, a curator at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, explains how Swedes lived through the dark winters and how life changed as more sources of light began to shine.

"Until the 1860s, it's been rather dark in Swedish homes," she tells Radio Sweden. "Because about 90 percent of the population lived in small farmhouses in the countryside and they only had light from the fireplace.

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