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Sprit Museum, Photo Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
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Spirits of a Nation: Spring

The Swedes' bittersweet relationship with drink

"People can see we have a problem with alcohol in this country"
6:45 min

Thursday sees the opening of Stockholm’s Sprit Museum, dedicated to the Swedes’ love-hate relationship with alcohol. Like neighboring Norway and Finland, Sweden has adopted strong regulations to curb the heavy drinking typical of the northern European Vodka Belt.

Anything stronger than weak beer can only be sold in the state-owned monopoly liquor stores, and all alcohol is strongly taxed. But why does this country takes such a strong line on drink?

The Spritmuseum takes up the complicated relationship of the Swedes and drink in three exhibitions. "Sweden: Spirits of a Nation", the main permanent exhibition, is a walk through the seasons, with their smells tastes, music...and snaps.

"Face It" is a selection of the international art exhibition centering around Absolut Vodka, with works ranging from Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, to Swedish artists like Linn Fernström, Dan Wolgers.

"Finally Friday" explores the expectations and experiences of the much-anticipated beginning of weekend, the limbo between a working day and the weekend. It starts at Home on a comfy couch in front of a TV, and moves on to the Pub and the World of Dreams and Expectations.

Interactive drunken dancing - part of "Finally Friday"

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