Hanna Kilhage

Hanna lives in Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. She recently moved there and is new to the city. She lives in the city center in a place called Masthugget. Hanna likes Gothenburg and describes it as a beautiful city with many nice shops, restaurants, theaters and a thriving culture and atmosphere. Additionally, there are many places to discover and explore.

Hanna loves celebrating midsummer and she always spends the traditional Swedish holiday with her family and friends. Every summer, Hanna, her family and friends visit their summer house on the Swedish west coast where they do all the typical midsummer traditions. That includes flower crowns to wear in their hair. The flower crowns are popular all over Sweden during Midsummer.

A wonderful photo of Hanna during a Midsummer day. She is wearing a sundress and a typical flower crown.

To make a flower crown, the first step is to go out in nature to pick the preferable flowers. Hanna prefers to pick daisies, bluebells, clover and birch branches. The next step is to create the base, most often with birch branches. The branches are wired with wire, and then the flowers are added, usually in bouquets. After adding enough flowers, the flower crown is done and can be worn for Midsummer!

Hanna explains that after the flower crown making, her and her family have a traditional midsummer lunch. She explains that her dad’s favorite part of the lunch is herring with potatoes. Hanna says that for dessert they always have strawberry cake that they make themselves with fresh berries and whipped cream. 

After the traditional lunch, they visit their neighbors. The neighbors have a big maypole where they dance and sing typical Swedish midsummer songs around. A band is playing traditional songs with accordions and other traditional instruments. Some people are wearing Swedish folk dresses. Hanna doesn’t have one herself, but her grandmother does. It is more common for the older generation to own one, she explains.

Hanna at the Swedish west coast.

In her free time, Hanna enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She likes to travel because she likes to explore and discover new places and cultures. Hanna says that she always spends a lot of time in the forest and that she has many good memories from there. According to Hanna, there are few things better than hearing the wind in the leaves, feeling the calmness and hearing the birds sing or other animals walking around. Hanna and her family usually go for long walks together in the forest. Sometimes they go to pick blueberries, lingonberries or mushrooms, depending on the season. Hanna’s favorite berry is wild strawberries. In Sweden, you usually pick wild strawberries during the summer, and they are particularly common during Midsummer. Normally you can pick strawberries until the last week in July, but if the weather is right, the season could last longer, all the way to August.

A photo of a delicious typical Swedish summer cake – Hanna’s favorite pastry.

Hanna likes sharing Swedish traditions with other people. She explains that her German friend came to visit her last summer. They celebrated midsummer together and Hanna says that it was really nice to show her all the Swedish food, traditions and songs. When she was in Australia as an au pair, Hanna cooked Swedish meatballs for the children and she says they liked it much better than IKEA’s meatballs. Hanna likes sharing and introducing Swedish food to other people.

Another common pastry in Sweden is the “semla”, which is eaten on a special day called “Fettisdagen” in February every year.

Hanna wants other people to know about Swedish traditions and food. Furthermore, she wants people to know that Sweden is a very safe country and that it has been very nice to grow up in Sweden. Sweden’s inhabitants can study for free and receive grants from the government to study at a higher level. Hanna wants people to know that Sweden supports their citizens with free health care and that everybody is looking after each other and helping each other through established social protections.

Growing up, Hanna wanted to work with dolphins or animals. She wanted to become a vet, but her biggest dream was to become a dolphin trainer. Hanna loves animals and has a dog, an adorable English Springer Spaniel.

A photo of Hanna’s cute dog.

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