On this day in 1520, Sten Sture the Younger (you remember him), the regent of Sweden, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund and died on the ice of Lake Mälaren. Sture’s big thing was independence from Denmark, which, while that’s clearly been taken care of by now, remains an amusing point of contention between these two countries. Ikea (you remember Ikea), a Swedish company, has a puckish habit of naming their flooring after towns in Denmark. “Oh ho ho!” you might say. “How very puckish!”
Well, yeah, but if Burberry named their door mats “Boston,” “New York,” and “Philadelphia,” it might be a little annoying. (Then again, Americans are narcissistic enough to think of it as a compliment, so IDK.) Klaus Kjoller, of the University of Copenhagen, discovered that Ikea had named foot-wiping items after Danish towns, concluding this was an insult because, rationally, “Doormats and runners, as well as inexpensive wall-to-wall carpeting, are third-class, if not seventh-class, items when it comes to home furnishings.” Burn!
Charlotte Lindgren, an Ikea spokesperson, responded by explaining that, even if this HAD been a thing Ikea had done intentionally, which it totally wasn’t so stop alleging it was, it’s a compliment! “These critics appear to greatly underestimate the importance of floor coverings. They are fundamental elements of furnishing. We draw worldwide attention to Danish place names with our products. That has to be a positive thing.” Snap!
So, today, give thanks for Sten – for fighting for Sweden’s independence, and for insuring that one of the world’s largest, most confusing meatball-and-furniture companies can foment mild diplomatic spats with their rugs. Skål!