The predominance of heavy labouring jobs in the north of Sweden has produced a gender imbalance here – around three men to every woman (a fact which also explains the ridiculously macho behaviour that seems to prevail in these parts). So, to celebrate the village’s four-hundredth anniversary in 1987, the local council in Pajala placed advertisements in the national papers inviting women from the south of the country up to Lapland to take part in the birthday festivities. Journalists outside Sweden soon heard of the ads, and articles about the unusual invitation began to appear in newspapers across Europe. Before long, busloads of women from all over the continent were heading for the village. The anniversary festivities proved to be a drunken, debauched bash that tiny Pajala wouldn’t forget in a long time, but they did help to redress the gender problem: dozens of East European women lost their hearts to gruff Swedish lumberjacks, and began new lives north of the Arctic Circle. Naturally a succession of winters spent in darkness and in temperatures of -25°C takes its toll and some women have already left; to date, though, about thirty have stayed the course.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

So gloomy they named it goth? Not in the slightest. This town can certainly do black-eyeliner bleak with the best of them – anywhere with docklands can, and G…

12 Oct 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

31 Mar 2017 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook