A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen

Scandinavian style is a seamless blend of tradition and modernity, respecting the old but adding just the right amount of cool. Viktoria Månström has it down to a fine art, and has quickly become a leading Scandinavian designer.

A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Designer Viktoria Månström and one of her Anna Viktoria products.

Reindeer and elk play beloved roles Swedish culture and heritage. And while taking them into your home may sound a bit extreme, Viktoria Månström, the designer behind Swedish home décor brand Anna Viktoria, has made it possible.

”Everything I design has a Scandinavian touch and a modern design built upon Swedish tradition,” Månström says. “I take the past and traditions of Sweden and bring them into the present.”

In other words, Månström designs coffee cups, kitchen trays, bowls, bottle openers, kitchen towels, key rings, and everything else you could possibly want to help bring a bit of Sweden into your home. 

And they’re covered in modern Swedish art, of course.

“I actually started with the Dala horse. I come from Dalarna so it felt like the right place to begin.”

While the Dala horse is a classic Swedish symbol, Månström’s version is a perfect example of contemporary Scandinavian design – clean, simple, modern and unique, mixing colours and patterns in an innovative way without looking too “busy”.

ou can buy Anna Viktoria's striped Dala horse here at The Local Brands

Månström’s knack for design was hardly unexpected.

“It’s been inside me for a very long time,” Månström tells The Local. “My grandmother made tapestries and my grandfather was a carpenter, so the tradition of craftwork was always there. They gave me a passion for colour and design. It came naturally.”

The company Anna Viktoria was born after Månström did a few designs for a friend. She then started participating in fairs and visiting tourist agencies, where she discovered the seed of a market for exactly what she was making: tradition meets modern design.

“It was tough at first,” Månström recalls. “I was a little ahead of my time, I think. But once things got going, they really got going.”

lick here to shop for items from Anna Viktoria

Now living in Jämtland in western Sweden, Månström has become a favourite of home decorators across the country, featuring in various home magazines and publications. She sells her products under the name “A Touch of Scandinavia” – and everything is both practical and chic.

”My products are truly Scandinavian; products that convey Sweden. And they also last. They’re items you can really use in everyday life.”

Purchase Anna Viktoria products at The Local Brands


Here are the German cities where drivers spend most time stuck in traffic

No-one enjoys getting stuck in a Stau — a traffic jam. And sadly, the scourge of congestion is particularly bad in some German cities. Here are the worst spots.

Here are the German cities where drivers spend most time stuck in traffic
A traffic jam in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Drivers in Hamburg waste 113 hours — that's the equivalent of nearly five days — a year stuck in traffic.

That’s according to the findings of new research by navigation giant TomTom which found the Hanseatic city to be the traffic jam capital of Deutschland, reported Spiegel on Tuesday.

Next in the ranking of German cities where motorists lose the most time stuck in traffic is Berlin, followed by Nuremberg and then Bremen.

SEE ALSO: Record 745,000 traffic jams on Germany's Autobahn last year

Stuttgart follows in fifth place before Munich, Bonn, Frankfurt am Main, Dresden and, in tenth place, Cologne. 

The data, which was collected throughout 2018, came from navigation devices (fixed in cars), and other sources such as navigation software on iPhones.

Although not every car is covered in the findings, according to TomTom, the large amount of data gathered means it’s possible to provide an accurate picture of the traffic situation across Germany.

The ranking depends on the traffic jam level (Staulevel), which shows the additional travel time in percent.

If the congestion level is 33 percent on a route that takes 60 minutes without traffic jams, for example, then the travel time increases to just under 80 minutes.

READ ALSO: What can Germany do to improve its Autobahn?

Building sites result in traffic jams

Temporary projects such as major construction sites and diversions are included in the study — affected cities may perform worse in one year and significantly better in the next because of these variables.

In 2018, Hamburg reached a traffic jam level of 33 percent — one percentage point more than in the previous year. As a result, motorists in Hamburg lost on average 113 hours a year in traffic jams or congestion. 

In the morning, the average weekly congestion level was as high as 54 percent, and 59 percent in the evening. A trip that lasts 30 minutes in Hamburg without traffic disruptions takes 46 minutes in the morning and 48 minutes in the evening. Traffic was particularly slow on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

The situation is slightly different in Berlin, which ranks second in the list and has a congestion level of 31 percent.

The busiest times in the capital are Thursday evening and Friday, just before the start of the weekend.

In total, commuters lost 103 hours a year in 2018 — the equivalent to just over four days — stuck in traffic jams. Another study recently identified Berlin as the traffic jam capital of Germany.

Big events intensify travel chaos

The TomTom study also showed how individual events can influence the volume of traffic.

Tuesday, November 13th last year was the day with the highest traffic congestion in Berlin, with a traffic jam level of 51 percent.  This was due to adverse weather conditions — as well as a concert by the Irish rock band U2 who performed in front of thousands of fans at the Mercedes Benz arena. 

U2's Bono during a concert in Hamburg. Big events in cities can result in more traffic jams. Photo: DPA

Traffic disruption in Munich was two percentage points higher than in the previous year (now 30 percent). The average traffic jam congestion level there was 55 percent in the morning and 58 percent in the evening.

Munich commuters lost 113 hours in traffic over the year — as much as in Hamburg, but the intensity was lower.

The growing traffic is also related to the real estate boom. Cities where the rent per square meter is high or has risen sharply in recent years are among the leaders in the congestion ranking.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about getting a German driving license

Study authors said that rising rents mean workers are pushed out of cities and therefore have to commute longer distances to get to work. As the number of commuters grows, so does the traffic jams. 

The four cities with the highest prices per square metre (Munich, Frankfurt am Main, Stuttgart and Berlin) are among the top five in the traffic index.

According to TomTom, the traffic patterns in these cities showed a very high volume of traffic in the mornings and evenings, especially on entry and exit roads as well as ring roads.