One of the swapped signs in Strömstad. Photo: Jenny Åslund
The island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea is currently the only region in Sweden to which Norwegians are allowed to travel for leisure purposes under the new rules for travel in the Nordics introduced last week.
On Thursday morning signs popped up where the name Strömstad had been replaced with the name and anchor symbol of Gotland, while mock-ups of ordinary municipal road signs had also been changed to read “Gotland”.
“Now the Norwegians who come can take a photo of themselves next to the sign and send it home as evidence,” Torbjörn Hallström, from the town's sign company Texthuset told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
He said his friends had come up with the idea, but it had been his company who enacted the stunt.
“It was me and my son who did it,” he admitted. “When this thing with Gotland happened, a mate said 'you should get some signs up', but I thought I couldn't really do that. But then someone else came and said more or less the same thing, so this morning we just went and did it!”
Strömstad's economy is heavily dependent on Norwegians driving across the border to stock up on sweets, snus tobacco, alcohol, and other goods which are cheaper than in Norway.
Kent Hansson, a country councillor told SVT that he thought the stunt was “fantastically funny”.
“It's probably significantly safer for Norwegians to go to Strömstad than to go to Gotland. We've got hardly any Covid-19 here at all,” he said.