Sweden Reclaims Names of Scenic Locations from IKEA

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What does a toilet brush and a beautiful Swedish lake have in common? They both share the same name, but for years Bolmen has been better known as a toilet brush sold by global furniture giant IKEA, INSTEAD of a picturesque lake in southern Sweden. Sweden is campaigning to reclaim its fantastic locations across the country and help UK travellers discover the Originals. 

From stunning national parks to beautiful buildings, 21 iconic places across Sweden have inspired the names of well-known and loved furniture and household items. However, this has resulted in visitors to the country missing out on experiencing the stunning gems of Sweden as online searches of these iconic spots reveals towels, sofas, and waste bins.

With over two thirds (68%) of travellers seeking a European escape next year[1], Visit Sweden has taken action to reveal the truth behind these often-funny sounding Swedish product names to offer travellers more opportunities to explore the country.

“In Sweden, we are proud of IKEA and in a way, you can say that they helped us make Swedish places world-famous through the names they borrowed for their products. Now we want, with warmth and a twinkle in our eye, to show the originals behind the product names and invite the world to discover the whole of Sweden,” says Nils Persson, Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Sweden.   

With its varied and spectacular natural environment, nearly 270,000 islands and 95,700 lakes, generous Right of Public Access (‘Allemansrätt’), rich culture and long history, Sweden offers a smörgasbord of destinations and memorable experiences. These include everything from Viking monuments to picturesque towns, castles, and silver mines, with activities from white-water rafting to dog sledding, fly-fishing and ice swimming. 

21 Places Reclaimed by Sweden:

  1. Bolmen, a large lake in the Småland region of southern Sweden(toilet brush)
  2. Järvfjället, a mountain in Swedish Lapland (gaming chair)
  3. Extorp, a suburb of Stockholm (sofa)
  4. Skärhamn, a fishing village on the island of Tjörn off the coast of West Sweden (door handle)
  5. Stubbarp, a manor house in the Skåne region of southern Sweden (cabinet legs)
  6. Kallax, a coastal village near Luleå in Swedish Lapland (storage shelf)
  7. Höljes, one of the most sparsely populated areas in Sweden, a forest in the Värmland region (pendant lamp)
  8. Hemsjö, a village in the Blekinge region (block candle)
  9. Toftan, a lake in the Dalarna region (waste bin)
  10. Mästerby, an historical battleground on the island of Gotland  (a step stool)
  11. Voxnan, a river with waterfalls and rapids in the Hälsingland region (shower shelf)
  12. Himleån, ravines in the Halland region (bath towel)
  13. Laxviken, a rural village in the Jämtland Härjedalen region (cabinet door)
  14. Ingatorp, A village where you´ll find one of Sweden’s oldest wooden buildings, in  the  Småland region   (extendable table)
  15. Misterhult, an archipelago of 2,000 islands near Kalmar in the Småland region (a bamboo lamp)
  16. Vrena, a village near the east coast in the Sörmland region (countertop)
  17. Björksta, a village close to the university town of Uppsala (picture with frame)
  18. Norberg, a small town in Västmanland region (folding table)
  19. Askersund, a small town near Örebro in central Sweden (cabinet door)
  20. Rimforsa, a small village in the Östergötland region of east Sweden (work bench)
  21. Bodviken, a mountain lake in the UNESCO World heritage area of the High Coast in northern Sweden (washbasin)

To change perceptions and to help travellers see beyond the household items, Bolmen has launched a new slogan: “Bolmen – more than an IKEA toilet brush” to inspire travel to the stunning lake.

“We do appreciate that IKEA has named a product for our beautiful lake and that Visit Sweden is bringing global attention to this. But now we would like to show the world that Bolmen is so much more than an item with which you clean your toilet. It is an incredibly beautiful place, much loved by us locals. We would like to invite the whole world to spend time in our wonderful, unspoiled natural environment, showing the same care we do and enjoying the crystal-clear water,” says Magnus Gunnarsson, Chair of Smålands Sjörike and municipal council member in Ljungby. 

For more information and inspiration for the 21 reclaimed locations visit: https://visitsweden.com/discover-the-originals/

Five Facts about Sweden:

  • Sweden has nearly 270,000 islands.
  • There are 95,700 lakes.
  • Swedes consume 20 million “Semlor” a year.
  • Sweden has 700,000 summer houses for its 10.2 million population.
  • 99% of Sweden’s waste is recycled.

Did you know Ingvar Kamprad, who founded IKEA, also developed the system for how IKEA names its products. Different product categories are named according to different criteria. Bathroom items such as the Bolmen toilet brush are named after Swedish lakes. Chairs and couches – like Järvfjället and Ektorp – are named after Swedish towns and villages.


Notes to Editors

Download press material here: https://contentbank.visitsweden.com/selection/138d81198b55834e505bd79f77a51a5e  

If you have questions, please contact:  

Steve Robertshaw 

Senior PR Manager, Visit Sweden, London 

Steve.robertshaw@visitsweden.com, t: +44(0)7494 517223

[1] GWI Travel Trends 2022, November 2021

 Steve Robertshaw, Senior PR Manager

Visit Sweden, 5 Upper Montagu St., London, W1H 2AG, UK
+44 (0)7494 517 223

Email: steve.robertshaw@visitsweden.com     Web: www.visitsweden.com      Press Room: https://press-uk.visitsweden.com/     Image Bank: www.imagebank.sweden.se 

About Visit Sweden 
Visit Sweden is the official national Marketing Company of Sweden as a tourist destination. The aim with our destination marketing is to sustainably increase travelling to and within Sweden for holiday purposes. Visit Sweden, represented in six global markets, combine market leading insights and market knowledge with unique PR- and communications expertise. Our company vision is to make Sweden the world leader in sustainable destination marketing. Visit Sweden is owned by the Swedish government. www.visitsweden.com