Swedish Traditions: Valborg

Celebrating the arrival of spring!

Many of our students experience Sweden for the first time here at SSHL. Valborg is one of the many Swedish traditions that SSHL celebrates to give our students a Swedish experience.

Valborgsmässoafton, mostly called Valborg is known in English as Walpurgis Night and is an important Swedish tradition marking the beginning of spring and all the tasks associated with spring.

At Valborg there are often songs,  poems and speeches all related to celebrating the arrival of spring! Enjoy the video from today’s celebration!

Bonfires have been an important part of the tradition since the early 18th century. In a rural country like Sweden, Valborg would often be the day when farm animals were let out of the barns for the first time.  The superstitious reasoning for lighting bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) is to keep witches and evil spirits away.  A far more practical reason for lighting bonfires on this day is to scare away winter-starved predators while disposing of the leaves and brush cleared away during spring cleaning.

Fifty days until graduation!

Photo albums: 50-dagars 2019

This past Tuesday saw SSHL celebrating “50-dagars”, a much-loved tradition where the graduating students celebrate that there are only 50 days left until graduation. They also receive their Abiturient-caps 50 days before graduation which traditionally signifies that they are eligible candidates to receive a high school diploma this year.  The tradition begins on the steps to Midgåren where the boarding houses each perform a skit or show of some kind often ending in a traditional chant about only having 50 days left until graduation.

Afther the shows are over the graduating students all march down to the rose garden at our neighboring sister organization, the Sigtuna Foundation, where they toss a coin in the wishing well. The students then proceed to march through the town of Sigtuna.

The march returns to the steps at Midgården where the students receive their Abiturient-caps resulting in smiles all round.
After receiving their caps the graduating students all change for dinner in order to end the day with the yearly ARCU gala organized by the student organization “Arcu et Fidibus”

While the graduating students were seated for dinner the younger students  were treated to hot-dogs while they waited patiently for the big gala event. After dinner younger students, staff and many parents fill the Aula for an exciting gala event where prizes are given out to students in a multitude of categories.

Teacher of the year 2019

Congratulations to our teacher Helle Olander for winning the municipal teacher of the year award!

Representatives from Sigtuna Municipality surprised Helle at yesterday’s pin ceremony with the municipal teacher of the year award.

We had multiple teachers nominated this year, and we are equally proud and grateful of all of them for all their hard work!

This is the third year running that one of our teachers win this coveted award. Last year we congratulated Catarina Arnell around this time of the year. See an interview with her here (Swedish):

Stefan Eriksson won the award in 2017:

End of term ceremony and speech from the principal

This morning’s end of term ceremony was spellbinding with 800 garden torches lit all over campus, beautiful musical performances and a farewell speech from the principal. Enjoy some footage from this mornings ceremony and read Principal Carina Nilsson’s speech here.

Dear Students.
The autumn term is now over and you are all about to go on a well deserved Christmas break, but first I’d like to say goodbye and send you off with these few words.

Most of you will receive Christmas presents or some other form of gifts during the holiday season. I would like to ask you to take a minute to reflect on the gift you are given here at SSHL. The gift of education lasts a lifetime. You may not open your gift this Christmas, you may not open it for many years but that is what school is about. We give you a gift which contains keys, keys that will prove useful to you in the years to come when you face new challenges. These keys help you open doors to new worlds and here you will receive tools you need to understand concepts which were previously incomprehensible to you. Keys which lead to the magical world of chemistry, to the worlds of mathematics and language. What’s more, at SSHL you are also given the keys to navigate social life and become good humanists.

When you come home this Christmas and your parenst ask you “What have you learned this term?” most of you will find it difficult to articulate an answer. The first time I realized how difficult this can be to articulate was when I was serving an internship for my teaching degree. As a 21-year-old intern, I stood in front of 25 students in a 7th grade humanities class when it suddenly hit me, “as a future teacher it is now my turn to pass on knowledge to the next generation”. This wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support I received during my school years, without all the teachers who spent time and effort on my development ensuring I receive the education necessary to become a knowledgeable member of society. When I got home that evening, I wrote a letter to the school that I had attended, Strinneskolan in Bjärtrå, thanking my teachers for the gift they’d given me through the years.

But it is not only the school I attended that I would like to thank, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, all the wonderful students here at SSHL.
Thank you to all boarding students for the lovely dinners we’ve shared this autumn.
Thank you to the day students for giving the school a genuine connection with the surrounding community.
Thank you Student Council for our great collaboration.
Thank you students for brightening my days and greeting me so happily.
Thank you student organisations for your work.
Thank you everyone who has represented the school at various events.
Thank you everyone who has been brave enough to seek me out to address difficult matters.
Thank you everyone who has spoken their mind.
Thank you everyone who spreads joy around themselves.
Thank you for all your hard work this autumn term.
Thank you all for making this school so fantastic.

Take your time this holiday break to reflect over who you’d like to thank. Maybe it is your teachers/houseparents who have the taken the responsibility to equip you with the keys to face future challenges. Don’t forget to articulate your thoughts. The staff does a fantastic job every day here at this school.
I wish you all a well deserved Christmas break and I look forward to seeing you all again on the 8th of January. A warm welcome back, but until then, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

See last week’s magical Lucia procession

Enjoy the video and photo gallery of last week’s Lucia procession below. An image gallery will be added to this post when the images become available.

Boarding school parents travel from all over the world to participate

The Lucia procession at SSHL is one of the most anticipated events of the year and parents travel from all around the world to experience it. This year was no different. Enjoy the beautiful video was made by Gabriel Lundh at Ljudbildsverket.

Swedish Lucia

Lucia is a Swedish holiday celebrated on December 13 and gets its name from the holiday’s main character. In Sweden, this day along with advent marks the start of Christmas celebrations. The Swedish Lucia traditions are a mix of pre-Christian and Christian traditions which have spread throughout the Nordic countries and in some instances outside the Nordics.

Lucia is a saint with origins from Sicily in the roman catholic church. However, contemporary Lucia celebrations in the Nordic countries have little in common with Catholic saint worship.

The word lucia is derived from the latin “lux” meaning light.
source: wikipedia

German studies field trips

One early morning, our year nine German language students took the train to Stockholm to see the “Witnesses” exhibition in the Stockholm House of Culture. The exhibition opened with

German studies field trip.

a lecture by Holocaust survivor Tobias Rawet, after which the students conemplated photographer Mikael Jansson’s portrait exhibit displayed along with quotes on a bare concrete wall. The group continued along the same theme by taking a walk to Raoul Wallenberg’s square in Stockholm city where they followed the street lined with rail and pavement stones from the ghetto of Budapest all the way down to the synagogue.

High school German language students went to see the film “Aus dem Nichts” at a local cinema.

Discussions concerning both events were continued in the classroom. The school’s humanistic core values kept the classroom discussions on point.

We would like to thank the Tysk-Svenska Handelskammaren/German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the financial support that made this trip possible.

/Teacher Christina Peters

Report from China

A few weeks ago, Principal Nilsson and Mrs. Nyfelt went on a tour of China to participate in education fairs and devolop and form strategic contacts in the region. Amongst other things they were invited to visit ChonQing Nankai Secondary School.

During their visit Mrs. Nyfelt attempted to play a game of rounders with the Nankai students, much to their amusement. Principal Tian and his leadership were most gracious hosts and we are grateful for their hospitality.

We are truly grateful for for the opportunity to exchange ideas about educational development with a leading edge school like Nankai Secondary School, says Principal Carina Nilsson.


Visit SSHL at Stockholmsmässan, November 22-24, booth: C14:01


SSHL is attending the Gymnaseiemässa greater Stockholm High School exhibition at the Stockholmsmässan the 22-24 November. This is an opportunity to get to know the school a little better, meet students and teacher and get a chance to ask some questions.

Welcome to booth C14:01

Opening hours:
Thursday 2018-11-22 09.00-17.00
Friday 2018-11-23 09.00-16.00
Saturday 2018-11-24 09.00-16.00


Marbella & Mallorca

Get to know SSHL in Spain.

Individual meetings in Spain can be arranged directly with SSHL’s representatives.


the Swedish School (Svenska Skolan) 14.00
Principal Carina Nilsson will meet with the school leadership.

Principal Nilsson is also available to meet interested families.

Book individual meetings by contacting Principal Nilssaln at  carina.nilsson@sshl.se.

15 November MARBELLA

SWEA Exhibition, H10 Andalucia Plaza, 17.00-20.00
House parents Johanna Flink and Ola Olssson will be at theSWEA exhibition at the Andalucia Plaza. to provide information to interested parties.

Book individual meetings by contacting  johanna.flink@sshl.se

Welcome to Open House 28 November 2018


This Open House is for students and families looking for more information about the last three years of high school.

times: 18.00 – 20.00
Information and presentation in Instan (white building, see below).

Teachers, students and student organisations answer questions and give out information in the lobby of Instan all evening.

Coffee and tea will be served at Café Humlan all evening.
18.30 Presentation in Gradängsalen (in Instan)
18.45 First Guided tour of the school campus, bulding and boarding houses.
20.00 Open House closes.

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