IKEA made its way into American hearts long ago with inexpensive furniture for dorms and early apartments, a playground of theoretical houses to explore in its expansive exhibition halls, dumpling lunches from Swedish meat and lingonberry sauce in its cafeterias and, perhaps better yet, inspiring countless laughs from distraught shoppers trying to pronounce deliciously Swedish product names. But one thing he didn’t necessarily inspire were visits to real Sweden. Visit Sweden, the motherland’s national tourism board, hopes to change that.
With a new ‘Discover the Originals’ campaign, the country is taking advantage of IKEA’s unique naming strategy, hoping to attract visitors to places that have unintentionally given their names to flat-packaged products because, it turns out, the names are real and often based on locations. In fact, Ingvar Kamprad, founder and original naming strategist of the colossal shopping brand, says the names are anything but random: the chairs and sofas are named after Swedish towns and cities, the bathroom products are named after the name of Swedish Lakes, and the charming logic continues throughout the catalog. As Visit Sweden attempts to turn some of the IKEA love from the United States to the Nordic nation itself with this quirky campaign, some places have gone even further. Bolmen, both a Swedish lake and an IKEA toilet brush, has adopted the official slogan âBolmen â More than an IKEA toilet brushâ.
The campaign is more than just a gadget, offering useful tourist details, maps to additional attractions and events near the included destinations. A total of 21 Swedish localities joined in the fun. Here is a small sample.
As mentioned, IKEA’s Bolman toilet brush is named after Lake Bolmen, located in southern Sweden SmÃ¥land, which you may also recognize as the name of the IKEA children’s playground. The enormous lake is full of beaches leading to crystal-clear water clean enough to drink (at least some say) and teeming with freshwater fish that attract anglers. Swimming and kayaking are also popular here, and it’s surrounded by a nature reserve that protects both its wildlife and its environment.
The IKEA HÃ¶ljes lamp was named for a small town near the Norwegian border. This municipality of less than 100 people doesn’t often catch the attention of international tourists, but there is an annual rallycross event that brings visitors to VÃ¤rmland County every summer. Those who prefer to travel a bit slower might opt ââfor a traditional float down the KlarÃ¤lven River on a wooden raft, crossing HÃ¶ljes on the way to the border.
Lending its name to an IKEA gaming chair, JÃ¤rvfjÃ¤llet is about as far as it gets from a hip VR life. Located in the northern region of Swedish Lapland, the region is best known as a natural paradise for winter recreation, from snow sports by day to hunting for the mystical Northern Lights by night. Leave your electronics behind when you visit JÃ¤rvfjÃ¤llet.
Also present in Swedish Lapland, Kallax is both a coastal village and the name of an IKEA shelf. While IKEA’s Kallax fits pretty much anywhere with its neutral, unassuming design, Sweden’s Kallax may only appeal to more specific tastes. The biggest event in the region takes place in LuleÃ¥, the nearby small town which hosts a Fermented Herring Festival every August, with a VIP guest list. Perhaps most noticeable during this event is the notorious “aroma” of the fermented herring, so be prepared.
With a more universal appeal and all-season offerings for tourists, Toftan is both a lake and a town in central Sweden. It is also the name of a bathroom trash can at IKEA. In addition to summer and winter activities on the lake surrounding Toftan’s famous rust-red houses, there is a strong arts and interior design scene in neighboring Sundborn. And if you’re looking for the best places to celebrate Midsummer’s Day in Sweden, you’ll find them here in Dalarna County.