Intensive work is underway to finalise the organisation of the big IAGG-ER congress on gerontology and geriatrics, which will be held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg in May. Boo Johansson and Marie Kivi are two of the key organisers of the congress.

The planning of The 9th International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Region Congress, abbreviated as IAGG-ER, is in full swing. Boo’s role is Congress President, while Marie, as Deputy General Secretary, has the task of coordinating a complex network. Normally, when they’re not involved in planning the congress, they work at the University of Gothenburg as lecturers and researchers on the subject of ageing. Among other things, they study the effects of ageing on memory, cognitive ability and psychological health.

Inspired by the Nordic congress

Boo Johansson Göteborgs universitet
Boo Johansson. Photo: Johan Wingborg

The process started in 2014 after the 24th Nordic Gerontology Congress was held in Gothenburg. Following the big success of this congress, the idea was hatched of Gothenburg also hosting a European congress.

“That was how it started, as a result of the experiences from the 2014 Nordic Gerontology Congress in Gothenburg. The congress had been a huge success in all respects, and we felt we could do it again,” explains Boo.

AgeCap, the Centre for Ageing and Health at the University of Gothenburg, was also involved in the process. AgeCap had recently been established, and the European congress would serve as a means of promoting the University and everyone involved.

In conjunction with this, the Gothenburg Convention Bureau contacted Boo to ask if he would work on helping to bring the European congress to Gothenburg. Several parties suggested that we host this congress in 2019.

The organisation decided to seek support from the European organisation IAGG-ER. The organisation also contacted PCO MEETX, the meeting organiser that helped to organise the Nordic meeting.

“Things proved more challenging than expected, since all the available funds had been used up by the previous IAGG-ER congress. Finding funding was a challenge right from the outset. One might wonder why we would choose to organise this type of event, given the financial risk. But in academia we’re motivated by other driving forces such as generating opportunities to network with colleagues and promote our research projects,” explains Boo.

IAGG-ER is held every four years. During the 2015 congress, Gothenburg won the hostship in competition with Málaga, which had Antonio Banderas acting as ambassador for his home city. The decision to hold the 2019 congress to Gothenburg was taken at a council meeting, where delegates from all member states and organisations voted on the matter. The organisation succeeded in convincing the council that Gothenburg was the best and most obvious choice for the next congress.

“That was definitely a wonderful acknowledgement. It meant a lot for those of us who were involved, and we also realised how it would benefit AgeCap. We will get exposure far beyond the University of Gothenburg and Sweden. I think we’ve been successful in marketing the congress internationally too. It’s a win-win situation organising this type of meeting,” says Boo.

Marie Kivi
Marie Kivi. Photo: Peter Nilsson

“Since Gothenburg was elected to host the congress, we’ve attended several other international congresses, such as the IAGG World Congress in San Francisco in 2017. We also visited the Nordic meeting in Oslo in 2018 to market the congress in Gothenburg,” says Marie.

Boo and Marie believe the main reason that Gothenburg was chosen to host the IAGG-ER was the success of the Nordic congress in 2014, an experience shared by many of the delegates who voted. Another contributing factor is Scandinavia’s reputation for high quality and good organisation when it comes to meetings and congresses.

“We are very grateful that the congress will be held at a venue like the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. Without this venue, we wouldn’t even have considered holding the event in Gothenburg. One of the venue’s main strengths is its ability to offer a complete range of services including hotel accommodation, meeting rooms and restaurants, right in the city centre. This is a huge competitive advantage we have over other cities,” says Boo, who adds:
“We also appreciate the fact that Göteborg & Co provided initial support and helped produce marketing material for the congress.

Capability in ageing – from cell to society

The congress is about ageing, covering a wide range of aspects such as what happens in our cells and what happens in society as people age. Because of this, many different scientific disciplines will be involved in the congress to cover all aspects of ageing.

“At AgeCap we’ve chosen to emphasise something we call capability: we examine the question of whether people can realise their potential based on what they want to achieve in old age. How do we want to live, and how can we ensure we age well? This is a general theme,” says Boo. He continues:

“In order to age well, our cells have to work well, and so does the social system. This is the theme for the congress: “Capability in ageing – from cell to society”.

Boo points out that with regard to ageing, society often tends to emphasise negative aspects. This manifests in prejudice and discrimination, a phenomenon known as ageism. He believes it is important to ascertain what people’s actual capabilities are later in life, and to challenge actions and attitudes that are based on people’s chronological age rather than on their actual capabilities.

Besides the many parallel sessions held during the three days of IAGG-ER, various activities will take place on open stages during the breaks, where organisations will have the opportunity to present themselves and their work.

“A wide variety of activities will take place on the stages during breaks and at lunchtime. For instance, music will be performed by Margaretakören, a choir where older people and children sing together. There will also be a fashion show presenting fashions for older people. While these things aren’t strictly scientific, they still contribute to the conditions for ageing well,” explains Marie.

In conjunction with IAGG-ER in Gothenburg, a World Council Meeting will be held for the whole international organisation.

“It’s always a challenge holding meetings within meetings,” says Boo. “But in this case it will help us attract participants from all over the world to the scientific programme.

The congress will rely on a large number of voluntary workers for its implementation. Volunteers of all ages, from students to pensioners, will contribute their time and efforts to make the congress as successful as possible. Boo and Marie are confident that the volunteers will also gain many new and valuable experiences from their involvement.

Public activities

Photo from the Årsrika exhibition. Sten with Ludde the dog. Foto: Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin

As during the European Stroke Organisation Conference(ESOC), hosted by Gothenburg in 2018, many additional public activities are being planned outside the congress venue. Årsrika, a photographic exhibition, will be held at Gothenburg City Library. It presents elderly people with different backgrounds and experiences. The photographs illustrate different aspects of people’s lives, telling stories of joy, love, happiness and death. Parts of the exhibition will also be shown in other locations around Gothenburg.

The Carin Mannheimer Award is awarded to emerging scholars affiliated with AgeCap for all types of research on ageing. The award will be conferred during the congress. After the award ceremony, the winners will go to Gothenburg City Library, where they will be presented along with previous years’ winners.

In addition to this, the organisers hope the congress will receive coverage via the press, radio and TV in order to reach a wide public.

Foto från utställningen Årsrika.
Gothenburg residents Iris and Gunvor are pictured in the Årsrika exhibition. Photo: Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin


Nearly 1,300 participants have registered for the congress to date, but this figure is expected to increase. Boo and Marie hope that about 1,500 people will participate. While meetings held in the Nordic region tend to be of high quality in terms of content, logistics and technology, there are many potential obstacles.

“If you look at the expense for the individual participants – the whole package, travel, accommodation etc., it is very costly to take part. Moreover, in this type of broad congress, which covers a wide number of areas, it can be difficult to motivate people since they also need to attend smaller, more specialised meetings in their own area of specialism,” explains Boo.

The organisation would like to see many junior researchers at the congress, as they would benefit enormously from it.

“Of course we offer a discount for pre-PhD researchers. It’s always a challenge to make congresses accessible to junior researchers with limited financial resources, even though it is this generation that will ultimately lead future research. However, a larger number of students have registered for this congress than previously,” says Boo.

Most of the registered participants are from Europe, but there are also participants from South America, USA, Canada and Australia.

“Region Västra Götaland is a partner that has provided a lot of funding and staff for the congress. The congress offers a valuable opportunity for training staff locally,” says Boo.
“The same applies to the City of Gothenburg,” adds Marie. They have an option for participating with 200 staff members, who could benefit greatly from taking part. Based on our planning experience, both of us recommend that Region Västra Götaland and its bordering municipalities take advantage of this type of meeting as a means of offering their staff advanced training, and to encourage local research and development.

– …an amazing congress, the best ever!

When asked what they would like participants to take away with them from the congress, in terms of knowledge, experiences, thoughts and ideas, both Boo and Marie agree:

“We want them to feel it was an amazing congress, the best ever! They should go home with many new ideas and new contacts. They should feel it was well organised,” says Boo.

Marie adds:
“Well organised, good premises, a wonderful city and great content. We have created themed symposia and a scientific conference that tie in with each other. It’s much more inspiring to take part in things that are interrelated, rather than attending isolated activities without a greater context.”

In conclusion, Marie says, “I think this will be a fabulous meeting!”

If you would like to work as a volunteer at the IAGG-ER congress, contact our volunteer coordinator

When the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra recently gave a guest concert at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Gothenburg Convention Bureau took the opportunity to visit Berlin together with staff from the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. Whilst there, they visited several customers and invited strategically important partners to the concert.

Photo: Dick Gillberg/Göteborg & Co

To strengthen relations and promote Gothenburg as a meeting destination, visits were arranged with several professional conference organisers in Berlin. These visits provided an opportunity to present Gothenburg’s strategic plan drawn up in partnership between industry, academia and the city, which will provide a basis for future efforts to promote Gothenburg as a destination for conferences and meetings. The conference organisers were also invited to the concert given by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

“It was extremely valuable for Gothenburg to have this opportunity to invite strategic business partners to hear the Swedish national orchestra, especially in Germany, where there is a long-standing interest in Sweden and Gothenburg. This will strengthen Gothenburg’s position as a meeting destination by proving that we can deliver world-class events,” says Ulrika Scoliège, project manager at the Gothenburg Convention Bureau.

During the concert intermission, Sten Cranner, General Manager and Artistic Director of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, gave the guests an exciting presentation of the orchestra and its history.

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – the Swedish national orchestra

The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra gives about 100 concerts per year. Besides performing at the Gothenburg Concert Hall and touring internationally, the GSO plays every summer at Götaplatsen square during the Gothenburg Culture Festival and in Slottsskogen city park on 6 June, as well as giving guest performances at Vara Concert Hall.

The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Chief Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, pianist Alice Sara Ott and percussionist Martin Grubinger gave guest performances in Stockholm, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Vienna and Salzburg on 16 February–1 March 2019.

With a few days to go before the event of the year in Gothenburg, intense preparations are underway and expectations are high. The Associations World Congress & Expo (AWC) will be held on 7–10 April at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg.

Close to 500 participants are expected to attend the AWC, and everyone involved is hard at work preparing for the congress. The AWC is an annual congress for leaders from international organisations. This event offers great opportunities to showcase the city and its strengths while reinforcing Gothenburg’s position as the ideal city for meetings. Industry press representatives from all over Europe are expected to visit the congress.

First time this year

This will be the first time that the AWC is held in the Nordic region, providing an excellent opportunity to showcase the Nordic market. The Nordic Pavilion is the only place at the Gothenburg congress where this will be done. There are many advantages of participating in the Nordic part of the exhibition. It is an opportunity, on the one hand, to present the best the Nordic region has to offer, and on the other hand to introduce the possibilities of holding future congresses in the Nordic region. The general theme this year is Midsummer, and participants will be invited to social activities with a Nordic touch. There has been enormous interest in the Nordic Pavilion, where all the spaces sold out a long time ago.

Distinguished list of speakers

More than 60 speakers have been booked, including Paul Welander, Senior Vice President Volvo Car Group, and Laura Sprechmann, Deputy CEO Nobel Media. Among other things, participants will learn how public activities organised during the European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) contributed to the conference’s success, and how to effectively promote a scientific conference to the public. This subject will be addressed by speakers Turgut Tatlisumak, Professor of Neurology, and Christian Blomstrand, Senior Professor of Neurology, both from the University of Gothenburg. Guy Bigwood, Director of the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), has long been a leading name in sustainability. In 2015 he started the annual Global Destination Sustainability Index to drive the development of sustainable destinations in the business tourism and events industry. Since 2016, Gothenburg has enjoyed top ranking in the GDS-Index, where the city is rated as the world’s most sustainable destination. Today, over 50 destinations are ranked in the GDS-Index.

List of AWC speakers

Follow this link for more information about the speakers at the AWC:

Those who have registered will be able to follow parts of the congress live online.

Environmentally certified congress

As the world’s most sustainable destination, it is natural that we should set a good example. For this reason, it was decided at an early stage that the AWC would be certified according to the Swedish Environmental Base (Svensk Miljöbas). One of the environmental aspects for gaining the certification is the food that will served to the + 400 participants. A large proportion of the food will be made with organic and locally produced ingredients, and only vegetarian meals will be served on one of the congress days. Great efforts are also being made to minimise food wastage at the congress. Moreover, each participant will be provided with a water bottle and encouraged to drink tap water.

Destination Day

After the conference, participants will be invited to remain in Gothenburg for an extra day to explore more of the city. Participants who stay on for this Destination Day will learn more about Gothenburg and its strengths, for instance how Gothenburg works to attract conferences and meetings, and about the city’s strong partnerships in the field of research and development.
AstraZeneca and Lindholmen Science Park are two of the places that participants will visit during Destination Day.

AstraZeneca och Lindholmen Science Park
Photo: AstraZeneca och Lindholmen Science Park


The Associations World Congress & Expo is an annual international congress for managers and decision makers in strategically important congress organisations. This is the first time the congress will be held in the Nordic region.

Associations World Congress & Expo Logo

You are invited to Sweden’s first beer week on 5–13 April! How about a tour on a Paddan canal boat, stopping at various breweries along the way? Or walking the dog from the Beerbliotek to Brewdog breweries? Or enjoying an IPA session, tap-room party or beer crawl in central Gothenburg? The possibilities are almost endless.

Photo: Peter Bergqvist

Gothenburg is often called the beer capital of Sweden. And for good reason. The number of breweries has rocketed in Gothenburg and the surrounding area. The highpoint is GBG Beer Week, which was the idea of Petur Olafsson and Fredrik Berggren and is about to take place for the fifth year in a row.

“The aim of GBG Beer Week is to make the city’s beer culture thrive and grow even stronger. For one brilliant week in April we celebrate the diversity of Sweden’s rejuvenated beer culture,” says Petur Olafsson.

Every brewery has a place at GBG Beer Week: small or large, local or international, broad in appeal or specialist.

“Together we have set in motion a series of events, arranged by breweries, importers, restaurants, pubs and associations, that get the whole city fizzing with refreshing experiences. The culmination is A Beer & Whisky Fair, a two-day event that attracts over 23,500 visitors,” continues Fredrik Berggren.

So why has Gothenburg become the Swedish beer capital?
“Gothenburg has always been a beer city with a proud history of brewing. That tradition continues today, in a unique cooperative spirit as new and established breweries help and encourage each other. Many of these breweries are leading the way internationally, in quality, innovation and ambition,” says Petur Olafsson.

By the way, it is probably not so strange that Gothenburg should be called Sweden’s beer capital. As reported in the regional newspaper, Göteborgs-Posten, in February, two 400-year-old beer taps were unearthed during the construction of the Västlänken rail link in the area around Skansen Lejonet. Beer taps like these were originally used to serve beer from barrels. In those days the people of Gothenburg brewed and drank a lot of beer. A tradition that the people of Gothenburg still hold close to their hearts!

To find out more about Gothenburg’s microbreweries:

GBG Beer Week, 5–13 April:

A Beer & Whisky Fair, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, 12–13 April:


The first CapitalOnBoard one-day event was held in March. CapitalOnBoard provides an arena for forging connections between West Swedish start-ups and national investors on a return trip to Fredrikshamn on the Stena Danica ferry. A successful event with 150 participants and over 300 pre-booked meetings.

Lectures on the Stena Danica. Photo: CapitalOnBoard

On the morning of 12 March, 150 expectant participants gathered in the departure lounge for breakfast and registration before boarding the Stena Danica ferry. During the trip, they had the opportunity to network with West Swedish and national investors. The day also offered inspiring lectures, panel debates, business pitches and over 300 pre-booked one-to-one meetings.

“Our vision was to create a new networking arena for start-ups, investors and industry stakeholders. We knew the demand was there, and after carrying out the first CapitalOnBoard event, we have received highly positive feedback and immediate requests for the next event. The participants were partially isolated from the outside world during the day. This encouraged them to focus completely on each other, which we believe resulted in even more new meetings and future relations. We now have clear proof that there is a need for this type of arena. We look forward to developing the concept and following up on the effects of the first event,” says Alexandra Björk, organiser of CapitalOnBoard.

The event was organised by Peter Kurzwelly and Alexandra Björk, who both have extensive experience of start-ups and the innovation system. They wanted to avoid the classic conference venue scenario where participants can come and go as they please. This lead to the idea of holding the event at sea, in true Gothenburg spirit.

“We have plenty of excellent businesses in West Sweden, but there is a lack of capital. In light of this, we wanted to connect capital with start-ups and promote future relations with investors,” explains Peter Kurzwelly, organiser of CapitalOnBoard.

CapitalOnBoard is organised in partnership with Region Västra Götaland, Venture Cup, Business Region Göteborg, Chalmers Ventures, GU Ventures, Delphi, Fabbelito and Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group.

For more information on CapitalOnBoard:

On 19 March, the park Jubileumsparken in Frihamnen harbour won the Siena Prize, which is awarded by Architects Sweden for Sweden’s best landscape architecture project. In the Jury Statement, Jubileumsparken was lauded as an inspiring example of citizen-powered urban development and innovative sustainability.

The sauna in the park Jubileumsparken, Frihamnen. Photo: Beatrice Törnros/Göteborg & Co.

“The Siena Prize is a prestigious architectural award. It is particularly exciting that Jubileumsparken won because this is such a special urban development project. We worked with the Passalen community association to create a meeting place for everybody which is operated, designed and managed by young people,” comments Jessica Segerlund, Älvstranden Utveckling.

Jubileumsparken is being built in response to residents’ requests for more green spaces and better access to the water, to mark Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary. The first phase of Jubileumsparken will be completed in time for Gothenburg’s anniversary in 2021, and today the park already boasts a sauna, a fresh water swimming pool next to Göta Älv river, a small salt water pool, a sailing school, a playground, a roller derby track, raised planting beds, test cultivations, a café and more.

Jubileumsparken is run via a community partnership where young people from all areas of Gothenburg are employed to operate and develop a meeting place for everyone. Last year the park attracted over 80,000 visitors.

“Winning the Siena Prize will not only publicise Jubileumsparken among Gothenburg residents and visitors, but also means our partnership will leave an imprint in the industry,” comments Kristoffer Nilsson, process leader, City Planning Administration.

Siena Prize 2018
The Siena Prize was established in 1987 to promote good outdoor environments. The Prize is awarded to a work and its architect. The Prize was presented at the Architecture Gala in Stockholm on 19 March 2019. What the Jury said: “It goes without saying that a municipal park should be built in partnership with local residents and in harmony with local conditions. This project demonstrates the importance of letting more people have a say in urban planning, and of promoting local communities. When an industrial wharf is transformed into a park, the landscape architecture becomes an engine for change, social inclusion and emerging local economies. The winner is an inspiring example of citizen-powered urban development and an innovative approach to the concept of sustainability.” Read more about the prize on

Jubileumsparken in Frihamnen
The Siena Prize is one of several nominations and awards earned by Jubileumsparken since 2014. The Park won the architecture prize of Architects Sweden Västra Götaland in 2014 and was nominated for the Kasper Sahlin Prize in 2015. The development of Frihamnen, in which  Jubileumsparken is located, won the Urban Planning Prize in 2016. Jubileumsparken is being developed in a partnership between the Parks and Landscapes Administration, the City Planning Administration and Älvstranden Utveckling, and is one of the initiatives to mark Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary in 2021. So far, the Park has been built according to a strategic urban development method and is part of the local development plan. The construction site was opened at an early stage and provides a convergence point between vision, plan and implementation.

For 40 years, Gothenburg’s large hotels have been engaged in a unique partnership in which competitors team up to attract more visitors to Gothenburg. Today, the Association of Large Hotels is comprised of Gothenburg’s 23 largest hotels and is working more actively than ever.

Kristian Andreasson and Alice von Geijer

Kristian Andreasson is Regional Manager for Scandic Hotels in western Sweden, while Alice von Geijer is Hotel Director of Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel. But they are also colleagues, acting respectively as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Association of Large Hotels, Gothenburg.

“The association works together to promote travel to Gothenburg and develop reasons for visits and overnight stays. We collaborate up to the point where a visitor decides to visit Gothenburg, which benefits all of us,” explains Kristian.

“Of course we’re competitors, but we’re also colleagues with similar jobs. Together we address many ideas and issues of common concern, such as skills provision and how to ensure that Gothenburg and our industry continue to evolve and remain at the cutting edge. We maintain a high level of integrity and are good at keeping our roles separate,” says Alice.

The Association of Large Hotels, Gothenburg, was founded in 1980 as a non-profit association. Back then, far fewer hotels met the membership criterion of having over 100 hotel rooms. Today there are 23 member hotels with approximately 7,000 hotel rooms and 4,500 employees between them. Gothenburg also has an association for smaller hotels: the Association of Gothenburg Hotels.

Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel at Lindholmen. Caption: Per Pixel Petersson/Göteborg & Co

Both associations participate actively in Göteborg & Co’s efforts to attract meetings and events and grow Gothenburg as a destination.

“Our partnership allows us to discuss matters at a different level than is usually possible. For this to work, it is necessary to have Göteborg & Co as a coordinating link. Everyone knows they are a neutral party with no profit-making interest,” says Kristian.

This working model allows all the hotels to be involved at an early stage in Gothenburg’s efforts to attract large scientific conferences or events. For an organiser, it is easier to have one point of contact for all hotels than contacting each hotel separately, as is common in other cities.

“We want it to be simple to do business with Gothenburg, and this method works well. The partnership is unique and causes some degree of envy in Stockholm and Malmö,” says Alice.

The business plan of the Association of Large Hotels comprises four focus areas: Cooperation, Accessibility, Safety and Skills Provision. The association deals with issues such as developing reasons for visiting Gothenburg, making the city more accessible, and conducting marketing and training.

Examples of projects supported by the hotels include Autumn City and Halloween at Liseberg, the Volvo Ocean Race, and supplementary events in conjunction with major events. Other matters dealt with by the partnership include common safety and environmental certification and attracting conferences and events to the city.

“Major conferences and events are extremely important: they bring many guests to our hotels and promote a positive image of the city. The visitors are often hugely impressed,” says Kristian.

Several new hotels are being planned in Gothenburg. There is a strong will to invest, and Gothenburg will have about 4,000 new hotel rooms by the second half of the 2020s. This is over 30 per cent more than today. Meanwhile, housing and workplaces are being built at a rate not seen in Gothenburg for many years.

“The whole city will grow, and this expansion benefits Gothenburg. Another of our aims is to actively develop new reasons for visiting. We in the hotel industry feel a need to participate and contribute in this respect,” explains Alice.

Another role of the Association of Large Hotels is to collaborate with decision-makers over urban planning and development. A hotel contributes to a lively urban environment by attracting a flow of visitors and residents. Staycations are becoming increasingly popular. This is a form of tourism where residents or visitors from the region treat themselves to a weekend in a hotel rather than travelling further afield.

“The initiatives we support and develop should also benefit Gothenburg’s residents. We want Gothenburg to be a great city to live in, both now and in the future,” says Kristian.

The Knowledge and Enlightenment focus year is part of Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary celebrations. During the year, central focus will be given to education, research and skills provision, providing a common platform for stakeholders to work from. We met Eva Henricsson from Göteborg & Co’s Trade & Industry Group, process leader for the focus year.

Eva Henricsson Photo: Peter Kvarnström, Göteborg & Co

Hello Eva. Tell us about yourself.

I am the process leader for the Knowledge and Enlightenment focus year as part of Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary, and have long experience of working for Gothenburg, a City of Knowledge. I work in Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group, a platform for collaboration between trade & industry, organisations, municipal and regional administrations and academia, which is aimed at making Gothenburg even more competitive and attractive.

I was born and grew up in Gothenburg. I have always been strongly involved in the city’s development and see great opportunities in the coming year.

The big kick-off meeting for Knowledge and Enlightenment was held on 22 January. How did the meeting go and did it meet your expectations?

The ambition for 2019 is to utilise experiences from previous focus years while continuing to involve the whole city in the anniversary celebrations. Approximately 70 people from administrations, businesses, academia, regional bodies, Science Parks, companies, foundations and associations attended the kick-off meeting to gain inspiration and find out how their organisations can participate in the focus theme.

Also attending the meeting was the youth reference group, which was formed to bring a young perspective to Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary celebrations. With such a large number and variety of participants, the meeting provided excellent opportunities for networking and exchange. Another purpose of the meeting was to offer inspiration by presenting various activities planned for 2019. I hope that even more people will get involved and carry out concrete activities during the year.

What will happen during the year and what milestones can we look forward to?

A large number of events will take place during the year. It all kicked off with International Mother Language Day on 25 February, organised by the City of Gothenburg’s Language Centre. Next in line is the Gothenburg International Science Festival on 1–12 April with the theme “Astonishing thought”, followed by Future Skills, the region’s largest vocational meeting place for high school students, on 8–10 October. Several historical events will also be highlighted during 2019. The Space Week on 14–22 September will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, which means that children will be an important target group. Our ambition is for the initiatives to continue after 2019, so 2021 will be an important milestone for showcasing the work carried out.

What is the most exciting aspect of Knowledge and Enlightenment, and what challenges do you expect it to pose?

What’s most exciting is the large number of people who regard the theme and the focus year as highly relevant and want to contribute to making Gothenburg an even better city. My challenge will be finding the time to gather together everyone’s excellent ideas. I see great opportunities in the year ahead!


The fair Skarpt Läge set a new visitor record with 1831 participants attending the job fair at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Center. The purpose of the fair is to create work opportunities for young adults.

Photo: Fredrik Karlsson/Skarpt Läge

– We can only say that it was a success with the 1831 visitors, Fredrik Karlsson Chairman of the association Skarpt Läge says.

On Friday February 22, Skarpt Läge set a record in the number of participants who attended the job fair at the Swedish Exhibition Center in Gothenburg. The previous record was 1147 visitors. For the sixth year in a row, young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 were matched with companies that were able to offer jobs on site. There were 46 exhibitors who represented 64 different workplaces and approximately 1100 work opportunities were available.

– It was magic! Says Eva Dunér, owner operator at four Mc Donald’s restaurants in Gothenburg.

Last year, 143 young adults from Gothenburg, were employed during the three-hour job fair. During the coming weeks, a follow-up will be done with all exhibitors to find out how many jobs were created at the fair, but it has been confirmed that at least one person was offered a job at site. Among the exhibitors were major companies like Mc Donald’s, Gothia Towers and the Swedish Tax Agency.

The fair is built on a partnership between the Trade & Industry Group at Göteborg & Co, Team Göteborg, Gothia Towers / Swedish Exhibition & Congress Center, the Swedish Public Employment Service, Visita and the association Skarpt Läge.

This year’s Junior Achievement fair was held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg on 11 March, with the theme Entrepreneurship for Real. Young Enterprise offers high school students the opportunity to start and run an enterprise over an academic year. High engagement and commitment marked this year’s fair, where the trend for social and sustainable enterprise was strongly in evidence. The winner of JA Company of the Year 2019 was announced at the end of the awards ceremony in the big congress hall.

Worth UF – Winner of JA Company of the Year 2019 Photo: Junior Achievement Gothenburg

1,300 high school students from 340 JA companies exhibited and marketed their products and services at the Junior Achievement fair.

“It’s wonderful that 1,300 students took the opportunity to exhibit at this year’s JA fair. This year it was particularly exciting to note an increase in students’ awareness and knowledge about sustainable enterprise, which was clearly evident in their business ideas. General interest in young enterprise continues to increase. The number of students running JA companies in the region rose again this year, and it is wonderful to see the strong encouragement given to young enterprise in schools,” comments Johan Sandahl, Regional Manager, Junior Achievement Gothenburg.

Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group is a partner of Junior Achievement and also hosts the prestigious JA Company of the Year competition. The gold medal was awarded to Worth UF from NTI Gymnasiet Kronhusgatan high school, for creating a mindfulness colouring book on the theme of body positivity. The award was presented by Kristin Mari Riera, project leader, Göteborg & Co’s Trade & Industry Group. The Jury Statement was as follows:

“The winner has come up with a creative and innovative solution to a current social problem. These young entrepreneurs have pooled their resources to make a difference to others and challenge unhealthy norms. Their drive and business competence show strong potential for future success, both in Sweden and internationally. We are all impressed by your shared courage, and consider you a highly WORTHY winner of the JA Company of the Year competition.”

“It’s absolute magic to feel the infectious energy and innovative spirit of the 1,300 young exhibitors at the fair. In addition to presenting creative and sustainable business ideas, this year’s Junior Achievement fair also plays a key role in promoting present and future enterprise. It’s an honour to congratulate Worth UF, the worthy winner of JA Company of the Year 2019, for addressing an important social problem and contributing to a healthier approach to body positivity in society,” comments Kristin Mari Riera, project manager, Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group.

Young Enterprise (Ung Företagsamhet) is a non-profit, apolitical education organisation which has been teaching entrepreneurial and business skills to high school students since 1980 through JA programmes.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Association has announced that they intend to start the final negotiations with the City of Gothenburg regarding the World Junior Championship in ice hockey in 2022. The plan is that the championship will take place in Scandinavium and Frölundaborg on December 26, 2021 – January 5, 2022.

Scandinavium. Photo: Jorma Valkonen

– We are very happy and proud of the possibility that such a large international event as the World Junior Championship in ice hockey will come to Gothenburg. The event will also be a fantastic display window for the conclusion of Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary in 2021, says Magnus Hallberg, Managing Director Events at Göteborg & Co.

The World Junior Championship in Ice Hockey has grown into a very popular event that attracts international visitors and international broadcasting. 2019 the championship was held in Vancouver, Canada, and the last time it was held in Sweden was 2014, in Malmö. In 2022, it’s time for Sweden again and this time in Gothenburg.

– It feels very good that our long-term cooperation with the Swedish Ice Hockey Associations has yielded results and we look forward to full stands and a hockey fest in Scandinavium and Frölundaborg, says Lotta Nibell, CEO at Got Event.

Ten countries participate in the IIHF World Junior Championship and over 30 matches are played. The work of getting this championship to Gothenburg has been a collaboration between Göteborg & Co, Got Event, Gothenburg Ice Hockey Association and Frölunda HC.

– Congratulations, Gothenburg and Swedish hockey! WCJ is a fantastic tournament and to experience the world’s best juniors, the next generation star players, at home is a unique opportunity. Hopefully we’ll see some young Gothenburg players chasing the World Cup title in the Tre Kronor player dress, says Christian Lechtaler, Frölunda HC and Patrik Norrman, Gothenburg’s Ice Hockey Association.

Attendance capacity
Frölundaborg 7 520
Scandinavium 12 000


The winner of the 2018 Prize is I-Tech, a biotech company that has developed a sustainable method for preventing barnacles from settling on vessel hulls. The Prize will be presented by Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group and the Chair of Gothenburg City Executive Board, Axel Josefson, on 2 April during the meeting of Börssällskapet.

Management team, I-Tech. Photo: Anders Bryngel

– This year’s winner is a company that has demonstrated impressive entrepreneurship and innovation. Through innovative research it has changed its industry and is now at the cutting edge of development. I-Tech has a unique, sustainable and world-leading product, says Kristin Mari Riera, project manager, Göteborg & Co’s Trade and Industry Group.

I-Tech was founded in 2000 and is a spin-off from research at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. It is a research-intensive company that applies biotechnology to one of the maritime industry’s major problems, barnacle settlement. I-Tech’s product Selektope is a substance that is added to marine coatings to prevent barnacles from fouling vessel hulls. Selektope is unique in being the world’s only marine anti-fouling agent that does not kill barnacles.

– In a country with so many exciting and promising companies, we feel very humbled to be winner of the Gothenburg Company Prize. I-Tech, a company born out of local academic research and largely backed by local financiers, is at the centre of a global expansion of the marine sector which is so important to Gothenburg. We share this honour with everyone who has been part of our almost 20-year journey, says Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech.