Björn Rydevik. Photo: Johan Wingborg/Gothenburg university

As a meeting ambassador, Björn Rydevik has helped to attract many international medical conferences to Gothenburg. Björn is a professor at the Department of Orthopaedics at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. He was involved in bringing about Gothenburg’s hosting in 2021 of Eurospine, an international conference on spine diseases and injuries with approximately 3,700 participants.

Already 20 years ago, Björn recognised Gothenburg’s strong potential for hosting international conferences in orthopaedics. As a frequent participant in conferences worldwide, he felt Gothenburg had a lot to offer.

“It struck me that Gothenburg has outstanding conference facilities and numerous hotels, all within walking distance. Several of my colleagues at Gothenburg University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital shared this view. We began working on attracting Eurospine to Gothenburg, and we succeeded. Eurospine was held in Gothenburg in 2001, and the conference is now set to return in 2021,” says Björn.

In addition to Eurospine 2001 and 2021, he has been instrumental in bringing other international conferences to Gothenburg. In 2010 the city hosted a large international orthopaedic conference with over 3,000 participants organised by SICOT (International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology), SOF (Swedish Orthopaedic Association) and SIROT (International Research Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology). Then in 2011, Gothenburg hosted the Annual Meeting of the ISSLS (International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine) with roughly 500 participants, focusing on research in the causes of back pain and disorders.

Attracting conferences
It takes a lot of time and work to attract a conference to Gothenburg. Björn and his colleagues have been collaborating closely with Gothenburg Convention Bureau.

“The process of attracting a conference to a city involves many people and can take several years. What my colleagues and I do is to make contacts and market Gothenburg as a location. A key criterion is for at least one of us to be actively involved in the organisation that is organising the conference. But we couldn’t have succeeded without Göteborg & Co and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. We need each other. This is an excellent example of good collaboration,” says Björn.

Part of the process is for Björn, either alone or with a colleague, to give a presentation highlighting what Gothenburg has to offer, in order to convince the organisation to choose Gothenburg above other cities. Björn explains that good preparation is crucial and that the challenge lies in persuading the organiser that Gothenburg is the best choice.

“I remember selling Gothenburg as the host for Eurospine in 2001. The choice was between Gothenburg and Rome, and I was the first to make a presentation. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra had recently been appointed as the Swedish national orchestra, and I mentioned this to highlight Gothenburg as a city of culture. When Rome’s representative got up to speak, he pointed out that you can find every type of culture in Rome. He was right, of course. But we still won,” smiles Björn.

How does it feel when you find out that Gothenburg has been selected?

“It’s very satisfying. And it’s fun to tell the news to my colleagues and everyone at Göteborg & Co who helped us win the hostship. It’s a real team effort!”

The benefits of holding conferences in Gothenburg
The university gains benefits from helping organise medical conferences. In addition to conducting research and teaching, the University of Gothenburg has a duty to collaborate with the surrounding society. A conference is one way of doing this. For Björn and his colleagues, it is stimulating to meet others in the same field from around the world. A conference also gives researchers opportunities for international networking.

But it is not only orthopaedic professionals who benefit from conferences like Eurospine 2021. Gothenburgers also benefit, although Björn feels that even more can be done to capitalise on these events. He hopes this will be happen in 2021.

“For instance, the public could be given more opportunities to participate. At Eurospine 2017 in Dublin, there was one day when open lectures were held for the public. I hope this initiative will be repeated in Gothenburg in 2021. There is also potential for inviting other researchers and companies that develop orthopaedic products and materials, Such as biotech companies and researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, says Björn.

Strong position as a meetings destination
About 20 years ago, Björn realised that Gothenburg had as much potential for hosting conferences and meetings as any other city in the world. And he still sees Gothenburg as a highly competitive destination.

“Gothenburg has a strong position. Among other things, it has a large conference facility in the city centre and thousands of hotel rooms within walking distance, all close to the airport. However, there are also disadvantages. Gothenburg is not centrally located in Europe and lacks intercontinental flight connections. And of course the weather is not as pleasant as, say, in San Diego, which also has an excellent, centrally located conference centre. This can also be seen as a disadvantage. But if we can get the organisers to visit Gothenburg, they usually see the benefits.”

Eurospine 2017 in Dublin counted about 3,700 participants from 78 countries including UK, USA, Spain and Mexico. Because Eurospine is growing, it’s very possible that even more visitors will come to Gothenburg in 2021 than to Dublin in 2017.

“What Gothenburg has that many cities lack is a fantastic congress centre – the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre – in the city centre, with enough space to house even large conferences in connecting rooms. Many cities have conference centres on the outskirts of the city, and the event has to be held on multiple floors due to a lack of space, which is not ideal.  The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre has excellent purpose-built facilities and 1,200 hotel rooms in the same building, which is really fabulous.”


Photo: Marie Ullnert/Göteborg & Co

As the first snow of the year fell on Gothenburg the city greeted this year’s winner of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development, Chilean star architect Alejandro Aravena, together with four of his colleagues from architectural firm Elemental. This is the eighteenth time that the prize of SEK 1 million has been awarded, and the theme for 2017 was sustainable design.

Aravena and Elemental are renowned for their innovative design approach, which engages residents in the design process, and particularly for their projects in socio-economically vulnerable areas.

Aravena and Elemental arrived in Gothenburg on the evening of Monday 20 November to take part in several activities linked to the award ceremony. This year’s ceremony took place at the Draken cinema, and when the doors opened at 14.00 the foyer quickly filled with guests. More than 400 guests seated themselves in the lounge to watch the ceremony and enjoy music and video presentations. There were also video greetings from partner organisations and from last year’s award winner, Park Won Soon. The Sonica Sequence duo performed live music on stage together with video clips from their music documentary.

Alejandro Aravena was then presented with the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development, which he had chosen to share with his entire architectural team at Elemental. During his acceptance speech Aravena once again emphasised that:

“With the right design, sustainability is nothing but the rigorous use of common sense.”

Photo: Damien Preist.

Many of the activities the prize winner took part in during his stay in Gothenburg were arranged by partner organisations behind the prize. Elemental was for example invited to visit Peab and learn about its sustainability efforts and meet students from Peab School, who shared their ideas on how to improve sustainability. VGR and Lots Design also organised a do-tank exercise at Ringön, focusing on sustainable design, while Handelsbanken invited Elemental to a roundtable discussion with its customers.

Two of the activities were also open to the public. The first was a very successful Failure Lunch at the Museum of World Culture – a panel debate on the lessons that can be learned from mistakes and failures. And on Tuesday evening the RunAn conference hall at Chalmers University of Technology attracted an audience of over 400 people to listen to Aravena and ask questions about Elemental.

From left: Victor Oddó, Nathalie Bödtker-Lund, Diego Torres, Lotta Göthe, Gonzalo Arteago, Alejandro Aravena, Elin Eriksson, Juan Cerda, Johanna Stål, Emma Dalväg, Ann-Sofie Hermansson, Magnus Berntsson. Photo: Marie Ullnert/Gothenburg & Co.
Annika Hallman, Gothenburg Convention Bureau (second left) recieved the prestigious leadership award from Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President ICCA. They are flanked by Aileen Crawford, Glasgow and Martin Sirk, Chief Executive Officer ICCA

For the second year in a row Gothenburg has taken the title of the most sustainable city in the world. This year Gothenburg also won the Innovation award. The news was announced on Wednesday with the results of Global Destination Sustainability Index 2017. The index provides a broad international ranking of the progress cities have made toward sustainability.

“This is great news for Gothenburg. The city and the visitor industry are strongly committed to sustainability. This is recognition that our efforts are proving successful,” says Camilla Nyman, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

With a score of 92 out of a possible 100 points, Gothenburg came top of the list of meeting and event cities in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI). Gothenburg also took first place last year with a score of 83 points.

This year, Gothenburg was also awarded the prize for best Innovation for the Got Event accessability app, developed for event visitors with vision or hearing defiencies.

GDSI was set up by the MCI Group in partnership with the International Congress and Convention Association, ICCA. Annika Hallman, Meetings Manager at Göteborg & Co, accepted the prize on behalf of Gothenburg at ICCA’s annual world congress in Prague on Wednesday:

“As a Gothenburger it makes me very proud to accept this in front of an audience from all over the world. It means a great deal to us when we come to persuade organisers to choose Gothenburg as a host city,” she said.

The index measures every aspect of sustainability: ecological, social and economic. But to gain a high ranking in the index it is not enough to show that you have the support of the visitor industry, facilities and hotels; the city as a whole must also be engaged in sustainability issues.

All the cities are assessed on the basis of around 30 criteria. These include the city’s performance in recycling, waste management, environmental certification of hotels and restaurants, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic conditions, bike rental system and whether municipal and private companies have sustainability strategies in place.

Gothenburg gained the highest scores in all areas. The average score of 92 also means that Gothenburg has improved on its results for the previous year.

Guy Bigwood, Director of the GDS-Index, commented “The judges and I were incredibly impressed at the remarkable efforts and consistent progress made by the Gothenburg team. They demonstrated that even as a leader there is significant opportunity to engage stakeholders and collaborate to create new solutions that accelerate environmental, social and economic development.”

Scoring highly on sustainability gives Gothenburg a valuable advantage when it competes with other cities to attract large congresses, events and investment.

“The goal for Gothenburg is to be in the absolute top league. All the sustainability initiatives that the city takes in collaboration with local business contribute to this success. This is very much in line with our ambition to keep on pushing every aspect of sustainability,” says Camilla Nyman.

About the global destination sustainability index (gds-index)

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) is a prize-winning grassroots Scandinavian initiative that evolved into the first-ever sustainability ranking for event destinations worldwide. A collaborative partnership between ICCA, European Cities Marketing, IMEX and MCI Group, it aims to promote the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations, highlighting best practices and responsible business tourism. In a world increasingly focused on responsible business and addressing our environmental impact, the GDS-Index helps destinations to engage clients with sustainability, align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and drive the adoption, promotion and recognition of sustainable practices in their city. Find out more at

In order to provide closer links with outlying districts of the city before the 400th anniversary of Gothenburg, the public transport office is planning a cable car over the river Göta. The idea was originally requested by the residents of Gothenburg and is now closer to reality. Earlier this year, an architectural competition was launched to select the design of the cable car’s stations and towers. You can now see pictures of the four final proposals.

Proposals will be displayed in a travelling exhibition starting on Monday 30th October. It will be displayed during a month in various places in the city such as the public transport office, Lindholmen, Järntorget and Wieselgrensplatsen areas. Anyone who wants to ask questions about the project will get the chance to do so during visiting hours. The schedule of the travelling exhibition, as well as more pictures from the four proposals, are available here:

The winning proposal will be chosen by an independent jury of experts and revealed on February 8th 2018. The names of the architects behind each proposal are kept secret until the ultimate results.

For more and information on the cableway and recent updates on the city planning, visit

 Photo: Markus Holm.

As part of the preparations for Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary in 2021 a number of Land Art installations have been created around Gothenburg by artists from Sweden and abroad. Land Art highlights green spaces in the city, creates meeting places in the districts, and is intended to make the city greener and grander – as requested by the residents of Gothenburg to mark the anniversary.

In 2017, the focus of anniversary preparations has been the city’s wide range of parks, gardens and green spaces, and a new green initiative has got under way, including the seven Land Art installations that have now been completed.

“Each district was asked to choose a site that they felt needed a little more care and attention with the help of a Land Art installation,” says Cecilia Liljedahl, project manager for Land Art at Göteborg & Co.

From yellow tower to lily garden
Land Art is a form of art that uses natural materials to create installations that are inspired by the landscape and environment in which they stand. This art can take many different forms. It can range from Jens Thoms Ivarsson’s 12-metre-high yellow lookout tower, entitled “Nuet” (the Present), in Skogome – to Tage Andersen’s “Liljegården” (Lily Garden) outside Kåken arts centre in Härlanda. Tage’s pot-bellied pigs are helping out here by turning over and pre-cultivating the soil, and in summer 2018 his installation should be in bloom.

The one thing these art works do have in common is that they are accessible to the public and are part of the environment around them, whether they are surrounded by trees or at an old prison farm.

Seven installations created this year
In addition to this pair, there are now five other Land Art installations ready to discover. They are Svanbon (Swans’ Nests) by Gunilla Bandolin, in Torsviken in Torslanda; Touchstones by Monika Gora, in the Lärjeån valley in Angered; Hjärtats väg (Way of the heart) by Helle Nebelong, in Positivparken in Frölunda; and The Golden Tree by Tetsunori Kawana, in Bergkristallparken in Tynnered.

During Gothenburg Green World 2016, Land Art installations were also created in Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Mölndal City Park and Gunnebo House and Gardens. Read more at

Photo: Press image.

Agonist, a perfume maker from Gothenburg, has won gold in the Swedish Design Award for its perfume bottle No 10 White Oud in the product design category.

The winning design was created by Christine and Niclas Lydeen, who founded Agonist in 2008. Agonist is one of the most successful and coveted brands in today’s international niche perfume market. Christine and Niclas Lydeen live on the island of Donsö in the Gothenburg Archipelago, and their perfumes are inspired by nature and the environment.

“For elegance, mystique and a feeling for detail – charismatically packaged in a way that suggests gold from afar”, was the jury statement explaining why Agonist won a gold medal.

The Swedish Design Award is an annual competition open to anyone who works with graphic design. The aim of the Award is to promote and develop Swedish graphic design and communication. The criteria judged are communication, effect, craftsmanship and feeling. In addition to Agonist, there were two other gold medal winners: Göteborg Opera 17/18 and I huvudet på Folkteatern.

Hear Christine and Niclas talk about their perfumes (at 2.10 in the clip).

Get pumped up for Halloween

Published by Kajsa Kärnman 27 October, 2017 in Destination.
Frida Winter/Göteborg & Co
Frida Winter/Göteborg & Co

Pumkins. They come in all sizes, shapes and colours and this is your chance to learn more about them. It’s time for a pumpkin bonanza! From 28 October to 5 November, a new exhibition showing numerous varieties of pumpkin and winter quash will be held in Stolboden at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden. At the opening on Saturday 28 October from 11:00 to 15:00, you will learn how to grow and prepare pumpkin. There will also be tastings, seed sales and workshops. Kids can attend a pumpkin workshop during the Swedish autumn holidays (30 October – 3 November) where they can transform pumpkins into beautiful lamps. Buy one or bring your own!

Read more about the event and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden here!

Foto: Tomas Yeh.
Foto: Tomas Yeh.

A new restaurant in collaboration with Stefan Karlsson and Götaplatsgruppen, extended meeting facilities for 700 people, new expo facilities, renovated hotel rooms and a new bar. We visited the Elite Park Avenue to preview the hotel’s biggest renovation project since 2005.

“The main changes can be categorised into three parts. One is the new restaurant, a collaboration with Götaplatsgruppen and Stefan Karlsson, who also provide all the food we serve. Another is the new breakfast area with rooms that can be used all year round. The third is the new expo area. We have extended the facilities by 1,000 square metres, making the hotel far more complete,” says Thomas Heden, sales and marketing manager of the Elite Park Avenue, who is giving us a guided tour.

The extension and renovation work started seriously in April 2017. Now, a few months later, it is almost finished. In the restaurant, which has been given a completely new look, we meet Stefan Karlsson, the renowned, award-winning Gothenburg chef. Although there are no guests here now, Stefan has plenty to do. The restaurant recently opened for both lunch and dinner after a soft opening during the Göteborg Book Fair.

Thomas Heden och Stefan Karlsson. Foto: Charlott Holmåker and Tomas
Thomas Heden och Stefan Karlsson. Foto: Charlott Holmåker and Tomas yeh.

“Our aim is for the restaurant to be a natural meeting place for visitors as well as local residents in Gothenburg. The food can be described as Nordic brasserie style. We want to offer flavours that guests will recognise, and we try to mix Swedish and international cuisines,” says Stefan.

So far the response has been positive, both to the food and the restaurant area. Guests appreciate the fact that there is no wall between the hotel reception and the restaurant. And they also like the food. For Stefan Karlsson and Götaplatsgruppen, who already have several restaurants in Gothenburg, the location was their main incentive for opening yet another restaurant in Gothenburg.

“I personally find this address very exciting. It has always been a popular, culture-promoting venue. It’s fun to be part of the renovation project here, and of course we hope our own ideas will fit in,” says Stefan.

In addition to the new restaurant, the Elite Park Avenue has been extended towards Lorensbergsparken. This opens up a greater range of possibilities. For instance, the hotel can now accept larger dinner groups. The new banqueting facilities can seat 700 people, compared to 450 previously, allowing larger conferences to be held here. There are also larger areas for exhibitions and mingling.

The new extension.
The new extension.

Although the whole hotel has been renovated, it still retains a mix of old and new. We stand in the new extension looking out over Lorensbergsparken through the glazed walls. Then we continue towards the classic Taube room. It is still decorated with paintings by Evert Taube, one of Sweden’s most cherished artists; only the floors have been replaced. Many other details from past decades have also been preserved. According to Thomas, the Elite Park Avenue is dear to many Gothenburgers’ hearts, and it is important to bear this in mind.

“Gothenburgers almost see it as their own hotel, and always have done. We want to focus even more on this aspect,” he says.

The Elite Park Avenue has gone through the biggest change since Elite took it over in 2005. But Thomas prefers not to say whether there will be an inauguration ceremony after the renovation is finished.

“There was no inauguration ceremony in 2005, so it would be nice to have one now,” he concedes. “But I can’t promise anything.”

The new extension will be integrated into Lorensbergsparken, and it is hoped that this will liven up the park. Among other things, there are plans to open a new outdoor dining area there next summer.

Let the adventure begin

Published by Kajsa Kärnman 22 October, 2017 in Destination, Events.
Foto: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race.
Foto: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race.

Today is the start of the world’s toughest round-the-world sail race, Volvo Ocean Race. In June 2018 Gothenburg has the honour of welcoming the seven boats to the final stopover before the finish in The Hauge. There will be a big sailing party in Frihamnen where we are all invited to join the adventure. This is the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and it is the fourth time the race visits Gothenburg.

As the home of Volvo and with the sea stretching right into its heart, Gothenburg is the perfect place to experience this ultimate mix of sporting competition and world-class adventure from an unique perspective. The city and its archipelago offer great opportunities for spectators to be part of this week-long sailing party involving an In-Port Race as well as plenty of happenings and festivities in the Race Village with free entrance. Everyone’s invited! The boats are expected to arrive around the 14-15 June and on the 21 June the race of the final leg toward the finish line begins, after 45,000 nautical miles around the planet.

The Volvo Ocean Race is our chance to invite the whole world to Gothenburg. Gothenburg was founded in 1621 and has since then undergone an exciting journey from being only a shipping and industrial city to also becoming a creative hub for innovation. And further transformations lies ahead. The city has adopted ambitious targets for the three areas of sustainability, and the Volvo Ocean Race Gothenburg Stopover 2018 will reflect this. Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenburg 2018 is also an important milestone that will highlight two of the city’s biggest urban development projects: The River City centred on Frihamnen, and Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary that will take place in 2021.

So, welcome to our compact city where you are never far from great shopping, world-class restaurants, exciting places to meet and the tranquillity of the coast and islands. Welcome to Gothenburg – a sustainable city open to the world!

Important dates for Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenburg
14-15 June Arrival
14-21 June Race Village Opening
17 June In-Port Race
21 June Start of final leg towards The Hauge

Follow the Volvo Ocean Race journey towards Gothenburg: 


For 16 trembling days this autumn, with start tomorrow, Liseberg will be filled with hair-raising houses of horror, shadowy figures, childish mischief and candy, as well as carousels and nerve-tingling roller coasters that are open for Halloween. The park will also be decorated with 30,000 pumpkins.

One of the news for 2017 is The Attic, which is part of the Houses of Horror. Halloween at Liseberg starts tomorrow – on Friday the 13th… You’re terribly welcome!

Read more about the scary Halloween celebrations here!

Photo: Ung Företagsamhet Göteborg
Photo: Ung Företagsamhet Göteborg

Göteborg & Co, Trade and Industry Group supports Junior Achievement Sweden which creates exchanges between schools and businesses, by providing educational programs in entrepreneurship for high school students. This year’s Junior Achievement has just begun and the regional manager in Gothenburg tells us more. Hi there Johan Sandahl!

Hi there Johan! Who are you?

A sports-interested West coast guy who works as regional manager at Junior Achievement Gothenburg. Previously, I worked as a project manager for high school issues. I have been at Junior Achievement Sweden for six years.

Have you planned something special for this year’s Junior Achievement? Something extra that students should think about?

The 2017/18 academic year is full of exciting news that takes our business to a new level. We have launched a digital advisory bank – It simplifies the process for students to find the right adviser to their company. We have also initiated cooperation with SDSN Youth. They support our activities with twelve coaches specialized in sustainability. The coaches visit the classrooms and teach students on how to be more sustainable in their business, both economically and socially.

On October 2nd, Junior Achievement Gothenburg had its kickoff with the theme “Welcome to the corporate jungle”. How did it go?

We had a great day at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, where nearly 2.200 students participated! Among our guest speakers, Charles Sinclair, CEO of Oddwork, spoke about sales and the importance of working closely with an advisor. Jarno Vanhatapio, founder of and NA-KD, told us about his personal trip and how to build a company. The couple Andreas Hellmers and Alexandra ”Kissie” Nilsson was also part of the kickoff to give inspiring speeches. Andreas runs a unique sustainability business and Alexandra is one of Sweden’s largest bloggers with over 120,000 readers daily. During the kickoff, three prizes were awarded. The most prestigious award for the day was given by our partner JCE Group. The winner of this year, New Buddies UF from the high school Angeredsgymnasiet, won a total of 50.000 SEK!

Photo: Pauline Pontois  /Göteborg & Co
Photo: Pauline Pontois /Göteborg & Co

The activities organized by Go Science have started for this semester. Go Science is a collaboration between the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg & Co, Trade and Industry Group.

In order to welcome the newly arrived international researchers to Gothenburg, Go Science organizes every semester different activities where everyone gets the chance to discover the city and meet other fellow researchers.

On October 3rd the fall activities started with a city tour to discover Gothenburg. The international researchers were given the opportunity to learn more about the history of the city and where Gothenburg is heading for its major urban development and 400th Anniversary in 2021. The trip took the researchers to central Gothenburg as well as outside the city center, including Linnéstaden, Masthugget, Klippan and Hisingen with a stop at Ramberget to get a view of the whole city.

The activities will continue throughout the fall semester with museum and company visits as well as a traditional Lucia celebration in December. See all activities here.