The Swedish city of Strömstad, just over the border from southern Norway, was once again full of partying Norwegians on Thursday. It’s been an Easter week tradition for years, since most stores, restaurants and bars in Sweden are open while most all are closed for Holy Thursday observances in Norway.
There was little sign of anything holy in Strömstad, with police reporting “lots of drinking” and a large number of intoxicated Norwegians, most of them young. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that those known as rånere (groups of mostly young men keen on cruising through downtown areas at low speeds) were kept out by blocked streets so the outdoor partying largely took place in a parking lot outside the city center.
The weather was sunny and mild, though, and both local residents and Swedish police reported a “cheerful mood” and little real trouble. The local police had called for reinforcements from both Uddevalla and Gothenburg and were highly visible on the streets, while a helicopter whirred overhead. Police boats also patrolled the harbour area.
The Norwegian convoys of cars started arriving early Thursday morning and hung around most of the day. They later drove north again, leading to traffic jams at the border crossing back into Norway, with the partying due to continue in the Norwegian border city of Halden.