Have you ever wondered what your favourite IKEA products really mean? Half the joy of meandering through the showroom is struggling to pronounce IKEA product names, but now Visit Sweden is reclaiming each name in a new marketing campaign.
From NORBERG to BOLMEN, a lot of IKEA's products are actually named after places in Sweden. Online searches for some of these iconic spots brings up towels, sofas, and waste bins, which has caused a 'great deal of misunderstanding', Visit Sweden claim.
'In Sweden, we are proud of IKEA and in a way, you can say that they helped us make Swedish places world-famous through the names they borrowed for their products. Now we want, with warmth and a twinkle in our eye, to show the originals behind the product names and invite the world to discover the whole of Sweden,' says Nils Persson Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Sweden.
Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA's late founder, developed a system for how IKEA names its products based on different categories. For example, bathroom items such as the Bolmen toilet brush are named after Swedish lakes. Chairs and couches – like Järvfjället and Ektorp – are named after Swedish towns and villages, while the Billy bookshelf is named after IKEA employee Billy Likjedhal.
But now, through its Discover the Originals campaign, Visit Sweden is uncovering the hidden Swedish gems behind 21 IKEA product names.
With a spectacular natural environment, Sweden has nearly 270,000 islands with 95,700 lakes, generous Right of Public Access ('Allemansrätt'), and a rich culture and long history. There's plenty to see, from viking monuments to picturesque towns, castles, and silver mines, making it an ideal holiday destination. Now, Sweden wants to invite the world to visit these great locations and explore the country.
Take a look at the names Sweden wants to reclaim from IKEA...
NORBERG (white table)
We might be familiar with IKEA's space-saving white table, but did you know that Norberg is actually the name of a locality in Sweden? Famous for its magnificent nature, great castles and mysterious Blue Cave in Klackberg, there's much more to the name than a simple folding table.
IKEA's stylish and sustainable MISTERHALT lamp is made from bamboo, although Visit Sweden says it's unlikely you'll discover the plant on the 2000-island archipelago of Misterland, near Kalmar in Småland.
With just 203 recorded inhabitants in 2010, the beautiful island is home to rare birds, idyllic views, and fascinating flora and fauna. For a little more life, go south to visit the historic coastal city of Kalmar.
INGATORP (extendable table)
Despite being known as the practical £250 extendable dining room table, Ingatorp is actually a historical village in Småland. Dating back to the 13th century, it's home to one of Sweden's oldest wooden buildings, a fascinating agricultural museum, and beautiful forests that look like Narnia after snowfall. Ingatorp the table might have a traditional feel, but the village has heaps of tradition sure to delight.
BOLMEN (toilet brush)
BOLMEN might be the name of IKEA's classic toilet brush, but the Swedish retailer has borrowed the name from beautiful Lake Bolmen in the Småland region of southern Sweden — and it's far prettier than the brush.
'We do appreciate that IKEA has named a product for our beautiful lake and that Visit Sweden is bringing global attention to this. But now we would like to show the world that Bolmen is so much more than an item with which you clean your toilet. It is an incredibly beautiful place, much loved by us locals. We would like to invite the whole world to spend time in our wonderful, unspoiled natural environment, showing the same care we do and enjoying the crystal-clear water,' says Magnus Gunnarsson, Chair of Smålands Sjörike and municipal council member in Ljungby.
STUBBARP (adjustable legs)
STUBBARP – small adjustable legs for tables — is another name which Sweden is reclaiming from IKEA. Named after Stubbarp in the region of Skåne, the beautiful area has dramatic views, rocky beaches, steep cliffs, and an eye-catching pink Kullen Stubbarp castle (above) which grows impressive blossom in spring.
SKÄRHAMN (black door handle)
'A beautiful door handle may well be the finishing touch your home needs, but if you're looking for natural beauty in the great outdoors, then Skärhamn is the place to go,' say Visit Sweden.
If you're keen to explore the real Skärhamn, some of the things to look out for include the unique landscapes, fresh seafood, walking routes, international art, and plethora of water activities.
Bolmen, a large lake in the Småland region of southern Sweden (toilet brush)
Järvfjället, a mountain in Swedish Lapland (gaming chair)
Extorp, a suburb of Stockholm (sofa)
Skärhamn, a fishing village on the island of Tjörn off the coast of West Sweden (door handle)
Stubbarp, a manor house in the Skåne region of southern Sweden (cabinet legs)
Kallax, a coastal village near Luleå in Swedish Lapland (storage shelf)
Höljes, one of the most sparsely populated areas in Sweden, a forest in the Värmland region (pendant lamp)
Hemsjö, a village in the Blekinge region (block candle)
Toftan, a lake in the Dalarna region (waste bin)
Mästerby, an historical battleground on the island of Gotland (a step stool)
Voxnan, a river with waterfalls and rapids in the Hälsingland region (shower shelf)
Himleån, ravines in the Halland region (bath towel)
Laxviken, a rural village in the Jämtland Härjedalen region (cabinet door)
Ingatorp, a village where you'll find one of Sweden’s oldest wooden buildings, in the Småland region (extendable table)
Misterhult, an archipelago of 2,000 islands near Kalmar in the Småland region (a bamboo lamp)
Vrena, a village near the east coast in the Sörmland region (countertop)
Björksta, a village close to the university town of Uppsala (picture with frame)
Norberg, a small town in Västmanland region (folding table)
Askersund, a small town near Örebro in central Sweden (cabinet door)
Rimforsa, a small village in the Östergötland region of east Sweden (work bench)
Bodviken, a mountain lake in the UNESCO World heritage area of the High Coast in northern Sweden (washbasin).
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