“Very Welcome Home Mr. Swanson”: Swedish Americans Encounter Homeland Swedes


  • Dag Blanck Uppsala University




This article examines different patterns of interaction between Swedish Americans and the homeland, and my interest is in the significance and consequences of these encounters. The mass emigration of some 1,3 million Swedes in the 19th and early 20th centuries was a fundamental event in Swedish history, and as a result a separate social and cultural community—Swedish America—was created in the U.S. and a specific population group of Swedish Americans emerged. Close to a fifth of these Swedish Americans returned to Sweden, and in their interaction with the old homeland they were seen as a distinct group in Sweden and became carriers of a specific American experience. Swedish Americans thus became a visible sub-group in Sweden and it is the significance of this population that I am interested in. The article looks at both material and immaterial effects of the return migration and at the larger significance of Swedish America and Swedish Americans for Sweden.

Author Biography

Dag Blanck, Uppsala University

Dag Blanck (Ph.D.) is Professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University and director of the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Educated in the U.S. and Sweden, his research has focused on Swedish migration history and on trans-national relations between Sweden and the U.S. He has written and/ or edited a dozen books and some fifty articles. Recent publications include “The Transnational Viking: The Role of the Viking in Sweden, the United States, and Swedish America,” Journal of Transnational American Studies, 6(2), 2016, “Svenska uppfattningar om USA under två århundranden” in Det blågula stjärnbaneret (Stockholm, 2016) and “‘A Mixture of People with Different Roots’: Swedish Immigrants in the American Ethno-Racial Hierarchies,” Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring 2014).




How to Cite

Blanck, D. (2016). “Very Welcome Home Mr. Swanson”: Swedish Americans Encounter Homeland Swedes. American Studies in Scandinavia, 48(2), 107–121. https://doi.org/10.22439/asca.v48i2.5454