Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Swedish tourist board is reclaiming names of household products in IKEA; here’s why

Of the 21 places mentioned in the reclaim list, is a UNESCO-protected area called Bodviken. It is a mountain lake in northern Sweden. In IKEA, it is a washbasin.

IKEA, IKEA news, IKEA names for household items, Swedish places, Sweden place names, Swedish campaign to reclaim IKEA names, IKEA India, indianexpress, indian express newsThe marketing campaign to reclaim original places in Sweden is called "Discover the Originals". (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

If you have shopped in IKEA, you would be familiar with the odd names that it has for everyday household items — like, ‘toftan’ for trash can, ‘misterhult’ for bamboo lamp, ‘bolmen’ for toilet brush, etc. But, for those who speak the Swedish tongue, these are all familiar words with highly different meanings.

Visit Sweden, which is the Swedish tourist board, has decided to reclaim these names. A new marketing campaign called ‘Discover the Originals‘, designed to educate people on the originals, states, “Toftan, Ektorp, Voxnan, Hemsjö, Kallax… These are all wonderful places in Sweden. Yet, most people associate these names with waste bins, sofas, bath towels, block candles and shelf systems. And it’s all because of a blue and yellow giant.”

The campaign, as mentioned on, wants to help 21 places in Sweden reclaim their name. “A lot of IKEA’s products are named after places in Sweden. That’s a nice detail for a Swedish company, but it has caused a great deal of misunderstanding. Today, millions of people think that Bolmen is just a toilet brush. And if you search for Järvfjället, all you’ll find are pictures of gaming chairs. It’s time the world knows that these names belong to wonderful places in Sweden,” it mentions.

Järvfjället, the site states, is “more than an IKEA gaming chair”. “Järvfjället [is located] in the northern county of Lappland. Here, there’s not a 5G tower in sight. It’s just you, the ground you walk on and the fresh air you breathe.”


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Other places include Kallax, which is “more than an IKEA shelf”. It is a village that “lies in Swedish Lapland, just outside the town of Luleå. Situated by the sea, this little spot is famous for its very smelly fermented herring (called ‘surströmming’ in Swedish).”

Nils Perrson, the chief marketing officer of Visit Sweden, has said in a statement: “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,” adding that it was time to “show the originals behind the product names”.

Interestingly, of the 21 places mentioned in the reclaim list, is a UNESCO-protected area called Bodviken. It is a mountain lake in the High Coast area in northern Sweden. In IKEA, it is a washbasin.

As part of the campaign, a signboard stating, “Welcome to Bolmen: more than an IKEA toilet brush” was popped near a lakeside! A spokesperson for IKEA was quoted as telling CNN: “It is definitely time for some of the places whose names are used for some of our most popular products to also get some attention. They have earned it, to say the least. It is also great fun with an initiative that helps spread the story behind some of our product names to the many people.”


The home furnishing retailer, meanwhile, opened its first-of-a-kind Worli City Store on December 9. IKEA India, part of Ingka Group, opened its first big-format retail store in Hyderabad in August 2018. The Navi Mumbai store opened in December 2020, and the Worli City Centre Store opened now. One more City Centre Store will open in Mumbai in 2022.

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First published on: 10-12-2021 at 17:30 IST
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