Sweden first to honor internet culture with public monuments

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Sweden is the first country to pay homage to its digital legacy by unveiling monuments dedicated to internet culture in public spaces. Through the Internet Culture Heritage Initiative, the Swedish public has voted for five viral moments that will be represented in physical monuments where they first originated, preserving these digital sensations for future generations. The initiative, which is being run by fiber optic and internet provider GlobalConnect, aims to cement internet culture’s rightful place in the public arena.

In a pioneering tribute to its internet culture, Sweden has now inaugurated the first monument celebrating internet culture at an elementary school outside of Stockholm – the school where the viral moment was first captured more than 10 years ago. The clip “Jerry speaking Spanish” where 12-year-old Jerry demonstrates his newly acquired Spanish skills to a TV reporter, is a national digital treasure that gets millions of views every year.

The Internet Culture Heritage Initiative is a collaboration between GlobalConnect, a major fiber optic and internet provider in the Nordics, and Filmfabriken, a popular Swedish humor platform. The initiative aims to bridge the gap between Sweden’s rich internet culture and its lack of landmarks in the public space.

“Internet culture has long been a significant part of our lives, but always in a digital format. Digital infrastructure has developed extensively in the Nordics since the 1990s, and we’re proud to be contributing to physically commemorating the digital moments that have made us laugh and brought us closer together over the years,” says Kamran Alemdar, CMO at GlobalConnect.

Four other monuments are currently being produced, each symbolizing an internet sensation chosen by the Swedish public. These include “Come on, Britt-Marie” in Norrköping, “I got the car on my head!” in Söråker, “Kaj, you’re swimming out of the picture” in Ryggesbo and “Ola was about to pee, then came the bear” in Ljusdal.

GlobalConnect, which transports more than half of all data traffic in the Nordic countries, plans to launch the initiative internationally next year. First up is Finland, where the public will nominate their own viral highlights to commemorate.

“It’s no coincidence that Swedes voted for these clips. They create laughter and a sense of recognition – and they might even make someone spill their coffee, just like a good joke during a coffee break, says Niklas Faerden of Filmfabriken.

“The enthusiasm and engagement of the public shows that these digital moments are becoming as ingrained in our culture as our most cherished tales and stories,” he continues.

The design of the first monument features durable light granite and a bronze 3D figure illustrating a detail from the viral clip – a letter with Jerry’s famous line, “¡Gracias, señorita!”. The sculpture also includes a plaque explaining the viral moment and a QR code for visitors to watch the clip.

“Having my spontaneous words immortalized in stone and bronze is as thrilling as it is unexpected.” says Jerry Wallinder, the protagonist of the viral clip. “It will be exciting to see what other countries choose to memorialize”, he concludes.

Watch the five viral moments here: