The Swedish – Bosnian-Herzegovinian Connection

Visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo was especially interesting for me because of all the people from there that lives in Sweden since the war. I have met so many “Bosnian-Swedes”, both in and outside of Sweden since the mid 1990s. Just before I leaving for the Balkans, I was contacted by a Swedish girl with a Balkan-sounding name who wanted to some development-career advice, and when we met up in DC, it turned out that she originally was from Bosnia and Herzegovina. And during the week I spent in the country, almost everyone I met has either had relatives or friends in Sweden, and many of them had been there. While waiting for my flight to Skopje at the Sarajevo international airport, which is in the size of having six check-in counters in the departure hall, they announced that the flight to Stockholm was departing. So there must be some traffic between the countries. (Croatian Airlines is also opening a direct flight to Gothenburg soon.)

Not all went to Sweden though. On my flight to Skopje, I sat next to a Bosnian-Macedonian couple, their two sons and one of the son’s American girlfriend. They now lived in LA and were on their way home for the first time in 17 years. They had not seen their parents and grand-parents since and the husband’s father had died in the meantime. (Their youngest son had been four at the time when they left.) So they were very excited but also emotional. I cannot even begin to imagine how they must have felt an hour later when they were finally reunited with their family.  

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