Liberty Statue - Gift From France


"The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.


America probably could not have won its freedom from the British during the American Revolution without the help of the French. France provided arms, ships, money and men to the American colonies. It was an alliance of respect and friendship that the French would not forget.


Almost 100 years later, in 1865, after the end of the American Civil War, several French intellectuals, who were opposed to the oppressive regime of Napoleon III, were at a small dinner party. They discussed their admiration for America's success in establishing a democratic government and abolishing slavery at the end of the civil war. The dinner was hosted by Eduardo Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye. Laboulaye said, “Wouldn't it be wonderful if people in France gave the United States a great monument as a lasting memorial to independence and showed that the French government was also dedicated to the idea of human liberty?", So they decided to give the US a monument they would never forget!


The construction began in France at the year of 1875, the sculptor/designer was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. The huge statue was completed in the year of 1884 in Paris, the statue was shipped to the US in 1885.


“The Statue of Liberty” has been a great and powerful symbol for freedom all over the world.

It was a grate idée of France to give a gift which represented freedom and liberty, a monument which the US can be proud of! When you think of freedom of any kind you often reefers to the statue of liberty.



// Nylund

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and the home of Princess Diana. King William III bought the house from the Earl of Nottingham in 1689 and had it remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren. At the time, the house was a welcome respite from the drains of Whitehall Palace. Several state rooms are open to the public. The palace is set in the middle of the graceful Kensington Gardens and is near the fashionable shopping central London districts of Kensington, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

Kensington Palace is most famous as the home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but there’s much more to it than that. It’s one of the great undiscovered secrets of London, because most people don’t even realise that it’s open to visitors, or that it contains objects and stories covering the whole of royal history from the seventeenth century onwards.

I particularly like the way the palace captures four centuries of royal history. We go from William and Mary and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, to spectacular eighteenth-century state apartments of the Hanoverians, to the childhood of Queen Victoria to the modern royal family, Princesses Margaret and Diana are key twentieth-century Kensington residents.

It's amazing to think that Kensington Palace was originally built as a country get-away for the Royals now that its right in the middle of some of the busiest, most built up areas of London.


Kina slott

Kina slott is a pleasure palace in Drottningholm’s park.

It was a birthday gift to queen Lovisa Ulrika from King Adolf Fredrik.


Kina slott is drawn by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz and was led by hovintendent Jean Eric Rehn.

They started the work 1763 and it was done 1769.




The architecture is essentially French rococo but with Chinese and oriental elements which were the height of fashion in those days.

Facade, the lacquer red walls and sculptural decoration show a good knowledge of Chinese architecture, but the actual building, the body can be characterized as distinctly European.The interiors is mostly Swedish rococo.


China was the world’s cultural centrum at this time. People read books from China for example. That’s why they’ve built the pleasure palace according to Chinese culture.

Nowadays we could say that USA is the cultural centrum, we’re seeing movies, reading books and importing American fashion to Sweden.

So, if we were about to build a pleasure palace today it would probably be inspired by American culture.



If you want to read more,


// Christopher Carlsson

Mozart and the Requeim.

Wolfgang Amadeuz Mozart started to play piano at a very early age. He was born in 1758 in Austria, and at the age of six he had already started to write and compose music. He later on became famous on his compositions, and when he and his family made a journey through Europe it gave him the opportunity to play at concerts all over the Europe.
Before Mozart died he wrote many symphonies including the marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and the magic flute.

Mozart died in an early stage of life and before he died he started to write the famous symphony Requiem.
The Requiem was far away from ready when Mozart died, however it is one of his most famous works. Due to Wolfgang's death he could not finish it but there were others who did it for him. The most famous completed version was made by Wolfgang Amadeuz Mozart and Franz Xaver Sussmayrs version. Even though there have been made many versions of the Requeim this still the most famous one.

I do think that Mozart was extremely talented on what he did. And because of that, I do not think that anyone else should finish his works, since there is probably no one who can live up to his level. Also it's not really Mozart's own work when somebody else is finishing it. So I think they should have left the Requeim as It was even if it did not become famous. It's the same thing as if Leonardo Da Vinci had painted half the Mona-Lisa and then died. It's not the same thing when someone else has done it, because they didn't make the art itself, it would almost be like cheating on a test.
What do you think?
// Calle

Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht

Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht was born 1718 in Stockholm and she died at the age of 44 in 1763. Nordenflycht was a lyric poet and one of the first Swedish female self-supporting writers. She is also sometimes called the first Swedish feminist.


As a young girl Nordenflycht would rather study than learn that times typical women's work. So her parents let her study under her brother's tutor and the family also hired a man named Johan Tideman who conversed with Nordenflycht about philosophy and literature. Tideman later became her husband after a wish from Nordenflycht's father's deathbed. Tideman died after only 3 years of marriage.


Nordenflycht's bad luck with men continued, her second marriage with Jakob Fabricius only lasted for a year before he also died. Nordenflycht started to think that life was troublesome, she was tired of living and found consolation in writing. A friend of Nordenflycht helped her to publish her poetry work under the name “ The mourning Turtledove”. The poems in the book were inspired by the deaths of her two previous husbands. This was the start point of her career and in the following years she wrote and published a series of poetry work.


As Nordenflycht was a feminist she disliked Jean-Jacques Rousseau perception of women. So in 1761 she wrote a poem that was addressed to him called “fruentimrets försvar”.


Her bad luck with relationship followed her under her whole life. When Nordenflycht was around 40 years old she fell in love with man who was twenty-years-younger than herself, Johan Fischerström. This was her last love. She wasn't happy with the relationship though. She died soon after the relationship had started. It is not sure how she died, some say that she committed suicide and others claim that she died suffering from cancer.


In the poem “Min levnads lust är skuren av” Nordenflycht writes about the grief after her husband Jakob Fabricius. The poem is very emotional and heartbreaking. She is feeling really bad, so bad that she even wants to die. You can relate to her loss of hope in life and her feeling that nothing will ever be better. She is feeling that her life is not worth living without her loved one. The poem is one of her most famous ones.


Here you can read the whole poem by Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht :är_skuren_av



By: Kajsa

Jean-Baptiste Greuze vs. today's -isms

Jean- Baptiste Greuze was born 1725 and died 1805. He was a French artist and "Le Père de famille expliquant la Bible a ses enfants," was his first painting that gave him attention. He became a genera artist and his paintings had a moralized purpose and each painting had a story to tell.

One painting I like very much is The spoiled child or “L'enfant gâté” as it's called in French. Even though I have to say, I'm not really in fond of paintings from the enlightenment at all. Even though they all have their own stile, they're very similar to each other. They all picture people in a realistic environment and whether they are outside or inside it looks like watching a picture taken with a camera, with small beautifications of course.

I am more in fond of today's art. We have a range of different types of paintings. From the 2000th century art exploded with -isms. Surrealism, expressionism, suprematism, you name it! Why would we want to paint people wearing beautiful dresses, or being completely naked.. when we can look at a painting and thinking “what on earth does this look like?” and have a interesting discussion where no-one's opinion would be wrong, since we view it from different perspectives.

Which type of art are you more interested in? Today's unrealistic paintings, or rococo art?


Marie Antoinette – part 1 – style

Marie Antoinette was the queen of France (1774-1792), married to Louis XVI. Being the queen allowed her to have access to all the extravagant clothes and rich garments, with a budget that she didn’t seem to care about. It’s easy to say that Marie Antoinette was not only the queen of France, but also the queen of all shopaholics.

This woman had quite a few dresses, and we might think that these dresses are outrageously ugly but in those days her style was high fashion. The queen ordered the newest looks from the prestigious designer Rose Bertin, the leading Paris couturiere. The dress code was of course dresses at all times, often in soft pastel colors. Antoinette supported the avant-garde fashion, with the 3-foot high powdered hair and the extremely wide dresses. The dresses were so wide that when she was going to go through a doorstep she had to turn 90 degrees and walk sideways to be able to go through. Under the heavy dresses she had to wear long, unbelievably tight corset.

Antoinette had a kind of corset that a called “the grand corps”. It was only worn by her, and other noble women could wear it on a special occasion. This corset was stiffer that the other types of corsets (as if they weren’t stiff enough?) and it made eating breathing and moving hard. The queen was known for her rebellious ways when it came to wearing the grand corps, she refused it, but can you blame her? Fortunately for her she was skinny enough that she didn’t need a corset, therefore she would often go without.

I can’t imagine walking around in corsets that tight and dresses that big. In those days women had to wear it every day, all the time. Can you imagine coming home from school and not putting on your sweatpants and instead putting on a corset and a 60 pound dress? As I mentioned, the corsets make it harder to eat, breathe and move, this is because it’s incredibly tight and presses all your organs together. This means that it’s not only unbelievably uncomfortable but it is also medically dangerous. Thank god that the world has developed in a way that allows us to be comfortable when wearing clothes, and not risking death (because of the corsets).

Even though I wouldn’t want to walk around in those dresses I would like to try one. Personally I think that these dresses are a work of art. All the time and effort the designers put into their creations is visible. You can see that her style reflects in today’s modern fashion. Designers like John Galliano (for Dior), made a collection reflecting Marie Antoinette’s dresses. Some of the big fashion houses create pieces with small details reflecting 18th century fashion like Alexander McQueen. You don’t even have the look that far, even H&M takes after a bit of that old fashion, for example sunbonnets. The renaissance fashion has had a big impact on today’s fashion, but it has developed a lot, and I think that we all are grateful for that.

Kimia Rezaei

The Coffeehouse


In the 17th century the coffee for the first time were at sale outside the Ottoman Empire.

Coffee considered as a medical drink, but as fast it wasn’t any medicine any more the pubs started to sale coffee and even some pubs specialised in coffee and became coffeehouses.

Some historians says that women wasn’t allowed to enter the coffeehouses and some historians tell the completely opposite.

So coffeehouses became the rich peoples pubs but it says that they got drunk there to, which doesn’t sound like ordinary coffee.

But it was the calm place if you would go out and drink some.

1739 there were 551 coffeehouses in London.

I don’t know how big London at that time but it sounds like a lot because England is tea-drinkers (Prejudice) and there were a lot of pubs also so I don’t understand how so many public houses could be open.

There were also a huge difference between the coffeehouses because they roast there own coffee.

So it was important to get the best coffee, like always.

The number of coffeehouses decreased at 18th century but returned in all its glory at the 19th century.

By: Philip

Ludwig van Beethoven



Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is known in our days as one of the greatest composers throughout history with W.A. Mozart and J.S. Bach at his side. Among his works you can find “The Moonlight Sonata” and “Für Elise”. He did not write as many works as Mozart or Bach, but that is only because he was a perfectionist; he re-wrote his works several times before he was happy. He had his first performance at an age of 7, at Cologne in Köln, Germany. As his father wanted to create a “new Mozart”, a wonder child, he announced the boy as 6 years old instead. It is kind of ironic, because even Ludwig himself believed in his father, and through the rest of his life he thought he was one year younger than he actually was. In 1787 he went to Vienna and met Mozart, and became a pupil to Joseph Haydn among other famous composers.

Beethoven died in 1827, after a cold had taken other life-long health problems up to the surface. It is estimated that somewhere between 10000 and 30000 came to his funeral. If you compare it to Mozart’s funeral, where the few people that came fled from the rain before he was lowered into the ground, it was quite respectful and it shows that he was not only appreciated after his life, as many artists are, but during his life as well.


The reason Beethoven is so special among many composers in history is that he had a reduction of his hearing half of his life. In 1801 he felt it for the first time and during a period of 17 years he became almost completely deaf. During some time he thought about taking his own life, but chose to keep going, as he had so much more within music to discover. It is a great accomplishment to be recognized as one of the greatest within music history and being deaf. He had to know how every note sounded, without hearing it, to write anything, and I think he managed pretty well.


Within music the quote “It was better back then” fits right in. You may be disagreeing with me on that point, but think about it. The music we have today might sound better to you, but if you look at how it is performed classical music is the clear winner. In today’s music you use our modern technology to make it sound right, and any kid with some money can record a song and then autotune it to make it sound better. They did not have anything like that back then. All they had was hard work and raw talent. Therefore, the music was better back then.


What do you think? Is it right to compare there greatest works with ours?


/Sebastian Carlshamre

The Terror of the Barbery Coast - Regarding slavery:



Northen Africa is today a chaotic place. The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt has been sacked from their positions, and in Libya there is a civil war going on. There were some lunatics there 300 years ago as well. During the Enlightenment, the Ottoman Empire had control over the the North African coast to the mediterranean. The coast called ”The Barbery Coast”, because of the Berber inhabitants, (The most famous Berber to you is probably Zinedine Zidane), was the home of the Barbery corsairs. Also called the Ottoman corsairs they were primarily based in the port cities of Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. But their predation did not only cover one small part of the Mediterranean, oh no. Their area of predation extended through the Mediterranean, up the Northen Atlantic reaching as far as Iceland, and south along Western Africa's Atlantic seabord and even South America. What   did they do then? As their name suggests, they were pirates. They did however not only seize ships, they did also engage in razzias on European coastal towns. The main purpose of this vile behaviour was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market. They were extremely successful, from the 16th to 19th century they captured 800,000 to 1.25 million slaves. The corsairs were not just ottomans, some corsairs were european outcasts. Englishman John Ward was the most famous of the huddle. Some of the corsairs were a part of the Ottoman fleet, the most famous Ottoman corsair, Hayreddin Barbarossa was appointed admiral-in-chief  by the sultan himself. The impact of the corsairs in Southern Europe was devastating, the European powers lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were abandoned.


Anyhow, slave trading was it. Why did the islamic corsairs capture all those slaves? One reason can be the influenced of Aristotle's ideas of certain ethnic groups being slaves by nature. Many Muslim philosophers echoed these ideas, so that can be a factor. Basically though, I believe that they did for the money, and it would not surprise me if they also found big pleasure in what they did. One might argue if they were truthful muslims because as the prophet Mohammed so nicely put it: ”There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for black over the white except in piety”.  In piety means to do something in devotion to one's god. Somehow I doubt that the corsairs was capturing slaves in the name of Allah, it does not seem right to me. The corsairs might have captured many, but you should keep in mind that it is only one tenth of the amount of the slaves that were taken from Africa to America during the 19th century. What about slavery and the trading of slave today? A naive person would say that it is not a problem anymore, this is not the case. Slavery has just gone shapeshifting, Loki style. Former Secretary-General of the U.N Kofi Annan said in 1999: ”Even as laws banning slavery and its prohibition are enshrined in international instruments, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is stilled practised in many forms: tradional chattel slavery, bonded labour, serfdom, child labour, forced labour and slavery for ritual or religious purposes”. Why is that? Why do slavery still exist? There are other kinds of human trading as the trafficking of young women and forcing prostitution onto them. What can be done to stop this? I believe that a weak economy is the biggest reason to the most of these problems. Poor countries in Central Africa do not stand a chance in the fight against slavery, if they fight at all. Many governments in the poor countries of the world are also very corrupt, and are doing nothing to stop this. Bonded labour is another kind of slavery, I do not know if you remember when the guy from Pakistan visited us and talked about it. I believe we wrote a paragraph on the topic as well. Anyhow, quick recap, bonded labour is when the poor people are forced to loan money from the rich people and they are then ”bonded” to work for them. This is also a popular theme in popular culture. I could go on forever and discuss all the aspects of slavery, but I will not do that, because none of you would then be bothered to read the whole text, and then it would be no interesting discussion in the comment field. So I end my text by asking you: What should be done to stop slavery and trafficking, and who is responsible for doing it?


Do you want read up on the Barbery corsairs or slavery? Then I recommend you to check this links out and then come back to this page and discuss the subject with me. ;)


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you of the end of the Barbery corsairs! The piracy came to an end when France conquested Algiers in 1830




/Andreas Larsson

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The pioneer


On the 22nd day of the first month in the year 1729, in a small town in Saxony, Germany, which goes under the name of Kamenz, a boy was born. He was to become the eldest son of a clergyman, as his elder siblings had died at young age. Thus he was expected to succeed his father and was consequently sent to the University of Leipzig where he was supposed to study theology. He did not. He, now already, insisted on his independence and devoted his studies to language, literature and drama. At the age of 18 he completed a comedy which made its debut on stage.

During the entire seventeenth and also some of the eighteenth century, Germany was, at least when it came to literature and drama, barren land. There was an overpowering Gallic influence, but no own identity. No originals. It was Lessing, the boy from the small town of Kamenz, who would be the first to set foot on this path towards an own national identity.

The boy from the small town of Kamenz had with his play not made many new friends, but rather provoked the antagonism of the followers of the French literature towards him. His disregard of the pedantry, which reigned through the French influences, was seen as a sign of barbaric taste, his reluctance to studying theology as atheism. Of which the later soon was made acquaintance of by his father, whose response where several reproachful letters. Lessing remained remarkably placid, answering his father with the words "Religion is not a thing which a man should accept in simple faith and obedience from his parents".

At the age of 21 he set of to Berlin, where he met deft minds like Moses Mendelssohn, Karl Wilhelm Ramler and Johann Wilhelm Gleim. In this new liberal setting and free environment he could thrive and develop intellectually. And it was also here, where some of his famous plays were created. The first of them, Miss Sara Sampson, was a sudden breeze of fresh impulses. But it was too soon and too much and its deserved success was not acknowledged until ten years later. Thus Lessing was constantly living hand to mouth during his time in Berlin and eventually he left to find his luck elsewhere. Sadly enough he never really succeeded in finding any economic security. His life was always imbued and scourged by poverty. Additionally, his later years where not characterized by joy either, as he lost his wife, and consequently his son, in childbirth. Even though all these rebuffs constantly interfered with Lessing’s life he never became poignant but retained his down to earth character. In one his poems he says: "Fame never sought me, and would not, in any case, have found me. I have never craved riches, for why, during this short journey, where so little is needed, should one hoard it up for thieves rather than for himself? In a little while I shall be trampled under the feet of those who come after. Why need they know upon whom they tread? I alone know who I am."

Maybe this complete lack egotism is an explanation for him being almost completely overlooked when talking about the landmarks of German culture. He was succeeded by poets and philosophers who made Germany a household name when talking about culture and art, and it was this Boy from the small town of Kamenz who prepared the way for these great minds. He opposed the simple recreation of the French role models, and it was he who established appreciation for Shakespeare in Germany. And it was his plays which, even though having lots of influences from earlier English renaissance and Aristotelian theater (who hasn’t?), still today serve as a foundation for German theater.

As for him being an “enlightener”, one can ascertain that Lessing decried the belief of any religious revelations but believed in Christian reason which was oriented to the basic values of the religion. Furthermore Lessing was an advocate of tolerance towards other world religions and was keen on trying to abolish persisting prejudices.

All in all, the life and journey of the boy from the small town of Kamenz, was a rather tragic one. It was a constant, fruitless fight for tolerance, freedom and truth, which still today is not entirely appreciated. And still, had Lessing’s ideas not had the impact they had and would he still be alive today, he would still be the same patient, open-minded boy from the small town of Kamenz, waiting for his ideas to strike root in the zeitgeist. And if he could not achieve acceptance for himself, he at least fought for the acceptance for others.  Goethe wrote after his death: "We lose much in him, much more than we think."


//Baloo Peinkofer


Marie-Antoinette was a big fashion icon during her time as dauphine, meaning crown princess, and queen of France. When we are talking about the fashion during the 18th century, and earlier we are not just talking about the clothes but also about what they wore at their heads, and then we are talking about wigs. During that time almost everybody; both men and women, at the French court wore those wigs. Marie-Antoinette wasn’t a big fan of them, which meant that she instead had to spend almost the double time at her hairdressing as the other ladies. The wigs could be in different sizes and they had thing in them, such as feathers and rosettes. They used powder made of flour, talc, all kinds of white muds, bone meal, gypsum, flour of eggshell, skirret and beans to powder their wigs.

I think that those wigs maybe were a good and fun way to express whom you were during that time. For example a pregnant woman could have a little crib in her wig. But in other cases I think that wearing those wigs was kind of stupid. I don’t think that they could have been all too comfortable to wear. We also have to consider all the flour that they used just to make their wigs look good. They used up to a half-kilo every week. If they instead had used that flour to give the people food maybe some, which died in starvation, had survived. I think that they were kind of inventive in all ways that they used to make their wigs powered. It’s interesting how the wigs changed, like the fashion today. For example; the length of the wigs differed from time to time. The wigs become shorter and shorter during the 18th century. The colour of the powder could also differ from time to time; they could have both purple and yellow hair if that was what the fashion was during that particular time. One thing that really surprises me is that they could have flowers in their wigs, the flowers survived because they had bottles with water inside of their wigs. I have to say that I think that was the point when it all came to be exaggerated. It’s just so unnaturally and stupid. I think that it must be some limit for what you do to follow fashion. Like the fact that they sat up when they slept, they did not mind, because it showed that you were rich and that could afford to have those kinds of wigs. That is stupid. Maybe it was not the wigs that were stupid but the people whom wore the wigs, it could have been a fun way to express them selves but instead it became really exaggerated.

/Ebba Jakobsson van Stam

Rococo Art

Rococo art is an 18th century style, which developed from the Baroque style. The both style differ a lot though. The baroque style was very heavy art with a church orientation whereas the Rococo style was playful, happy and drawn with light pastel colors. During the enlightenment the view about the human existence changed and the rococo visualized the optimism people felt to a respond to this.  The style characterized curving forms, fanciful figures and the paintings had a cheerful mood, both visually and physically.


The motives of many pictures were the relaxed outings of noble couples being out in the nature on picnics etc. The persons were often showed as optimistic and very happy. To be out in the nature and be related to nature was very modern during the enlightenment, thanks to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his motto “Back to Nature”. The paintings wanted to show a happy life without any worries, an artificial life with game playing and joy.  One wanted to create snapshots out of a normal day, and make it look perfect.



This to me sounds a bit silly; to show of a fantasy life that did not existed.  However do the art’s motives really differ that much from the motives of today’s art? I would say they don’t.


I believe the aim with the paintings were very similar to what we today want out of pictures. Because isn’t that exactly what we want, to take nice pictures but to make them look like they’re simply taken out of the moment.  Depending on where and to whom we will show the pictures the motive can differ a bit, only to show the best side of us. And like during the enlightenment we want to portrait ourselves as happy and living a good life.


If you like to read more about Rococo art:


By: Nora Jakobsson van Stam

“A person hears only what they understand. “

“A person hears only what they understand.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



I agree with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I think that we hear what we understand and the things we do not understand we ignore. This could be a problem when we meet persons with different views or if they have grown up in a different culture than us. We do not really listen to them and what they have to say if we don’t TRY. It might be so different that we remake the story so that it fits into the knowledge we already have. Of course it is not this way for every person in the world, but I think in general it is quite common. We are afraid to leave our thoughts about certain things to listen to something new which might change our way of seeing the world.

This could be very important to think about when you meet a person with different views. It is good to know that we in general try to stick to the thoughts and opinions we already have. So when you meet a new person you have to know that they might not want to listen to you, because what you are saying sounds absurd to them.

This could be a reason why some immigrants find it hard to get into the Swedish society. They might have come here because of war or pursuit. They only listen to what they understand and try to stick to their values. I just want to point out that this is not the case for all immigrants, far from there. It is the same way if a Swedish family moves to another culture; they want to stick to their traditions and thoughts about things.


What do you think; could this be a reason why some immigrants don’t get into the Swedish society very well?



(This is not suppose to be a racialist post)

Read more:



/ Hanna


17'th century Coffee house


Coffee houses like Espresso house and Wayne’s Coffee are places that you can meet up with your friends, your family and the rest of your loved ones. The coffee houses are a kind of obvious thing in today’s society, but it hasn’t always been that way. Kiva Han, were the first coffee house, emerged in Turkey, Istanbul 1475. It wasn’t until around 1529 the coffee houses came to Austria, Europe, but the big explosion came when they started to serve sweet pastries and other confectionary.

Back in the days the coffee houses were used by politicians and philosophers. Now it is used by all types of people. Friends, lovers, families, old people, young people, yes I think you get it and I also think that almost everyone has been to a coffee house sometime. You can also get new friends by meeting at a coffeehouse, or maybe a date. That it was politicians and philosophers that first used the coffee houses wasn’t such a big surprise. They had more money, and more power.

Something that is interesting is that philosophers like Rousseau and Voltaire drunk about 40 cups of coffee each day at the coffeehouse Procope in Paris. I think that they would have been the most energetic people in Paris.

If the coffeehouses didn’t exist, people would have been very boring and unsocial. Social venues are very important in the society. What if everyone didn’t go to the coffeehouse and sat in the sofa at home, looking at the TV instead? Then you never meet someone and you become very boring and kind of strange. You don’t know how to talk and behave. So yes, the social venues as for example coffeehouses are very important for us humans to live.




To read more about this:


Mozart – The child genius


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 1756 in Salzburg. He started playing the piano at a very early age and it turned out he was pretty good at what he was doing. Wolfgang turned out to be so good that already at the age of six his father took him on a tour around Europe. Not only did he play well but he was also good at composing symphonies and sonatas etc. One of his first compositions is the symphony no.1 in E-flat major. I got quite astonished by listening to this composition and realizing that Mozart was only eight years old when composed it.

Now the question is, is it morally right to make a child travel around the world and playing music? Or would it be ok if the child agrees to it and actually likes it?

First of all I think that by being able to do all of this you must have an interest for it. I don’t think that his father forced him to keep playing against his will, although he might have been pushed to practice both consistently and frequently. Another sign of that he enjoyed playing and composing is that he did it throughout his life. Then negative to this is that he didn’t have much of a youth, since he started “working” at a very early age.

So was it a good or a bad thing letting Mozart become a professional composer at a early age? I think that it was good, there wouldn’t be any of his early compositions if he wouldn’t have started at that early age. Perhaps he might even not have become a composer if he wouldn’t have started early. Mozart is in my opinion one of the greatest composers ever (just after Beethoven).

/Daniel S Wong

Rousseau and The Social Contract

Rousseau (1712-1778) was a philosopher and author during the Enlightenment, and one of the people who greatly inspired the French Revolution. He was born in Geneva, Switzerland, but later moved to Paris.

He published two books simultaneously in 1762, The Social Contract and Émile, who both received a lot of attention. These two books were publicly burned in Paris and Geneva, and were generally disliked by the officials. In fact, the French Monarchy ordered him to be arrested because of these books, so that he had to flee to the Swiss town of Neachatel!

Both of these books upset the people, or mainly the royalty (at least The Social Contract), but I’ll only be discussing The Social Contract in this article. If you want more info on Émile, which was mainly a book on education, please see the link below.

In The Social Contract, Rousseau said that the government should be one which the people in the country, which he referred to as the “sovereign”, had agreed to. This was because the government should exist to uphold the will of the general people. This could e.g. be accomplished by voting on who you thought should be king! But in this case, people shouldn’t vote according to what was best for them, but according to what was best for everyone. Also, he thought that the government could take on different forms depending on the country. However, he thought that monarchy was the strongest form of government and the best suited one for hot climates, however that affects anything at all, but that aristocracy was the most stable form of government.

Doesn’t this seem like an excellent idea, that the government should heed the people’s will, and that the people got to decide on who was best suited to form the government, no matter which form it would take? I certainly think so, however, the French monarchy did not agree with this at all.

The French monarchy’s worst nightmare was probably that people might want other rulers than them. That’s likely the reason that they hated this book, since this book basically inspired people to rebel against their current government in order to create something better. That was pretty much what happened during the French Revolution.

I can’t really blame the French monarchy for wanting to destroy this book. It was, after all, one of the reasons that the French people rebelled later. And if you’ve got all that power, if you have the power to change and influence France with only a few words, why would you ever want to give all of that power away?

Imagine that you’re the leader of, say, 10 million people. These people are pledged to you, and you can behead a person simply for insulting you or saying something that you disagree with. They also pay taxes to you, so that you can buy all that rich wine and those fancy silks, even though this may lead to your people starving in order for you to live in luxury. Now, you’re either repulsed by this, as this has dictator spelled all over it, or you’re wishing that this was true. Who, after all, doesn’t want power?

If you were one of the people who were repulsed by this idea, you have to imagine yourself being born into this, to be born as a royalty. When you’ve been taking all of this for granted since childhood, it’s not that easy to see how that’s so wrong anymore. If you had been told since birth that you were meant to rule this land, that you can do whatever you want with these people and that you deserve the utmost luxuries, why would you ever question that?

When holding all of this in mind, do you think it was right of the French monarchy to burn the book and try to have him arrested? Or should they have let him say whatever he wanted to, which in the end led to them, the French monarchy, losing their power?

For more info on Rousseau, his books and ideas, please go to:


Defoe and Crusoe



Daniel  Defoe (1660-1731) was quite the writer. He is  most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe of course, which I will be talking about later in this small essay. Defoe did not just sit down one day and wrote the, according to me, most wonderful book ever! No, he had written a lot of things before writing his masterpiece. He had written over 500 books, pamphlets and journals and they the all differed in subject, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology and the supernatural. So Defoe had covered a lot of ground over the years before creating the adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Defoe was not even his real name, his real name was Daniel Foe and he added the “De” because it sounded aristocratic (in other words, it sounded nice) and so he could sometimes  claim that he descended from the “De Beau Faux” familiy

The book of Robinson Crusoe is, in short terms, about a young Englishman who becomes stranded on an island, a lot more happens before that but that is the core story of the book.

The book is actually based on a true story! Defoe based his story on the unfortunate adeventure of a Scottish sailor, Alexander Selkirk who was rescued by an expedition after four years on the island of Más a tierra in the Juan Fernández Islands off the Chilean coast. Crusoe shares the same experience as Selkirk, he becomes stranded on an island forty miles from the African coast, there he builds his new life and stays on that island for 28 years.


When I read the book I am always astounded over Robinsons achievments on the island, even though I have read the book like, fifteen times. When he single handedly builds a boat out of a tree trunk, even when he decides to make raisins I constantly become baffled over how intuitive and determined Defoe has written Crusoe. Robinson makes his own clothing from animal skin, builds a small fortress with a fence and tames a number of animals, including a parrot which he teaches how to talk so he would not feel alone. This book is fantastic, but the one bit that bothers me the most is when Crusoe meets Friday.


If you have not read the book, then go and do it and then come back, because then you have missed something truly awesome!

Anyway, Robinson rescues Friday from his own tribe members and then the book, well it becomes quite racist. A soon Friday get’s a hold of the situation he immediately throws himself at Robinsons feet and places his foot on his own head, as a symbol showing that Friday is now forever Crusoe’s slave. Robinson takes on the role of the superior white European who possesses nice clothing and superior technology, in opposite to the uneducated heathens which are the tribe members.

Robinson takes Friday in and teaches him how to be civilised by giving him clothes, to give up cannibalism and he also teaches him the teachings of Christianity. This gives Crusoe a role of a God, who brings enlightenment to the poor islanders. A superior, white, European male who brings wonders and civilisation to a forgotten island, that’s new.¨


Now, if you know anything about Daniel Defoe you would know that he had certain view of life. He believed that you won’t get anywhere in life by sitting in a classroom all day, reading about other peoples experiences. His thoughts were that in order to learn you have to go out in nature and learn to which I totally agree, to a certain degree. I think that you won’t truly learn  unless you do it practically and I think that is what Defoe meant.

//Gabriel F

Rococo fashion

Rococo Fashion

The Rococo fashion (also referred to as “Late Baroque”) was THE fashion style during the most of the 18th century (1730-1780). During this time France was the fashion-country of the world. This style is much lighter and more elegant than the “heavy” Baroque fashion. The clothes should have many details and the wealthy women had gowns that were spectacular, covered with bows and flowers and a fancy corset above the waistline.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s motto “Back to Nature” had an immense impact on the excessive use of flowers, butterflies, berries et.c. as ornaments.

This was a time when new ideas about human existence were introduced and Rococo is the visual representation of the optimism people felt in response to that.

The Rococo style is very influenced by China; women even did their makeup to look like Chinese china or “the white gold” as they also called it.

But at the same time the style was a torture for the women. To be able to fit in the dresses they had to be very skinny. They had to wear a corset to hold everything in; the “fine” women had an average waist on 30 cm in circumference, which is crazy! This is why so many women died in childbirth. And if they took the corset of, they had no back muscles that supported them. This is the same concept that they use in China where they squeeze the girls’ feet in a pair of very small shoes because it is considered beautiful to have small feet there.


// Hedvig

Johann Sebastian Bach – the fifth evangelist?



Today, Bach is generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque style, and he is also recognised as one of the greatest composers of all time. Bach devoted his life to music and his contributions, or “musical science”, have been compared with what Shakespeare did to English literature and Newton’s efforts in physics. Besides being the greatest composer and organist of the Baroque era, Bach was also a theologian and did gather a lot of inspiration from the Bible. So it is not a sensation that nearly three-fourths of his 1000 compositions were written for use in worship. Many well-known historians, musicians and composers have claimed that Bach is to be considered as a tremendous virtuoso and with his remarkable masterpieces the “St Matthew Passion” and the “St John Passion”, he has given life to the Gospels. Some people, including the Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer, have also stated Bach as the “fifth evangelist”.


Why should Bach be stated as the “fifth evangelist”? Why should a musician even be compared with the “real” evangelists?


Well first of all, music was never just music in his eyes. Ever since he received his first copy of Martin Luther’s Bible, he took most of his inspiration from it. The inspiration he gathered from the Bible characterised every single piece of art he composed after his finding of what the Bible could provide him with.


You obtain a perfect example of how much the Bible influenced him if you read the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. If you read that at the same time as you listen to the “St Matthew Passion”, you can actually experience what you are reading. This piece of music is directly connected to the Gospel of Matthew.


I think that it is satisfactory calling Bach the “fifth evangelist”. I mean, honestly, consider what he has done. He has given the Gospels an entirely new dimension, because now, we have the opportunity not only to read them but also to live them. Thanks to Bach’s music, we can live the Gospels with our imagination. Bach gave the Bible another dimension, hundreds of years before television came and we were finally able to “see” it with our own eyes.


Considering this, you may wonder if it was Bach’s intention to be the fifth evangelist. Was the purpose with his music to be put side by side with the evangelists?


If you ask me, I find it hard to believe that Bach himself was so arrogant as to consider himself as an evangelist and neither do I believe that he even thought of himself as holy person. Least of all I believe that he saw himself as a person that people all over the world would compare him with the “fantastic four”, St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John. Actually, I believe that Bach was a very religious man that wrote his music not in honour of himself but only to praise the lord. And there is a peculiar thing that strengthens this argument. Bach wrote the acronym SDG on most pieces of music he composed. SDG stands for “Soli Deo Gloria”, it is Latin and it means “Glory to God alone”.


I think that it is possible to compare this debate with, for example, the one concerning the book and the movies “The Lord of the Rings”. As someone might know, Peter Jackson produced three movies out of the book “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. These movies received many awards and a discussion was brought up concerning if the movies were at the same level as the book.


To conclude all this, we can at least say that this discussion has endured for a very long time, and will probably continue to do so for many years. Even though it is very difficult to have the same opinion concerning if Bach really was the “fifth evangelist” or not, I believe that there is a possibility that there at least is one thing that everyone can agree on. Johann Sebastian Bach was a composer beyond all kind of comparison, no matter if he was the “fifth evangelist” or not.


If you want to find out more about Johann Sebastian Bach, please check out this link:


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