Women chopping woods in Alexanderplatz

Three days of an all-women wood chopping competition.

'Women Chopping Wood' on Sergels Torg, in Stockholm in 2007
'Women Chopping Wood' on Sergels Torg, in Stockholm in 2007

If you happen to be in Berlin, these days, take a tour to Alexanderplatz. The historical square in the very heart of the German capital will be the stage of an unsual match between the national teams of Germany and Sweden: women from the two countries will engage in a wood chopping challenge. Another odd detail is that all participants will be between 50 and 90 years of age.

The match is sponsored by the brand-new Swedish EU Presidency, which is starting today, July 1.

The two teams will have to do the logging job all the way: logs are transported, delivered, sawn, chopped and cleaved by the women, who will be working in teams. Each day’s work is a common effort, generating positive energy. The sun is hot, the working women are sweating – the forest, the trees and the sound of pieces of wood hitting the chopping-blocks. New potatoes, dill and crisp bread are offered to passers-by who will get a taste of Scandinavian tradition and the cultural heritage of Germany’s northern neighbor. Swedish summer meets urban Berlin.

The two teams have three days to complete their task: transforming 30 cubic metres of logs into imaginative wood piles. The challenge involves cooperation, communication and getting to know each other across national and language barriers. Each day means making a common effort. It is a manifestation of female strength and community spirit, of making the countryside visible in the city and of the physical strength needed to generate energy.

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