The Sweden camp in Ukraine

Welcome to ‘Camp Sweden’ based on a large island in the middle of Kyiv, Ukraine. A picturesque setting in the middle of the Dniepr River that approximately 5,000 Swedish fans have been calling home for their short but eventful stay at the European Championships.

Things were far from idyllic when the fans first arrived to find no electricity, no hot water, nor even any loo paper. Large areas of the camping site looked more like a landfill site rather than a temporary home, as Ukrainian contractors failed to fulfil many of the jobs promised. A reminder that whilst Euro 2012 preparations were largely completed on time, many of the side projects left to local authorities didn’t always keep up the pace.

After a few days of the Swedes arriving, conditions had drastically improved. Many more toilets had been installed and hot water was running in the showers, however electricity and Internet access were still limited.

The camp on Turkhaniv Island is only accessible via a footbridge that stretches over the Dniepr river. From the entrance Swedish flags are visible draped all along and laundry lines hanging between the trees. A colourful sight.

Paying 20 Euros a night for these poor conditions may raise eyebrows, but drinking beer with friends accompanied with the good weather seemed enough to satisfy the Swedish contingent. A selection of guest appearances also kept the fans entertained, including injured defender Daniel Majstorovic, who could have made a difference to Sweden’s shaky defence on the field.

With 20,000 Swedes overall following the national team in Ukraine they sure made an impact on the locals. Euro 2012 will be a poorer place without Sweden’s brilliant fans, and so will the Kyiv economy.

Fans will already have their eyes set on Brazil 2014. Camp Sweden on the beach? Yeah, me too.

Jake Svensson

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