Swedes toast 60th year of Athens institute

Presentations, lectures and a concert will mark the 60th anniversary of the Swedish Institute at Athens, in a two-day celebration today and tomorrow. Events will kick off at 7 p.m. today, in the presence of Swedish Ambassador to Greece Marten Grunditz. Representatives of the institute from Sweden as well as representatives of Greek archaeological institutions will give a series of talks tonight and the evening will close with a lecture by Professor Emeritus Robin Hagg, who will discuss Minoan religious ritual at 8 p.m. Starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow, various Swedish scholars, including Professor Gullog Nordquist, associate professors Kerstin Hoghammar and Lars Karlsson, Dr Erika Weiberg and others, will present all the latest developments in their work until 2 p.m. The celebrations will end tomorrow night, with a concert by the Dalecarlia String Quartet at the premises of the Danish Institute (14 Herefontos, Plaka, tel 210.324.4644). Founded in 2005, the quartet consists of violinists Anders Jacobsen and Elisabeth Lagergren, viola player Mats Hedren and cellist Thomas Blanch. The concert, which will start at 8 p.m., will feature works by Beethoven, Bohuslav Martinu and Wilhelm Stenhammar. The Swedish Institute, which opened in 1948, is housed in one of Athens’s most beautiful neoclassical buildings, a former private residence designed by architect Philippos Economou in 1914. Swedish archaeologists were already present in Greece in 1894, on Poros, but their participation in major Greek-Swedish programs in the Peloponnese (in the Argolid, Messinia and Arcadia) became much more regular during the 1920s and 30s. The institute has conducted excavations in numerous areas, including Assini, Midea, Berbati and Dendra in the Argolid, Aphidnae in Attica and Hania on Crete, among others. It is under the aegis of the Swedish Ministry of Education and also owns the Swedish House in Kavala, a Bauhaus building which every year hosts researchers and artists from Sweden. Swedish Institute, 9 Mitsaion, tel 210.923.2102,