12 Days to Christmas Day 12: “As In Helsinki, Sweden”

Helsinki Sweden Die Hard

What is Christmas without Die Hard? In years to come Die Hard will be a cemented Holiday tradition on par with the likes of It’s A wonderful Life. Nice children will wear dirty wife beaters to bed on Christmas Eve in anticipation that Sgt Al Powell will deliver a sack full of twinkies in his flying squad car. Naughty children will fear the ghost of Hans Gruber depositing lumps of C-5 in their stockings. And while Die Hard is full to the brim of memorable Christmas moments, let’s savour one of my favourites; News Anchorman Harvey Johnson’s geographical blunder, locating Helsinki Finland in neighbouring Sweden.

However, it would appear that poor Harvey may have been onto something. For, were you aware dear readers, that The Helsinki Syndrome of which Harvey was referring is a fictional reworking of The Stockholm Syndrom.., as in Stockholm Sweden! That’s right, as I learnt from Mental Floss, “The term was coined by Swedish psychiatrist Nils Bejerot after a six-day hostage ordeal in 1973 at the Kreditbanken in Norrmalmstorg near central Stockholm. On August 23 of that year, prison escapee Jan-Erik Olsson barged into the bank with a machine gun and took four employees hostage. He kept them at gunpoint in the bank’s vault. Over the course of the next five days, Olsson developed a sort of bond with his captives“.

So spare a thought for Harvey Johnson this Christmas, who’s decades of embarrassment were merely a cheeky in-joke from the Die Hard writers and their bastardisation of Dr Nils Bejerot’s all too Swedish term.

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