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Don't Ask, Don't Smell

August 02, 2000|From Times Wire Services

STOCKHOLM — The world's first museum dedicated to fermented herring will open in northern Sweden next year, the daily newspaper Vasterbottens Kuriren reported Thursday.

The museum will explain the ancient technique developed by fishermen in the Gulf of Bothnia for preserving herring by adding a small amount of salt then letting the fish ferment.

You might have to be Swedish to appreciate the resulting surstromming (sour herring), which traditionally comes on the market in August. Only 2% of the 800,000 cans produced every year are exported, all to expatriate Swedes. The sharp odor has been compared, by non-surstromming-lovers, to dog excrement.

The $335,200 museum will be tactfully situated well clear of human habitation, on a finger of land outside Ornskoldsvik in the gulf between Sweden and Finland, at the behest of a foundation endowed by ship owner Emanuel Hogberg.

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