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Separated by Covid, United by Blood

Norway, Europe: Ola and Pontus Berglund meet on a bridge that links Norway and Sweden every Saturday, each carefully on their side of the border. Due to Covid, they have not visited each other’s home for over a year now.

Two 73-year-old Swedish twins have met every Saturday, each on their side of the border, on a bridge that links Norway and Sweden. Every week, Ola and Pontus Berglund each keep well behind a thin, yet impenetrable line on the ground, toting camping chairs, thermoses, sandwiches with plenty of good cheer.

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“We’re not allowed to cross the border. I have to stay one metre (yard) away on my side and he has to stay back one metre on his side,” Ola explains.

“So basically there have to be two metres between us,” he says, pushing his chair back, suddenly aware that he is too close. At his feet, painted on the road, is a simple white line, the words “Norge” and “Sverige” on either side. The pandemic has set a pause to the identical twins’ weekly visits to each other’s homes.

Ola lives in Halden, in southeastern Norway, where he went almost 40 years past for love, while Pontus lives a half-hour drive away in the southwestern Swedish town of Stromstad.

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“It’s very strange but it’s become a need, a pressing need because we used to see each other every week and we wanted to continue that,” says Pontus from the Swedish side.

“Each meeting has been a little party,” says Pontus, who is divorced. “For me who lives alone, it’s really important to see Ola. Without that, I’d be depressed.”

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The pandemic cannot stop them from seeing each other and being concern about each other. they consider this as a victory.


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