Coming from Africa as I do, I have often wondered why so many countries use African lions as national symbols. Lion are used to represent sports teams, in fables, in mythology, as biblical emblems. I suppose it is to symbolise power, strength, nobility, and royalty. But in Sweden for example, there are indigenous animals such as the bear, the wolf, and the eagle which could be used just as well.
The Stockholm Riksdag (Parliament) has depictions of lions all over the buildings, as does the Royal Palace. And pedestrian streets and areas usually have several concrete lions (designed by Anders Årfelt) guarding them.
I have grown to love these benevolent-looking lions. Particularly after the terror attack last year, when the truck hurtling down a busy main street struck a couple of these concrete lions, slowing the truck’s trajectory.
After the terror attack these lions were covered with flowers. They seemed particularly symbolic of Stockholm during those days.
There are now more concrete lions all over the streets and the street where the terror attack took place has ENORMOUS ones guarding several of the intersections – they weigh four metric tons each as opposed to the one metric ton of the regular ones. There were 37 in place before the terror attack and there are now 37 more guarding the streets.
You can also buy little ones as tourist souvenirs.