Sweden to open embassy in Second Life

The government of Sweden plans to open an embassy in Second Life.

News from Swedish friend Fredrik Wacka says they’re investigating how to build a 3D copy of the Swedish embassy in Washington. Formal negotiations have started with the architect for the real building and the state authority managing official Swedish buildings around the world.

Fredrik pointed me to an article in DN.Kultur magazine which has the details. In Swedish, of course. The first paragraph confirms the plan:

Sverige ska bli först med en officiell ambassad i den virtuella, tredimensionella världen Second Life. Det är Svenska institutets generaldirektör Olle Wästbergs ambition och han är mycket entusiastisk.

Running that text through the Systran online translator produces this intriguing result but I’m sure you’ll get the gist:

Sweden will become first with an official embassy in the virtuella, the three-dimensional world Second Life. The is Swedish Institute’s Director General sweater Wästbergs aspiration and he are a lot of enthusiastic.

(I’d have used Babelfish for a more amusing translation but they don’t offer Swedish to English.)

However the virtual embassy starts out, it won’t be possible to seek asylum, get a passport and those other more formal things an embassy does. More of a marketing initiative, Fredrik says, so it’s a matter of definition if it’ll be a real embassy or not.

A similar argument as to whether Dutch bank ABN Amro’s presence in Second Life is a real bank branch or not.

Real enough if you imagine it.

[Update Jan 28] More details in a post on The Local, an English-language Swedish news site, on Jan 26, bylined by French news agency AFP. Via Boing Boing, via Cardie Mahoney.