The Swedish Santa adorns the gift calendar for heart-lung research

Jenny Nyström, born in Kalmar in 1854, is seen as the creator of our Swedish Santa. Jenny Nyström also had a great commitment to charity and already in 1910 contributed to the important research against tuberculosis. Her commitment lives on and during the Heart-Lung Foundation's 120th anniversary, it is Jenny Nyström's art that adorns the foundation's gift calendar.

With Jenny Nyström's famous motif in our calendar, we want to highlight her importance, not only as an artist, but also as a committed donor to vital research. Her connection to illness and the Heart-Lung Foundation means that we can proudly display her work as a reminder of the important work that still needs to be done, says Kristina Sparreljung, secretary general of the Heart-Lung Foundation.

Jenny Nyström is one of Sweden's most loved artists. Today, she is perhaps best known for having given the Swedish Santa a face. The big breakthrough came in 1881 with Viktor Rydberg's Tomten. Through a collaboration with the Kalmar county museum, the Heart-Lung Foundation has been able to combine Jenny Nyström's illustrations in the calendar with the decisive role she played in the Heart-Lung Foundation's early history.

Jenny contributed to the Hjärt-Lungfonden's fundraising work against Tuberculosis as early as the 1910s in the form of Christmas stamps with her illustrations. Tuberculosis had both hit Jenny Nyström's husband hard and led to her sister's untimely death, which made her participation a personal endeavor to contribute to the fight against tuberculosis.

- This tribute in the Heart-Lung Foundation's calendar reminds of the great importance Jenny Nyström had, both for Swedish culture and for charity, says Örjan Molander, museum director at the Kalmar County Museum.

The Heart-Lung Foundation was founded on 28 February 1904 in the fight against tuberculosis. Since then, the fund has worked to fight our main public diseases. Last year, SEK 359 million was distributed to vital heart and lung research. The gift calendar is important to contribute to the collection that makes the research possible.

For more information, please contact

Daniel Edelsvärd-Wallerman, press contact at Hjärt-Lungfonden, telephone 070-854 42 35,

Örjan Molander, head of the county museum and county antiquary at the Kalmar county museum, telephone 0480-45 13 05,

Fact gift calendar

The Heart-Lung Foundation's Gift Calendar is a specially designed art calendar for the Heart-Lung Foundation's donors. This is the fourth year the calendar has been made in collaboration with the Kalmar county museum with illustrations by Jenny Nyström. The 2024 gift calendar with Jenny Nyström's illustrations can be ordered by giving a gift to Kalmar County's collection for the Heart-Lung Foundation, link to the collection here. Every purchase supports the Heart-Lung Foundation's work with vital research. The gift calendar can also be purchased on site at the Kalmar county museum. Jenny Nyström's art can be seen in the permanent exhibition at Kalmar County Museum. Previous artists who contributed their art to the calendar are Lasse Åberg, Maxi Svensson and Caroline af Ugglas. The connection between art and science is natural. The work of both the researcher and the artist is driven forward by curiosity, creativity and a desire to make the world a better place.

Facts about Jenny Nyström (1854-1946)

Jenny Nyström, born in Kalmar in 1854. Although Jenny Nyström is perhaps best known for having introduced the Swedish Santa through her illustrations, her talent encompassed much more than that. During her long career, she produced countless works that are now in museums, she was depicted on postage stamps and has streets named after her.

Jenny showed an early talent for drawing and started art school as a teenager. A few years later, she got a place at the Academy of Fine Arts and moved to Stockholm. There, Jenny Nyström won, as the first woman ever, the Art Academy's prize competition. It gave her a scholarship to continue her art studies in Paris. There, she was able to exhibit at the very prestigious Paris Salon, among other things.

In parallel with her studies, which focused on classical painting, Jenny Nyström began to support herself through various illustration assignments. The big breakthrough came in 1881 with Viktor Rydberg's Tomten. After that, her career took off and she made illustrations for, among other things, children's books, postcards and magazines.

Jenny Nyström continued to work, not least painting elves, until her death at the age of 91. when she passed away in 1946, she was a national celebrity, but today she can probably be considered a national treasure.

As early as 1910, Jenny Nyström made Christmas signs for the first, but not the last, time for the Swedish National Assembly against Tuberculosis (as the Heart-Lung Fund was called at the time). The sale of her Christmas stamps has over time contributed a lot of money to the fight against, among other things, tuberculosis. This illness had both hit Jenny Nyström's husband hard and led to her sister's untimely death. With that in mind, it feels extra nice that her art can continue to make a difference to research.

Jenny Nyström married Daniel Stoopendaal in 1887. Six years later, they had a son, Curt Nyström Stoopendaal, who also became a successful illustrator.

Through a bequeathed gift from Curt's wife, the Jenny Nyström and Curt Stoopendaal foundation was formed in 1984. The foundation's collections can be found at the Kalmar county museum, which has generously assisted the Heart-Lung Foundation in its work with the 2024 gift calendar.

About Kalmar County Museum

Kalmar county museum is a knowledge organization and meeting place with the mission of preserving, developing and making the county's rich cultural heritage accessible. With our collective competence and with the county's rich cultural heritage as a resource, we want to contribute to learning, public education, participation and community for the county's development with a strong and present cultural heritage perspective.

We have activities in the areas of: archaeology, building maintenance, cultural environment pedagogy, exhibitions, archive-library collections, conservation and marine archaeology. We are one of the country's largest county museums with a regional mission to bring alive and preserve cultural heritage. We are open all year round, are a popular destination with well-known brands and popular exhibitions about, for example, the regal ship Kronan, Sandby borg and Jenny Nyström.