May 30, 2007 / 3:40 PM / in 11 years

Sweden first to open embassy in Second Life

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden became the first country on Wednesday to open an embassy in the virtual world Second Life.

A general view of a street in the virtual world Second Life in an image courtesy of Linden Lab. Sweden became the first country on Wednesday to open an embassy in the virtual world Second Life. REUTERS/Liden Lab/Handout

Created to promote The Nordic state’s image and culture, the embassy does not offer any real or virtual consular services but provides information on its real world counterparts.

Second Life, an Internet-based world where users create characters known as avatars, is run by Linden Lab, based in San Francisco.

The opening of the embassy was attended on line by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, in the form of an avatar, and at a real life press conference in Stockholm.

“The embassy is now open to the public and offers a smorgasbord of impressions to anyone interested in Sweden,” said the Swedish Institute, which was behind the project.

The embassy also includes a room dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save thousands of Jews in World War Two. It recreates his office in Budapest, where he worked as a diplomat and issued Swedish passports to Hungarian Jews to help them escape the Nazis.

It also has an art exhibition, pictures of Sweden and fact sheets and radio news via iPod.

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