Sweden to open embassy in Second Life

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The new building in Second Life will be designed to look like the current embassy in Washington.

Sweden has plans to open a virtual embassy in Second Life, the virtual world home to thousands of netizens. Companies like Dell are already selling computers via the virtual world, but Sweden would become the first country to have a cyber-embassy in Second Life.

The embassy would not provide visa or perform diplomatic tasks, but would provide information on how and where to get these documents in the real world, as well as giving cultural and tourist information about the country. Visitors will also be able to chat with embassy personnel. A spokesperson explained that it would be an easy and cheap way to reach young people. The idea came from The Swedish Institute, an agency of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Sweden with providing information about Sweden as a key purpose.

The "House of Sweden" as it will be called, will be modelled on the new Swedish embassy in Washington with the same name. The opening is expected in a few weeks.

Second life has over 3 million registered accounts. On an average day, the maximum of people logged in at the same time peaks at 25,000. In September 2006, Second Life was reported to have a gross domestic product of $64 million. Some schools in the United States and Canada have virtual classrooms on the site. People like Ailin Graef a.k.a. Anshe Chung have developed virtual businesses in Second Life, and earn thousands of real dollars there.

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