The first dinner took place at the end of February 2014 in Stockholm. Ebba Åkerman was the one who initiated it all, having worked as a substitute teacher at a Swedish language school for immigrants for a year and having been invited to amazing meals in her students’ homes. One day she she ran into one of her students on the train and asked him whether he enjoyed living in her country. She found the answer deeply disturbing. The man shrugged, saying his life here was not much different from the one he had left behind in Afghanistan. It became clear to her that most of her students, living in neighborhoods packed with immigrants, had virtually no contact with native Swedes.
In the months that followed, Ms. Akerman decided to try to change that, calling herself the Minister of Dinners in charge of the Department of Invitations and using Facebook and Instagram to try to bring individual Swedes and immigrants together for a meal. Since then, the movement has swept across Europe bringing together hundreds of natives and new arrivals in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Belgium and Ireland.