IT is thanks to a chance encounter with a set of bagpipes that Glasgow has its first EU national as Lord Provost.

When Eva Bolander was aged just six she heard the bagpipes being played and it made her fall in love with Scotland and Scottish culture.

Fast forward a few decades and the Swede is now Glasgow’s first citizen.

She said: “My interest in Scotland came by pure chance. I was about six or seven years old and I heard the bagpipes being played and it made an impression on me, I loved the sound of it and the whole spectacle of the band playing.

“So every year after that I used to look out for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which was given on Swedish television.”

In secondary school, in her native Stockholm, Ms Bolander was given the opportunity to learn to play the bagpipes with an ex-Scots Guard piper as her teacher.

As a result of playing the instrument, she used to travel to Scotland each year for the World Pipe Band Championships.

In 1995 she finally decided to settle in Glasgow - and 22 years later she is still here.

She fondly remembers her first trip to Glasgow, staying in the west end and taking a tour of the Glasgow School of Art.

Ms Bolander now has a dual perspective on the city, both as a tourist and as a resident.

Now she feels Glasgow is very much home and is determined to do her best for the city.

She said: “I felt I had two home countries and two home cities. I really felt at home in both.

“But this year when I went home, the main thing was they had changed the coinage and the notes and I felt like I was going to a foreign country in a way I had not done before.

“Glasgow is absolutely my home city now.”

Ms Bolander has had a varied career, beginning her working life in archaeology and employed in the Museum of National Antiquities in Sweden.

She then worked for a private company in training and leadership management.

On arriving in Glasgow, she did a business qualification and then a multi-media course before working for John Wheatley College on its Pathfinder community website supporting learning in the north east of Glasgow.

Her adeptness at trying new things helped her make the leap into the world of politics, being voted in as councillor for Anderston/City ward in 2015.

Just two years later, she is now one of two most public faces of Glasgow City Council, along with leader Susan Aitken.

She said: “I’m well in my 50s and I now have the chance to try a new career. I am very fortunate in that.

“I was a baillie for two years so that gave me an insight into what this role means in a small way.

“I am not a part of any old affiliations or networks. I can come in as a newcomer and be neutral to any situation in that respect.

“I really do want to represent all of Glasgow, no matter what political affiliation, religion, creed, faith.

“Glasgow is a fantastic city and has been enormously welcoming to me.

“Not just in my short time as Lord Provost but in my whole time here and my involvement in Scottish culture and Scottish life.”

As a citizen, Glasgow is the perfect place for the mother-of-two. She loves museums and is hugely impressed by the fact the city’s museums are free to enter.

She also, in her spare time, loves attending classical music concerts. And a love of rowing gives her another new perspective on Glasgow - seeing it from the Clyde.

Ms Bolander said: “I think that is one of the fantastic things about Glasgow is the museums are free.

“I see museums very much like libraries, they are knowledge but in a different form and should be available to all citizens and, of course, the visitors who come here.

“That’s another cultural institution we have here - the RSNO, the Royal Conservatoire, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet. I am absolutely in the right place.”

Ms Bolander’s 20-year-old daughter is studying for a degree in Maine, America, while her son has just finished sixth year and is looking to study aeronautical engineering at university.

With both children leaving home, it is a new personal chapter for Ms Bolander as well as a new work chapter.

A huge part of Ms Bolander’s new job will be to represent Glasgow on the world stage.

She added: “I want them to know Glasgow is like a phoenix bird that shines now in terms of culture and the creative industries.

“I think people still see Glasgow as the old industrial city who declined during the 80s but having seen Glasgow in its full glory, as it is today, it’s a very vibrant city and I have a feeling Glasgow is just about to burst out on the international scenes.

“And if I can help Glasgow in any way to do that then I will be more than pleased with my performance.”