WHEN she first came to Scotland in the early 1980s, Eva Bolander had one goal — competing in the World Pipe Band Championships.

The young piper had travelled to Glasgow with a band from her native Stockholm.

Now, more than 30 years later, she is preparing to return to the annual tournament as the city’s Lord Provost after making history as the first SNP politician and first EU national to take the role.

The appointment, made just over one week ago, has given Bolander the status of Glasgow’s civic figurehead, “first citizen” and chief ambassador.

Still to unpack her boxes in her City Chambers office, she told The National: “Becoming Lord Provost was never an ambition or a target — my ambition was to be a good councillor for my ward.

“It is overwhelming, but in a very positive way.”

Bolander, whose ward takes in Anderston, the city centre and Yorkhill, was first elected in a 2015 by-election and has spent the past two years as a bailie, another ceremonial role which supports that of the provost.

She said: “I was really chuffed to become a bailie and I really enjoyed doing that. I think Glasgow is such a fantastic city — obviously I have come in myself from outside and seen it as a tourist, and then seen it again in moving here and starting to work here.”

Bolander made the move after Sweden voted to join the EU in a 1994 referendum. She had visited almost every year since the early 80s and started a relationship with a Scot, and the change in status “made it easier” to start a life here. Two children and a career in further education and web design followed and, though daughter Sahra is currently studying in America, son Erik was amongst the friends and family who watched as she was sworn in.

Bolander, who aims to exploit her national ties to boost collaborations between Glasgow and Nordic cities, was asked to consider taking on the role before the local elections, but did not count on getting the job until the “very last minute” as councillors voted her in.

The appointment has been interpreted as a sign not only of the diversity of the current council, which includes the city’s first black representatives, but also as a signal of the city’s commitment to the European Union, despite Brexit.

The new Depute Lord Provost, Labour’s Philip Braat, also has dual nationality, of Britain and Belgium.

Commenting, Bolander said her selection is “putting out the message that Glasgow is such a welcoming city”.

She went on: “Scotland is my adopted home country, Glasgow is my adopted home city. I’ve always said I have two home countries, but now it feels like it’s shifted.

“I went back to Sweden earlier this year and I really felt almost as if I was going as a tourist. This is absolutely my home city now.”

Despite this commitment and connection, Bolander admits that her future in the UK is not assured following the Leave vote.

Despite repeat calls to provide assurances for workers, students and families from other EU nations, Theresa May has given no such guarantees on what Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc will mean for them.

The restrictions of Bolander’s role prevent her from making political statements, but she says she is optimistic about this issue, emphasising the importance of a deal for the economy and education.

The former college worker said: “There will definitely be some kind of solution. It will be pushed for from many parts of the UK, not only Scotland and the Scottish Government. It is absolutely vital.

“I can see the importance for Glasgow, with the strong educational sector we have.”

The city’s international connections will be apparent at the World Pipe Band Championships this August, though the Provost herself does not plan to perform. She said: “The last time I competed was 1990 and it was wet and rainy. We were asked to play a concert in the Winter Gardens at the People’s Palace, which was fantastic.

“I got a feeling then that Scotland didn’t quite realise what an asset piping is and what connections it has throughout the world as a result of this music. I have friends throughout the world in Australia, New Zealand, the States because of piping. The Worlds is a big reunion every year.”