Swedish People

Monday, November 20, 2017

Most of the world looks north at Sweden and the Swedish people only to see IKEA stores, blonde haired models, and meatballs (not from Swedeninfo-icon). Those who have gotten the opportunity to be there first hand know differently. Sweden is an incredible country with some of the happiest, kindest people on the planet. Life in Scandinavia is just excellent. From the snowy winter wonderland to the summer nights that just don’t stop, Sweden has something that everyone will enjoy. Don’t believe me? Well – keep on reading my friends.

Meet the Swedish People

The biggest joy for me in my travels to Sweden were its fascinating people. In my experiences, I found the people hesitant of me when I approached them, but when they approached me (not often), they were incredibly sweet and intrigued by everything about me. Over 95% of the country has English as a second language, and they'll love the chance to use it. 

Swedes by nature, are shy people who pride themselves on being kind and considerate to others. Most people rush to label them as rude or standoffish; however, that’s just not the case. They’re shy individuals who love their privacy, and strangers make them hesitant. Don’t strangers make you feel the same way? 

They honor everyone with politeness, from soft voices in public places (you won’t hear anything on public transport) to giving the more famous Swedes (like Zara Larsson) space without swarming them, to always being punctual. However, the Swedish people as a unit are some of the most vocal and united countries in the world, especially when it comes to family and their sports. Fika is a cultural tradition that loosely means “bonding time.” Every day they set aside personal time with friends or family and chat over a cup of the country’s most popular drink, coffee (average Swede consumes over 7 kilos of coffee, while the average in Europeinfo-icon is slightly over 4 kilos).

It seems all Swedes come out of the womb with skis on their feet, which may explain why Sweden has won the most Winter Olympic medals of All-Time, especially in skiing events. Traditionally they’re outdoorsy people and excel at athletics, especially those of the winter variety, like skiing (some of the best in the world), curling (reigning Gold Medal champions), and handball.

Swedish Nature & Geography

Before I drove through Sweden, my first thoughts were that it was very rocky and mountainous. Oh boy, was I wrong! Sweden is mostly flat; it only has a few mountain ranges all the way to the North. In fact, it’s shocking to know Sweden is about 67% forest with well over 100,000 lakes.

Despite its location on the planet, Sweden has a surprisingly temperate climate thanks to the Gulf Stream. Making it incredibly warm during the summer months, not hot, nor cold, but warm. That means no heavy breathing from the humidity and no uncomfortable sweat stains from the stifling temperatures. Perfect for enjoying every minute of the endless Swedish summer days.

Swedish Culture

Earlier I mentioned the value of traditions and how they give a country their identity and culture, and for the Swedish people, their culture is a unique one. I was pleasantly surprised as a first-timer in Sweden.

In Sweden, private places, such as homes, customarily require you to take off your shoes before entering. The stylish Swedes often don’t opt for lavish style, and instead, have a very lax Business Casual approach to life. Jeans and a long sleeve shirt are the norms for most jobs, so don’t expect to see many overly dressed people.

Also, Swedes are infamous for their standard BYO (bring you own) whenever invited to a party or event. Failure to do so only means you will go hungry or thirsty for the host hardly ever supplies the party. Also, the Swedish culture brings with it a code of ethics called lagom, which means “just enough.” Referring to the behavior one displays in public to be “just enough” or “appropriate” to not show grand displays of emotion.

Food, like in every culture, is a huge aspect of societal norms. In Sweden, some food will come prepared quite differently than how you are accustomed. It's common the store's package some foods into tubes, like Astronauts in space. It was out of this world (astronaut pun) walking through stores and seeing mayo, and other food in tubes. Swedes love their food so much they even have three food “Holidays” where they celebrate the deliciousness in spectacular fashion, they eat it smörgåsbord style (buffet). Fettisdagen is Shrove Tuesday, where Swedes binge on Semla, a hauntingly delicious pastry with cream filling and icing, which will make your belly giggle with happiness. Next, every March 25th Swedish people take part in Våffeldagen or Waffle Day for those still learning Swedish. Lastly, the beautiful autumn season brings with it every October 4th the guilty pleasure of Cinnamon Bun Day (Kanelbullens dag).

Apart from the food, the culture in Sweden is united. Together as a country they are proud, loud, passionate fans of their great land and will even sing country songs together at parties and events. This unity extends to their support and equality for all people, from male and females to those in need. In one of the rarer of situations, the Swedish government allows both maternal and paternal leaves, where both parents can split the allotted 14 weeks between the pair. Also, Sweden in one of the most heroic acts of WWII, took in and hid the Danish Jews (Sweden was neutral) effectively saving tens of thousands of scared people. Not to mention, Sweden has openly accepted refugees and asylum seekers from the all over the world.

Travel Sweden

Sweden is majestic and full of green paradises in summer, and white winter wonderlands come winter. Prepare yourself for the beautiful landscapes of this great lands that blend right into the hustle and bustle of the 21st-century city life, like that of Stockholm. The lack of elevated terrain calls for great trips from hiking and walking, biking (very popular, cars are too expensive), or by boat. You will never run out of fun activities, such as running, hiking, boating, fishing, skydiving, parasailing, skiing, and beyond. 

Slide your toes into the softest sandy beaches you’ll ever feel in Österlen. While you’re there, frolic through the never-ending cornflowers and poppies fields to the local farms and orchards to pick fresh fruit and flowers. Or, enjoying the pristine natural parks and botanical gardens along the twisting waters of rivers and crystal blue lakes of Gothenburg, Sweden’s 2nd largest city, is more for you. 
So many reasons to visit Sweden

Adventure to Scandinavia to gaze into the enchanting land of Sweden. Journey along winding roads, rivers, dense woodlands hiding beautiful lakes, and of course to the exciting cities. The people here are simply amazing, and despite their shyness are genuine and sweet people who will show you the utmost respect, if you never complain or say nothing negative about Sweden. Give it a chance; the Swedish people have built an incredible country waiting for travelers like you to fall in love with it.

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