• Sweden edition
Sweden and the art of standing in line

Sweden and the art of standing in line

Published: 30 Nov 2009 15:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Nov 2009 15:30 GMT+01:00

If you come to Sweden, one of the first things you will notice are the queues, and the strange relationship of the average Swede to them.

I come from a country where a queue is, at best, a temporary storage location until it is time to charge into or onto something in the manner of a herd of cows escaping a paddock, so I do admire the Swedes and their steadfast belief in the power of orderly lines of individually numbered people.

But it has all gone a bit overboard, I'm afraid, and the Swedes have been used to queues dictating their lives for so long that they barely have the ability to function without them.

There are queues everywhere, in places where you never suspected a queue would be necessary: bakeries, bike shops, cheese counters and, for all I know, churches and funeral parlours.

However the Swedes have refined their queuing over the years, so that now they can queue without seeming to queue at all. They do this with the aid of their ubiquitous ticket machines. And when I say "ubiquitous" I mean all OVER the place.

Upon entering a shop or financial institution of any kind, you should first locate the ticket machine; there will be one, trust me. You should then take a ticket. If you find that there are several kinds of tickets, you should take one of each; and, if you have any left over, you can use them to make friends on the way out, when they will be worth their weight in gold.

The ticket quite often will have a time estimate, showing how long you have to wait until it is your turn. This allows you to leave the premises and hang about just outside the door, peering through the window every few minutes in a concerned and suspicious manner.

When your number is finally called you had better be there, on the correct spot, at the correct moment, or they will skip by you to the next person and your chance might very well disappear forever.

There is also the return telephone queue, which I quite like. You ring the queue and an automatic voice tells you that they will call you back. So you hang up, go about your business and they DO call you back in a while, when a human has become available. Very nice indeed.

There is also the traditional telephone queue, which I like a good deal less, since I am not a fan of sitting with a mobile telephone pressed to my ear, microwaving the soft meaty parts of my head as I wait for the little robot to say "You are in position six ... hundred ... and twelve" every once in a while.

In fact the Systembolaget chain, where all wine and spirits are purchased in Sweden, is the high temple of queuing. If you go there on a Saturday you may get to stand in one long queue just to get into the store, and then another one inside to pay for your purchases. Double queue bonus!

There is only one area where the queuing powers of the Swedes deserts them, and this is in the area of paxing. Paxing refers to the practice of entering a cafe or restaurant where, before you join the queue, you skip ahead into the seating area and lay a jacket or bag somewhere in order to "reserve" a place. Then you slide back to the end of the line with a smug expression.

Now, I am of the opinion that the queue is for both the food/drink AND the seating, and that this is a rude and cynical activity which is exactly like queue jumping and should be dealt with in a similar manner. Most Swedes, however, do not seem to agree with me.

Once I experienced this first-hand in a cafe. A guy came in, reserved the best seat in the place with his jacket and bag, and then joined the back of the queue. I, located towards the front, was not pleased and when I received my food I made directly for "his" table and simply took it. There was frowning, certainly; there was muttering, absolutely; there were in fact sharp looks all round, but we both knew he really had no right to do what he did. And so I scored a prime table (and a certain amount of he-man respect from my date).

Which brings me to the question of WHY people believe that items of clothing can be used to “reserve” places? How does it work? Should the reserving object have a minimum size or be a certain colour? Should there be one object per reserved place? How long will the “reservation” hold for? And, if the object should happen to slide onto the floor, do we take the whole thing to a small claims court, or do we just meet up in the alley behind the cafe with a fistful of keys and some coins in a sock and simply have at each other?

Maybe there should be one queue for the food, and one for the seating, to help things along. And maybe one more for the bathroom. But wait, what if there's a coffee machine for refills, we should probably have a queue for that too. And it could get a bit messy when people want to all leave at the same time, so we should probably thrown one in there also...

Well, you see where I'm going. Suffice to say that the queue is a very central part of Swedish life and just as the Eskimos have a hundred words for snow (and the Irish a hundred and four words for potatoes) so the Swedes have a hundred words for standing around and waiting impatiently with a small printed number in your hand.

(Well, at least they should.)

Paddy's tips: If you want to see some proper Swedish queues in Stockholm I can recommend Systembolaget on Götgatan on a Saturday, SEB bank at Sergels Torg any day around lunchtime, and the baked goods counter at Gunnarsons, also on Götgatan. Happy standing!

Paddy has been trapped in Sweden since 1997 and can't seem to find the door. You can read his thrice-weekly rants here.

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

22:03 November 30, 2009 by Lampie82
So true! :) When I started studying in Sweden and made one of my first trips to the max ICA, I found myself standing in line without knowing at the snack/cigarettes stand. I walked out the main supermarket after having bought my groceries, only to realize I forgot one item which I could also buy at that stand. Three kind people looked at me in dispare, for I had no ticket. There were no other customers and I looked at them waiting for them to ask if they could help me. We glanced for a full minute and they had no idea what to do....in the end someone suddenly came up next to me with a ticket in his hand and got helped before me! haha I just walked out then and there....that was too much for me! :D
00:46 December 1, 2009 by parasietje
Your last comment is divine! Treating Swedish queues as a touristic attraction :D

Swedish queues become especially interesting when merged with another population, such as at the ferry to Estonia (50% Swedes, 50% non-queuers).

I hate how the only queue-less place is the bar. Here, the universal rule still applies: "Serve the hotties first."
09:03 December 1, 2009 by Rick Methven
Swedes only que when the ticket system tells them they have to.

Watch the local population at a bus stop. No ticket system so there is a mad rush - little old ladies beware!
10:10 December 1, 2009 by Celc
As a Sweed I found this article pretty entertaining as well. :)
10:45 December 1, 2009 by glamelixir
My swedish husband went to Buenos Aires with me and was impressed for how people que for the bus there, respecting their places.

I think the Swedish queing is a myth, unless they have numbers they are totally unpolite.
11:08 December 1, 2009 by spongepaddy
@parasietje: Thanks! And yes "Serve the hotties first" works in all walks of life.

@glamelixir: It's so true, take away their tickets and they have no idea what to do. Plus people jump the queue because they know that everybody else won't say anything to them.
12:02 December 1, 2009 by ladyluck37
I agree that queuing up is completely out of control here. Where I come from, I think the only places we have a number-line system are at the post office and at the deli counter at the grocery store...but only during times of peak traffic. Here, even if you are the only person in line, you have to take a number.

Another great place to see dysfunctional lines: at the Central Station when people are trying to buy train tickets. This past weekend, 10 minutes before the train to Uppsala left, my fiance and I got into 1 of 2 lines for ticket machines. Actually, there were 4 ticket machines but no one seemed to want to believe that the other two machines were working (no one else was lining up in front of them!). So my Swede sauntered over to one of them, while I waited in the long line, and just bought our tickets! That machine was fully functioning but no one wanted to breech the other lines to find out. And after we had our tickets, no one moved over! I guess they preferred to miss the train.
13:13 December 1, 2009 by Rammbro
Oh my god! I thought i was the only Person (AUSSIE)to notice this. My wife (Swedish) did not really see it.

Queing is right up there with ...TV Licence, magazine subscripitions, and automatic renewal/send faktura later policy.


Vegimite man!
14:18 December 1, 2009 by spongepaddy
@Rammbro: TV Licence, magazine subscripitions, and automatic renewal/send faktura later policy..? Don't these exist in other places too?

If there's anything else you noticed that you think I should be complaining about in Sweden, please throw it out there!

(Should probably mention that I wrote this thing...)
14:59 December 1, 2009 by icylord
Wow from this one article i could really grasp the art of queuing in Sweden. Hi guys I'm from Singapore who keeps an RSS feed on this paper. In Singapore we have open-air food courts (hawker centres as it is called locally). There are tables everywhere and food stalls everywhere in one location. Guess what is our art in response? Some diners usually throw a pack of tissue paper on an empty table and goes off to buy their food. That's our crude way of reserving the table while being away.
17:23 December 1, 2009 by aaww

i agree with you, there are different queuing techniques in asia, in japan, you can put your mobile phone on the foodcourt table to ocupy the space while you are away to purchase your food, but if you do that in sweden, your phone will be gonna in 2 seconds.

overall queuing in line is very old fashioned way, swedes call themselves the leading country in mobile technology and 4G bla bla, but simple as a SMS queuing technique has not been implemented to make use of the precious time of the queuing people have.
18:10 December 1, 2009 by Bensonradar
I was amazed when I took the underground in Stockholm last August. Being a tourist, I felt I knew where I was going but needed confirmation from the Enquiry desk. I did not know I needed to get a ticket and the man at the counter was very rude to me and told me in no uncertain terms to get a ticket and wait my turn. Seeing he was determined not to be helpful, I left muttering under my breath and luckily caught the correct train. However, later, I needed to change some money at a kiosk at the Stockholm bus station, and again I was told to get a ticket. But there was nobody waiting! The girl at the kiosk who looked all of 16 years old thought this was a great joke to play on a foreigner. I mentioned it to my Swedish host and he told me it was common. What an odd system! In the UK there is no need to get a ticket, as we simply wait our turn. Do Swedish people become aggressive if there is no ticket system? Or is this put on for unsuspecting tourists just to provide entertainment for bored counter staff? Please advise!
21:18 December 1, 2009 by livinginsweden
It seems that the writer and others expect the world to be the same boring monotony .... that all people, societies, etc. etc. should behave exactly the same ... wipe the bum with the same hand, the same stroke, the same number of sheets, folded the same way, etc. ... ... and if they don't behave as he expect .... wow what an interesting story to write about.....

Big deal, thank god for differences to write home about! WOW?

ha ha
22:25 December 1, 2009 by spongepaddy
@livinginsweden - What gave you the idea that we "expect the world to be the same boring monotony"? If you ask me, the "boring" thing to do is NOT to write about, discuss, and celebrate cultural differences. Irish do it one way, Swedes another, so what's the problem with that?
00:42 December 2, 2009 by dizzymoe33
Here in the States you don't use queu's unless it is to get your driver license renewed. But for most places like the Post Office we just form a line without having to pick a number. The story is funny though I had no idea that Sweden was like that. :o)
07:08 December 2, 2009 by frodo84
Quite funny. In my experience, the Swedish idea of 'queues' is three people waiting expectantly for their turn to be served, advised and whatnot. I have often wondered what the reaction of Swedes in a queue would be if I jumped one (or stole a muffin from a bakery, for that matter!). I have never tried it!

Anyway, in India, we use hand kerchiefs to 'reserve' seats in buses and trains. We usually bung them in through the window.
10:09 December 2, 2009 by BrittInSweden
Swede's only know how to queue if there is a numbering system. Go to any MacDonalds and watch how their whole system falls apart because there is no numbering. They will all stand in one line even if there are 3 people serving and then will break off to each till as the next spot becomes available instead of having 3 queues.
12:00 December 2, 2009 by CamdenX
Wait, what? I really don't see a problem with securing (or "paxing") a seat in a café or in a restaurant. In fact, it seems like that's what everyone should do, especially on busy days. You go into a café, you find yourself a seat, then you stand in line and place your order. If you can't find a seat, you go somewhere else. Otherwise, the problem is that you stand in line, get your coffee but then there are no seats left, so you're made to stand around like a fool waiting until someone leaves.
13:28 December 2, 2009 by WelshSwede
Q'ing? Is there such a thing. Its the same you wait to jump on a buss, que going one way. Then people from all over try to get on infront of you from different angles.

And dont get me on waiting to get off a train, whilst a herd from the platform try and push you out the way. How rude of me to get off first, maybe its because I havent got a ticket to tell me too! :)
14:24 December 2, 2009 by PinkGreen
The other day in Stockholm, I went to buy SL tunnelbanna tickets in Pressbyrån. I notice that the first counter was fulled with people queing for their turn and the second counter were only 1 person being served. I immediately went to the second counter since there is nobody queing there while my bf told me to go to the first counter instead as he said that's the queue begins.

That was weird, two counter, no ticket queing and why would I stay in the first counter where there are a lot of people in front of me? I ignored my bf and stay in the second counter to get the tickets, which I got in few minutes.

Swedes actually prefer to queue in the long queue, I guess they were not in a hurry as me. :)
15:33 December 2, 2009 by spongepaddy
@CamdenX - There WOULD be seats left if everybody hadn't paxed them! Then you just look at the queue and count the free places, and then decide to stay or not.

I thnk paxing is horribly rude since you FORCE everybody else in the queue to pax also, otherwise they end up queuing for ten minutes and some guy arriving long after them takes the only free table.
16:07 December 2, 2009 by Rick Methven
Swedes really do not like to stand in a line. The ticket system lets them wander around, browse and talk to Friends while waiting their turn.

I remember many years ago in London, my wife and I went to take the Waterloo & City line to Bank from Waterloo. My wife went into hysterics at the sight of all the city types in orderly lines in the exact position where the tube door would be when the train arrived!

On British commuter trains, there is no paxing, you just know who's seat it is. I made the mistake once of getting on a train that I did not normally use and took an empty seat. I'd just got settled in when the 'owner'(regular user) arrived just as the train was moving off and "thats my seat your sitting in get out"

Maybe Trains in Britain could benefit from the Swedish seat reservation system on trains!
17:07 December 2, 2009 by calebian22
Haven't noticed paxing yet. I will have to pay more attention. The article made me laugh though. Thanks.
21:52 December 2, 2009 by Dinger
Funny article. I think that the Swedish queuing system works well but is overdone.

The idea behind it is that everyone, male, female, black, white, rich, poor etc is treated exactly the same - that is you all wait around for too long because there are not enough service personnel then you all get the same level of awful service.

Don't improve the service but treat everyone equally badly.
10:55 December 3, 2009 by aussie up north
When I first arrived here, I stood at a counter for 20 minutes while people who worked there walked past giving me the odd look. Eventually a woman came over, pointed at the ticket machine and told me to take a ticket or else i wouldn't be served. I searched the empty room for the ticket machine. I walked over to the machine and took the ticket, walked back to the counter and handed it over to the same woman for immediate service! seemed to be a waste of paper!

But yes it is these quirks which make living in sweden different from australia... thats why we are here :)
11:19 December 3, 2009 by tthonline
The Swedish kind of queuing is a bit strange sometimes, especially if you're forced to "queue" (I mean to pick a ticket) even when you're the only customer waiting to be served (it happened to me several times).

On the other hand - if you want to experience the alternative - try to buy something in a crowded German bakeshop. Imagine a counter with 4 selling people and many people wanted to be served. The queuing there is some kind of social interaction. How does it work: Enter the shop and find out who is already there. Those people will NOT form a queuing line at all. They're just a crowd in front of the counter - remember their faces and don't expect the selling people to do that. They don't care. They usually ask "Who is next?" when done with one customer. Then make sure you notice the face of anyone entering after you have come in. Make sure that you're not "overtaken" by them and try to overtake the ones that have been in the shop when you entered it. Old ladies are usually very good in this... go to crowded German bakeshops and learn from them. ;-)
11:29 December 3, 2009 by Twiceshy
BrittInSweden why do you need three queues in that situation? One queue works equally well and avoids two problems:

- deciding which queue to join.

- being unlucky to end up in the queue of that one person who takes 5 minutes to order a burger.
13:44 December 3, 2009 by Beynch
Most of what Paddy Kelly writes is true. But I don't see a problem with it, and do not understand why he is being crirtical. In fact I think it is very much a desirable aspect of a fair society. In the U.S. queing is virtually non-existant, which leads to hurled insults, and sometimes fistfights, and rude and menacing invective, and all kinds of unplesantries. The American psyche is such that standing in line is the hight of all indignities, and below most people's sense of self importance, It's the individual right above all. "I'm better than you. I don't have to stand in line". And at the ATM machine many deliberately cluster in undefined clumps, with no order, so as to confuse the others, and maybe sneak ahead. And when somebody does sneak ahead, the verbal poison comes out. So don't complain about a disciplined approach to lining up. It's the fair thing to do.
15:58 December 3, 2009 by tthonline
@Beynch: jep... you have nicely pointed on the two possible extremes - what counts more? - the individual or the community. The Swedish approach is obviously on the community side... Jante Law...!
18:38 December 3, 2009 by ghostwriter
I've been around expats for quite some time now (not just Sweden).

Just about all english-speaking expat newspapers/bloggers/forumites/bar-goers/etc have one thing in common:

1. Find a social-phenomenon that is different from home.

2. Give it a negative twist.

3. Complain about it (by writing an article or say it to your wife, husband, girlfriend, whatever.

5. Call the locals brainwashed and stupid

4. Blame your prejudices and your whining on "culture shock" (how delicate)

5. Don't spend a second solving your real problems like: Your failed career, the mess you left in your home country (dare to go back?) or your ill-planned, crappy marriage.

The author of the post above is just bitter. Sort your life out and i'm sure the queues in Sweden will be sorted too.

20:03 December 3, 2009 by Beynch
@tthonline: When you say that "community" counts more, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, akin to "communism". I'd rather look at it in a micro-sphere, as a simple practical matter.
21:19 December 3, 2009 by tthonline
@Beynch: You might be right. I used the word "community" possibly due to the fact that "communism" doesn't sound that bad in my ears. I grew up under the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" and can easily compare with today's "Dictatorship of money" - there is less difference than someone may think...
00:17 December 4, 2009 by lensart
Queue ticket machines are, unfortunately, a requirement in Sweden, or there would be far less Swedes. They would trample one another. If you want to see it, come to Nils Ericsson Terminalen in Göteborg and watch the chaos.
05:37 December 4, 2009 by warriorwithin
the funniest is when they queue for the toilets in parks during valborga, controlling their bladders till their turn comes. Given the same situation in India, there would be a mad rush with no regard for queues and 1 would have to bulldoze their way in, lol.
13:55 December 4, 2009 by Ben D Toy
I completely disagree, my experience is that swedes JUST cannot queue, that's why they are totally dependent on the machines, you watch when there isn't one (which I agree Paddy is rare!) they have no idea whatsoever and pile in hap hazardly like headless chickens. Try observing at a crowded bus or Tram stop and you will see what i mean. Brits and Irish queue out of habit, thanks to their grandparents and the rationing during and after WW2. . As for Paxing, not really noticed that here but try the meditteranean resorts and the German towels on the sunbeds instead :-)
17:21 December 4, 2009 by PureMorning
@Beynch, I have no idea where in the US you've been to but I am American and have not had that experience EVER and I have lived in two of the roughest cities here and visited lots of others. You are either lying to appear cool for dissing the US or you hung out in drunken redneck backwaters here. Not everyone or everywhere in America is alike and if you'd actually spent any time here you'd know that.
00:18 December 5, 2009 by jebet95
I like when people queue, and follow the rules of queuing (SP) I likw when I can take a number while I wait and know where I am in a queue, I am not Swedish,and did not find queues a problem while in Sweden. Maybe thats why I liked it so much in Sweden
05:30 December 5, 2009 by ikoiko20
I like the queue, in fact I love the queue, compared with other countries, such as, cough cough, USA. Politeness and organization are for me, a virgo, fantastic. Everyone knows where they stand, there is no cutting, at least from what I've seen, and there is actually not that many queues as this article states. I say we need these in the US., Im tired of the rude people.
10:26 December 5, 2009 by byronfry68
I couldn't disagree more with this article! One must only pay a visit to any bar, pub or nightclub to see how Swedes really act without the ticket system. Without numbered queue tickets, Swedes push, shove, elbow, do whatever it tkes to get a spot at the bar without regard for others. Perhaps it's the alcohol, perhaps it's thirst, who knows?
18:13 December 5, 2009 by Bushido
Apparently, queuing is more important than measuring merit in Sweden/society today. See this tragic story about a man who tragically took his own life because the queue took too long while he was waiting to talk to someone about his depression:

10:37 December 6, 2009 by Beynch
@PureMorning: I'd invite you right this minute. Manhattan's upper west side. Corner 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue, where I lived most of my life.
00:20 December 7, 2009 by TvAmazon
@Beynch. I have to say I think your wrong. I deal with customers from all across the US everyday and the people from the North East (New York and Boston) are by far the most rude people I deal with. I've never had a problem while visting though either. The rest of the US is great. 99.9% of the people have manners and are not rude but in New York and Boston is seems like 10-15% of the people are real jerks. The biggest Q's I've seen are on election day or Drivers Licence application and I've never met a rude person there but thankfully I don't live in the North East. The restaurant Q's have never been a problem even when I was in Boston or New York but maybe I was just fortunate.

I thought the article was great. Seems strange that you have to waste paper if the line is less than 5 people but it sounds like a skit Monty Pyton would do.
06:02 December 7, 2009 by shikitohno
I think most of the rude people in New York are tourists. I've rarely had encounters with rude people from the City, although Tompkins Square Park is a good place to find some. Rude cabbies, stressed out workers. Most people are fairly decent though. Tourists, on the other hand, will spread out as a family to block foot traffic across a sidewalk both ways on Times Square. Had to walk through there Black Friday, and a family of tourists was all sat around one guy reading his text messages, taking up the entire walkway. People from Boston though, can't say I'd trust them.
10:48 December 7, 2009 by Streja
As a Swede, I prefer the number system as I can go somewhere else while I wait and do some shopping or whatever.

The weirdest post here was the one who said brits know how to queue because of rationing.

Sweden had rationing too. Get your facts right. Just because we weren't officially in the war doesn't mean we didn't have rationing.
12:53 December 7, 2009 by Rick Methven
I think the Nummerlap system should be extended not only for the sake of the customers but also for the staff.

The other day I went into a café to fika. there was no nummerlap and a lot of people milling around looking at the cakes on display.

The poor girl behind the counter just did not know who was the next to be served. she was looking around and asking 'Who's next' Of course everybody said ME, She made the wrong choice of customer to serve and got a verbial blast from a couple of other customers who claimed that they should have been served first.

Ticket Queue no problem. Lets have more
15:48 December 7, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
I got "sniped" as a SJ station last time I had to deal with a queue.

The convenietly put the number board BEHIND the forward facing benches at the station. I sat there, person after person goes in front of me...Im thinking they called your number, as there was no visible number display board.

After a while, I just helped myself to my own mysterious number and proceeded to the front of the line!
16:24 December 7, 2009 by coswede
extensive queues and forced order are more examples of the lame human experience in Sweden

totally lame place
12:40 December 8, 2009 by Argentina84
My husband (Swede) would ALWAYS complain about the looong queues in Buenos Aires, and because of that I used to think that queues did not exist in Sweden LOL! I have to stand in line everywhere here and the worst thing about this here in Sweden is that in Argentina you can talk to other people while you wait and that makes time go by faster but here even if you're a grown up "you should not talk to strangers!!!" LOL
10:56 December 9, 2009 by spy
Excellently written article!

But I was just wishing that the author would bring in to the article the fact that the average Swede is unable to see an open door without barging through even that means pushing in front of women and children (and I don't ever think I have been thanked for holding a door open, ever!). Also I have noticed that in any bar, restaurant or crowded area they seem to take the shortest route from A to B which usually means barging through people. Has anyone else noticed this??
14:38 December 9, 2009 by SamQam
Hey I am not a Swede. But I don't like people talking about their host country.

If you don't like it ... leave.

14:57 December 9, 2009 by WriterDirector
@ spy

I noticed that immediately when I moved here from the States, but unfortunately that's the way it is here in Sweden. In the US, when a person holds the door open for someone, they are usually thanked. In Sweden, don't expect anything. As far as getting bumped into by people in malls or on the sidewalks, stand Your ground, make them go around You. They don't follow the "rules of the road", like traffic stays to the right, it's just to confusing for them. They won't even say "Excuse Me" when coming from behind to get past a person. I return the custom of plowing through people, like the Swedes do, hey, when in rome. And if they push Me over too far, I push 'em back! and utter a few metaphoric words of appreciation.

This Swedish custom of rudeness, is limited though, usually to the older crowd. The new generation is more open minded and friendly as well.

As far as standing in line with a ticket, it can go both ways. I prefer the ticket system for fairness and keeping order, but I still get pissed when I have to wait on some dumb ass who is cashing in or buying lotto tickets and it takes 3 of the cashiers to spend 10 minutes to service them when there are 8 or more people waiting in line. Geesch.

Saving places in line or movie theater seats is very common place in the US, at least in California. I have yet to do battle over a parking space here in Sweden.

However, I have been guilty of occasionally spotting a table in a cafe, but that's when it's My Wife, Child and Myself. I WOULDN'T do that if it's just Me. If on the other hand I saw a single person do that, and I needed it for My family, Heh, heh, the jacket or article would simply be removed to an alternate location to make way for the more needed. lol

Cheers! \ ( - _ - ) /
17:57 December 9, 2009 by spy

You sound like a Swede.
18:02 December 10, 2009 by spongepaddy

So you "don't like people talking about their host country"? What, so we're just supposed to say nothing, bad or good?

And I like Sweden! Most people moving here do. And if you don't like this article...well, you know...
16:18 December 16, 2009 by moonskin
I am here for 3 months now and find the queuing funny too. Well, in some cases it makes sense but sometimes I think queuing is one of the characteristics of Swedes. For example, I remember visiting an art biennale where there were several video art pieces and they were each in a separate not very large room. I went to one of the rooms but - there is a queue. OK, I think, let´s wait a bit. No, the ladies are still standing in the hall before the room and of course I cannot see anything like this. as I was really keen on seeing this film I thought - OK, I´m quite small, I will try to find a small, small place and feeling a bit bad that I am "overqueuing" the others went in. And I was so surprised that there were only 2 people in the room... :))))

The other idea about Swedish queuing came to me when I was waiting in line to get to the ladies room: why don´t they have numbers there if this is the place where queues usually are born?
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What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
People-watching: October 30th
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »


24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Property of the week: Österåker
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Zlatan's career in pictures
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
People-watching: October 22nd
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Property of the week: Malmö
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
People-watching: October 15th
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Property of the week: Lorensberg
Scandinavia's child bride
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
People-watching: October 8th
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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