• Sweden edition
 
Sweden urges tourists to 'Visit a Swede'

Sweden urges tourists to 'Visit a Swede'

Published: 09 Nov 2012 15:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2012 15:30 GMT+01:00

Imagine coming to Sweden and only seeing the culture from a distance, and leaving without ever having actually met a Swede.

This is exactly what Visit Sweden, the team behind the award-winning Curators of Sweden Twitter account, wants to avoid – prompting them to launch "Visit a Swede" – a stepping stone in giving foreigners the “full experience” in the Nordic nation.

“We’ve targeted the international visitor here, this is their chance to be immersed in the Swedish society,” Maria Ziv, the director of marketing at Visit Sweden, tells The Local.

“They’ve listened and interacted online with our Twitter curators and this is our attempt to connect people when they’re actually in the country.”

The programme, launched just a few weeks ago, works hand-in-hand with local directories, as well as couchsurfing.org and Facebook to find events and to allow foreigners the chance to quite literally visit a Swede.

A user can log in to the official website and select an activity, be it finding a bed for the night, a companion for dinner, or even someone with whom to share a coffee in a local Swedish café.

Over 10,000 Swedes have already signed up to be hosts.

However, Visit a Swede isn’t only for tourists, with Ziv explaining that the expat community in Sweden should also look upon the initiative as a way to expand their horizons and add some Swedish telephone numbers to their contact lists.

“The problem when you’re an expat is you can become secluded, or can end up with only people from your own country,” Ziv says.

“If you feel you have another interest it can be hard sometimes to join teams, but this is an excellent stepping stone into hanging out without it being awkward.”

Furthermore, Ziv explains that the programme may help shatter the myth that Swedes can be cold or unwelcoming.

“Swedes are charming,” Ziv adds with a laugh.

“I’m not sure we are so cold. We have a thing where we don’t want to impose, but when we start talking we’re more than willing to share. Swedes can be a bit like ‘I don’t want to disturb or ask private questions’, but that won’t be the case here.”

As it’s already apparent that tourists are interested in the country, Ziv explains that Swedish hosts are given a free reign to put the country and its customs on show.

She hopes that Swedes will be more willing to open up with foreigners they meet through the Visit a Swede programme.

"The Swedes won’t feel they’re bombarding a poor tourist," she explains.

“And when Swedish people pass that barrier, their pride will start to show."

Similar to the @sweden programme, which has been dubbed the world’s "most democratic" Twitter account, Visit a Swede is a long-term initiative, and Visit Sweden is in no rush to push it on the public.

"It’s about respecting the target audience," says Ziv.

"It’s not a campaign; we've made a commitment and we want to build it up. It works in the same philosophy as the curators - we’re providing the tool to let others make things happen.”

And with a peer-based review system, users can choose both who they want to meet and what they want to do in making a cultural connection with a Swede – opening the door to limitless opportunities.

“People can get really creative with it and we’ll see where that goes. It’s fascinating to think it’s not just based on what we define,” Ziv explains.

“Some people want coffee, sport, a walk...we have no idea, and that’s part of the charm.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:21 November 9, 2012 by viking87
... or in other words : free dating oppurtunities for foreigners. It's like inviting aliens to colonize and absorb the swedish society even more faster, thus assymilating the great swedish culture.
18:49 November 9, 2012 by dizzymoe33
It sounds like an interesting idea.
21:40 November 9, 2012 by skatty
I think there is some problem with Ziv explanation about Swedes, the correct one by considering Ziv is:

"I'm sure we are cold. We have many things to impose, and when we start talking we know that we are drunk. Swedes can be a bit like 'I don't want to be disturbed or to be questioned at all', and that is the case in here."
22:07 November 9, 2012 by Just_Kidding
The lady in the advertisement is taken. There will be a long waiting list for meeting a real Swede and only young American ladies will get to meet a Swede, which will happen to be an old Swedish guy (and maybe his angry feminist wife). If you are from the unpopular parts of the world, probably you will be picked up by a Swedish farmer who needs a hand to help him fix a leaky roof or clean a horse stable.
23:40 November 9, 2012 by jack sprat
So what's a real Swede as opposed to what,...an artificial one ?

Maybe I've been meeting stuffed dummies for all of these years.

I kinda thought they didn't have very much life in them.
01:18 November 10, 2012 by Rogerenden
Sounds interesting.

I'll try it some day.

In the meantime you can use your time to critizise this, though :o)

"... or in other words : free dating oppurtunities for foreigners. It's like inviting aliens to colonize and absorb the swedish society even more faster, thus assymilating the great swedish culture."

:D

That's exactly what I'm planning! Not ;)
05:09 November 10, 2012 by rebelart.se
sounds like sex looks like sex it is bloody sex.....

get your condoms...all aboard
10:58 November 10, 2012 by byke
I believe this has already been tried before and failed.

Julian Assange attended a similar set up, only to find himself as part of criminal investigation without charges still yet to be made.
23:28 November 10, 2012 by snowmagician
If anyone is coming to Sweden with hopes of seeing endless platinum blond women in bikinis, he should brace himself for a major disappointment because more than half of native Swedes are dirty blondes, brunettes, black haired.
12:26 November 11, 2012 by terriergirl
@snowmagician

Why would anyone be disappointed by dirty blondes?

Surely, the dirtier the better?
18:25 November 11, 2012 by rise
#5

"So what's a real Swede as opposed to what,...an artificial one ?"

An artificial Swede also goes by the name "nysvensk" (new-Swede). It is as PC as it is ridiculous.
23:29 November 11, 2012 by trumanshow
how ever much you try and sell Sweden as the country of the friendly, peace loving woodsmen with the very pretty girls, its still bloody cold and bloody expensive....and no fjords.
23:56 November 11, 2012 by philster61
Swedes are as much charming as the Germans are humorous.....
11:48 November 12, 2012 by EP
I'd visit a Swede but given that they are not generally inviting then how is that possible? Good friend of mine, Swede, known him for 5 years. He's been over countless amount of times to my flat, and not once has he invited me ... nice! Neither have the neighbours, although if I recall there is a get to know your neighbour campaign. All these campaigns will give the "shy" swedes a heart-attack or some additional social phobia :-)
15:37 November 12, 2012 by mibrooks27
snowmagician _ Yes I spend every minute of every day bemoaning the fact that the the most beautifl women on the plant are often, at for it...., brunettes. Give me a break! If you don't like being sourrounded by beautiful, intelligent, independent, women, might I suggest a visit to the US or UK? The contrast you see you booking an early return flight.
19:09 November 12, 2012 by skatty
@rebelart.se#7

You should say both:

get a pack of condom and a pack of "Lawyers" (you need a lawyer in the case of a leakage on the condom).
23:11 November 12, 2012 by snowmagician
terriergirl - hahaha :)

mibrooks27 - I have had some trouble understanding what you wrote, but that is ok no worries :)
01:32 November 13, 2012 by philster61
Swedes are charming? Then the Germans are humorous...
02:58 November 13, 2012 by snowmagician
The teenage girl at top of this page appears to be a typical Eastern European girl.
09:50 November 13, 2012 by prince T
swedes are shy and laid back. not usually the first to make contact. however once the contact is made they become loyal.

swedes try their best to make visitors welcomed in their community. they bring pie and so to you. of course there are places they will throw eggs at your windows and cars

they only down side is that some can be so welcoming the a man can be sleeping with the wife in the bedroom and the husband watching tv. that is how nice and welcoming it can be.

I THINK THIS VISIT THING IS A BAD IDEA
14:42 November 16, 2012 by Rogerenden
To all the "bring a condom guys":

This couchsurfing thing works without any sex in most cases. + if you look bad you won't have sex. Some people (yeah, hard to believe for some people here) just want some company/meet new people sometimes.
07:48 November 17, 2012 by Icarusty
18:21 November 9, 2012 by viking87

Or be assimilated by the "great" swedish "culture" themselves. Maybe you should blame your own menfolk for carrying out such practices i.e. mail order brides from cultures who have a longer, more distinct heritage than the Swedes do.
14:07 November 28, 2012 by oddsock
"swedes are shy and laid back. not usually the first to make contact. however once the contact is made they become loyal. "

No they don't, once they realise they are making a new friend they freak out and become vague again.
21:35 November 30, 2012 by theobserver
A real Swede is someone who turns his head elsewhere when you say good morning to him/her. A real Swede is someone who will provide no information even when asked. A real Swede is someone who will accept invitations for dinner but will never invite anyone. A real Swede is someone who will bring his/her own bottle of wine and will not share it. A real Swede is someone who will never leave a tip. A real Swede is someone who thinks that ugly buildings are beautiful. A real Swede is someone who does not know what tasty food means. A real Swede is someone who will consume more candy than anyone else in the world. A real Swede is someone who finds it normal to sit in a dirty cafe. A real Swede is someone who thinks that machines will solve the world's problems. A real Swede is someone who only reads tabloids. A real Swede is someone who thinks that the state will take care of everything. A real Swede is someone who will not help you when in need.
Today's headlines
Ten injured at Malmö anti-Nazi demonstration
Police on horseback charge into the crowd in Malmö during the counter demonstration on August 23rd 2014. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Ten injured at Malmö anti-Nazi demonstration

A planned manifestation against the neo-Nazi Party of the Swedes spiralled out of control on Saturday in Malmö as police and protesters clashed leading to several injuries. READ  

Sweden Floods
Flood chaos continues with more rain forecast
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Flood chaos continues with more rain forecast

UPDATED: Sweden's floods are set to continue over the weekend with the national weather agency predicting more rain for some of the affected areas. READ  

Elections 2014
Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Reinfeldt better at handling a crisis: Poll

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's hopes for remaining in office have been given a boost after more Swedes said they trusted him to handle a crisis compared to election rival Stefan Löfven. READ  

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits
Actor Robin Williams. Photo: AP

Gaza & Robin Williams: Swedes' Google habits

The internet search giant has revealed what Swedes googled most over the summer period with the top 10 made up of diverse search topics ranging from sport to wasp stings READ  

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Dad jailed for assaulting his infant twin sons

A man in central Sweden was sentenced to prison for aggravated assault on Friday after doctors noticed that both his twin sons had sustained serious and unexplained injuries. READ  

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock

Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money. READ  

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job
Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/TT

Armed royal guards caught drunk on the job

Three Swedish soldiers risk prison after they were found to be drunk while guarding Stockholm's Royal Palace. The men, who were all armed at the time, were charged on Friday. READ  

Stockholm
What do the Swedes do when summer's over?
Photo: Isabela Vrba

What do the Swedes do when summer's over?

The heatwave is well and truly over, the days are getting shorter, and winter is coming. With this in mind, The Local's Isabela Vrba chatted to ten Stockholmers about how they plan to tackle the autumn. READ  

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes spend fortune on nail polish trend

Swedes are spending more than ever on makeup - and a growing chunk is going directly to their fingernails, new figures showed on Friday. READ  

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops
The pharmacy section of a grocery store. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden mulls stripping paracetamol from shops

After a drastic increase in the number of paracetamol poisonings in Sweden, authorities have said the drug should only be available in pharmacies. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Features
Kiruna residents talk life in a town on the move
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

731
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se