• 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

Swedish tourism officials have launched a new initiative to help travellers and expats alike meet “real Swedes”, in what they are billing as an extension of their successful Curators of Sweden account on Twitter.

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
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

719
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