• 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:

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
Elections 2014
Reinfeldt in US for first post-election speech
Fredrik Reinfeldt after a previous meeting in the US. Photo: TT

Reinfeldt in US for first post-election speech

Outgoing Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is at a UN climate summit in New York where he is making his first public appearance since election night. READ  

Elections 2014
Loophole lets neo-Nazis onto Swedish councils
Members of the Party of the Swedes march in central Stockholm in August 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Loophole lets neo-Nazis onto Swedish councils

Two neo-Nazis who received only a handful of votes have won seats on Swedish councils thanks to a kink in the country’s election laws. READ  

Assange extradition battle
Sweden pours doubt on Assange extradition
Julian Assange is currently living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Photo: TT

Sweden pours doubt on Assange extradition

Swedish prosecutors said it was "far-fetched" to think that fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be extradited to the United States if he returned to Sweden, in a statement released on Tuesday. READ  

Police drop case of thief caught on camera
Happier times at Park Lane: Charles Simonyi and Lisa Persdotter celebrate thier wedding in 2008. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/Scanpix

Police drop case of thief caught on camera

Damning video evidence and an apology from an alleged thief’s daughter were not enough to convince police that a well-known criminal had stolen hundreds of thousands of kronor worth of equipment from one of Gothenburg’s most popular night spots. READ  

Opinion
Sweden 'missed' global opportunities
Sweden's outgoing Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Photo: TT

Sweden 'missed' global opportunities

As Stefan Löfven attempts to form a coalition government, Social Democrat MEP Jytte Guteland says her party needs to focus on Sweden's international image. READ  

National
Politics 'most shared' topic in Sweden
Photo: Shutterstock

Politics 'most shared' topic in Sweden

Swedes are more likely to share posts or articles on politics than on any other issues, according to a new report from Mid Sweden University. READ  

National
Fears schoolboy murdered in Sweden
Photo: TT

Fears schoolboy murdered in Sweden

Police in Halmstad say the results of forensic tests suggest a 16-year-old boy found dead in a creek was murdered. READ  

National
Elk hunters risk injury in Sweden’s woods
Hunter Ingela Olsson loads her rifle at sunrise in Norrbölla, northern Sweden. File photo: Gunnar Lundmark/SvD/Scanpix

Elk hunters risk injury in Sweden’s woods

Sweden’s vast annual elk hunt spells danger not just for the majestic animals but also for hunters, with crumbling towers and over-tiredness just two of the season’s perils. READ  

Malmö
Rat invasion closes Malmö preschool
Rats like this one have been found in a kindergarten. Photo: TT

Rat invasion closes Malmö preschool

Children in central Malmö are staying at home on Tuesday after a rat infestation was discovered at their kindergarten. READ  

National
Sweden's benefit agency site restored
Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency site restored

UPDATED: Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website is working again after being out of action since Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week - Torslanda
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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

858
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
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN