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'Northern Swedes are the real Swedes'

'Northern Swedes are the real Swedes'

Published: 26 Feb 2013 14:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Feb 2013 14:07 GMT+01:00

After a trip to far northern Sweden, youth centre worker and columnist Milad Mohammadi reflects on whether the local residents up north are the "real Swedes" and what the rest of the country could learn from them.

There's this thing with Swedishness and stiffness.

The other day I lectured at a recruitment and education fair in Piteå and a regional development conference in Luleå in front of 1,000 people on the same stage as Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, rap star Petter, and footballer Anton Hysén, among others – and I noticed one thing.

Northern Swedes are unbelievably nicer than Stockholmers, and warmer as people.

I was one of the main speakers at the conferences, and I noticed that the keywords of diversity, inclusion, and equality flowed through pretty much the whole discussion about northern Sweden’s development, as well as through each individual who talked about improving society.

The perception I took home from my third visit to Norrbotten County was that they take care of each other up there, see the possibilities in one another, and trust one another.

Guests are welcomed like royalty and each conversation ends with a "Welcome to Norrland". Perhaps it’s the lack of diversity, possibilities, and population that results in people being so welcoming.

But regardless of the reason behind their actions, there’s something that just feels good about ending up in these places as an outsider. For someone like me who fights really hard on social issues, I've very rarely found practical examples of how people can communicate and treat one another in Sweden.

Usually, people refer to cultures and countries outside of Sweden where the climate is warmer and the people, therefore, are too. I never would have guessed that my visit to the north would include a warmer human climate than any other place in Sweden, even though there was such a chill in the air. I thought I was going there to lecture, train, and educate northern Swedes.

It actually became quite the opposite.

When I looked lost, someone came up to me on their own initiative and asked me where I was heading.

There’s no way in hell that would happen in Stockholm.

I think many people wish this was the norm when it comes to how Swedes interact with one another – that we take care of each other and make each other feel like we were part of something bigger.

Unfortunately, the rest of our Sweden has a lot to learn about human relations, and even about our prejudices about the identities of northern Swedes when it comes to moonshine, incest, snowball fights, reindeer, and racism.

There is, quite simply, only one thing to say.

Northern Swedes are the real Swedes.

Milad Mohammadi is a 23-year-old columnist for the Nyheter24 news website, a public speaker, and a youth worker at Fryshuset in Stockholm.

This column was originally published in Swedish on Nyheter24.se. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:45 February 26, 2013 by skogsbo
Is this guy immature, an idiot or just seeking attention? It is well known that in pretty much any country city folk are less social than those who rurally. Not quite what this guy thinks he is capable of teaching anyone?
14:48 February 26, 2013 by matressmonkey
This is the same guy that wrote a really angry article several months ago saying how awful Swedes are. He's just an angry guy who would probably be angry wherever he was. Don't take him seriously. He's just trying to say things to make others as angry as he is.
15:10 February 26, 2013 by Chuck_Norris
Attention seeker. He is trying to gain fame for his "unique" view of Sweden. Nothing more than trying to elevate and push his career on the back of helping the less fortunate.

Media grabbing attention seeking do-gooder in name of status.
15:23 February 26, 2013 by Sapmelas420
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:41 February 26, 2013 by Rishonim
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:43 February 26, 2013 by new_swede
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:56 February 26, 2013 by TG22
@ new_swede: well said, mate...
16:23 February 26, 2013 by intrepidfox
@ Sapmelas420

The Lapps are known for their moaning about everything. Half the people that represent your people cannot even speak the language. You need Sweden for your helicopters that help you to your reindeer go in circles and give you compensation when we cannot even buy your meat
16:51 February 26, 2013 by freedom for all
Maybe he should try being a caucasion walking down the streets of any city in the middle east. Being hated and even eliminated because of what somebody else said about the god or beleifs...I guess if you don't like it maybe go home!
16:51 February 26, 2013 by biliousbob
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:54 February 26, 2013 by freedom for all
Yeah try being a christian living in the middle east.
16:56 February 26, 2013 by skogsbo
I think this 23year old should just get with doing something valuable for 20 or 30 years in Sweden, then once he is out of his youth, he can actually speak with some authority on matters. It is little wonder that there are intergration problems and discrimination in Sweden when there are people like him gobbing off.
17:01 February 26, 2013 by Rishonim
@ intrepidfox,

The reason they cannot speak their language is really simple; for many years the Swedish government forbade then to speak or to teach their language at school and at home....You need to learn so little Swedish history ma petite puce ;-)
17:15 February 26, 2013 by intrepidfox
@Rishonim

What about Norway Finland and Russia then as they also claim that is their land. The Lapps love to moan just watch their news on SVT2 and then you will understand.
18:00 February 26, 2013 by Migga
I can`t belive people pay to hear this guy speak. Sure hope it isn`t tax money funding it. I can`t understand why The Local keeps featuring his articles aswell. His opinions are laughable and generalizing. Either it`s who`s the real Swedes or how much swedish values suck, unbelivable.
18:03 February 26, 2013 by wxman
Of course the northern rural Swedes are more friendly toward him. That's because at the end of the day, they know he'll return to southern urban Sweden and he will once again be their problem.
01:10 February 27, 2013 by omash kavash
hehe guys dont accept the reality and expect ur words to be accepted the guy just told u urban guys real ur xenophobes all here talkin crap at the end of the day bunch of hater fill the local comments centre northerners are welcoming n u guyz hate
07:36 February 27, 2013 by skogsbo
omash, I think the people who dislike this guy the most, his opinions etc. are actually immigrants, not Swedes. Granted he isn't growing his fan club with Swedes either, as he appears to want to upset Swedes, whilst alienating Immigrants.
11:22 February 27, 2013 by Rishonim
Indeed the people who dislike him are the typical immigrant (not refugees) hailing from either Canada, Australia,NZ , UK and to certain extent from the USA. They are natural haters and and giving the opportunity, if they could, they would propose "The Immigrant Question"
14:13 February 27, 2013 by rise
Who is this Mohammadi and who the [censored] is he to judge us!? Living almost as far up in Sweden as you can get I presume I should feel complimented by his words. But I truly don't care; he can either love us or hate us, it is his choice.
17:51 February 27, 2013 by kattkatt
Let's add some more thought into the question. In the book of Eric Weiner "Geography of Bliss", the author questions a Swiss why are his compatriots happy. The Swiss says it might be because of the tolerance and fondness for nature. But he gives and example of some typical Swiss tolerance "If a man has caught fire, many people won't try help because of the risk of making the in-help man look stupid (because he didn't foresee the possibility of catching fire)". Maybe the same counts for the Swedes.

I'm not a Swede, but I'm interested in the country very much, because it's quite fascinating to me.
22:32 February 27, 2013 by wathithi
Big up mohammed indeed the north guyz are quite kind and warm!!!!,they are what the real swedes were thought to be,down south is full of haters but not all.

I SUPPORT YOU ALL THROUGH N I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOU RUB IT DOWN TO THIS BLIND DUDES ,LIVE!,may the north people live to be the face of this great land,alwayz, LET THE TRUTH PREVAIL ALWAYZ!!!!!!!.
23:56 February 27, 2013 by Children Of Adam
I meet a few Swedes from North and they are really cool.
05:29 February 28, 2013 by icedearth
You know what the problem is ? It is not the Swedes themselves rather the immigrants. They hate and bash each other without realizing they are on the same boat and they share similar feelings as being far away from home and family.
09:40 February 28, 2013 by efthymis
It is amazing how many racists are reading and commenting here. Educated and intellectual Swedes are not like this and it is a pity that the country's reputation is "bad" in Europe because of the uneducated Swedes which i want to believe is the minority. Being a racist today really shows what kind of education and family values you have. I do not agree completely with the author of the article but I totally disagree with the racists that are commenting.
10:04 February 28, 2013 by flyintiger
Get a real job you effing bumb!
19:26 February 28, 2013 by intrepidfox
efthymis

The Swedes are educated. They are just fed up with their country being destroyed. They are now opening their eyes to how the country has become a ghetto. 20 years ago this was a wonderful place, Now it´s decaying rapidly
22:45 February 28, 2013 by Freedaysaregooddays
The anti-Swedish sentiment and racist undertones in Mr Milad Mohammadi's comments are spectacular.

Who the hell is he to come to somebody else's country and lecture them on who is and who is not a real Swede, and how they should be in their own country?

Why is it that here in Sweden nobody is allowed to criticize anybody from any other religion or racial backgrounds EXCEPT the Swedes themselves?

I wonder if Milad Mohammadi would have any problem if we were able to stereotype everybody with Mohammad in their name as the same way, as being how much of the world sees them; as arrogant, loud, ungrateful, and demanding?

Some how I get the feeling if we could stereotype all the Mohammads in the same manner, Milad Mohammadi would not be so tolerant.

Mr Milad Mohammadi, I will tell you who is not a real Swede, and it is YOU.
00:24 March 1, 2013 by Hisingen
This object is one of the reasons the Swedish police have that profile regarding who should be questioned or not.

You just love the way he generalizes. The best he could do - for himself and his fellow countrymen - is emigrate back to whence he came, where I am sure he would be SOOOOOOO much happier, and so would we.
08:40 March 1, 2013 by coldjava
He told it like it is though.. Swedes in the south have awful social kills.. doubt it is different in the North though.. I had the same thought when I first came to Sweden, once they realize you're new here, they are nice and helping .. spend a week or two there and come back to tell us your experience!
09:59 March 1, 2013 by Emerentia
One can't judge how people are in a region based on how people act at a recruitment and education fair and a regional development conference. At such places people are hired to be welcoming towards journalists and such who are invited, so they will write positive words about that region later. Sounds like Milad Mohammadi really fell for that.
12:41 March 1, 2013 by B.olesen
Yes, it's most definitely a 'lack of diversity' that causes their kindness and openness. Stockholm has pretty much had enough. Nobody likes welcoming folks just to get punched in the face and kicked in the head. People are usually warm in the beginning, giving one the benefit of the doubt. After being totally exploited and receiving nothing even close to the same in kind, intelligent humans simply find it more logical and beneficial to just 'shut the door'. Been there, done that, tried it enough times to know that the successes are not worth the costs of the failures.

Oh and didn't the rest of you know? Only liberals are allowed to generalize, because they are right about everything, and anyone who disagrees with them isn't allowed to generalize, because people who 'disagree' are evil and therefore their generalizations are 'wrong and bad' and should be banned by law. Look at EFTHYMIS 09:40 February 28, 2013, a perfect example, who says 'I MIGHT not agree COMPLETELY with the (ridiculous author of this heinously bigoted article) but I TOTALLY disagree with the RACISTS who are doing the exact same thing as the author. Because people can generalize when I say they can and they cannot when I say they cannot. HEY efthymis. You know what constitutes education besides indoctrination type schools funded by the government? Personal experience.

Another prime example are the number of posts that have been deleted.

Liberals work on high levels of double standards and 'generalized' views of entire groups of people. People who disagree are 'uneducated racists' apparently, each and every one. Even when they are not.
14:30 March 1, 2013 by SalamanderClub
Good grief.

Vituperative doesn't even begin to describe this commentariat.

This columnist could say, "Jag vila min väska ..."

It would be funny if it wasn't so heartbreaking.
11:06 March 2, 2013 by garbagecanman
What a lovely human being this guy must be. I wonder if his distaste for Stockholmers includes the various immigrant communities or if he is more "selective" in the ethnic groups that he dislikes. Thank you to the Local for promoting his anger and intolerance.
15:21 March 2, 2013 by HungarianAmerican1975
Milad Mohammadi, OBVIOUSLY of Nordic bloodline and of Viking stock... I'm sure!
22:51 March 2, 2013 by SonoftheKing
This is quite the dilemma. My Dad emigrated to Canada from Denmark and since I was interested to know the difference between a Swed and Dane I asked him. His response was that a Swede was just a Dane with his brains knocked out. Based on some of the stuff I see on your website I think he may have been right!!
19:22 March 10, 2013 by Gjeebes
Actually, the guy was born here. And I'd say he hit a nerve with you Swedes, considering all the banter generated. Regarding the migration policies, Sweden acts like a naive child, so you only have yourselves to thank for the ghettos of the marginalized you create. Sweden, for an old "country" you sure have many things to learn.
13:13 March 24, 2013 by milhouse329
Intrepidfox hit the nail on the head! Well done mate that's exactly what's happened! To quote this lecturer guy "our Sweden"..........whose Sweden?
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