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Top ten tips to tackle a Swedish dinner party

Top ten tips to tackle a Swedish dinner party

Published: 27 Mar 2013 17:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Mar 2013 17:11 GMT+01:00

A Swedish dinner party has a long list of unspoken rules, and it can be all too easy to put a foot wrong - or dare we say it - to put a napkin in the wrong place. An etiquette expert set us straight with ten insider tips.

Dinner parties in Sweden can be very formal, not least the Grade A glamfest hosted in Stockholm City Hall each year as the Nobel laureates jet in to collect their prizes.

But how should one act when attending such an event, or any other dinner party in Sweden for that matter?

When The Local got in contact with etiquette expert Mats Danielsson looking to find out all there is to know about Swedish dinner manners, he could only laugh.

"If you want to know everything, we'll be talking till sunrise," he said with a hearty laugh.

"But I can give you the top ten things you need to know."

It’s almost as if he read our minds…

Click here for the top ten tips to tackling a Swedish dinner party

But beware, there's a lot more to it than simply chewing with your mouth closed and remembering your pleases and thank yous.

And whatever you do, think twice about where you put that dinner napkin. One wrong move and you're flirting with the hostess...

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

21:31 March 27, 2013 by johan rebel
Wow, what a collection of totally inane rules. Swedes are apparently even sillier at dinner parties than in riksdagen and komunfullmäktige!

My favorite

"Some people have special dietary requirements, and they should call ahead and alert the hosts. But they should never ever refuse food. If something particularly ghastly is served up, one should taste a tiny little bit"

I guess that explains the large number of Swedes with peanut and other allergies dying at dinner parties: they are just too polite!
07:35 March 28, 2013 by skogsbo
this is nothing, many of these rules exist in normal civilised eating, like the knife and fork at angles. Try military dining, even more rules on seating plans, guest seniority, hosts, speeches from certain people, like the most junior a table, helping the lady to your right to be seated, passing the port, no one can leave to go to the toilet until the meal is over - other it's a round of drink at the bar for everyone! ... it's endless...
13:50 March 28, 2013 by rfmann
Well, if a host objects to me sitting with my SO or not eating rotten fish and whatever other ghastly s**t they might be serving, then I suppose it's not such a bad thing to not be invited again. I view it as a mutual selection process.
15:00 March 28, 2013 by HungarianAmerican1975
The Local is very careful once again to make sure there isn't one picture with only ethnic Swedes in it. Their conformity to inclusion and diversirty are absolutely astonishing!
22:34 March 28, 2013 by johan rebel
Well, if The Local's journalists are Swedes, then 40% of them will vote for the looney green left, and almost as many for the (crypto-) commies, so what do you expect?
18:23 April 2, 2013 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
To avoid these issues I usually claim to be busy that night or in washing my hair....after about 10-20 Swedish dinner parties you`ve had enough. Its Always a compliment to be invited of course, but having been asked now about 1000 times who I am & what I am doing in Sweden etc..can be rather tiring. My concept of Swedish dinner parties was that after dessert the women would all be undressing & the real fun would start...still waiting for my first invite to one of those .......
01:35 April 3, 2013 by Parzival
HungrianAmerican,

You have clearly never been in Sweden.
22:10 April 3, 2013 by Emerentia
@ HungarianAmerican1975 Most of those images didn´t have any people at all in them. Was the brown slice of bread disturbing to you, did you wish that they had used white bread instead? The images with people in them was from the Nobel Prize banquet, where there are a lot of international guests. Would you like that the Nobel Prizes only should be rewarded to Swedes, or what?
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