Swedes shun bling for bland

Fur coats, trophy wives and hobnobbing with royalty are low status in Sweden, while having a broad education, being a good parent and being good at your job are high status, according to a study published on Friday.

Other top qualities are having built up one’s wealth from hard work, speaking many languages, being able to take the whole summer off work, having many friends and being able to spend one’s time and money helping others.

However, it is less desirable to have a fully-booked calendar, to be a wild party animal who spends every evening out on the town, having famous relatives or coming from nobility, being a talented tennis player or equestrian, or having a mobile phone with a built-in television.

The study, conducted by the consultancy group United Minds, questioned 2,143 people selected to provide a fair representation of the Swedish population.

“The most interesting thing we found is that people are expected to do so much so well: at work, as a parent, be well-educated and have many friends.

It’s an impossible equation,” Marie Söderqvist, who headed the study, told AFP.

This was the first time the poll was conducted, but Söderqvist said she hoped to expand the study to other countries next year in order to make national comparisons.

It was also too early to draw any conclusions about trends, but she said Swedish lifestyles may have changed.

“Ten years ago it was cool to be very active and have a fully-booked calendar, nowadays it is more attractive to have lots of time to yourself,” she said.

“We were surprised that so many people wanted to have wealth that they had built up themselves, but they didn’t want the wealth to buy material things, they wanted it to be able to have time and money to help others,” she said.