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Sweden is best - it's official

The Local · 11 Jun 2010, 13:09

Published: 11 Jun 2010 13:09 GMT+02:00

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Three years ago, the Tällberg Foundation set out to find the answer to a question: which countries and which social models have created the best societies? Which can work as tried and tested visions in the development of the evermore integrated globalized civilization?

To find an answer we collated the results of the most frequently quoted of the many indexes and ranking lists that compare how countries have succeeded in various important ways.

We have chosen sixteen lists, which represent a broad range of aspects of societal development and which are among the most frequently cited. These indexes have been compiled by the UN, universities, international organizations and independent foundations. None of them are based in Scandinavia.

We combined the countries placings in the various lists into an overarching ‘meta-index’. Just as when we last did this three years ago, Sweden comes in first place, averaging 4.6. The other Nordic countries take the next four positions. Other countries on the list include Germany, which averages 15.0, the UK on 18.9, the US on 25.4, Russia 72.9, China 82.0 and India 90.6.

These surveys of everything from competitiveness to human rights, the environment and democracy are based on systematic comparative analyses. The fact that Sweden and the other Nordic countries are strengthening their lead is interesting in such a rapidly changing world. Their leading positions strengthen the image of Sweden and the Nordic region as the national park of the global society.

Modern Swedish society is built on various traditions: the right of public access, village councils, private ownership, the social movements, social solidarity - all of which have represented a continuous struggle for a better society, and which are now doing the same on a global level.

But every period has its own vocabulary to describe the underlying trend. Sweden’s 20th century ideal of the ‘People’s Home’ (Folkhemsideal) and the mixed economy have in the 21st century been converted into the ideal of social entrepreneurialism: that investments, innovation and the building of a good and just society are inextricably linked.

What Swedes have little tolerance for is big social and economic divisions between citizens. Some of today’s executives are pushing the boundaries of people’s tolerance.

The analysis shows that Sweden is not a typical country, if there is such a thing. It shows that we have developed a societal model that combines self-interest and solidarity, and a solidarity that includes living in balance and harmony with nature and the eco-system.

Governments of many different colours have occupied, maintained and strengthened Sweden’s position in this table, so there is no need to get too worried by political rhetoric in the current election campaign. Whatever politicians say, no government will be able to pursue policies that diverts the country from the middle ground of the past century. However, one area Sweden has fallen back somewhat since our last analysis: the ease of doing business. Sweden is in 18th place, and this is Sweden’s only ranking outside the top ten.

Among the range variables that define business climate, the only one in which Sweden comes in the top ten is trade. Sweden is only the 43rd best place to start a company, the 18th best place to wind up a company, 117th best place to employ workers, 57th best at protecting investors and 71st best for obtaining credit. This ranking list is published by the World Bank.

Story continues below…

It is very Swedish to refrain from blowing your own trumpet. Self-congratulation sounds bad to Swedes. But this ranking list is a sign of how others perceive us.

Our top placement might not have been sought, but it is ours nonetheless. It obliges us to be a good example, and good examples are sorely needed as the world tries to face up to its greatest challenge - getting people and nature to live together for the rest of time.

The Tällberg Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that works to deepen our understanding of issues related to leadership and change in society and business. The Foundation’s main focus of activity is to gather leaders from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds for discussions and reflection on how the world has changed and what we can do.

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Your comments about this article

15:19 June 11, 2010 by PROUDLY NAIJA SUWE
YES sweden is the best in all ramification of life.
16:34 June 11, 2010 by ptkao
i wonder whether there is a need to create some index like "dullness in winter" or "stranger avoidance" and I can image Sweden will be also doing quite good on those.
17:34 June 11, 2010 by wenddiver
Did the immigrants rioting in Riksby vote??? Sorry couldn't resist.
00:43 June 12, 2010 by alingsaskev
I have a feeling this survey was compiled by people who have never actually visited Sweden.

When you have to take a ticket to wait in line, you know there is something wrong with society.

Still, the lakes are nice in summer.
01:35 June 12, 2010 by Tiddler
Sweden, the land of the Stepford Wives (and husbands).

A bunch of emotional retards, unable to look you in the eye, unable to say please or thank-you and unable to say excuse me.
04:00 June 12, 2010 by repat_xpat
Too funny Tiddler, Stepford Husbands! Never has anything been more true!!!

This article and report is a mixture of fantasy, self denial and masturbation. Critical journalism would have highlighted the self interest in the report.

Its a bold face lie to claim that Tällberg is an unbiased international organization praising Sweden. This is not an honest evaluation of the qualities of Sweden, it is a Swedish foundation serving its own interest. The article is akin to GM reporting that its cars are the best: just look at its torque converters, this sub-aspect of cars make GM the very best in every aspect.

The claims are Silly, at best.

Sweden is nice, but this article is BS.
04:46 June 12, 2010 by Kaethar
I sense a lot of envy in these posts. I think you've all been in Sweden too long and have been jantefied. ;)

Sweden is officially the best country in the world - deal with it! :)

*goes to celebrate out awesomeness*
06:32 June 12, 2010 by bamse_in_the_rye
This article is interesting. I love the bit "this ranking list is a sign of how others perceive us". Now that is interesting.

Sweden is not "the best" but others outside of Sweden 'perceive' that you're the best. So outsiders 'feel' that Sweden is the best but actually they have absolutely no idea. I'd like to inform you that 'perception' and 'reality' are not the same. The article states "We have chosen sixteen lists". Oh yeah, and who has chosen these lists? A swedish based foundation manily funded by Swedish companies and Swedish Ministries. What criteria were used to select these lists? Was it their ability to portray Sweden as "Simply the best"???

The other really irksome thing about this article is the articles title "Sweden is best - it's official". 'Official' in what way? Official would mean it was 'accredited' or 'established'. The source having come from a swedish based foundation funded by purely Swedish interests makes me seriously doubt that. The title is also in direct confict with the comment "It is very Swedish to refrain from blowing your own trumpet. Self-congratulation sounds bad to Swedes" Blowing your own trumpet may 'sound' bad to Swedes but you obviously like to blow that trumpet and hear that sound when a Swedish Foundation gives you the opportunity!!! If self congratulations is bad thing in Sweden this article would read "Sweden is perceived as the Best" I personally beleive that Sweden has one of the best models for society in the world and Swedes people should be congratulated for that.

Unfortunately this article and the report it is based on does not contribute to that conclusion in the slightest. In fact it has the potential to do the opposite, it could make me seriously question the validity of my 'perception' that you are in fact "the best". repat_xpat has this article figured out and sees this article for what it truly is; "a mixture of fantasy, self denial and masturbation". My advice to Tällberg is; if your intention is to attract business to Sweden you'd be best toning it down a notch or two, however, if your intention is to use Swedish Taxpayers money to tell Swedes how fantastic they are then your propaganda is doing a great job!! I love Sweden but I dislike sanctimonious, self-serving rubbish like this......sorry...but someone has to point out the 'reality' as opposed the 'perception'!!
10:11 June 12, 2010 by Great Scott
If you select the questions that you wan to the right answers too, then yes you will get what you are looking for. I am sure if you change the questions you will get different answers, hence get a different result. So create a manipulated survey and get a manipulated answer.

Then some people believe anything don't they Kaethar.
10:51 June 12, 2010 by Alohart
@Great Scott:

"Then some people believe anything don't they Kaethar."

And others don't believe anything that is contrary to their pre-conceived beliefs.
13:25 June 12, 2010 by Great Scott
Great, then you agree with my statement then Alohart.
14:40 June 12, 2010 by Bysheon
I don't really take that report or this article sersiously. And even if I did, it's pretty tasteless. Everybody knows how good this country is. What is much more important - and interesting - is to discuss the choices that has shaped this society. Everything has a price. I'm not saying it has not been worth it, but we really need to discuss these things - openly - especially in consideration to immigration. Sweden is an extreme country. Many people coming here suddenly loose a lot of things (patriarcic "rights" for example) and face to them very strange values and behaviours. What ideas is this society built upon and what do they get instead of what they are used to? The very least we should do if we want to be a civilized society is to explain this - openly, seriously and honestly.
15:23 June 12, 2010 by Bobafetto08
Indeed, Yes, Sweden is best - who can argue with a country boasting the highest rape and school arson rates in The EU? As for the hilarious survey, produced by the Marxist researcher, Demker, that supposedly proves the Swedes ethno-masochistic love for the chaos that comes as a package deal with mass immigration, in particular in that from MENA, and in which she furthermore suggests that only "marginalized idiots" oppose today's Swedish immigration policies, when on the contrary, everything indicates that resistance (even without adjustments due to the margin of error) to immigration and asylum seekers, de facto has increased since 2004. The numbers for those opposing immigration in Demkers report in fact equal those in a report, a year earlier, in 2008. The conclusion can thus hardly be that Swedes today are more sympathetic to immigration. It is a dishonest survey, specially contracted by members of the multicultural appeasement lobby, intending to suppress rising tensions in society that derive directly from failed integration policies. Unfortunately, many Swedes will not not perceive it like that, thus leading to many "a potential vote for change", reevaluating he's or her newfound understanding of issues involving immigration and integration, as nobody really wants to belong to the losers of the "designated and marginalized few", that Demkers report, and the political establishment, argue, those with opposing views, belong to.


16:36 June 12, 2010 by cogito

Your naivete is charming, but it sounds like you don't know much about Sweden.

This is a Swedish foundation no one ever heard of, with no credibility, run by a bunch of Swedes with a vested interest in marketing Sweden.

"We are best in the world. Because we say so."
20:57 June 12, 2010 by Just_Kidding
also Vancouver is the best city in the world and my doctor is the best.

(in one episode, Jerry Seinfeld asks the audience, if everybody's doctor is the best, where are are dose doctors who did worst in their class?)

By the way, my Gradmma is the hottest women in the world.
20:58 June 12, 2010 by timfin
25 years ago a Japanese told me: "From a technological and organisational perspective Sweden is a highly developed nation. When it comes to caring for people though, it is third world".

I have heard the same thing said over the years, even by native Swedes, even last year. I have a friend who has lived in many countries, including African developing nations, and he tells me this is the HARDEST place to live in, thanks to the inhumane mentallity the lack of compassion, lack of common courtesy...and general lack of brain activity.

This survey just shows how easy it is topresent whatever you want using statistics.
13:52 June 13, 2010 by alingsaskev

Amen to that!!!
14:50 June 13, 2010 by Kaethar
This bashing is nothing new. :) People will always bash successful countries. Either to make their own countries appear better or as a way to excuse their own failures in said country. ;)
15:10 June 13, 2010 by d_s
Wow! Quite strong reactions to this one. Compiling lists and putting things into an order according to some measurement is one thing, but I do think that this result does get it right on a general level.

Yes, Swedes are generally not very polite and also not very polished when it comes to human interaction, but the general quality of life is certainly better than in most European countries, and certainly better - generally - than in the northern america.

As to this study being some kind of self-congratulation by some lefties who want to steal all that hard earnied money and put it into a gemensam pinky-pot.. Well, of course :) Truly Sweden is not Singapore when it comes to ease of establishing a business, but if the good swedes would get that right as well, it would be a pretty good show in my opinion.
21:01 June 13, 2010 by Louisalouisa
I'm quarter Swede and love Sweden, but and it's a very BIG BUT they have discriminated against me because i'm disabled, although I have my own business, have the right to reside here, pay high taxes Taby Kommun have said that I should be deported as I need help such as the handicap law of LSS, been here 2 years without my kommun accepting my right to live here, even when I got lawyers involved we discovered they didnt pass the papers on to court/Lensratten in fact they lied about it, so maybe it is only the best country if you pay your high taxes and don't need any assistance, Sweden in inhumane & third world in its approach to foreignors even those like me from the UK. I will also add as a business women there is no incentive or motivation to do business here even your tax declaration is in Swedish and only Swedish so how the hell do they hope to attract foreign investors, the survey STINKS!
00:01 June 14, 2010 by zgmfx19a
Yo Sweden, I'm really happy for you, and ima let you finish, but Canada is the best country !! Of ALL TIME!
12:03 June 14, 2010 by burlison
Is there a chauvinist index? Sweden would be at the top. It's a great country, don't get me wrong, and it really does stand head and shoulders above most places in the world in many criteria, but the myopic bleating of "Sweden is best in everything" is just a bit ridiculous.
13:43 June 14, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Swedish Criminal Justice = FAIL
16:48 June 14, 2010 by Tackle
Does anyone agree that Swedes do not wish to toot their own horn? .

Let's see how the following characteristics rate:

A misplaced sense of superiority;

inferior social skills;

snobbish to the point of assessing people on their address;

cheap and miserly;

technological skills at the level of ComHem;

AnImal Farm politics: pretense of everyone being equal;

registration and administration practices

But yes, I like Sweden.
18:56 June 14, 2010 by calebian22
Sweden is the best! Woohoo! Never mind the unfriendly business climate. Ah don't worry, that is not so important.....Fika anyone?
23:53 June 14, 2010 by SKhan
Correction: Stockholm is best. Everything outside of Stockholm is Sweden during the 19th century!

I love Stockholm.
08:32 June 15, 2010 by Globalnomad
Yeah ... Sweden is the best ... for naive Swedes !
16:04 June 15, 2010 by the pigeon hunter
sweden is the best - in a lot of things. and then they suck in a lot of other things. like food, for instance.

and i agree with louisalouisa, the swedes do make it hard to make business with them. however that s not the reason why she had a hard time, i think. that could have been because she has issues communicating in general.
10:10 June 16, 2010 by skatty
For they, who can read Swedish, take a look at this article on DN:


It's about the lack of human right and discrimination with minorities in Sweden, which has been criticized by UN, dated back to 2010-05-07, not long time ago!

I'm not trying to say that Sweden is a bad country, but just try to say to the Tällberg Foundation to be realist for the sake of reality!
11:36 June 16, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
I like the part about Swedes having an aversion to self-congratulation. You mean like this article?

Like most places, it has its good and bad points. What I have found, as an American and, therefore, an outsider, is how certain Swedish attitudes and behaviors can only be perceived clearly by outsiders. Other traits can only be understood by Swedes themselves.

While this observation holds true in most places, Swedes, in my estimation try very hard to keep that gap in understanding as large as possible and use it to their advantage in unseemly ways. Sorry, just my experience. Maybe because of my "ethnic" looks?
11:53 June 16, 2010 by andthenme
There is no country in the world where is the best place for ALL.

It depends on your life and life style. I can be happy and successful, doing good businesses for example in Kenya, but if I live in Sweden, I would be a jobless poor guy because for example simply I dont know the language. So it depends on the person.

Of course Sweden is very famous and successful country but I think all these reports are just advertisements. Just like when a company advertises for its product, governments advertise for what they have been doing, maybe to get more highly qualified immigrants or international students.
17:58 June 16, 2010 by ghostwriter
Being a Swede myself, i must say that the article feels very North-Korean.
16:46 June 17, 2010 by sebswed
The Swedes always like to make bold claims like "Världens bästa" and "världens största"

I don't know why. I'm from holland and making such claims just looks stupid and you cant take them serious. How can you make such claims? The only country they visit is Thailand. Try to say hello to some one at the busstop or when entering an elevator. They just look at you like "Why are you talking to me".
23:15 June 19, 2010 by Aureliano Buendia
this nation still has the racism/patriotism/nationalism - some kind of mixture in its blood. too coward to be racist and beat up the non-swedes, too "soft" to be nationalist, and too complexed to be proud of their patriotism. PS. noone has to agree. I am analyzing these people since many many years.
15:28 June 20, 2010 by dsc
Sverige is the best country on the planet, hands down.

But Swedes are only human and so yes, there are some faults.
18:21 June 21, 2010 by B-dogg.
@ The Pigeno Hunter.

"sweden is the best - in a lot of things. and then they suck in a lot of other things. like food, for instance."

You're so right! Swedish food is awful. Like for example; No proper food courts in shopping malls. No flavoured milk - unless chocolate is the world's only flavour. No decent cookies. Fruit half rotten in winter. Only four types of burger - Burger King, McDonald's, Middle Eastern immigrant and Max. Max and Middle Eastern immigrant style being only slightly more imaginative than Swedish architecture. No fish & chips. No steak pies. In fact no pies at all. Pizzas are okay - although one pizzeria's much like another - only hygiene not pizza, is what seperates most. No pizza slices in shops either, only whole. Beer will make ya sick. Especially tap beer. Not sure if it's the preservatives or because Swedish pubs are often as dirty as Swedish public transport is.

Anyway, it's not my interest to slag off Sweden, it's a good place with good people. But it's just another western country and it has good points and bad, like all countries. But I bet a whole lot of things, like people waiting years for apartments, which have real effects on quality of life, were probably ignored while piecing together this survey.
13:20 June 23, 2010 by Blanc
Its funny that people here get so upset everytime anyone mentions something positive about Sweden. It isn't a balanced article - but hey, maybe there are good things about Sweden? Just maybe?

While swedish media obviously portrays Sweden as good (How surprising!) everyone here seems to take every opportunity of telling swedes how inhumane and unfriendly they are. Seems stupid to live in a country that apparently is inhabited by robots in a cold, non-functioning, snobbish society.

Sweden isn't perfect, no country is. Its just stupid taking swedes blowing their own horn as some kind of personal insult. Get over it.
16:30 June 24, 2010 by Cojoncillo


It has FAR better things that other countries and others that are not so good.

however, if you were to live in Spain for a certain amount of years in a big city with a job in a spanish company, with a spanish salary, etc....you would certainly think Sweden is paradise. (yes i am sour towards spaniards)

I love it here. It suits me well...i got integrated well (better than in spain in 20 years living there!) i enjoy the food and i endure the weather (its Sweden, i mean i cant expect better weather...)

Now someone is going to ask me what is wrong with me lol...
18:10 June 24, 2010 by Alannah
Interesting that this survey seems to have been conducted by Swedes/a Swedish foundation.

Saying Sweden is the best? The best for what? For sure, it is very efficient, crime rates are low, there are no natural disasters, stress rates are low, everyone has access to education etc.


and again it's a very big but ... I can't honestly agree that it is a great country to live in. What about factoring in "human" things like sense of humour, community spirit, happiness, passion for life, enthuasiasm, social behaviour and vibrancy ... don't these factors count for anything? It is not a secret internationally that Sweden, and the other Nordic countries, have the highest suicide rates in the world and the highest rates of depression. I find Sweden sadly lacking in social interaction, passion, fun, and that certain X factor that many other countries have but are not constantly ranked in the "top of the best places to live". Maybe these results from these surveys only base their results on data available from countries where this info is available ...and of course all the efficient Nordic countries can provide this information!
15:57 June 25, 2010 by memyselfandi
Your comment "I find Sweden sadly lacking in social interaction, passion, fun, and that certain X factor" i have read similar statements from outsiders on various message boards. Are Swedes that anti-social? Would it be safe to say that one might get more interaction from a house pet (dog)? I have also read where Swedes lack emotion and can be boring as hell unless you go out to a club where they have alcohol in their system.

I will be visiting in September so should I not try to talk to anybody? LOL
18:50 June 26, 2010 by Moscow-Tokyo
For quality of life, Stockholm is great. Parks are aplenty, traffic is easy (and distances are walkable), good retail and good restaurant/cafe scene.

For quality of social life, Stockholm is OK and the further you move, the more of a problem it becomes.

I've spent time in London and it's been difficult to integrate with the Brits. At the bank, we were best friends with everyone except the locals. Similar thing happens in Sweden, but for a different reason. The Brits, they are one step above on the social ladder than anyone from another country. The Swedes have no such problem, however they have a problem in general in being social with someone who has more on the agenda than a drink and discussion of Metallica concert.

There is, unfortunately, a modern culture of being happy even if the situation is sh*t, and when you try to criticize a Swede, hey ho, he won't talk to you because now you've labeled yourself as the bad guy. In a similar fashion, if you plan your vacation in Tokyo and need to amend your plans to rent a villa together, everyone in the group will work to find a solution. But if you want your Swedish colleague to stay for an extra hour to finish group project, he'll be out & around before you can say "quality of life".

This is probably the most difficult aspect of business environment that also expands to social landscape: a modern nation of egoists who respect their own life so much that the overall quality of social environment deteriorates. I don't see this in the lawyers and bankers who are now in their 60s and 70s. They are a helpful folk, and they don't have a border between what they are at work, and who they are on a Saturday.

I've just had brunch at the Grand with people who did a deal with us, last month, and they called us over since we discussed brunches when we negotiated, and they were happy to invite us over - after the deal is done and there's no longer any agenda on the table. At the same time, we did multiple deals with younger generation, mostly local TV production companies, & it's been the only case in our European practice where people would not even ask "when do you fly out? what do you plan for dinner?". You work in Cannes, in Moscow, in Prague, and the locals take you out. You work in Lisboa, and they also show you the city. You work in Stockholm and you're off the local partner's radar as soon as you sign the papers - unless you are lucky to work with the older generation who, to me, are an excellent example of a nation.

I would raise my kids in Stockholm, no problem, but not after they hit 5 years. They would have a much better chance of integrating into the international scene if they take their school in Prague, Budapest, Bologna, Denver, Seattle, or even Singapore. Cities where they'll have a much deeper dialogue, & relationship, with their school friends.
13:52 June 27, 2010 by ddv
The negative comments show that you have not actually looked at the lists. The lists have not been chosen in a way to favour Sweden. They are all from official, well-known organizations that are not affiliated with Sweden in any way. Just to give one example, Sweden is the country that gives the most in aid to other countries, 1.3% of GDP, far more than any other country.

The full list:

A. Human Development Index (UNDP);

B. Global Competitiveness (WEF);

C. GDP per capita (World Bank);

D. Democracy (Economist);

E. Globalization (Swiss Institute for Business Cycle Research);

F. Sustainable environmental performance (Yale, Columbia, WEF);

G. Environmental Sustainability Index (Yale, Columbia, WEF);

H. Climate change performance (Germanwatch);

I. International aid (Center for Global Development);

J. Democracy and corruption Index (World Audit, Freedom House, Transparency);

K. Equal opportunity index (Social Watch);

L. Knowledge economy index (World Bank);

M. IT matureness ,(WEF);

N.Happiness Index (Globeco Bonheur Mondiale);

O. Corporate competitiveness climate (World Bank);

P Global peace (Vision of Humanity).

Now, show me how this does not make sense!
11:48 June 29, 2010 by skatty

From your comment, I suppose that Tällberg foundation picked up particular information to find self satisfaction, probably like masturbation!
13:14 June 29, 2010 by cogito
To address just one of your specious "facts": that "Sweden gives the most in aid to other countries, 1.3% of GDP, far more than any other country."

Define "give." Do the stats include, for example, the Peace Corps as foreign aid? Do they include the masses of private and religious charity?

When it comes to private giving for foreign aid, Swedes ranks near last.

The deeply corrupt SIDA, the government agency for distributing foreign aid, serves mainly an employment agency for Swedes wishing to live in a warm climate and play golf.
04:48 June 30, 2010 by GLO
I can only say for myself, Sweden is a wonderful little country. The most beautyful women in the world. As for the rest I am not sure, Im not sure a better one is out there.

Please dont change. Well, you could shut the bridge, stop all fast food, outlaw American music. PERFECT.

I visit every December and only wish I could see your midsommar....

An American of Swedish history.....
06:28 June 30, 2010 by Pittbull77
I would have to say I agree with the study. I thinbk that respecting people's personal space and property are admirable qualities. No culture is perfect, but atleast Sweden is self-aware enouygh as a nation to make every possible effort. The small homogeneous population can't hurt their success in this endeavor. Jealousy always wants to bring down the winners...
20:41 July 4, 2010 by randyt
I do miss my trips to Sweden. I started flying over in 1996 and my last trip was around 2001. Most to Stockholm but also made it to Karlstad and Gothenberg.

I've traved to at least a dozen or more countries spend more than tourist time in them. I'd agree with the article from my personal point of view. Though I'll always be an American, if I was a young man again starting out I'd look very close at immigrating to Sweden. MY children would have been born with health care and an education second to known including college. They also would not be burdened with paying for all of the American wars the rest of their lives.

I have no idea what Marc the Texan is talking about when he says "Swedish Criminal Justice = FAIL." You can not find even on medium sized Texas town with less crime than all of Sweden.

11:53 July 5, 2010 by Dano
Hmm..going off most of these replies, i think the problem here is that someone has foolishly inserted "Sweden" into the title rather than "America"!

Americans always have a problem whenever this kind of slip up occurs. :)
20:38 July 5, 2010 by fikatid
Sweden is the best, according to Sweden.
22:48 July 5, 2010 by memyselfandi
Sweden is not the best when it comes to being hospitable, warm, friendly and rolling out the welcome mat to visitors and immigrants.
10:04 July 6, 2010 by LeoKinmann
I came to Sweden from an Asian country at the age of 12. After spending many years here, I somehow never god the joyful life I wanted, and I couldn't figure out why. Until I went to US for a year on exchange. Despite the high workload and immense pressure in the Ivy League school I went to, I had a blast. The people were so friendly. As long as you have a positive attitude and be cool, you'll get to know lots of people. When I went to a lab to work on a project, I got to know everyone since day one. However, these feats are simply impossible in Sweden. After coming back to the home of IKEA, I worked at the research division of a multinational corporation. My colleagues there were all educated, so it should be easy to talk to them, or so I thought. During my first week working there I probably talked to 6 people. I sorta knew 5 since earlier, and the sixth one was my boss. During the coffee breaks, nobody tried to get to know me. In US I'd be approached by people asking me where I'm from, what I'm working on, etc. But in Sweden, nothing happened. Trying to talk to them was yet another Mission Impossible. The engineers only spoke to their closest co-workers. The conversation always slipped into talk-shop that no one else could understand. In US I was a social creature. In Sweden, I can't even if i try. Now that I know there's something wrong with this country, I want to move abroad again, perhaps to US.
11:14 July 6, 2010 by skatty

It's exactly, how you describe. However, Swedes have a very different kind of evaluation to consider what the best is. They generally refer to statistics (the favourable numbers) about different matters and show statistics to prove something. It's why people who didn't live in here, have very much different understanding about life in Sweden. What you describe is one of the most usual norms of human life, however not from a Swedish cultural point of view. Here is one of the hardest countries to live in, because of such narrow minded evaluations!
17:50 July 6, 2010 by the_drew
Is this a joke? Sweden certainly has its charm but I would LOVE to see the questions asked on this survey.

In particular, I'd like to see questions like "How do you feel about your taxes being wasted on people who are allowed to stay at home on benefits for 10 years?" or "is it a good thing that doctors charge you for every appointment, regardless that you pay 29% national insurance".

Swedes are bone idle, you CANNOT get a Swede to do any work for you unless its convenient for them, woe betide you have a leak in your roof brought about by the harsh winters, because a Swedish handyman WILL NOT come out to help you. Then you all complain about the lithuanians getting "all your jobs", well they turn up folks!

Its no surprise you rank outside the top 10 in business matters, though im shocked you rank in the top 50 at all. You all start at 10, take 2 hours for lunch and leave at 5, provided of course you had your daily 6 fika's at 15 minutes each. Getting you lot to lift a finger, to be enthusiastic about your work and not skive off with parent days or your insanely juvenile attitude to sick leave is an act of futility. I for 1 will not employ a Swede in my business, until as a nation, you buck your ideas up and stop crying for Mummy everytime someone makes a demand of you.
19:09 July 6, 2010 by fikatid
Swedes are as cold as the ice hotel, unless they are drunk. I made lots of friends in Germany, Netherlands, Spain but not in Sweden. Not sure why they lack the common courtesy and passion like many others have pointed out. Any Swedes are reading the comments here? Are they in denial? It's quite frustrating to live in Sweden, feeling so unwelcome.
00:21 July 7, 2010 by Urabutln

Tax forms are available in a wealth of languages, you haven't looked hard enough. Just go to your local tax office…
05:08 July 7, 2010 by ptr

I'm a Swede, and you guys are hitting spots that even makes my heart crumble. The biggest flaw Sweden have is the social protection field that people carries around them, not even the little things are important anymore like saying a small "thank you" if someone opens a door for you in the subway.

My dad always made me try to break out of the "social protection field" with the little things, even if the grocery line was full he always made me say "thank you" to the person at the cash register.

I don't know why we keep to ourself so much, probably the darkness and depression getting the worst out of people.
04:34 July 9, 2010 by randyt
I made a lot of lengthy trips to Stockholm and did find that "social protecton field." Then I made a trip to Karlstad - now there people were friendly and a lot more open than in Stockholm - it is somewhat like that everywhere, I think. Folks are just more friendly in smaller towns.
16:13 July 9, 2010 by inallsincerity
Unless you're transgender:

‎"half of the transgender respondents in a large-scale study into the health situation for LGBT people in Sweden had at one point or another in their lives considered taking their own life - 21% had actually tried to do this."
09:54 July 10, 2010 by Sippan
That's pretty much the case for transgender people everywhere. I've even - seriously - heard it referred to as the "50-50 rule".
11:45 July 10, 2010 by Noah Lennox
Sweden is best, it's people are...
23:23 July 10, 2010 by lbkca
Not at Hockey your not the best... nor at many many other things. But line ups I can agree that you do have the spot of number one there... give me a break and stop posting these stupid stories on here... this is to be a newspaper not a billboard for some unknown faceless...
18:30 July 11, 2010 by eagleh
I think Sweden should wake up and try to improve instead of keeping people in such dreams by such nonsense articles. OK, Sweden is one of the worst, it is the results of a survey. You see it is easy to say nonsense.
18:27 July 12, 2010 by janswed
born and raised in sweden , now living in vancouver canada lived in stockholm for 4 yearsbefore leaving for canada those 4 years were the bleakast and depressing years of my life thank goodness i left i would have ended up a suicide statistic
10:22 July 13, 2010 by The Nine
No mention then, that more people die of negligence in Swedish hospitals every year than anywhere else in the EU. Sweden has some great attributes but it also has some pretty bad ones too. The state are never too keen to report these areas.
03:50 July 14, 2010 by BigBilly
I was going to comment but it's all been said .... sigh.

Oh, England is better than Sweden at just about everything except being Sweden where you just scrape by. There I knew I could stir some muck ...
23:49 August 10, 2010 by Yendor79
I realise Sweden does have shortcoming, I experienced some myself but for most part it's hard to realise what an amazing country Sweden unless you've experienced it well enough as an E.U citizen from a small nation who claims to be European but is nothing like it but in name. I can't wait for the day I'll be able to move once and for good never to return. Sweden is a nation to be proud of despite the shortcoming.
20:53 August 21, 2010 by sondano
There is so little difference between the five Northern European countries in terms of living standard I would simply say that whole area of Earth is the one where humans have managed to create the best society, period. I lived in Eastern Europe for two decades and Northern Europeans often have no idea how damn lucky they are to be born there. Now the only question is what is it about the North that makes so many people there clearly superior to the rest of the world?
02:11 August 24, 2010 by goje
one of the first things I learned upon starting upper secondary school was to be critical with any and all texts I read; what are the sources, is this reasonable, etc. it amazes me that some of the people here can't seem to get THAT through their head.

of course the article is biased, try finding newspapers that aren't! it's mighty difficult, I'll have you know.

that aside, I am very surprised at all the sheer _hate_ coming through some of these comments. I just cannot see how one can hate a people so very much, and scorn them so harshly, for being a people with a culture different than your own.

I myself am Swedish, and fully aware of our "coldness" and "depression" and "lack of passion". we are never allowed to forget how hated our culture is.

I'm uncomfortable in large gatherings, I have my personal space, but somehow, I'm not entitled to this. no, I'm quite the a-hole because of it.

anyway, like I said, I'm very aware of the negative views of Swedes, and many of us are. I respect that you don't like my culture, I might not like yours, but I respect it. and simple niceties such as saying thanks and saying hello aren't as uncommon here in Sweden as you people seem to have experienced. I'm sorry if it is so, but one can't judge a whole people by your personal experience. clearly, both sides exist; the unfriendly Swede and the friendly Swede.

also, a little note of the suicide rates....I live a very happy life, a very lucky life, but during autumn and winter when the weather gets so bad and dark I can't help but feel listless at times. others around me do too, and I'm affected by their mood as well. if I weren't living a good life, I can see how it would lead to suicide. also, Swedes being as in love with statistics as they are, we probably have more detailed numbers than most.

sorry, I'm still a bit stunned at the hatred here. I can't seem to form a proper reply to it. I feel pity for those having landed themselves in parts and circumstances in Sweden where they've found whatever it is that bred this hatred, because I have seen little of it in the circles I move around. there will always be a-holes, there will always be cultures that differs from your own, and there will always be more than one perspective and opinion on what is deemed 'the best'.

I find that while Sweden isn't perfect, or the best, it is certainly pleasant to live in. I only wish for a bit less darkness, and a bit more heat, weather wise.
09:16 September 6, 2010 by 72Flutterby
Sweden has issues that need to be addressed. They USED to have the best healthcare. Pensioners USED to be well cared for. But your lack of Human Rights? I'm a Kiwi married to a Swede & the reason we live in NZ is because we've been fighting Ekero Kommun for 8 yrs to be able to build on, or divide & sell PRIVATE LAND. They took a private road, no Servitut, & let the neighbours name it. Permits to build a home were turned down repeatedly due to "High Public Interest and Nature Values" making us entitled to compensation for being banned from altering 72,000m2 of land. Ekero Kommun say they've done nothing wrong. Lansstyrelsen were informed we're taking our case to the European Court & the Media. We contacted PETER CARPELAN & Inger Linge directly- 18mths later, no reply from Carpelan, the man in charge! Lansstyrelsen advised us to take our case to JK, which we did, 51 weeks ago. They just replied - it has to go back thru the court system. 9 YRS! JK is the last hope in Sweden for anyone screwed over by the system. JK said "wait for a decision" a yr later they refuse to help. 2 yrs ago my husband had an accident at work & broke discs in his back- he is a landscaper. He finally returned to work for 25 hrs a week, then 3 mths ago he was made redundant & lost his job. Our family of 6 has an annual income of 150000 SEK! Nearby properties are selling off 1000m2 of land but the same rules don't apply to us. Potentially our land can be cut into 40 sites worth 1.5 million kr each, yet we struggle to survive. For yrs we've tried to make Sweden our home. Our daughter was born in NZ but made in Sweden :-) She's never met Swedish family & just turned 7. Her Swedish farfar has Leukaemia- we're losing precious time. The Swedish Government is destroying lives. When we 1st tried to get a permit my sons were 9, 11 and 12. They're now 18, 20 and 21- too old to be allowed into Sweden. Immigration issues mean our family will be torn apart if Henke ever wants to return HOME! You have so few rights in Sweden compared to the rest of the world! By treating us this way Sweden have Breached The European Charter & Fundamental Rights, Environmental Code & Swedish Laws. Nobody accepts responsibility! This has ruined my marriage. He wants to live in Sweden & I refuse to pay the corrupt thieving local Swedish government more tax. Sweden, the best country in the World? Those who think so haven't experienced the real world. It's bordering on being communist. Number please.. Where else in the EC or any civilised developed country can the Local Government take 18 acres of land situated 40 mins from a major city & not purchase it outright or at least compensate the owners for their loss? It just doesn't happen! Landowners with issues over 'land use restrictions' and 'refusal to grant a permit' need to research: European Charter for Fundamental Rights: Article 17 Right to Property Sveriges Riksdag Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Chapter 2 Article 18
06:13 April 16, 2011 by matser
Alrighty everybody. Being a Swede living in South Carolina I have to say Sweden is a damn nice place to live. There is no such thing a perfect place to live, but after moving here in 1985 from Sweden I have to say the good old USA is one hell of a nice place to live. I remember it taking 30 minutes and costing me $15 to get my first drivers license, in Sweden it would take 6 months at the tune of $3000! Anyway, Sweden is a nice place and I'm proud to be from there. If I had to grow up in SC as a son of single mom I would have been a toothless bastard watching NASCAR day in and day out running a meth lab out of my back porch, come to think about it, that's perdy dog gone good! Meth is alright!!!!
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

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Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

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