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Swedes and their quirky habits laid bare

Doug Lansky · 6 Jul 2010, 17:02

Published: 06 Jul 2010 17:02 GMT+02:00

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Christ, get enough expats in one room and it's practically a sport. So as I sit here writing these little Swedish quirks I can rest assured that Swedes are at this very moment sitting around a table somewhere in America half joking, half bitching about some bizarre American habits or regulations.

There's certainly no shortage for them to choose from, whether it's the relaxed handgun laws, the flood of superficial "how-ya-doings," or the glut of pharmaceutical adverts on TV.

And let me also say that these Swedish habits I'm about to list, even though they may perplex or mildly annoy, are precisely what make Sweden what it is. They give the country character, and we wouldn't want to take that away. Okay, okay, they could probably lose a few and be better off from it. But still...

1. That Julmust and Påskmust are the exact same drink, but Swedes insist on calling it different names.

2. That it's an insult to show up 15 minutes late for lunch, but perfectly okay to cancel a lunch 15 minutes before (typically by email or sms, often without any more explanation than "I have to cancel")

3. That Swedes always find an occasion to bring out herring (is it Christmas food or Easter food or midsummer food – make up your minds!)

4. That Swedes are so bizarrely patriotic about their strawberries. Buy Polish ones at midsummer and you’re just asking to be a social outcast. (That is, you can buy strawberries picked by Polish people, but the strawberries themselves shouldn't be grown in Poland.)

5. That Swedes commonly “Tiga ut nagon." This roughly translates as "giving the silent treatment." It's a passive aggressive technique they've somehow come to think of as a polite conflict avoidance.

6 That Swedes, at a crayfish party, can suck and chew on the almost entirely meatless-leg of a crayfish for several minutes, like a dog gnawing on a bone.

7. That Swedes answer non-emergency phone calls on their mobile in almost every social situation no matter how inappropriate (like while they're eating dinner at your house).

8. That Swedes, among the world leaders in environmental matters and devote protectors of the forests, allowed people to build a golf course and club house in the Nacka nature reserve (which permits trucks to drive in nearly every day to deliver food and packages and often fills the reserve with the sound of lawn mowing.)

Story continues below…

9. That Swedes typically forget to introduce people to their friends when they meet on the street. (Not sure if they haven't remembered their names or my name or they just find me embarrassing and would rather me not meet their friends.)

10. That Swedes put salad on the same plate as the warm meal. Then they think "oh, I better eat the warm food while it's still warm." Inevitably, the warm sauce (despite a wall of potatoes) runs into the bottom of the salad and makes it turns it soggy from the bottom up.

Any more I might have forgot? C'mon, you know you've had a few gnawing away at you for a while. Here's your chance. Comments below please.

Doug Lansky (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

22:11 July 6, 2010 by darrenj

As for cold salad: it goes on the plate like every thing else goes on the plate. It turns soggy in, Sweden like any where else I the world. You seemed to be attuned to the extreme obvious I just assumed every one took snippits of the food on their folks and into ther mouth; warm and cold, just like me, I never noticed just Swedes eating the warm food first, with deliberation.

As for passive aggressive behaviour, it seems to work for them. Sweden, has been neutral for almost 300 years and thus has a lesser propensity for confrontation. Unlike some other country that is always in every body else's business, confrontational and "in your face"

What can we say about their situation now?
22:28 July 6, 2010 by xykat
Today, I went to my favorite cafe to get my usual Frappino mocha (something a lot of my fellow Americans are addicted to) and this girl I didn't know (and I am a regular at this place) took one look at me and guessed I was foreign or she just didn't like foreigners so she refused to speak to me in English. I was like ok, this is Sweden she can speak to me in Swedish if she wants since I understand it even if I speak it horribly. I was open. But the tone of her voice was almost using Swedish as a weapon which didn't really work on me since I understood what she was saying HAHA!

Sometimes I think Swedes use Swedish in kind of a passive aggressive way if they are uncomfortable speaking English or they just can't be bothered or they just want an English speaking foreigner to go away.
00:19 July 7, 2010 by Daveo
I couldn't pass this one up,,

Ok and how about those little dish brushes and flopping those wet dishrags over the faucet to dry.

And lets not forget about the little broom and dustpan sets.
00:55 July 7, 2010 by vms
She probably didn't dislike foreigners, just Americans. I've never met a Swede who seemed to mind speaking to me in English, even though I know enough Viking to converse, a little. On the other hand, when I visit Quebec, which theoretically is part of my own country, people routinely refuse to speak to me in English, although English is one of their official languages, theoretically. Go figure, eh?
02:59 July 7, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Actually, vms, I suspect you are correct. I have found that some people are very intrusive and pushy. We of Scots descent simply give them a quiet 'get thee gone' stare (and if that doesn't work get rather sharp). The Swedes I've known, being a polite race, simply refuse to engage the rude jerks/rejects who are trying to impolitely insert themselves into the lives of those who don't want them.

Quebecers are hit and miss...one will give you the shirt off of their back the next will spit at you. C'est la vie :-)
11:47 July 7, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
Putting children's food directly on public picnic tables, where anything one can imagine might have happened. This cavalier attitude toward hygiene pervades the culture (filthy dishrag on faucet, etc.), even in places such as hospitals, where sanitation clearly should be a top priority. Then they wonder why everyone is sick all the time- and blame it on the weather.

Re: language: My attempts at Swedish are usually met with mocking, either of the passive aggressive sort, or just plain aggressive. This I attribute to my ethnic looks. Some friendly Swedish people have explained this to me, apparently thinking that mistreating someone because he resembles someone of a group you don't like is OK.

It is true that most Swedish people will happily speak English. They'd be shocked if I were as rude to them as they are to me when I attempt Swedish. And one more thing- Swedes often guess that I am from Great Britain or Australia. I am from California- fifth generation American- and sound like it.
15:10 July 7, 2010 by Oliver (Swedish Institute)
Pretty accurate and funny! But point number eight is silly to include. What's your point? That we have double standards when it comes to environmental issues? You're not pointing out a quirky habit, you're just mentioning one case.
15:11 July 7, 2010 by hipersons1
sink scrapers

queuing culture + claiming seats before getting food

unreasonable fear of food with dates close to expiration date and of food left on counters for longer than 10 minutes

peanut butter as a desert

stuff in tubes

questionable topics on the morning news, showing dead animals and such

i live with 8 of them this list could go on and on but i'll stop.
16:27 July 7, 2010 by Suntiger
Alright, lessee...

1. It's not that we think or try to market it as a different drink, it's just named that way because they are different holidays. As an analogy, it's th same way you call it christmas present and birthday present. They're both presents, just given at two different occasions. :)

2. No excuse. I consider that very impolite (at least state the bloody reason! and it better be a valid one) and I am a swede. Luckily for me I haven't encountered this one myself. Put it down to our poor social skills.

The next time it happens, bring it up politely that it bothers you and that they please stop doing it, or desist from meeting you over lunch.

3. Heh, herring is holiday food, period.

Depending on the area or family it's also used for everyday meals too.

I think it harks back to pre-refrigerators, when it was one of the foodstuffs that had a long shelf life without spoiling. Ergo, it was one of the few that was accessible all year round.

Don't quote me on that though, I'm not sure.

4. I haven't encountered this one myself since I don't eat sterawberries every midsummer and when I have done so it was grandma's homegrown ones anyway.

Wouldn't surprise me though. Swedes can be very anal about where their food comes from, always assuming swedish whatever is of higher quality thanks to all our regulations regardless of what the actual situation looks like.

One area where swedes flip 180 about the complaining about our overregulation of everything and think it's a good think.

Except, y'know, for the people who actually produce the food. :P

5. There's a reason behind this one but I currently can't recall what. Has something to do with loss of face if you scream, yell and show your emotions a lot if memory serves.

Yep, we're culturally conditioned to be cold fishes (outwardly) with a stick up our asses. Until we get drunk that is. :P

6. *evil grin* Next time crayfish time rolls around, bring a video camera and film it. Then show it to them the next day or weekend when they are sober. ;)

7. No excuse this time either. Put it down to poor social skills again.

Those more skilled in social graces, please take every opportunity to educate the swedes you encounter doing this.

8. I'd put that down to the middle to high income residents in the Nacka kommun having enough clout to override any opposition against it.

Needless to say, I do not approve.

9. Poor social skills strike again I'm afraid. If you meet a swede who doesn't intruduce the friend, promt them by asking 'and this is...?' and if you are the friend not being introduced, butt in with 'and I'm XXXXXX. Hi.' and ignore any dirty looks should they come your way, then wait until the person they met has left and then patiently explain that it's impolite to not introduce people you are with. With short words if possible.

This is not a joke.
18:19 July 7, 2010 by Kooritze
Told a swedish workfriend once that I was goint to go home after a hard day and drink some whiskey . To which he replied..........but it,s a wednesday?????

I had never in my life given it any thought which day of the week it is acceptable to have a few drinks. In any other country one takes a few pints or a few shots when you feel like it!.............but to be fair my idea of having a few strong ones to chill out does not entail finishing the bottle.
19:06 July 7, 2010 by hope123
Just to comment on Darren's point that we have been neutral for nearly 300 years. We have NOT. Indeed during the last 60 years we have actively engaged in aggressive activities. During WWII we actively supported Nazi Germany. We allowed German forces to cross Sweden to occupy Norway. We exported iron to Germany with which they continued making their weapons. We provided them with our famous ball bearings. Indeed it is now understood that the war continued for longer because of this Swedish contribution. This is strange neutrality. We turned away thousands of Jewish refugees and only began admitting Jewish refugees late in the war when the tide was turning against Germany. Yes, we produced our great heroes like Wallenberg but our actions during the war were more evil than good.

Sweden likes to present itself as a peace maker while selling its fighter jet planes to all parts of the world. Sweden displays sympathy with Palestinians while having military agreements with Israel. We are fully involved in Afghanistan.

We also use sweatshops in Asia to produce our clothes.

We are a nation of cowards with double standards and to us appearances are everything. If we have any integrity at all we need to start to be open about who we really are and try to change.

I suspect our fear of social confrontation lies more in our cowardice and need to keep up appearances than any non-aggressive instinct. If we were so non-aggressive in our genes why did we once have a brutal empire? Where did the aggression of the Vikings go?

At least countries like England and the US are honest about their intentions.
19:56 July 7, 2010 by Rolf100
Swedes love to complain! Not do anything but complain about everything!
20:47 July 7, 2010 by Suntiger
One thing I'd like to add is the swedes so called lack of patriotism and their unthinking arrogance when it comes to considering different views or methods than their own.

This is actually closely related.

Swedes are one of the few people who has the expression "how delightfully un-swedish you are" addressed to another swede. This seeming lack of pride in their own country and identity is both real and completely inaccurate.

That is, it's considered positive for a swede to pick up non-swedish habits and ideas.

However, swedes do take great pride in their country, but in an indirect way.

Swedes seem incapable of crediting others ideas, systems and methods of doing things as worthwhile and will go with or insist on their own swedish methods, to the point of arrogance.

However, if you point out to a swede how arrogant this attitude is, he will most likely be baffled and not understand what you are talking about.

This is due to several things. One is the luteran version of protestantism in swedish history (not much related today, but it's back there as a base), the other is a long period of peace, or at least neutrality and another is a long stretch of social democrat rule in the government after WWII.

All this provided Sweden with lots of freedoms, a high standard of living and a spirit of solidarity towards the oppressed and a high level of financial aid to other countries.

Thus Sweden ranks high on lists with living standard and happiness index and whatnot.

This has been the case for so long that swedes unthinkingly assume that their way of doing things are the best. After all, it's been shown to be among the top in test after test!

To the mind of the swede it is self-evident that his methods are best, and it's even other people/organizations that's saying so, so he doesn't commit the swedish sin of bragging.

Thus the arrogance combined with the puzzlement when called on it.

He really doesn't realize how arrogant he's being.

Anyway, this is very amusing to consider in the light of the high immigration Sweden has.

Suddenly people with other cultures and ways of doing things and ideas are living right here.

What was charming and 'delightfully un-swedish' when a fellow swede did it is suddenly alarming and different when it's done by an immigrant.

Loosing the homogenic society (slowly but surely) that sweden had for over 70 years will obviously cause friction, and make swedes realize that they aren't as enlightened and keen on solidarity when they have to face the differences up front on their home turf.

This will and has lead to racism, conflicts and lots of uncertainty after a long period of relative stability and isolation but although it is sometimes difficult to deal with I think it is a good thing for Sweden overall.

Melting pots are more unstable and has a higher level of conflict but also tends to produce lots of beneficial new ideas and inventions.
21:31 July 7, 2010 by darrenj
As for neutrality I meant pertaining to direct aggression as opposed to passive aggression, It is a known fact that countries or societies that have been in constant conflicts for generations tend have more "direct" type of individuals (like Americans?)

I am well aware of Sweden's "neutrality" during WWII and selling resources to both sides et al. Not really a shining moment in their history,but more to my point it was not direct or hardly confrontational. Hey but they did gain a lot and made more "dosh" in the rebuilding of a battered Europe. Good on them!

And yes they/we use sweat shops for cheap products but no other country does that,

Swedes do complain but when you have it so well what else is there to do? Better to complain about the high price of pet insurance than the size of the toilet your family lives in.
21:49 July 7, 2010 by Keith #5083
Difficult to find things to complain about as I am still in love with Sweden after 22 years. BUT, there is one issue I would like to put in print. Brake lights on cars! In Sweden, I guess because of the weather or lattitude or proximity of forest or the renowned Swedish elephants, in Sweden brake lights have a habit of appearing on cars for no apparent reason.

Is it an elk in front?

Is it a tree falling?

Is it a skier skateboarding in summer?


About 2 metres before a country lane turning you learn why the brake lights came on 5 minutes ago....because suddenly the driver has discovered turn signals also make lights - and flashing lights at that.

No, seriously, I have noticed that in Sweden people generally brake before they signal. It can be very confusing and not a little dangerous.
23:26 July 7, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
#5, oh, the silent treatment. I despise it, probably why I have to stay away from sweden at times. Swedes are logical people, but it's hard to understand how they DON't find this trait offensive. And yes, it goes doubly for those english-speakers mucking up a swedish conversation in our own hacked up svensk.

One to add.... "Rake" or, what I think is "ear ache" as a bad translation. This happens when you are driving with your swedish freinds and you roll down the window to get some air in the 240. For some reason, or superstition, they think if you roll down the window while driving, it's bad for your health, or you might invoke a demon or something. Never quite figured that out. 40*C out? Heck no we aren't rolling down the windows.
10:39 July 8, 2010 by d_s
My favourites (there might be some overlap to what others have mentioned):

1) Svenska kö system: train is late, platform full of people (its winter) - doors open, and 67 persons form a writhing mass at the train's door, causing a desperate struggle; those in the train trying to get out just found out that its not going to happen if the ingoers get to decide. I just spontaneously burst in laughter, and then a girl's happy voice proclaims from somewhere deep inside the mass: "Svenska kö system!"

2) Going out for a couple of cold ones on a week day or having an aperitif to a dinner means that you have some serious problems when it comes to alcohol consumption. Beware the stigma!

3) The people who say: NI! Naysaying is just too fun to resist, and compromising is actually a saintly virtue, regardless of the circumstances. Talk about behaviour fit for a Western being.

3) And yes, no opening the the car windows. This may cause the AC not to work properly, even if you dont have an automatic one.. And maybe some patricles from exhaust/tires/somewhere may fly in to the car, compromising the whole project.
13:02 July 8, 2010 by hope123
I just want to add to Suntiger's comments. I am Swedish but lived in the UK for a long time. One thing that really struck me was the way the British criticise the good things in their country. For example, look at the National Health Service (NHS). In the UK I got completely free medical care and doctors came out to me at home when I was ill. I was amazed! And yet the Brits are always criticising the NHS.

Another thing that struck me was the lack of discrimination compared to Sweden. You can get a job whatever your name or colour or age. COME ON BRITS - TAKE A LEAF OUT OF SWEDEN'S BOOK AND PRAISE YOURSELVES!
13:28 July 8, 2010 by Swedesmith
As others have said, I find it hard to complain as I love the country and the people, but one difference I noticed was the different attitude towards alcohol consumption. This could be due to the stricter driving laws or the higher cost of booze in Sweden, I don't know. In America, it is common to go out to eat or visit a friends and have a couple of drinks. Just enough to loosen up a little and relax. In Sweden, once the Swedes start drinking, it doesn't stop at a couple. Midsommar would be the most glaring example.
13:56 July 8, 2010 by salalah
14:04 July 8, 2010 by hpunlimited
Here are some.

1. Why does commericals need to be announced beforehand on TV? like on TV4, a page comes up that says "REKLAM" and then the real commercial comes. Why?

2. Women get angry when you hold a door open for them, I often get "Jag klara mig själv" and then a frown.

3. Swedish women talk about the consistency of the "poop" of their baby at the dinner table.

Thats just some.
14:51 July 8, 2010 by calebian22
Anything related to jantelagen. Get rid of that ridiculous idea, and Sweden would be great.
15:01 July 8, 2010 by darrenj
I think its great they warn me about an advert before so I can change the channel so as not to be bombarded the brainwashing crap or even to expose my children to the capitalist consumerist crap that will pick away at their brain!! Or I know when to take a "kiss paus"!

I keep hearing this "MYTH" about women being upset about opening the door for them. Never happened to me in the eleven years I have been opening doors for chicks here.

I was recently at a coffee shop and over head some american,/british young moms actively talking about the consistency of the babys' bodily waste. They were quite loud in their disscussion, possibly thinking since they were talking in english no one will understand.
15:47 July 8, 2010 by Jes
I totally, totally , totally agree with @Hope 123 .

He / she is the only one whose comment makes honest sense . I aslo think that Swedes are hypocrites and cowards . That is why Sweden sells arms while pretending to oppose war . That is why Sweden has a Minister who earns a lot of money from Sudans oil while it pretends to have a policy that condemns what the regime is doing to the people in Darfur and South Sudan

That is why Sweden deports Burundi asylum-seekers , telling them it is "safe " while it tells its Immigration police not to spend a night in Burundi because "it is a dangerous " place

This is Sweden that preaches to immigrants on the right and wrong way to parent a child , and yet no Swedish parent has ever been charged for allowing their 13 year old to smoke , drink or have sex in their homes .

One famous Swedis human-behaviour expert onnce noted that the problem with most Swedish people is that they spend no time studying what goes on behond their country . They therefore don`t know where they are wrong , or things that they are not good at . He was speaking about why Swedes always think that their song in the Eouropean melody ( song ) contest will be the best -and the it does not , the nation gets depressed .
16:40 July 8, 2010 by this_aint_sparta
Swedes are very polite guests. They show much appreciation for the food. They guess

the ingredients, enquire how it was cooked, wonder where the ingredients were

bought and ask how long it needed in the oven. In fact, most guests ask for the recipe

and this is the greatest of compliments. They eat and mutter 'This was good' which is

rather strange as they are still eating it.
18:42 July 8, 2010 by we-say-polis-too
Jes #24... Your last paragraph sounds like a description of England at the world cup.

As for the original article, I think numbers 8, 9, and 10 could apply to us Scots in some shape or form too. Were all just cold, aloof Northern Europeans together...
21:19 July 8, 2010 by procrustes
David Frost got it right when he characterized Sweden as the mother-in-law to the world. Someone told them they are morally superior and they believe it.

My uncle flew bombers in WWII and refused to allow my Swedish gal in his house because Sweden sold Bofors anti-aircraft guns to the Nazis, not to mention SKF ball bearings moving all those Nazi tanks.

Now, I can look past all of that as ancient history, but what is insufferable is that Swedes don't know their own awful history and believe themselves to be morally superior.

Swedes have a unique ability to turn into lead. In most civilized countries if one is standing in a shopping aisle and someone approaches, one steps aside to allow them room to pass. Not here. You have to put your hand on their back and move them, but I can't bring myself to do that vulgar act.

Dancing in Sweden is akin to carnival bumper cars. In some places in the States, that behavior would get you shot--which is a plus for Swedes. They don't respond to peasant behavior with violence

The gotcha games. Swedes will ask you how you like Sweden. If you say something complimentary, they will begin to trash their country and ridicule your naivete.. If you say something negative, they will rip your heart out. I am convinced they ask the question as a setup.

Whenever you "discuss" political issues and score a point, their rejoinder is to accuse you of "double moral" or of being condescending. Whenever that happens I respond with, "Well, remember, wet birds don't fly at night," which is totally nonsensical. It leaves them slack mouthed. It sounds sage and they cannot respond. Nonsense counters nonsense.

If you try to speak Swedish they will answer in English. If you insist on Swedish because you're trying to learn the language they will be offended. YET, if you're in a hospital, they will only speak Swedish, and if you insist on English the room gets very cold. The question as to why would someone devote the time and effort to be fluent in a language that is spoken no where else in the world never occurs to them.

There will never be a black prime minister of Sweden.

Swedes have a congenital inferiority complex underpinned by belief that they are a superior race. This fundamental conflict makes them nuts, and this is the basis of much of their art from Strindberg to Bergman. All in all, Swedes are so fundamentally human that I cannot help myself but love them, revel in their humanity and do my best to wallow in their insanity.
11:14 July 9, 2010 by Jes
What is your definition of profanity ?
12:11 July 9, 2010 by kuuipo
We have been here off and on for 2 years now and we really love Sweden and there really hasn't been much to complain about.... except...

there is this really bad habit of when people bump into you they never say "ursäkta mig". They push and shove and act as if you're not there. They even cut in line when waiting in a "kö". The other day my husband and I were boarding the ferry and as usual there was a line and a couple that had been waiting behind us all of sudden decided to go in front of us. It was so obvious and they were not a young couple either. I would expect this from teens but someone of retirement age? Then there's the other extreme of someone who wants to get past you, but will just stand there until you move rather than saying "excuse me" and passing. These things I find terribly rude and it happens a lot in Sweden. But as a whole most Swedes we've met have been fantastic and friendly and we love it here.:-)
12:15 July 9, 2010 by mikmak
I think it's hilarious with all the condescending comments accusing an entire nation of being condescending. Or all the arrogant comments accusing the same of being arrogant, I guess by your own standards you would be perfect Swedes, lol.
13:38 July 9, 2010 by Jes
I ask again : what is your definition of profanity ?

Oh I see ..........! I should write like this :

" we really love Sweden and there really hasn´t been much to complian baout -- except A B C D "

Don`t ask us to comment if you can´t take it
15:00 July 9, 2010 by madpaulie
i'ne been living in sweden 16 years and i enjoy it here. yes there are some differences culture wise which i find amusing.

when at a party everybody has there own systembolaget bag and drinks only from that, nobody share what they have. it's the same with cigs nobody just put there's cigs on the table and says smoke if you like.

i once had a party at home and of course i i bought a load of beer for everyone people turn up with there purple bags i told them if wanted a beer it was just to help yourselfs. I promise you everyone asked me before they took a beer which i thought very strange and also very polite.

Later i found out that this is the norm here that people bring their own and drink only that, where i come from people also bring something to drink but it's just left on the table for everyone to take without asking. I'm brittish by the way.

Oh on no account should you ever tell anybody your going out for a pint during the week your automatically classed as an alcoholic.

But it is ok to drink at home during the week(vodka mostly) but you can't tell anybody, but everybody is doing it.
15:30 July 9, 2010 by Dogs_Gonads
Swedish petrol stations are xenophobic.

You drive up to a pump, take the nozzle out stick it in your car press the button for 'car'. And nothing happens. Ziltch.

And the pump's where you have to pay by bank card. Tried to fill up at one in Järvsö.Three of us could'nt get it to work and one of them worked in the petrol station.
15:56 July 9, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Dog: Same happened to me in Ljusdal at a Preem station. Even the attendant (probably a 17yo girl) didn't know what to do. Ended up driving to the OKQ8 station in Jarvso.

Great stories folks! So true, every one of them!
16:46 July 9, 2010 by Ben D Toy
Got to be queing! Swedes just can't do it, it's as if their brains were never programmed to que, Being a Brit it comes as standard to me! But Swedes, Bus stops, outside theatres, cinemas, trains, hot dog stands I could go on forever!!! although I have to say they have realised this at a higher plain which is why we have to endure 'nummerlap' everywhere.
19:35 July 9, 2010 by VickiD
It does my heart good to read that others feel as I do... As much as I believe in the "love it or leave" approach to living somewhere, it sure does get one down from time to time... the anti-queue, the passive agressiveness, the oft-deliberate misunderstanding of a foreigner's attempts at Swedish... one mispronounced ä in a sentence and I'm suddenly without the confidence to carry on! (although that's probably a fault arising from the UK school's approach to teaching foreign lanaguages... so then I'm ambivalent about feeling ambivalent! grrr...)

I know some really sound and lovely Swedes... and I know some fairly nice but can't trust 'em Swedes... and I know that as a Brit I love my stereotypes and should learn to remember that everyone should be treated as an individual (until they show themselves to otherwise!).

Keep the observations coming! Some days after work, it's the only way an expat like me can know they're not going crazy... :O)
23:22 July 9, 2010 by Makoa
I visited my friends in Sweden. We passed some neighbors in their little farm community, and I gave a polite nod and a hello. My friends and the neighbor did not exchange any pleasantries and after we passed farther away they explained to me that "We do not talk to strangers" and laughed at me a little. It was their neighbor in a small community! wow. In every town I went I gave a polite nod and made eye contact with anyone that came within range of me and got laughed at my friends several times. It's habit.

I also visited a summer cabin of another friend. His mother was there. He did not introduce me and she never made eye contact or acknowledged me in any way. It was sooo strange to me. Where I live in Hawaii you greet everyone with a hug and kiss on the cheek if you come to someone's house, even if you have just met them.

06:25 July 10, 2010 by Tancred
Being American doesn't help.

A Canadian once said that having America on your southern border was like having dodgy neighbours across the street.

You wave at them, say good morning .........but hope to GOD they don't come around or invite you to dinner.
08:56 July 10, 2010 by procrustes
Oh, Tancred--don't you know that a Canadian is just American desperately trying not to be? :)

If you want to scare the SH*T out of a Swede, smile at them. Try it. While walking down the street pick out a Swede, make eye contact and give them a great big beaming smile. You will see fear and panic ripple over their face.
11:59 July 10, 2010 by cogito
Tancred, You have it backwards:

Canadians do not wait to be invited to dinner. They invite themselves.

Abusing American hospitality, Canadians stream into the U.S, dragging their medical ailments with them. They burden the U.S. healthcare system, because they cannot get care under the wonderful Canadian system they boast about.

The beautiful coastal resorts in Florida would prefer to be spared the unappetizing sight of snowbird Canadians wearing speedos, maple leaves and the smug delusion that their company is desirable.
13:46 July 10, 2010 by Ben D Toy
I think to be fair the intolerance of people trying to speak Swedish lies with the fact there aren't that many people outside of Sweden who have a real need to speak Swedish. The international language like it or not is English (at least until Cantonese takes over) so people from non English speaking lands have no difficulty in choosing which second language they they would learn unless its for other reasons work,family etc. Those of us with English as our native tongue have learnt to 'tune in' to people speaking English in lots of different ways and have had many years of practice. I think in time the intolerance will subside I first started to speak Swedish over 25 years ago and believe me if you think they are intolerant now you should have been around then, phew!
23:12 July 10, 2010 by darthur954
Apropos of nothing, here is a list of Swedish celebs from a Miami paper

03:19 July 11, 2010 by wikblom
Hey Darrenj. I am an American but I am Swedish in origin. My great-great grandfather was killed in the Swedish Army while he was fighting in Germany against Napoleon in 1813. That was during a time when Swedes did something more in the world than standing around with the index finger up the arse.
18:10 July 11, 2010 by glamelixir

I slightly agree with you!... omg. I am getting scared ;)
20:34 July 11, 2010 by Canada_Girl
@ cogito, procrustes - I think your evaluations of Canadians are off the mark.

I don't look at Americans as bad neighbours because I and most people I know don't travel there much. I haven't been in the US for four years, and when I did go it was work related.

As for health care... I know no-one who has gone to the States for health-care. I recall hearing a news report of a woman who went to the US for health care and made a big media to-do about it. Other than that... why would we?

Canadians are not American "wanna-bes". We like being distinct from the States. That being said, I always find it interesting when travelling, how Americans quickly shed their US identity and pretend to be Canadian. Now THAT I find annoying.
22:47 July 11, 2010 by cogito
That you you are unaware of Canadians flooding American health services in, for example, Florida, proves nothing except...that you are unaware.

Starting with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and every PM since, media stories of Canadians traveling to the U.S. for medical care have been too frequent to list.

Don't know what sort of wide traveling experience you've had , but here in Sweden, I have never met an American who "shed their identity' and pretended to be Canadian. Why on earth would anyone want to?
02:10 July 12, 2010 by Liamt
You forgot the eye contact before *and after* 'cheersing'. I always put down my glass before remembering to do the second one.

But I couldn't agree more on the strawberries. I mean, they are great - more colourful, fragrant etc - here ones from anywhere else I have been, but I have to laugh a little on the inside when I hear the disdain Swedes have for foreign strawberries. As an Australian, the Belgian ones seem fine. But to be fair, in Australia I'm fussy over beaches and Chinese food in a way that I will never be able to be here.
04:04 July 12, 2010 by repat_xpat
Best quote defining Swedish culture: A Swede KNOWS his way (work, product ...) is the best, but he will never say so.
14:37 July 12, 2010 by xenyasai
I am amazed by some of the comments here. I do not like saying it, but if you do not like it there, go home and never come back! Sweden has enough 'surgubbar' as it is.


To the Britons, you can be glad you are not in Australia or The Netherlands, as you are known as being very unwilling to adapt to the culture and whinge a lot that the country you are in is too different from England.

To the Americans, you are known, from what I have been told, as seppos here in Oz and not so popular either. Look at your own country before you criticise another.

I am not Swedish, but I am a Norwegian with Swedish heritage and thanks to your moaning I am actually more proud of being Scandinavian as it makes me so happy that I am not one of you guys.

The whingers here must truly have very sad lives.

Take a hint! People dislike you because you complain a lot, but d nothing to improve the situation. It is almost like you love to complain and prefer that.
16:34 July 12, 2010 by procrustes
Hey Canada_Girl--I never said Canadians are wannabe Americans--I said Canadians ARE Americans desperately trying not to be. It was a YOKE--bara a yoke. Geeze.

For the record, the USA health insurance system sucks. The actual care, if you can get it, is excellent.

Every country has its conceits and quirks. The article asked to pillory Swedish culture, so we accommodated its wishes.
22:23 July 12, 2010 by AndreaGerak
Coming from Eastern Europe, which is much more dissimilar to Scandinavia than the Anglo-Saxon world, my list would be way longer than all of yours altogether...

And although I admit: sometimes it feels a relief to let out some steam and tell what's on one's heart, complaining doesn't help much. To tell that Swedes are jerks in this or that way will not make a positive change in them... Quite the opposite: the more people agree with that yes, they do have these quirky habits, the solid they become... Because when "everybody knows" that "this is so-and-so", it WILL be indeed even more so.

I observed that when I talk about what I don't like about Sweden, I tend to introvert into it and go down (quite down actually, never felt this in the other 4 countries I have lived, besides my homeland...) - which I can't afford.

Instead, I try to enjoy those few things that I do enjoy, till I am here... I think that's the best an expat can do in a foreign country.
02:06 July 13, 2010 by Canada_Girl
@cogito - If an traveller is to need health care and can afford, of course they'll use the facilities within that region. One would not expect a Canadian or American travelling in Sweden to travel home for an emergency visit. That makes no sense. I always travel with health insurance, but I've never had to use it; that being said, if I got hit by a car in Florida (to use the state you mention), why wouldn't I use a hospital there if I can afford it. In fact, I've seen Americans trying to pretend they are Canadians in our hospitals because they don't have health care. I've also seen Americans with travel insurance in a Canadian hospital.

I HAVE seen Americans saying they're Canadian while in Europe. Americans are not respected in Europe because, quite often, they bring boorish behaviours with them. I've seem Americans being politely removed from restaurants for rudeness. Many people from the States do not want to be labelled so they patch Canadian flags on their travel gear and state vehemently that they are Canuks.

10:11 July 13, 2010 by Oliver (Swedish Institute)
Here's a little further reading on Swedes that might interest y'all. It's about Swedes - by a Swede: http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Reading/The-Swedish-myths-True-false-or-somewhere-in-between/
11:00 July 13, 2010 by jarbas
Nonsense! UK is also a monarchy, but no less democratic because of it.

A country needs its national symbols.
11:24 July 13, 2010 by spongepaddy
This is a rubbish list. Most of these "facts" are actually wrong and the others aren't even "quirks". I mean, how long have you lived here for? Six weeks? Seriously, this is the worse, most arrogant "analysis" of Swedes and Sweden I have ever read.

Points 3,4,5,9 and 10 are just plain wrong. The others are badly thought out, quite ignorant, and can barely be counted as "points" at all.

Do you want me to do a similar list about Americans? Because it would be a long list. I could also so one about the irish (since I am Irish living in Sweden) but really, what's the point? I often complain about Sweden myself, but never in this petty, sad way.

If you don't like it that much, then leave. And leave the rest of us expats in peace.
13:01 July 13, 2010 by ubpurple05
I am an American and have lived in Sweden for a little over a year. We love Sweden and greatly admire its people and traditions. I have made quite an effort to understand the subtle cultural differences. While I could complain about some small annoyances, I won't since there are rude idiots everywhere (including the U.S. most definitely) and it would be unfair for me to negatively characterize the Swedes as a whole because I have been treated shabbily once or twice by people I am assuming are Swedes (ahem, perhaps they are Germans or Brits or who knows who). Frankly, I have been treated in a much more snobby and offhand manner by other expats who have struck me as arrogant posers who think they know everything about Sweden! I hope that this country keeps its lovely identity and fares well in the coming economic storm we will all have to weather.
13:37 July 13, 2010 by melliferax
I'm Swedish but hang out with expats a lot. I usually love reading about outsiders' views on Sweden, it's fun and refreshing and gives me some perspective. This article, however, was petty, inaccurate and very nearly offensive. I felt it necessary to defend my country by fisking it in a blog post:


Sorry Mr Lansky. Try again.
13:43 July 13, 2010 by spongepaddy
And by the way, where is the writer of this "article" and how does he intend to defend himself and his inaccurate text? We are waiting.
16:36 July 13, 2010 by Lady Fi
No country is perfect, of course, but quite frankly - I found this list to be badly written, with no humour, off the point and rather offensive.

If you're going to diss a country, at least do it accurately and with a twinkle in the eye.

And why on earth is this article good enough to be published here?
16:04 July 14, 2010 by Juho M.
Having been an expat in a couple of countries, I recognize this need to sit down with compatritots and discuss one's experience of the host country and its inhabitants.

Doing that in writing and in a public forum like this may, however, not be the very best idea.

Living in a culture different from one's native requires of you to adjust to that culture's quirks. For many Swedes a 15 minutes' delay is insulting, and that's important to remember when living here. Informing one's lunch company that one is not showing up is considered important, but eating alone in not stigmatizing. People who have knowledge of Doug's cultural background may realize that he would be insulted, but everyone doesn't have that knowledge, and also if they do, they may believe that he during his stay in Sweden has absorbed the local cultural pattern.

Similarly, it's basic to realize that introduction to one's friends and collegues follow different patterns in different cultures. When in Rome, do as the Romans - and for God's sake, don't get insulted by them behaving as what they are.
04:00 July 15, 2010 by hogwort
Everyone needs to complain about their own country. I live in a third world country where people complain about their situation with the same bitterness as Europeans do. I'm just saying that their countries have more positive aspects to be proud of than negative ones, but are taken for granted.
09:37 July 15, 2010 by justagurlfromSeattle
Swedes have a strange aversion to ice.... NO ice in a coke.. or in ice water....

No real iced drinks.... except for cocktails..... :-\
18:01 July 15, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
As a reminder, and quote from the first paragraph of the article:

"So as I sit here writing these little Swedish quirks I can rest assured that Swedes are at this very moment sitting around a table somewhere in America half joking, half bitching about some bizarre American habits or regulations."

Lighten up. Some of you are falling into @procrustas "gotcha-games" mentality.
18:24 July 15, 2010 by warriorwithin
i ill add to the list

11. To act as if a person is a complete stranger after having a conversation for an entire evening with him/her along with some drinks.
01:41 July 16, 2010 by gmaddalo
@ Suntiger

sweden green country...it's a fable, if nuclear power wastes generated by nuclear power factories are enviromental friends i am richer than the Queen, it's a problem that has never been solved so far!

Sweden neutral during the WWII, ... please! Sweden has never been neutral during the WWII, they let the Nazi pass and invade Finland, your king (back to the time) shaked the hand first with Hitler and then with Stalin, go to Riga and visit the occupational museum: Sweden gave back the partigians to the Russians and those partigians were sent to Siberia to DIE!

During the '60 mental unstable people were lobotomized (permanent operation), a practise that is in perfect accordance to the Nazi protocol! i love Sweden, but you do are patriotic! and let me say a bit arrogant if you think that we other Europeans do not know this piece of information about your history. That was a dark period but not admitting and denying it's like killing those people once again!
07:48 July 16, 2010 by karex
Oh I have a few:

1. Lack of understanding how to treat expensive furniture, as in placing wet, cold or hot drinks directly on a 200 year-old polished wood coffe table (often right beside the offered coaster) thus permanently staining the surface, or using said table as an ottoman and stretching their legs over it, thus permanently sctratching the surface.

2. Placing all sorts of dry food stuffs (bread, cakes, etc.) directly on the table instead of using plates.

3. While driving, engaging turn signals 2 meters before the turn thus completely defeating the purpose of "prior warning" to other motorists.

There is one habit I readdy do like though: removing one's outdoor shoes when entering the house.
04:39 July 18, 2010 by Twiceshy
I like 11. above so:

12. When standing a line - please don't stand inside my pants. Give me some personal space. Swed's seem to want to feel up the person infront of them since they can save 1/1000th of a second by standing inside the person in front of them

13. When people get off a tram or bus - LET THEM - don't rush on before those who are getting of get off. The tram or bus will not run away from you while you wait for other to get off! LET THEM OFF FIRST PLEASE!~!!!!!
06:47 July 18, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
Most probably the first article that I read from upside down without getting tired or bored.
10:57 July 18, 2010 by bungle
Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

-Oscar Wilde

My country's better than yours, omg who cares???

I'm a Brit and I agree with everything thats been said against Sweden and can add a lot more but really whats the point? I could make a long list against the UK and the US too, but again, whats the point??
01:08 July 19, 2010 by spongepaddy
It's amusing that most of the 'foibles' being mentioned in the comments here are seen in most countries, or at least in those that I have been in. And I'm still waiting for the author M. Lansky to defend his half-assed piece.

So when is he going to show his face or has he just turned tail and run away?
03:49 July 19, 2010 by randyt
5. That Swedes commonly "Tiga ut nagon." This roughly translates as "giving the silent treatment." It's a passive aggressive technique they've somehow come to think of as a polite conflict avoidance.

Only to a point will Swedes avoid conflict. Once while on a business trip to Stockholm, I use to make lots of these, I took the T-Bana over to a stop near Medborgarplatsen to find a restaurant for dinner. Afterwards I started down into the train station when a woman walked by being harassed by a drunk and cursing boyfriend. I slowed down and let them go on down to the platform. As I watched them the guy pushed the woman into one of the concrete support pillars. A Swedish young man, about 30, pulled the guy away from the woman. Ah, the drunk took a swing at the good Samaritan who just stepped back, his feet went to doing the boxer dance, his fist went up and one fist shot a very hard right jab to the drunks nose! The drunk took another swing only to be meet with a more intense display from the Samaritan of boxing skills. By this time the woman boarded a train. The drunk retreated. My understanding of Swedes changed just a bit that night.
21:47 July 19, 2010 by Vetinari

For your 12, all I will say is to go stand in line in the middle of the Swedish winter. Lets see how much space you want then.

Besides, everyone in Sweden is hot. Why wouldn't you want to stand so close you can pretty much feel them up?
17:59 July 20, 2010 by Jes
@ radyt ,

you must have changed your mind about Swedish passivity before Anna , the Minister of Foreign Affairs was attacked , stabbed and killed in a crowden shopping centre at 3 0´clock when everybody was watching and no body dared confront the assailant or follow the thug to his escape taxi .

Where else in the World can that happen ?
06:19 July 21, 2010 by gunnar2010
Comment: I might be spelling this word wrong, but when I am in Sweden visiting my family, we have to stop sometime in the afternoon and have FIIKA? Which is from what I understand is a sugar induced coma of a snack! I don't eat refined sugar because of health concerns. I had a ( what looked like Tofu ) a white cake, took one bite and nearly fell off my darn chair. How the heck do these people stay so darn thin and eat this JUNK FOOD, every day. Please understand I love Sweden. I agree that the young Swedes have looked away from what their Country did during the war. My family lost several wonderful men during the war. One was rescued by the white buses. One was executed in Falstad, Norway along with Jewish prisioners. My MORMOR was raped by the Nazi's What angers me is when I read about what happened in Malmo not that long ago. The police standing and watching as bombs and being thrown at a group of Jews. And the response by the police is that the group throwing the bombs have a right, freedom of speach. What century are we living in!!! Sweden needs to wake up, their people are suffering. Swedes have odd habits. 1. They don't understand personal space. When standing in line, they are on top of you. ( I live in the States, we like our space, when waiting in line. ) 2. Get rid of FIKA or eat healthier snacks. 3. Stop the passive aggressive attidute. 4. Get your heads of state to get their butts in gear. There is a great old saying that I am about to say wrong but I hope you understand. " Be careful who you go to bed with. " It means be careful in politics etc. 5.Get stronger laws in regards to the rapes of these innoscent Swedish women. ( All women. ) 6. What are they thinking with charging everyone $5000.00 to get a Swedish Drivers License. Even though I have been driving for 20 years here in the states I would have to not only pay the $5000.00, I would also have to take ALL the courses to get my license there. I almost took a job there and declined when I read that part. 7. Please open up a Chiptole. 8. Please start wearing sunglasses, blue eyed people lose their vision more that anyone. Start taking Vitamin A and D and drink lots of low sodium vegetable juice for your eye health, everyday. 9. Quit smoking, not only does it hurt you with possible cancers, Scientist are researching if there is a connection to cataracts! For non-smokers too. I fell in love with Sweden years ago. I admire their kindness but seriously what Century is this.Sweden would do amazing well opening up a hospital for Europeans like Saint Jude. Swedes are known for their intellegence.
10:41 July 21, 2010 by Jes
I add : forbid parents to smoke infront of the small kids . Forbid hospital staff from smoking while wearing their uniforms .

Forbid fathers ( and some mothers) walking naked in homes where there are children . ( a typical strange swedish habit that leads to incest )

Forbid fathers swimming naked with their daughters ( another typical Swedish strange habit)

Is it possible for these old Swedish habits to die ? Yes .

Wife swaping is no longer practiced as it used to be
13:58 July 21, 2010 by LeoKinmann
The Swedes always amuse me when they eat so little food at formal dinners, and yet still clap on their bent out belly to show how full they are. Perhaps eating little during meal hours necessitates the sugar coma known as FIKA afterwards. I have seen Swedish girls who practice badminton 10 hrs a week, and once they get back they chew up a whole bag of candy within half a hour. And all that stops them from getting fat is precisely the 10 hr workout. So as an answer to your question gunnar2010, i'd say FIKA is a countermeasure to excessive exercise that's supposed to be better than sex (according to Swedish women), and eating almost nothing during regular meals.
18:24 July 21, 2010 by gunnar2010
Hi LeoKinmann, thank you! Most of my family is Norweigian. So, I understand about 80 percent of Swedish language. I met some of my Mom's friends this past summer. I'm accepted sort of. And only because of my Norweigian Heritage. Swedes love Norweigians, I was told?! While visiting a female friend, she was apologizing to me that her home was so small. I was baffled. I explained that my home in the US is about the same size. Her opnion was that all American homes are large. I explained that this was not true. Her home was beautifully decorated in the very typical Swedish style. I loved her white floors. And of course my mom brought the coma cake for FIKA. My childhoold was spent in Norway, I don't remember FIKA there. Someone made a comment about the food being soggy, oh yeah.Oh, and Swedes put ham in everything .I lost 30 pounds last summer. I love the fresh air there, the funny auto lawn mowers, the peace you feel in the country, The water is so clean. Last summer it rained ALOT, and I did not bring rain boots. I have big feet and couldn't find rainboots to fit me, until 2 days before returning home. In my family, we have LARGE feet, he he. Swedes must have normal size feet. Next time we travel we are bringing rainboots, and an extra empty suitcase for sales in the stores. I love the sales there and the Goodwill stores. It feels almost like home when I visit my family there. My family would love it if I said yes, lets move there. They love Sweden as well. They really need to quit smoking, wear sunglasses and eat healthy food. And please don't stand two inches away from me when I in line for the bank. If you are please brush your teeth, second hand smoke is aweful.
18:56 July 21, 2010 by mikmak
Hi there gunnar2010, Sweden promises to stop smoking if the US cuts is smoking per capita by half to reach Swedens levels first.

10:10 July 22, 2010 by LeoKinmann

It's cool to know you have kept your Scandinavian Heritage! We Swedes do like Norweigians. In fact many of my friends went to Norway to work over the summer, and they all loved the country! I actually attended an Ivy League school for a year on exchange. When I was stateside, the thing I loved most about the place was the diversity of people coming from different places with different experiences. Not to mention all the girls of different nationalities you could date ;-) In Sweden, I feel like there is much less human interaction and I still need a lot getting used to. Sweden is a lovely country, but we sure need some improvements.


It's kinda funny that when I told my Swedish friends how little human interaction and communication there is here compared to other countries, he replied "we are not as bad as Finland". Is it a Swedish way to always compare to something worse? If so, I wonder if it's holding us back from getting better than we are.
14:18 July 22, 2010 by glamelixir
@ mikmak you don't have so many smokers because you have snus here.

@ LeoKinmann I always get the " we are not as bad as Finland" comment hahaha. But then again, my friends from Finland complain about Swedes.
14:55 July 22, 2010 by Jes

Not a good substitute to smoking . Snus looks like dung , smells like dung and it turns the mouth into a dung hole .
16:13 July 22, 2010 by janswed
a swed living in canada,canadian healthcare is amazing, comparing it to american heathcare is stupid here we have quality UNIVERSAL care. Anyway i have to admit i am still guilty of som of habits mentioned like not introducing people to each other, my excuse is i can not remember peoples names it has always been a proplem , i sometimes just say introduce yourself it works for me .oh and thank you for my swedish pension !
21:18 July 22, 2010 by mikmak

Maybe it is holding you back, I wouldn't know. My comment was directly to gunnar2010 who is from the US asking Swedes to stop smoking. "Let he who cast the first stone..."
14:05 July 23, 2010 by cogito

Then why do so many Canadians travel to the U.S. for medical care?
19:08 July 23, 2010 by telzey
Cogito: More importantly, why does the Canadian government have to send 10,000 cardiac patients a year to the US if their healthcare system is so superior?

But back to Sweden:

Every nationality has its logical blind spots, but I find those of the Swedes especially delectable. I have some Swedish friends here in LA. The other night we were having a party, and they started bitching about all the inequality in the US, and how their socialist system is so much better, because everyone is treated the same, blah blah blah. Then one of them took another swig of beer, and said, "And, on top of that, no one in the US cares if you're from a good family or not," meaning from a rich family, like he is. I pointed out to them this was an obvious contradiction, but all they could muster in reply was, "What?"

19:25 July 23, 2010 by Flygger
The silent treatment.. Hmm. Strikes a chord once but it was my own fault for being very sexist and extremely rude about a female security guard dog with her dog. I honestly, almost, thought she was a man !!

But anyway.. DavidtheNorseman.. I'm Scottish, from the Highlands, and I have to say every single lovely Swedish person it has been my honour to meet has been absolutely charming and very attentive to my poor grasp of Swedish. If I am in a group and someone does not speak English I have always been offered an apology as they have to tell that person something in their own language.

They do have a habit of draping dishcloths over the sink or the tap mind you..

Heck.. I love Sweden !!

Of course this is far too far down the list for anyone to read but.. DavidtheNorseman.. Shame on you. Bad man !!

Oh. Another reason why no-one will read this is because it is far too long and outwith even my attention span. I wouldn't read it.

Perhaps there could be another thread about people adding long messages and how infuruating it is. Of course no-one has actually read this one.. DOH !!
10:56 July 24, 2010 by cogito
Comment: @Telzey #85

Your anecdote about the rich Swede boasting about Swedish equality is a brilliant illustration of "Swedish logic" (also known as Swedish hypocrisy) .

The fairy tale of social equality hides a rigid and class system.

(Off the subject: I knew there was a constant flow of Canadians crossing to the U.S. for medical care they could not get at home. But I had not realized there were so many. Thanks)
14:19 July 25, 2010 by countrysidedrive
Another quirky behavior is when they make a opinion right or wrong they are relentless in pushing their opinion and nothing not even logic will change there minds.
19:47 July 25, 2010 by Oliver (Swedish Institute)
Don't think I've ever seen an article here with this many comments.
02:13 July 27, 2010 by spongepaddy

It's true. And we're still waiting for the dude who wrote it to actually defend his arrogant, inaccurate and borderline offensive little missive. I think we'll be waiting for a long while.
00:14 July 28, 2010 by Chelsea-Rose
Ugh. The dishrag thing I find annoying, but that's mostly because I have hygiene issues and find it unsanitary. I don't care what people do in their own houses, but I took my boyfriend's and threw it out. :P

As for the English speaking thing, I have noticed that. I find it upsetting because I've been trying very hard to study swedish, and it's just a difficult language. More difficult than any other one I've studied, up to and including japanese. I try to speak it and that whole aggressive thing is so rude and I find it so demeaning, I don't want to speak it anymore. One very peculiar thing I've noticed though, is that people will proceed to write me off as an American, but the minute I tell them I'm from NYC, they start singing a whole different song. It's such a strange paradox that they can dislike America, yet be so infatuated with one of our cities that their feelings for me turn from dislike to fascination in one fell swoop.
09:59 July 28, 2010 by countrysidedrive
Bush really ruined the good feelings Swedes have for Americans. But thankfully I come from California and Californians have never voted for Bush or his insane policies. So I tell people I come from California and everyone likes me. But if I said Texas or some other ignorant state they then are not so friendly.
11:11 July 28, 2010 by cogito
Am so glad you feel loved.

But perhaps you might benefit from reading a bit of history before you make such silly statements. Swedes have been anti-American since the Nixon administration.

Have you ever heard of Olof Palme...?

Sigh. Probably not.
16:30 July 28, 2010 by LeoKinmann
It depends on your age. If you were born in the 1980s you'd know Olof Palme but it's damn near impossible to relate to him. Sweden has been mostly anti-Republican, which give the spin-off of anti-Texas sentimentality with Bush. Besides, is there any reason the foreign visitors must've learned about Olof Palme when going to middle school in their country? Dag Hammarskjöld maybe, cos he was secretary general of UN. Olof Palme was just another prime minister in a small country known as Sweden. Just like very few people know Carl Bildt outside Sweden.
05:08 July 29, 2010 by doocho
Here are a few more:

Slowest service in restaurants in the world!!

What the heck is going on with this little red device to pull a number everywhere you go? If you speed it up, you don't need this device.

People, the gas pedal is on the right side - press it for heaven sakes!!

There are other car brands than saab and volvo.

Black is not the only color of clothes - try red, green, yellow, orange, blue, white, or purple.

Too much pressure at work? Just call in sick (for a year)!!

Bag my groceries, please!!!

Put some mufflers on your motor bikes!!

I like the Swedish flag, but on every single house?? WOW!

Can you please give me just one HELLO when you pass me? Just once!!

Circumcision is OK, really. It has good health benefits.

I think that is it for now, or I could be up all night. And there are an equal number of really good things about Sweden, too!
07:06 July 29, 2010 by ubpurple05
The Local or the author of the (flawed) article have apparently hit upon something here given the number of comments ~ there seems to be quite a few issues that would be grist for the mill. The comments are very interesting. Having read them however, I come away with a vague feeling of disappointment....not unlike America, Sweden allows immigration and work visas and then shuns the people that come to work, I guess that explains some things I have experienced personally.

On a lighter note, agree with the "service" industries ~ closed for a month?? Come on, seriously? Sit at your table in a restaurant forEVER waiting for another glass of anything?? No wonder there is little tipping. Taking a number for near everything, which does not speed things up ONE bit ~ we observed that that method is more to try to keep people from butting in line, which they will do with impunity given half a chance ~ just try getting on a bus or train, or some way of practicing the fairness ideology, rather than providing quick service. Whatever! For the most part I would say the Swedes are very civilized and have gotten the majority of things right, but all countries have their shortcomings, including the U.S.

I guess the worst thing I take away from this is that Americans are treated with disdain and rejected out of hand, talk about not fair! I am no more in favor of Nixon or Bush (duh!!!) than I am of many things Obama is doing in the name of the U.S. ~ our politicians are not us.

Would love to see a series of honest articles about some of the issues aired above.
09:15 July 29, 2010 by sweedy82
Is it really wrong to swim naked with your daughter?

I'm half Swedish, and grew up with naked people all around, but after spending lots of years in school in the UK I learnt this fear of being naked around people. So, initially when my baby was born, I would bathe with her, albeit wearing my swim suit.

Now I find that ridiculous and have gone Swedish. But is that really wrong? @ Jes
10:47 July 29, 2010 by Jes
@ sweedy82

it is "right" if you are a Swede ; It is wrong when you are from that place where fathers are supposed to have a special respect for their children especially when those children are girls .

No , I was not talking about "being naked around people" or bathing with a baby . I was talking about a Dad walking about -naked in a home or swimming naked with his 12-14 year old daughter . Some of us find this habit very strange . Of course some of you don`t mind if the Dad "teaches" the daughters how to have sex . Some people call that incest.
19:42 July 30, 2010 by janswed
the idea that so many canadians are going to the us for heathdare is mostly an urban myth, there is for some procedjures a waiting period, for example i had to wait 3 weeks for a hipreplacement a know my brother in sweden waited over 6 month , so if you have 19000 american dollars burning a hole in youre pocket you could get a hip replacement within 2 week in the states
19:53 July 30, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
Jes, you are disgusting.
11:54 July 31, 2010 by Jes
Mr Puppy ,

I take yours as a compliment . I would feel hurt if you had agreed with @sweed82 -that there is nothing wrong with a Dad hanging out naked with his daughter .

BTW : is it concievable that Mr. Puppy does not follow the dabate ?
14:15 July 31, 2010 by cogito
"Dad walking about -naked in a home or swimming naked with his 12-14 year old daughter..."

Ewww. Do they really do this? Is there any country besides Sweden where this sort of thing goes on?
18:31 July 31, 2010 by spongepaddy
@doocho: I am interested to know exactly what health benefits the barbaric practice of circumcision has. Give me your facts and quote your sources please.
13:36 August 3, 2010 by erikh
@cogito: It depends. A lot of people are shy with their nakedness (I am currently in Russia and can never get used to the thought of people with different sexes sitting completely naked in the sauna together), but some people don't mind being naked. No father would bathe in the bath tub with a girl who has started puberty, but skinny dipping in the lakes is not uncommon (and not really especially weird either, I would say). When I lived at home, my mom walked around naked sometimes, when exiting the shower to go to the bedroom and put on underwear, for example. Nothing strange with this, and it certainly didn't encourage incest. Quite the opposite I would say.
17:44 August 6, 2010 by desert voice
Le monde est un grand chemin de croix

Nous prêchons le Christ crucifié et nous proclamons qu'il est Puissance et Sagesse, plenitude de la Vérité. Il est vrai qu'en nous la confiance connaît des hauts et des bas. Il est vrai qu'en notre regard de foi est souvent obscurci par le doute et par notre proper faiblesse. Mais le Christ nous adresse un appel: 'Venez et vous verrez; dans le Croix vous verrez le signe lumineux de la redemption du monde, la presence aimante du Dieu vivant. Parce qu'il ont saisi que le Croix domine l'histoire, les chétiens ont place le crucifix dans les églises et au bord des chemins, ou ils le portent sur leur cœur. Car la Croix est un signe veritable de la presence du Fils de Dieu; par ce signe se révèle le Rédempteur du monde. In hoc signo vinces (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, t. XX(2), ss. 204-205, "Parigi: L'omelia per la XII Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù all'Ippodromo di Long Champ", 24 agosto 1997).

Świat jest jedną wielka drogą krzyża

My głosimy Chrystusa ukrzyżowanego i proklamujemy, że On jest Potęgą, Mądrością i pełnią Prawdy. To prawda, że w nas pewność siebie wznosi się i upada. To prawda, że nasze pojęcie wiary jest często zaciemnione wątpliwościami i własnymi słabościami. Ale Chrystus apeluje do nas: 'Przyjdźcie i zobaczcie; w Krzyżu zobaczycie znak świetlisty zbawienia świata, obecność kochającą żywego Boga. Ponieważ chrześcijanie zrozumieli, że Krzyż dominuje historię, wystawili oni krzyże w kościołach, na uboczach dróg, i noszą go oni w ich sercach. Bo Krzyż jest znakiem prawdziwym obecności Syna Bożego; poprzez który On, Zbawiciel świata, się objawił. W tym znaku zwyciężysz(Nauczania Jana Pawła II, t. XX(2), ss. 204-205, "Paryż: Homilia na XII Światowy Dzień Młodzieży na Hipodromie Long Champ, 24 sierpień 1997).
21:00 September 22, 2010 by mikewhite
LOL: "Dad hanging out naked …"
11:14 October 30, 2010 by vincentnano
This is the worst written article TheLocal has ever published. The only true statement might be #7 for some Swedes.
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