• Sweden's news in English

Top ten tips to tackle a Swedish dinner party

27 Mar 2013, 17:11

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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

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

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

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

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

It’s almost as if he read our minds…

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

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

Story continues below…

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

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

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

My favorite

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

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

You have clearly never been in Sweden.
22:10 April 3, 2013 by Emerentia
@ HungarianAmerican1975 Most of those images didn´t have any people at all in them. Was the brown slice of bread disturbing to you, did you wish that they had used white bread instead? The images with people in them was from the Nobel Prize banquet, where there are a lot of international guests. Would you like that the Nobel Prizes only should be rewarded to Swedes, or what?
Today's headlines
Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
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 »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available