Swedish 'begging experiment' goes viral

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]

A "social experiment" has gone viral in Sweden after organizers filmed the results of begging in Stockholm's wealthiest and poorest suburbs.


The video begins in Stockholm's rich Stureplan area and shows a man named Konrad approaching strangers and asking for one kronor (14 cents).
Each stranger walks by without stopping. 
Text over the video explains: 
"We wanted to thank the people who care about others. We planned to give back double the money to people who offered cash to Konrad. The problem was that no one gave him anything."
The "beggar" spent almost two hours in Stureplan but failed to get a single donation.
Down but not defeated, the crew then tried the same tactic in Rinkeby - one of Stockholm's poorest areas - where around 90 percent of the population is a first or second generation immigrant.
Over a 40-minute period, the actor was given money by 34 people, all of whom were eventually given back twice the amount of their donation.

The four-minute film, which was first published five days ago, has now been viewed almost 400,000 times. 
"It's really picked up speed, it's hard to get my head around it," "beggar" Konrad Ydhage told The Local on Monday.
He believes people are sharing the clip because elections are around the corner and begging is a red-hot topic. 
And the word has spread too, with big names in Sweden sharing the video on social media.
While on the phone with The Local, Ydhage was even recognized on the street and stopped by a fan for a photo.
"That's the first time that's ever happened," he said afterwards with a laugh.
As for the video itself, Ydhage said that he was truly surprised at the difference between Stockholmers' reactions.
"It's amazing how down I got after two hours in Stureplan. I really got no reaction at all. It felt like they hated me. But in Rinkeby, the people were so kind. It felt like it confirmed my existence."
Ydhage is part of a small team called STHLM Panda, a group which makes social experiment videos. 
"We started doing this to develop and challenge ourselves," Ydhage told The Local. "But our most recent videos are about challenging Swedes too."
The begging clip is their most popular by far.


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