The Swedish stories that made us smile in 2015

The Local Sweden
The Local Sweden - [email protected]
The Swedish stories that made us smile in 2015
Happy 2016 to all The Local's readers! Photo: TT

It's been a turbulent year for Sweden and the world. But to put a smile on your face as we leave behind a gloomy 2015, we bring you some our favourite articles from the past 12 months.


1. Lenny Kravitz shows his you-know-what

When you look back at 2015, what will you remember? The cold and bleak summer? Malmö's wave of hand grenade attacks? Sweden's fear of Russia or its raised terror alert? Or... Lenny Kravitz's penis? The rocker hit headlines worldwide when he accidentally split his pants during a summer concert in Stockholm, which became our most clicked-on story this year. Way to stay classy, readers.

Honourable mention: Swedish penis pastries sell like hotcakes

Lenny Kravitz on stage at Gröna Lund, Stockholm. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

2. Ten phrases you'll only hear if you work in Sweden

Sweden's global reputation as a hub for gender equality, efficiency and work-life balance can also result in some baffling conversations for those new to doing business with Swedes. In one of our most popular stories of the year we let you in on the secrets of fika, pappaledighet, vabbing and why you should never call a Swede at work after 3.30pm.

Honourable mention: Seven things not to tell your Swedish boss

Where's Anders? He's on pappaledighet. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

3. The world's first male rape centre

News that a Stockholm hospital was opening the world's first clinic for raped men stirred a global debate about masculinity norms and the need for gender equal healthcare. “There are myths about masculinity that make it difficult for men who have been sexually traumatized to talk about their experiences,” a spokesperson for sexual education organization RFSU told The Local in June. It eventually opened its doors to patients in October.

Honourable mention: How moving to Sweden made me a feminist

Södersjukhuset in Stockholm, where the new clinic is. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

4. Five strangest habits of the Swedes

As much as we at The Local love Swedish people, there's no denying they're a pretty strange bunch. They're efficient but adore a good coffee break, they're fond of queuing except on the Stockholm subway, and they appear cold at a glance but are as warm as a sauna when you get to know them. This article reflecting on their five most peculiar habits was one of your most-shared features in 2015.

Honourable mention: My Swedish habits that foreigners don't get

A typically Swedish crayfish party. Photo: Carolina Romare/

5. The world's oldest cat lives in Sweden

Sweden loved its cat stories this year, with everything from a catcam busting burglars in Norrköping to a brave feline saving the day when his owner's smartphone was about to catch fire. But the one you liked reading the most was about 30-year-old Missan, a Swedish pet claiming to be the world's oldest cat. Here's to a happy 2016 for her.

Honourable mention: How did this Swedish cat end up in France?

Missan, the world's oldest cat? Photo: Private

6. English quirks that baffle Swedes

Swedes are some of the best non-native English speakers in the world, often infuriatingly choosing to simply stick to English when talking to expats desperately trying to practise their pidgin Swedish. But there are some quirks of the language that still confound them. The difference between 'fun' and 'funny', for example. Have you picked up on any other linguistic mistakes we missed?

Honourable mention: Swedish words that sound wrong in English

At least their English is probably better than your Swedish. Photo: AP

7. Swedish royal wedding charms the world

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip warmed the hearts of even the most rigid republicans when he married his long-term and former glamour model girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist in a lavish ceremony in Stockholm. The Local was there to live blog every step of the way – and readers from all over the world logged on to follow the royal celebrations. And with a baby expected in 2016 the couple are well on the way to living happily ever after.

Honourable mention: Swedish King calls for global bathtub ban

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

8. Not that genitals song again

What would Sweden be without a silly children's song about genitals, featuring a dancing penis and vagina – or, as we've taken to calling them after an English translation of the song went live, 'willie and twinkle'. That's 'snopp och snippa' for those of you who preferred the original. The catchy tune was released in several different remix versions and we even heard it being played in Stockholm clubs.

Honourable mention: Dancing tampons teach kids about periods

9. Sweden worst country for making friends

This story sparked some of the most intense discussions we've seen on our Facebook page, with people sharing their struggles to find a Swedish friend and others defending the shy Vikings. It came after a global survey named Sweden as the worst country for striking up new friendships. The debate prompted us to write this guide to making friends in Sweden – designed to help cheer some of you up! If you're looking for a New Year's resolution, why not make a new Swedish friend in 2016 and let us know how you get on.

Honourable mention: Swedes are great pals but terrible strangers

Want to make a Swedish friend? Bribe them with fika. Photo: Ulf Lundin/

10. The 'terrorist' who wasn't a terrorist

How would you react if you were falsely accused of being a terrorist and arrested to much publicity after a massive manhunt which hit headlines around the world? We're guessing you probably wouldn't be as cool about it as Moder Mothanna Magid. To show there were no hard feelings he threw a nationwide social media party and invited everyone to his home in Boliden in northern Sweden. His smiling face and laissez-faire attitude quickly made him one of our 2015 favourites.

Honourable mention: Syrian guides sinking boat to safety

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

ابتسامة !ثم لا نعلم ماذا #بعدها ؟Smile !And we don't know after this #smile ?

Posted by Moder Mothanna on Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gott Nytt År from The Local's team to all our readers! What stories would you like us to cover in 2016? Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email. Until next year,

Maddy Savage, Editor

Emma Löfgren, Deputy Editor


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also