Five ways to learn Swedish with legendary comedian Hasse Alfredson

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Five ways to learn Swedish with legendary comedian Hasse Alfredson

Discover Swedish culture, history and language with the help of Swedish jack-of-all-trades Hasse Alfredson.


Swedish comedian, writer, actor and director Hans 'Hasse' Alfredson passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday, prompting an outpouring of tributes from Swedes who grew up laughing at his jokes.

For readers unfamiliar with his work, and those interested in expanding your knowledge of Swedish culture and language, The Local takes a look at five of our favourite moments.

1. Lindeman

'Lindeman' is a series of short improvisational two-person comedy skits. The basic premise is this: Alfredson takes on the role of a different Lindeman character each time – punk rocker Trindeman Lindeman, mobile home owner Lindeman, flying saucer expert Ufo Lindeman and so on; the other person (often Alfredson's long-time comedy partner Tage Danielsson) asks him questions on a random topic and Alfredson ad libs his answers. They are weird, sometimes a bit dated, often hilarious. Listen to them on Spotify below.

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2. Den enfaldige mördaren – The Simple-Minded Murderer

Alfredson was not just known for his comedy. The movie 'The Simple-Minded Murderer', which he adapted from one of his own novels, is a dark tale of evil and power in the 1930s. It stars Alfredson himself as the sadistic factory owner and a young, lisping Stellan Skarsgård as one of his workers, and was picked as one of 30 Swedish films to watch before you die. The dialogue is in the southern Swedish accent, so if you are still learning the language you may struggle with this one. Turn on the subtitles and enjoy the acting.

READ ALSO: 17 dialect words you need to survive in southern Sweden

Hasse Alfredson during the shooting of 'The Simple-Minded Murderer'. Photo: Stefan Lindblom/TT

3. Djingis Khan – Genghis Khan

In his early career at Lund University, Alfredson was a member of iconic Lundensian theatre company Lundaspexarna and penned one of their most famous productions in 1954 about a certain Mongolian warlord's attempts to invade Samarkand. If you're a student in Lund, you will be expected to know about this, and it is still performed once every five years. The rest of you will not be quizzed on bizarre student traditions, but it is worth knowing the lyrics to 'Härjavisan', a legendary tune still often sung as a drinking song.

Ja, nu ska vi ut och härja, supa och slåss och svärja,

bränna röda stugor, slå små barn och säga fula ord.


Yes, we're going out to ravage, drink and fight and swear,

burn down red cottages, hit little children and say bad words.

4. Guben i låddan

Guben i låddan is a 1960s sketch by Alfredson and Martin Ljung set in a train car. Ljung reads a bedtime tale and keeps mispronunciating the words 'gubben i lådan' ('the man in the box') as 'guben i låddan', much to the rapidly growing anger of Alfredson. Nothing else happens, but for that reason it is good for practising your Swedish skills (as long as you don't accidentally memorize the wrong pronunciation). Plus your Swedish partner's grandparents are sure to give you bonus points for having heard about this one.

5. Blommig falukorv

Blommig falukorv is a children's song written by Alfredson. The lyrics are the words of a child who insists on only eating "flowery falukorv" (the flowery bit is nonsensical fun, but a falukorv is a typically Swedish sausage) for lunch, rejecting all other food their mother suggests. Great for learning Swedish food vocabulary.

Jag vill ha blommig falukorv till lunch mamma.

Nåt annat vill jag inte ha.

Jag hatar tomaten och fisken och spenaten

och plättarna med lingonsylt.


I want flowery falukorv for lunch, mum.

I don't want anything else.

I hate the tomato and the fish and the spinach

and the small pancakes with lingonberry jam.


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