Sweden or Switzerland? Airline to end confusion with ‘Swederland’ campaign

For many people, Sweden and Switzerland seem almost impossible to tell apart. And on occasion, the two European countries are even merged into the one and same, or “Swederland”. Now, a Swiss airline is offering tickets to the mysterious “Swederland” in a bid to teach people the difference.

Sweden or Switzerland? Airline to end confusion with ‘Swederland’ campaign
‘Swederland’ apparently has great chocolate, cheese and cinnamon buns… Photo: AP/TT

Ask any Swede, or Swiss person for that matter, if they’ve ever been subject to people confusing their country with that “other European country with almost the same name”, and you’ll get a lot of nodding heads. Or more common still, people referring to their homeland as “Swederland” – some kind of European paradise apparently filled with blondes, chocolate, snow, Volvo cars, cheese, fika breaks and much, much more.

The problem is, it doesn't exist…

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This week, Lufthansa’s Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) launched a competition aimed at ending the never-ending mix-up between the two countries, by offering to take 24 winners on a tour through the non-existing “Swederland”.

“We decided to put an end to the confusion by sending those in need of clarification to Switzerland, accompanied by a Swedish tour guide, to once and for all explain the differences between the countries,” Gabriel Leupold, Senior Director Sales Nordic & Baltic Countries, Lufthansa Group, said of the marketing campaign.

Sweden and Switzerland may share many common points: They are both democracies located in Europe, have a history of neutrality, have great skiing stations and stunning nature. But they also have plenty of differences, including the fact that Swedes don’t speak any of the Swiss languages, and one of the two countries is located in Scandinavia, while the other is, well, not.

“During our years of trafficking the route between Sweden and Switzerland, we’ve encountered this confusion numerous times,” he said. 

But the airline is not the first to launch such an initiative. In 2013, Swedish authorities launched a competition in China, where people were invited on social media to come up with funny ways to keep Sweden and Switzerland apart.

READ ALSO: Swedes implore Chinese: 'We are not Swiss'


Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.