28 brilliant and bizarre world records held by Sweden and the Swedes

From statistics about coffee and twins to plainly unbelievable skills in frog-jumping and match-throwing, this country and its citizens got a lot of interesting things to offer. Here are 28 of the most interesting world records held by Sweden and the Swedes.

28 brilliant and bizarre world records held by Sweden and the Swedes
Sweden, home to the world's largest furniture company and the world's largest vegan cake. Photo: Simon Paulin/

Buildings and constructions

1. World's largest scale model of the Solar System

This model started in 1989 with the construction of the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm (which, as a matter of fact, is also the largest hemispherical building in the world). Swedish academics Nils Brenning and Gösta Gahman were fascinated by the building and got an idea: If the 110 metre wide Globe was seen as a scaled-down representation of the sun, how far away would the other planets lie and what size would each one be? This idea was the starting point of a yearlong project. Today, the scale model stretches over a distance of 950 kilometres across Sweden.

The Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, which represents the sun. Photo: Ola Ericson/

2. Largest ice village

In December 2002, there was a conference of roughly 700 employees of Tetra Pak International in the Icehotel Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden. To accommodate these numbers of people, a village of 140 huts was constructed, solely of ice. And thus, a world record was made. The huts each measured 4.3 metres in diameter and 2.1 metres in height, and 50 square metres of snow was used for each hut.

A builing of the ice hotel Jukkasjärvi. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

3. World's tallest candle

The record for the tallest candle ever made was set in 1897, so it's one of the oldest records on this list. For the 1897 Stockholm Exhibition, the Liljeholmen candle manufacturing company created a candle that measured 24.38 metres (if you count the brick base, the overall height was actually 38.7 metres) with a diameter of 2.59 metres. 


4. World's fastest marathon dressed as a zombie

There is a world record for almost everything. Charlotte Österman competed at the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 22nd, 2018, dressed as a zombie. She finished in 3 hours, 39 minutes and 25 seconds.

5. World's fastest speed on towed inline skates

Did you ever hold on to a car while wearing inline skates to be faster? Tobias Gustafsson took this to a new level in 2001, and held on tight. Being towed, he reached a maximum speed of 262.7 km/h.

6. World's furthest match throw

On January 1st, 2001, Michael Ottosson threw a match (measuring 4.7 cm and weighing 4.8 grams) a distance of 18.75 metres. Because why wouldn't you?

7. World's longest frog jump

This is not a record of a frog that jumps pretty far. A frog jump is an exercise that involves mimicking the movements of a frog. There's a world record for that as well: Noa Möller jumped a distance of 1.21 metres at Palatset in Stockholm on November 19th, 2001.

8. World's most stairs climbed on a unicycle in 30 seconds

Some people travel for the sake of travelling, others to have a good location for their world record: Swede Peter Rosendahl set a world record in climbing the stairs at the Millennium Monument in Beijing, China on November 1st, 2007. In 30 seconds, he managed to climb 56 stairs.

Swedish people

9. World's largest coffee consumption per capita

It's not a secret that Swedish people love their coffee. They actually love it so much that Sweden was one year the world's leader in coffee drinking: In 1999, an average of 6.3 kg coffee per person was consumed.

Swedish people just lover their coffee. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

10. World's loudest snoring

Kåre Walkert set this record on May 24th, 1993, at the Örebro Regional Hospital, where the recorded peak level was 93dBA. That is approximately as loud as standing next to a tablesaw. Walkert suffers from the breathing disorder apnea, which causes the loud sleeping sounds.

11. World's longest grape blowing duration

You read correctly – there's a world record on this. Marianne Gille went to the set of Guinness Rekord TV in Stockholm on November 29th, 2001. There she managed to keep a grape suspended in the air for 4.81 seconds – above her mouth. She managed that by continuously blowing air up, keeping the grape on the stream.

12. World's largest twin registry

Sweden wins this round of bureaucracy: The country has got the highest number of twins in its registry: 194,000 twins in total. That doesn't mean that Sweden has got the highest actual number though: Australia has more twins, but fewer are registered.

Just two of the many twins that are registered in Sweden. Bjoern Larsson/TT

13. World's longest time living under an assumed identity: Anton Ekström

Anton Ekström was a newspaper editor who suffered a breakdown following the death of his wife and bankruptcy in 1914. He then travelled to a desolate outback of Sweden and started working as an agricultural labourer under the name Magnusson. 41 years later, in 1955, he was exposed by a clergyman and reunited with his bewildered children. Up until that point, people thought he has committed suicide. However, no one has ever managed to live that long without being discovered.

14. World's most business cards exchanged in three minutes

A conference of 250-300 businessmen and women at the Nordic Choice Hotel Stockholm, once attempted a world record. In three minutes they all had to walk around, introduce themselves and share information about their work with a handshake to another person and exchange a business card for a real meeting after the conference. This sounds ambitious. But they were very into networking: they exchanged 3,436 business cards in total, making the attempt successful.

15. World's most Abba songs played and  recognized in one minute

Because this list wouldn't be Swedish without Abba, here's a record about them: On January 15th, 2016, Robert Wells (Sweden) and Ken Bruce (UK) got together on BBC2's Friday Night is Music Night at the Mermaid Theatre in London to celebrate 60 years of Guinness World Records. They decided to set a new one: In one minute they played and recognized 13 Abba songs. This is also a fun game to play at family reunions.

How many Abba songs can you recognise in one minute? Photo: Tsugufumi Matsumoto/AP Photo

16. World's largest collection of paper dolls

Malin Fritzell, who lives in Torekov in the south-west of Sweden, holds this record. She has collected paper dolls since the 1960s. As for March 2006, she called 4,270 paper dolls her own.

Food and drink

17. World's most varieties of whisky commercially available

Hotel Skansen in Färjestaden broke the previous record just this year, as The Local reported. Hotel director Fredrik Norén started his collection in 2000 and travelled the world to find as many different kinds of whisky as possible. As of 2018, the hotel bar has got 1,179 different whiskies in its possession. And the best thing: All of those whiskies are available to be tried out at the bar.

18. World's most Brussels sprouts eaten in one minute

Now that is an interesting record: On November 28th, 2008, Swede Linus Urbanec from Rottne ate 31 Brussels sprouts in one minute. The rules were simple: He got a cocktail stick and was allowed to pick just one sprout at a time up, chewing it and swallowing it before taking the next one. Now, who dares to break this record?

You either love them or you despise them: Brussels sprouts. Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX/TT

19. World's largest vegan cake

How far would you go to raise awareness for veganism and animal rights? YouTuber Therese Lindgren probably asked herself the same question – and came up with a plan: To bake the largest vegan cake in the world. The YouTube star teamed up with some friends and made this 462.4 kilo work of bakery art. It included 44.5 kilo sugar, 62.3 kilo semolina, 3.56 kilo flour, 89 kilo soy yoghurt, 26.7 kilo whipped soy cream and 35.6 kilo strawberries and was large enough to provide roughly 2,000 people with a slice.

YouTuber Therese Lindgren (3rd from the right) with her team and the cake. Photo: Jonas Axelsson/Guinness World Records

20. World's largest champagne-tasting event

On October 28th, 2017, 768 participants got together to attend the largest champagne tasting event ever. It was arranged by Vinguiden Nordic AB, Sweden's biggest wine retailer and consisted of a champagne masterclass at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre. During the event led by wine expert Johan Franco Cereceda, the participants tasted five different sorts of high-class champagne: Louis Massing Brut, Charles Orban Brut Banc des Blancs, Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, Alice Bardot Brut Rosé and Collet Brut Millesime.

21. World's longest liquorice rope

An interesting candy record was set by Scandinavian candy maker Lars Pålsson. In 2012, he manufactured the world longest liquorice rope. It measured 519.3 metres, and therefore more than doubled the old record of 244 metres. And someone must have failed to contain themselves, as 30 centimetres of the rope is missing now. 

Looks like a cable, but it's edible: The longest liquorice rope. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX/TT


22. World's most subscribers on YouTube: PewDiePie

The all-time most subscribes YouTube channel is PewDiePie, aka the channel of Felix Kjellberg. As of April 24th, 2018, his channel counted over 62,295,689 subscribers. Kjellberg's channel is known for his gaming reviews with over-the-top commentaries about the games he plays. His channel is also the most viewed gaming channel on YouTube.

Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie has got the most subscribed Youtube channel. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

23. World's fastest completion of several video games

This is a collection of some gaming records, made by Swedes. The Swedish gaming industry is pretty big and internationally popular – and the Swedes make good gamers. Here are some records in the fast completion of video games:

Fastest completion of Shovel Knight: By player Smaugy on Janurary 14th, 2018: The player completed the game in 42 minutes and 28 seconds.

Fastest completion of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: On December 12th, 2016, player EnNopp112 completed the game in 1 hour, 24 minutes and 43 seconds.

Fastest completion of Shadow Warrior: Player elmle completed the game on April 8th, 2016 in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 53 seconds.

24. World's first music streaming service with 100 million users

This is another company this list wouldn't be complete without: Spotify. The music streaming service was established in 2006 and reached 100 million users on June 20th, 2016. As of today, Spotify has 180 million users, of which 83 million are paying for premium service.

As of today, Spotify has 180 million users. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

25. World's longest movie trailer

What the perfect length for a movie should be is debatable. Some say 90 minutes is the absolute maximum, some are not satisfied until a movie hits the three-hour-mark. But this movie will put all of these discussions to shame: The Swedish filmmaker Anders Weberg plans on releasing his 720-hour (that's 30 days) film Ambiancé in 2020. For promotion purposes, he published a trailer in July 2014 – which lasts 72 minutes. A seven-hour-20 minute trailer followed in 2016. And this year, a 72-hour-long trailer might follow. Weberg describes his project as an “abstract, nonlinear narrative summary of the artist's time spent with the moving image”. He has produced over 500 films in 20 years and plans on making Ambiancé his last one. (You can follow the project here)


26. World's largest apparel brand

This record is based on market research, but worth mentioning nevertheless: The Swedish fashion chain H&M is the largest apparel brand of the world. In 2016, it had estimated sales of $18,757,863,800! Now that's something to tell your friends the next time you go shopping together.

One of Stockholm's big H&M warehouses. Photo: FotografernaHolmberg/TT

27. World's largest furniture company

This list wouldn't feel like a Swedish world record list if Ikea wasn't mentioned at least once. As one might expect, the company, established in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, is the largest furniture company of the world. And it makes big numbers: From September 2016 to August 2017, Ikea had sales of 38.3 billion euros. There were also 403 stores in 49 markets all over the world, a general range of 10,960 products, 194,000 co-workers and 936 million visits from customers.

Popular all around the world, not just with families: IKEA. Photo: Simon Paulin/

28. World's most popular bookcase

Ikea wouldn't be Ikea without the world-famous Billy bookcase. It was designed by Gilles Lundgren on the back of a napkin and has been in the Ikea catalogue since 1980. As of 2009, 41 million Billy bookcases have been sold, enough to surround the equator two and a half times.


Guinness World Records doesn't have an entry for this, but this is probably one of the most Swedish records ever: In August 2018, a bakery on Sweden's High Coast set a record for the world's biggest 'surströmmingsklämma', a flatbread, topped with the infamous Swedish fermented herring, potatoes and butter. The bakery rolled out a ball of rye dough to 60 metres, which covered 26 square metres. The sandwich was then filled with 25 kilo of the smelly herring, 100 kilo potatoes and 8 kilo butter.

60 metres of flatbread and smelly delicacies. Photo: Mjälloms Tunnbröd/TT

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Seven things I still find weird about the Swedes

From jajamensan to navigating the most extreme battlefield section of Swedish supermarkets, there's plenty that Oliver Gee still finds baffling about Swedes. Oh, and he has definitely learned who his favourite kind of Swede is.

Seven things I still find weird about the Swedes
Here are seven of the many things Australian Oliver Gee still finds weird about Sweden. Photo: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.

1. Their relentless TV ads for online gambling

For a country that appears to have figured it all out, Sweden sure does produce a worrying amount of online gambling adverts. During a recent trip to Stockholm, I almost choked on my lussebullar while watching a movie on TV during the evening. The ad breaks were filled with gambling ad after betting ad after sports betting ad, on and on, throughout the night. I had to look out the window to confirm I wasn't in a hotel on the Vegas Strip. I wasn't, but the vibe wasn't far off. 

2. The abundance of hunting magazines in their supermarkets

This is one of things I always found fascinating about Sweden – how the magazine racks in supermarkets always contain at least several different hunting magazines. Sometimes there are loads. Sometimes the magazine racks are more like gun racks. I'm not a hunter, but I'm often drawn to these magazines to browse through them out of sheer curiosity. In case, like me, you'd never thought about it before, these magazines show people standing beside dead elks, the pages are full of ads for good hunting equipment, and feature interviews with successful hunters. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure these magazines exist around the world, it's just weird to see them by the checkouts in Swedish cities. 

3. The word jajamensan

This, for me, is one of the most mind-boggling words the Swedes have ever produced. I would never claim to be an expert on the Swedish language, but I'd say the word jajamensan is just a very long way to say the word yes. My rough translation would be yabbadabbadoo. But, unlike Fred Flintstone yelling it in moments of sheer pleasure, the Swedes say jajamensan at the most boring times imaginable. Like: Was the Caesar salad for you, sir? Jajamensan

4. Using random English words

Something that still baffles me about the Swedes is how, when speaking Swedish, they throw in the most inexplicable English bits. You've surely heard them slot in the set phrases like, “Oh my god” or “what the fuck”, but some Swedes take it a step further and just pepper their Swedish conversations with words like “amazing” or “crazy”, or even worse, they end a sentence with “that's it” or “never again”. I've got no idea why they do it, because these words all have perfectly good variants in Swedish. It all reminds me of one time I was in Ukraine and there were all these T-Shirts with extremely odd English phrases on them, like “Space Time Fun” or “Red Makes Party”. The Ukrainians had no idea what was going on. Do the Swedes?

5. Swedish swearing habits

I find swearing in Swedish to be a minefield. We all know that the worst word you can say is fitta – which is considered so bad the editors at The Local will probably censor it even though this is an English-language website. But after fitta, it's really unclear which swear words are acceptable and which aren't – and it all depends on who you're talking to. From my perspective, the swear words are all harmless and mostly just translate to “the devil” in some form. But I once said “Vad fan” to a middle-aged Swedish woman and she almost swerved off the road. On paper, it means “what the devil” (or as I thought, the equivalent of “what the heck”), but apparently it's a lot stronger – but everyone says it and you hear it on TV all the time. My tip: avoid any form of swear words at all costs.

6. How different Swedes are when abroad

I've known Swedes through three very different stages in my life.

One, I've known Swedes abroad, with no context.

Two,  I've known Swedes in Sweden, while I lived there.

Three, I've known Swedes abroad again, but this time with the context of having lived in Sweden for four years.

This makes me perfectly qualified to make the following statement:

The Swedes you meet abroad are NOTHING like the Swedes in Sweden. And the Swedes outside of Sweden are more fun. There, I said it. But it's true. Swedes abroad, especially younger Swedes, have a reputation for being crazy party animals, visiting a new country for a good time, some casual sex, and some fun memories. Often the life of the party, they give Swedes back in Sweden a reputation of being wild Vikings. When in reality, Swedes in Sweden are typically quite safe, efficient, shy, polite, and reserved. 

I've learned that my favourite kind of Swede is the one who lives abroad. Not so reserved as they might be at home, and not as wild as they'd be if they were on a backpacking trip in Australia. Somewhere in the middle, lagom. 

7. The battlefield at the pick 'n' mix candy section of the supermarket

Swedes have a strange enough habit known as “lördagsgodis”, which means “Saturday candy”, and refers to how everyone grabs some loose candy from the store to enjoy with their family on a Saturday night. But what's really weird for me is how seriously this concept is taken. If I were to direct a Blue Planet style documentary about the Swedes, I'd film the lösgodis section of a supermarket on Saturday night. By the end of the night, it looks like a grenade has gone off. Carnage. Candy and paper bags trampled on the floor, missing plastic shovels, empty candy sections, and giddy Swedes heading home with a glint in their eyes for a cosy night. 

Is it a strange habit? Yes. But does it make the Swedes just one bit more loveable? Jajamensan.

Oliver Gee has worked for The Local Sweden and The Local France. He is currently a freelance journalist in Paris and the host of The Earful Tower podcast. Follow him on Twitter here.