Three TV shows that will help you to understand Sweden

As it emerges that the premiere for the second season of hit Swedish show "Vår tid är nu" gathered a staggering 1.6 million viewers last week, SI News looks at three Swedish TV series that can help you to understand your new Scandinavian home.

Three TV shows that will help you to understand Sweden
Photo: BiancoBlue/Depositphotos

Learning about a new country and language can often be a tedious experience, so what better and entertaining way to get acquainted with a new language than slouching on your sofa watching a TV series?

Presenting three shows that can help you to learn more about Sweden and all its quirks:

Vår tid är nu (The Restaurant)

Set in Stockholm after World War II in 1945, the series takes a peek at the intrigues surrounding the Löwander family and their restaurant business. Set across two decades, both seasons reveal the conflicts between the two sons, Gustaf and Peter, over the ownership of the family business, and the flourishing relationship between Nina, the daughter and the new kitchen assistant, Calle.

Vår tid är nu follows the changing times and attitudes in Sweden and in the city of Stockholm itself, uncovering how these post-war societal shifts affected people from upper to lower classes.

Vår tid är nu will give you a grasp of the history and evolution of contemporary Swedish society looking at its change in attitude towards taboos like alcoholism, abortion and homosexuality. And you can learn about all this while sitting comfortably on your sofa!

Bron (The Bridge)

If mystery and crime series is your thing, Bron is a must.

After a corpse is found on Øresund Bridge, the bridge connecting Malmö and Copenhagen, Swedish and Danish police must team up to solve the crime.

Its four seasons have been internationally acclaimed and even adapted both by the French, Brits and Americans.

Both entertaining and unnerving, the show reveals itself to be a true Nordic Noir with its dark Scandinavian storyline peppered with moments of humour.  

If you live near Malmö, you might want to check out the five crime shown in the series.

Welcome to Sweden

If you haven’t nailed the Swedish language yet, you might want to give this one a watch.

In both English and Swedish (with subtitles!) Welcome to Sweden features the real-life story of Greg Poehler who moves from America to Sweden to follow his Swedish girlfriend. With no friends and no job, Greg is thrown into the quirks of a culture he is puzzled by, experiencing the true expat life with all its trials and errors.

The stereotypes shown on screen might be over-the-top, yet they are incredibly relatable for a newly-arrived foreigner. All in all, an easy watch and a great way to improve your Swedish.

Happy watching!


Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.