Swedish word of the day: utedass

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: utedass
Swedes are fond of going back to basics. Image: nito103/Depositphotos

Summer is upon us (yes, despite the rain in recent days across much of Sweden!) and we're taking a look at some seasonally appropriate Swedish vocabulary.


Utedass means 'outdoor toilet', from ute (outside) and dass (an informal term for 'toilet') and it is a common feature of the Swedish summer, even today. You might also hear it called a torrdass, literally a 'dry toilet', or someone might direct you to the lilla huset (literally the 'little building').

An utedass looks like a small shed, and you'll find them in Swedish nature reserves and along hiking trails to allow walkers to answer the call of nature. 

But that's not all: many Swedes own or have access to a summer house (sommarstuga), which is often quite a simple cottage, and it's not at all unusual for the utedass to be the only available toilet, since many of the more basic stugor don't have plumbing.

What might surprise you is that an utedass is often seen as a bonus rather than a downside; some families are really proud of them and will make them feel homey with decor.

Sweden may well be one of the world's most technologically advanced countries, but as a nation that's largely covered in forest, and which underwent industrialization relatively late, many people who live there are fond of going back to basics and connecting with nature.

This is summed up in the Scandinavian term friluftsliv (literally 'outdoor life') and is clear from the popularity of isolated summer houses and hiking.

But if it's not your thing, rest assured that plenty of Swedish stugor these days come equipped with modern luxuries including flushing toilets.


På tomten finns en liten stuga med utedass

On the plot of land there is a small cabin and an outdoor toilet

Att använda utedass är en del av friluftslivet

Using an outdoor toilet is part of outdoor life

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