Swedish word of the day: friggebod

Today's word will come in handy if you're looking into buying a traditional Swedish summer cottage or 'sommarstuga'.

Swedish word of the day: friggebod
Image: nito103/Depositphotos

A friggebod is a small building which is possible to build without a permit. 

Usually, you need a permit from the local municipality in order to erect any buildings, even if you already own the land you plan to build on. But the exception for small sheds or outhouses (friggebod) was introduced in 1979, as long as the friggebod was on a plot of land with one or two existing residential buildings, and was built at least 4.5 metres from the boundary with any neighbouring land.

The name comes from Sweden's former Housing Minister Birgit Friggebo, who was one of the key figures behind the regulation being first introduced. Initially, the size limit for a friggebod was just ten metres squared, but this was increased to 15 metres squared in 2008. They may be no more than three metres high.

Friggebod is a portmanteau of Friggebo's name and the term bod, which is roughly translated as 'shed' but typically refers to a building used for more than only storage. A friggebod might be used as a hobby or workroom, a separate room for entertaining, or even a tiny guest bedroom.

READ ALSO: Essential guide: How to buy the Swedish summer house of your dreams


Vi ska bygga en friggebod vid vår sommarstuga

We're going to build an outhouse by our summer cottage

Man kan använda en friggebod som gästhus, hobbyrum, eller en bastu

You can use an outhouse as a guesthouse, hobby room or a sauna

Do you have a favourite Swedish word you would like to nominate for our word of the day series? Get in touch by email or if you are a Member of The Local, log in to comment below.


Member comments

  1. For translating the examples, I would use “outbuilding” instead of “outhouse”.
    At least in American English, “outhouse” is unambiguously “utedass”. (So your second example is quite humorous!)

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Swedish word of the day: foppatofflor

Love them or hate them, foppatofflor are unexpectedly coming back in to fashion. But what are they, and how did they get their Swedish name?

Swedish word of the day: foppatofflor

Foppatoffla – foppatofflor in plural – is the Swedish term for Crocs – plastic sandals or clogs which first became popular in the early 2000s.

The word foppatoffla is made up of two words. The first is foppa, which is the nickname of one of Sweden’s most successful ice hockey players, Peter Forsberg. The second half of the word is toffla, the Swedish word for “sandal”.

Foppatofflor, the Swedish term for Crocs. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix/TT

So, what does a famous Swedish ice hockey player have to do with plastic clogs?

The story begins in the early 2000s, when Forsberg was recovering from a foot injury sustained playing professional ice hockey. When looking for a shoe comfortable enough for him to wear without exacerbating his injury, he came across Crocs, which were designed to be comfortable and ergonomic.

Recognising the shoes’ potential, Forsberg became an early investor, securing the sole rights to distribute Crocs in Sweden through his company Forspro. But Forsberg didn’t just invest in the shoes, he also appeared in adverts for them, leading Swedes to start referring to the shoes as foppatofflor.

By 2010, sales of foppatofflor were dwindling, so Forsberg shut down Forspro to focus on other investments – but not before the name had stuck.

Peter “Foppa” Forsberg. The man you can thank (or despise) for introducing Crocs to Sweden. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

The shoes are still popular as ergonomic and hygienic work shoes, particularly in the healthcare sector, although they were briefly banned in some Swedish hospitals on suspicion of causing a build-up of static electricity which disrupted hospital machinery.

They may also be coming back into fashion, gracing the Oscars red carpet and the Instagram feeds of musicians such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Pharell Williams in the last few years.

So, love them or hate them, foppatofflor seem to be here to stay. Now you know what word to use if you decide to pick up a pair for yourself this summer.

Example sentences:

Jag har precis köpt nya foppatofflor till barnen – de är ju så praktiska!

I’ve just bought new Crocs for the kids – they’re so practical!

Gud, är foppatofflor verkligen trendiga nu? Bra att jag har kvar mina från 00-talet!

God, are Crocs really trendy now? Good job I kept mine from the noughties!

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.