Swedish word of the day: dricks

Today's word is one to know before going to a bar, cafe or restaurant in Sweden.

Swedish word of the day: dricks
It's not only a word, but a culture that varies between countries. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Dricks means “tip”, as in the extra money you give to some service workers beyond the bill. Hear how to say it in the clip below:

It’s a shortening of drickspengar (you’ll almost never hear this longer form), which is similar to the German term, das Trinkgeld. You can also use it as a verb: dricksa (to tip).

It’s related to the word dryck (“drink”: noun) and dricka (“to drink”: verb) and according to the late Swedish etiquette expert Magdalena Ribbing, it has its origin in the custom of giving a small amount of money to a service worker so they can buy a drink for themselves.

Tipping culture varies between cultures and industries, and in Sweden it is relatively unusual to tip.

But you will still see tip jars in cafes and bars, and often when paying by card the reader will prompt you to enter the amount, allowing you to round up if you want to.

Sweden’s tourism board says it is “unlikely anyone will be offended” if you don’t tip, but says five to ten percent of the total bill is a “nice tip”, or alternatively that you could round up to an even sum, for example by paying 400 kronor if the bill is 380. It is generally not considered necessary to tip in Sweden, but it’s more common at more formal restaurants. 

Two things to be aware of about tipping in Sweden are, firstly, that you can’t be sure how the tips will be divided between staff, and secondly that several trade unions are actually against tips – they say that this erodes their bargaining power and that it’s better for service staff to have higher wages and good working conditions than to rely on tips which may fluctuate. 


Ska vi dricksa?

Shall we leave a tip?

Att lämna dricks är vanligast på restaurang

It is most common to tip at restaurants

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Swedish word of the day: sommartid

The clocks are springing ahead this weekend, marking the beginning of daylight saving time and the end of Sweden's dark winter period. Aptly described in Swedish as 'sommartid', here is the history of how the practice came about.

Swedish word of the day: sommartid

The phrase will come in handy this weekend if you want to lament a lost hour of sleep in the morning or celebrate the extra hour of daylight in the evening. 

Sommartid translates literally to “summertime” and refers to daylight saving time, which begins this weekend in many European countries, including Sweden. At 2:00 am on Sunday, the clocks will spring one hour ahead.

In the UK, this period is known as “British Summer Time” – one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time – while in North America, daylight saving time is used more commonly.

The first time sommartid was officially trialled on a national basis was in 1916, when the German Empire along with other countries such as Austria-Hungary, the UK and Sweden introduced the practice in order to conserve fuel during World War I, with the idea being that the extra daylight would reduce the use of artificial lighting, allowing the surplus fuel to be put towards the war efforts.

In the following years, the practice spread to Australia, Russia, and the US, too.

After the war, daylight saving grew unpopular in Europe, especially among farmers, whose schedules were – and still are – dictated by nature and sunlight rather than the clock.

It wasn’t used on a large scale again until World War II, when Germany again popularised the practice. But a few years after the war ended, it fell out of favour for the second time. It only picked up again when France reintroduced it in 1976, in response to an energy crisis sparked by the oil embargo in 1973.

By 1996, the EU standardised daylight savings, which now runs from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. 

But the future of daylight saving time looks uncertain once again. In 2019, the European Parliament voted to abolish the practice, however efforts to actually implement this measure have stalled. So at least for this year, sommartid will continue.  

Example sentences: 

När börjar sommartid? 

When does daylight saving time start?

Kom ihåg att sommartid börjar på söndag, så man behöver stå upp en timme tidigare.

Remember that summer time starts on Sunday, so you need to get up an hour earlier.

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