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Swedish word of the day: Marknadshyra

Today's word will take you a step closer to understanding Sweden's current political crisis.

Swedish word of the day: Marknadshyra
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Marknadshyra can be split into marknad (‘market’) and hyra (‘rent’).

Like in English, a marknad can be both a venue for buying and selling goods, or it can refer more generally to the market in an economic sense, for example arbetsmarknad (labour market) or marknadskrafter (market forces).

So marknadshyra means market rent: the system of setting rental prices based on the market, rather than keeping them regulated under a system of rent caps. 

It’s a major talking point right now, due to an agreement the governing Social Democrats (reluctantly) made with the conservative Centre and Liberal parties to introduce market rents in Sweden. This would be a major shake-up to a rental market that is currently heavily regulated, but under proposals suggested following a government inquiry, it would only have applied to newly built apartments, constructed after 2022.

One of the planned changes is that location would play a bigger part in setting the price, so that housing in popular areas would go up in price. Rent would also rise each year in line with inflation.

As for why this move is so controversial, it’s because rent controls are a key pillar of Sweden’s social model. They were introduced by the Social Democrats after the Second World War and in theory they allow people on modest incomes to be able to live in city centres or wherever they choose.

The conservative parties that back the change say that market rents could stimulate the production of more housing, therefore solving the current housing shortage, but critics such as the Left Party and the Swedish Tenants’ Union (Hyresgästföreningen) say it will make renting more unaffordable, worsen protections for renters, and increase housing segregation.

Examples

Centerpartiet är för marknadshyror

The Centre Party is in favour of market rents

Marknadshyror kan betyda höjda hyror

Market rents could mean increased rental prices

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

​​Swedish word of the day: konsensuskultur

Some would say today’s word describes the most quintessentially Swedish thing there is.

​​Swedish word of the day: konsensuskultur

Last week we covered the word möte, where we mentioned how Swedes are all about consensus. How so, you might ask. Well, some say that the obsession Swedes have with möten (‘meetings’) is emblematic of something called konsensuskultur, the ‘culture of consensus’, a phenomenon they claim might be the very spine of the Swedish spirit, if there is such a thing. 

According to these columnists, you can see it everywhere in Swedish society: in people wearing similar clothes on the streets (H&M etc), the constant möten at work, why the public debate on immigration has pushed voters toward the Sweden Democrats, why integration is failing, the leadership style of Swedish managers, the very idea of ‘lagom’, in every major shift in Swedish political history. Or in other words, basically in all the history and culture of Sweden.

Whether or not konsensuskultur truely has such massive reach, consensus is definitely sought after in Sweden (although one might argue that this is true of every healthy society). 

The idea of konsensuskultur also creates certain paradoxes. In 2015, at the height of the Syrian migration crisis, the Rabbi and author Dan Korn wrote that konsensuskultur was both the reason why Swedes were so refugee-friendly and simultaneously the reason why integration into Swedish society was such a failure.

Dan Korn argued this was not in fact a paradox, but instead the result of consensus on two different issues: one over welcoming refugees, and another over how to behave or not behave in Swedish society.

For immigrants living in Sweden, konsenskultur is not a word you will hear that often, but is is a phenomenon to keep in mind: 

When moving forward with group activities involving Swedes, it is often best to first have a discussion to reach some sort of consensus. 

Similarly, when analysing the twists and turns of the Swedish political landscape, it is always worth keeping an eye open for those moments when Sweden undergoes a paradigm shift, or in other words, finds a new consensus

A good way of using the word konsensuskultur, which might also start up an interesting conversation, is to ask a Swedish friend if they see Swedes as having a strong konsensuskultur

Example sentences:

Sverige sägs vara ett land med en stark konsensuskultur.

Sweden is said to be a country with a strong consensus culture.

Sara, tycker du att Sverige är ett land präglat av en stark konsensuskultur?

Sara, do you think Sweden is a country marked by a strong consensus culture?

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

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