IN PICS: Why do Swedish politicians love to pose with sausages?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
IN PICS: Why do Swedish politicians love to pose with sausages?
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch brandishes a falukorv in a radio interview while Sweden Democrat Leader Jimmie Åkesson takes a photo. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch hit headlines this week after posing with a falukorv in a radio interview. However, what may have seemed like an odd publicity stunt is actually part of a long tradition of Swedish politicians posing with sausages.


Sweden's last three Prime Ministers have all had a connection with korv (sausages) during their leadership.

We can start with Moderate prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who was in power from 2006-2014.

Fredrik Reinfeldt is given a bunch of flowers and a hotdog after holding a speech in 2011. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix/TT

In 2010 Reinfeldt's love for falukorv became public knowledge after he described falukorv as his favourite ingredient in an interview with Dagens Nyheter. His love for korv then became somewhat of a running joke, leading to him being presented with hotdogs after speeches, and even as a parting gift from Centre party leader Annie Lööf in his final parliamentary speech in 2014.


Annie Lööf prepares to hand a falukorv over to Fredrik Reinfeldt following his final speech in parliament in 2014. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
These sausage-based moments eventually became such a defining element in his career, that Reinfeld was invited on to TV show Historieäterna in 2016 to treat presenters Erik Haag and Lotta Lundgren to his mother's sausage stew, insisting that he was "being completely serious when I say I have been eating this throughout my whole life."
Stefan Löfven buys a sausage in Norrköping on an EU election tour. Photo: Peter Wallberg/TT
The sausage fest only became more intense in 2018, when Social Democrat prime minister Stefan Löfven launched an election video featuring a hotdog stand.
At the beginning of the video, the man in the hotdog stand asks "what do you want?" to which Löfven gives a list of policies such as "a society where security goes ahead of tax cuts", "everyone who has worked a whole career can have a pension that they can live on", finally ending with "and I also want a sausage with bread".
Löfven was also the happy recipient of a korv-related departing gift when he took part in his final parliamentary speech in 2021 - this time a "very spicy sausage" called 'Die Hard 6.0' from Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, along with a book titled Den svenska korvresan or "The Swedish sausage journey".


Jimmie Åkesson hands over a sausage to Stefan Löfven following the latter's final speech in parliament. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
"There aren't a lot of areas where Stefan Löfven and I are united, politically," Åkesson said, when he handed over the gift "but sausages are one area where we're in agreement."

"This should in no way be seen as a threat or a wish for something bad to happen to him," Åkesson added.

Löfven appeared to see it differently, though, stating to journalists afterwards "if this sausage is too strong for Åkesson then I better bloody well eat it!"

Despite Magdalena Andersson's short nine-month tenure as Prime Minister so far, she has also had time to pose with a korv, uploading an image to her Instagram account back in June with the caption "as Prime Minister, there are a lot of state lunches. It's very nice. On Monday I will welcome Nato's General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg."

"But grilling sausages with the family is unbeatable. Hope you have a good Saturday!"

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Magdalena Andersson (@magdalenanderssons)

 But what about the current party leaders of other parties?

Jimmie Åkesson, who we've already established is a fan of stark korv, held his very own korvturné or "sausage tour" last year, travelling from Örnsköldsvik in the north of Sweden to Åkesson's hometown of Sölvesborg in the south.

On the tour, he served up the same sausage he gave to Löfven in a departing gift, encouraging Swedes to discuss politics with him and "strengthen democracy and our culture" by not being afraid to say how they really feel.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jimmie Åkesson™ (@akesson.jimmie)

Ebba Busch, on the other hand, has posed with a korv on multiple occasions during this election campaign, brandishing her falukorv on the 2nd, 3rd and 6th September at various speeches (we hope it wasn't the same korv).

Ebba Busch with her falukorv. Photo: Tim Aro/TT
The Liberals' Johan Pehrson is perhaps the most korv-loving party leader, sharing images and videos of himself on Instagram eating and grilling sausages, and even treating Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson to a hotdog in return for a bag of McDonalds chicken nuggets.
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ulf Kristersson (@kristerssonulf)

 Nooshi Dadgostar from the Left Party has also posed with sausages in the last few weeks, uploading a picture to her official Instagram account in August handing out hotdogs at Pride in Stockholm.
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nooshi Dadgostar (@nooshidadgostar)

 But what about the Green Party? Have leaders Märta Stenevi and Per Bolund been seen posing with hotdogs? After extensive research, we couldn't find any hotdog-related photos with either of them - vegetarian hotdog or otherwise.
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miljöpartiet de gröna (@miljopartiet)

 We did, however, find this Instagram post of Stenevi and Bolund sharing a fika with a cinnamon bun and a coffee in a Swedish forest - also an extremely stereotypical Swedish food.


But why do Swedish politicians love posing with sausages (and cinnamon buns)?
These foods are seen as quintessentially Swedish, folkligt, literally "of the people". Every Swedish child has at one point or another eaten falukorv med makaroner (falukorv with macaroni), or korv stroganoff (sausage stroganoff). Hotdogs are available on every corner of a Swedish city, be it at a Pressbyrån, a 7/11 or a korvmoj, a hotdog stand.
The favourite pastime of many Swedes - rain or shine, summer or winter - is grilling outdoors, from the simple korv to more elaborate pieces of meat. When Ebba Busch started waving around a falukorv in an interview, she wasn't just making a point about food prices going up, she was using falukorv to get to the core of Swedishness, going back to her summer speech where she proclaimed that it has become "too expensive to be Swedish".
Because if you take away a Swede's access to korv, what have they got left?


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