Unsocial, cold and candy lovers is often how people describe the Swedes. However, I had noticed many more things in Sweden, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I decided to really pay attention to the Swedes around me and wrote down everything I noticed.
The dress code is Darth Vader
Swedes are very fashionable and you will almost never see a Swede dressed up like a slob in central Stockholm. Long, black jackets and black pants are the dress code in Sweden, preferably with black boots and a white warm hat. Swedes don’t really want to stand out of the crowd by wearing bright colours and flower patterns, although of course everyone has their own taste and there are people that prefer that.
Swedes stare a lot, get used to it
But really, STARE. Whereas other people would maybe look at you for around 2 seconds, Swedes do that for like 5 seconds with a pokerface. Don’t feel uncomfortable when they do that (plus you tend to do the same thing to check if they’re still staring…), I’ve asked around and many just responded that they’re thinking about something else and don’t notice they’re staring at you!
Look at your phone constantly while waiting
Don’t you dare just look around, you would look like a weirdo!… Joking, you wouldn’t actually look like a weirdo of course, but it often feels like you are the weird one when you’re just waiting without looking at any electronic device. It’s the perfect way to avoid eye contact and strangers won’t suddenly talk to you; the ultimate Swedish nightmare!!
They are very open and friendly with friends, don’t judge too fast
They can go from the Darth Vader, pokerfaced, ‘avoid eye contact as much as possible’ -person to the most hospitable person in a millisecond. When you first meet them they might seem very reserved, but when they’re talking with friends you often see them laughing really hard and being happy in general. Often they have a great sense of humour and you can really laugh with them!
Keep conversations simple
“Jahaaa.. ja precis.. nej..oj!.. ja.. jahaaa.. jahaaa.. nej…oj!” *goes on for minutes like this*. You will get used to people “talking” on the phone like this, believe it or not, even today I’ve heard 5 people doing this! Even normal conversations are quite simple as they try to avoid small talk. Just get straight to the point.
Be relaxed when driving
Driving in Sweden is really relaxed, and it’s really not done to drive like a southern European here. Don’t use the car horn, just chill, relax, everything will be okay! Even if people are jaywalking everywhere in the centre, just be careful and stay calm.
Complain about Denmark
Did you know that it is totally legal for a Dane to hit a Swede with a stick when the Swede is walking in the direction of Denmark? Yeah, it’s pretty serious between Sweden and Denmark as you can see! Although this is a really old law, the countries still joke about each other. “Danish is just Swedish but with porridge in their mouth”, and yeah, it really does sound like that… Sorry dear Danes!
Enjoy fika food and other candy!
Don’t always think about being healthy, exercising, dieting, and so on. You deserve to go for a fika with good coffee and the best cakes or other treats, especially when it’s still pretty dark and cold outside. Swedes love candy as well, they consume the most candy in the world, and you see the candy shops everywhere. As you can see, Sweden is really about balance: your health is very very important, but enjoy life!!
Written by Lydia Hallie
I’m Lydia, a 19-year-old Dutch girl living in Stockholm. I try to write many helpful posts to help younger people who recently moved to Sweden to get to know the country and how everything works here!
Don’t miss out! Get updates on new articles, opportunities and other goodies by signing up for our newsletter.