The Love Hate Relationship with Sweden

Okay y’all, here’s my list of what I love and hate about Sweden. You will see some similarities with the Love Hate Relationship in Stockholm.

If you’re going to comment, don’t be douchebag and say nasty things. I won’t tolerate it. Otherwise, enjoy the lively debate.

Love about Sweden

  • Five weeks minimum paid vacation, hell ya!  By law too. Take that America with your two weeks paid vacay.
  • Free healthcare = obscene amount of paperwork need not apply.
  • Functioning tunnelbanan (metro system). Yes I know Swedes love to complain about t-bana being late. OMG, it’s 5 minutes late; the sky is falling! But hell, the SL metro is clean, not raining underground, and doesn’t smell like pee all the time (maybe puke on Friday nights though).
  • Walking to work. Need I say more. That is the second biggest advantage of living in Sweden. The cities are so tiny and easy to walk!
  • Beautiful summers. The best summers I had in the past 11 years have been in Sweden. Mark Twain was right, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
  • The sun never sets in the summer.
  • Is in Europe and it happens to be a fairly functioning country compared to the PIGS: Portugal, Italy/Ireland, Greece, and Spain.
  • Can sign up online to make a doctor’s appointment.
  • Taxes can be filed online, by text messaging, by phone, or snail mail (the scandal).  Plus, Skatteverket pre-fills out your tax papers so you know how much you’re getting back or paying up.

Hate about Sweden

  • Rude people in Stockholm.   I have said enough about it, so there, stop being so rude so I can stop complaining! Just kidding.  Maybe not.
  • The sun sets in the middle of the day. Touché.
  • Communists. Really people, that theory is great in our minds but you apply that shit to real, functioning economics and you end up with a fucked up nation.
  • Crappy drivers in Stockholm.  That’s Stockholm though, not Sweden.
  • Lagom work ethics.  You just work; no more, no less.  Crisis at the office?  It’s all good, leave at 5.30PM.
  • Systembolaget.  I have come to a peace with bolaget.  I hate it, many Swedes love it and want the government to control them and their little purple beer bags, so be it.
  • Everything is expensive.   Seriously, how do Swedes afford to live in Sweden?  Salaries are crap, everyone is stuck in the middle class and what’s up with the 1000:- shoes?
  • People don’t hold doors open.  I checked at my office, less than half the people hold the door for the next person.  And my husband?  He forgets too. D’oh!  Leave my nose alone!
  • Stekare guys.  You guys are not cool.  Oiled hair with attitude problems are not sexy assets for men.
  • Takes three months or more to get an appointment with a specialist doctor and then weeks to get results from testing.  Why, oh why?

20 thoughts on “The Love Hate Relationship with Sweden”

  1. People don’t hold doors open. I checked at my office, less than half the people hold the door for the next person. And my husband? He forgets too. D’oh! Leave my nose alone!

    He was too excited and was busy waving at me and let the door slam! :o My bad!! :(

  2. Great list! I have to correct you, though, on the Mark Twain quote (one of my favorites): “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” is the correct(er) version. From a Bay Area native.

  3. HATE: Standing in line, espacially for renting a place to live? Hello? This is a civilized country in the 21th century, and in Stockholm, you have to “wait” minimum three years for a flat outside in the suburbs? (ok, this is also espacially Stockholm, but I just can’t get it….). I found a room now second-hand, and it’s quite cheap as well, but hell, this wasn’t easy.

    LOVE: the whole infrastructure and nature. And I like the spirit in Sweden, to live like nature/ weather tells you: As soon as it got warm, everybody was outside. EVERYBODY. I played beachvolleyball in the end of april, I NEVER done this in Germany, where it is quite warmer than here. And life is less stressful here, people are more relaxed :)

  4. Hey Saphire,

    Even I dislike many things about Spain, we actually have punctual trains, better subway than Sweden (not better buses, though). And we can also feel taxes on-line, the Spanish tax agency mades it for us, free health care ranking the best in the World without paperwork, 5 weeks of vacations and on-line appointments with the doc.

    And amazing good weather and food.

    What I envy from Sweds, are their honest politians and less powerful bankers.

    For the rest, I agree with you.


  5. Well we could always raise our salaries, lower the VAT, live on credit and run up a 14,5 trillion dollar debt. Nah but kidding aside, it’s good that people know that Stockholm is not Sweden. I’m born and raised in Stockholm and I love it here but it’s nice to get out of it as well. I guess it’s like living in any city, you forget that there is something else outside. Like friendly Swedes and good driver for instance! I find it quite ironic though that people wanna remove Systembolaget but complain on people puking on the subway. Guess what’ll happen if you remove Systemet? ;)

  6. @tony – thanks babe, know i confused it somehow, fixed it now.

    @rudolph – well, spain sounds pretty advanced! hmmm, maybe sweden is not so different except for the weather and people!

    Definitely nice to see not as corrupt politicians as in Italy either. :)

  7. Love: Stockholm..I live in NY so I think Stockholm is one of THE most beautiful cities ever. When I was there and I asked questions to the natives, I thought they were nice and they were happy to speak English with me.
    Some good looking men as Contrary to popular belief most swedes are not good looking..but some are gorgeous…lol
    The subway issue that seem to be a problem did not face me…I live in NY after all…lol
    Love Midsummer, marabou chocolate. I did find it strange that nobody say excuse me..while that is one of the first word that I learned in my swedish class and I used it all the time…lol

    Hate: Sweden is cold and too dark in the winter.
    Older generation swedes tend to be racist (That was My experience with my ex’s parents – guess that is why the relation did not

  8. Hej Sapphire!
    I ve been reading your blog for sometime and it is a successful try to paint thelife in sweden in an intressting funny way.
    about your new post, paying taxes online or making online appointments for doc’s are being done for at least a 5 years in Israel, where I live. walking to work is also common in tel aviv (going by bike is even more common) and we have an average health and welfare system (something between Italy and Sweden).
    But.. me and my husband cant wait to move to Sweden next year, to experience real democracy, clean government, normal working hours and sense of real freedom.
    so, if we asuume that we all want first of all maximum freedom and max of security, so loving a place and being happy in it is relative to where you came from and technology will be scarcely part of the considerations.

    1 thing i dint get and that is why summers were the best in the last 11 years? i am intressted to know.. which summers youve had before? ??

  9. Oops, my country is considered a PIG? haha!
    Well, at least we know how to have fun even when we are broke and owe the whole world (I am Greek btw).

    I have to disagree on rudeness though! When I visited Stockholm three years ago, everyone was nice and helpful! But maybe being a tourist it is different.

  10. “Communists. Really people, that theory is great in our minds but you apply that shit to real, functioning economics and you end up with a fucked up nation.”

    If you are not aware we do not have nor have we ever had a communist government. Since you are an American I will educate you. People who are not members of the American Republican party is NOT communists.

    Speaking of fucked up nations and economy.. please answer the following questions.

    1. In what country did the last financial crisis originate?
    2. What country recently hit its debt ceiling of $14.294 trillion?

  11. just one thing:
    As it was mentioned in the previous comment, Sweden never ever been a communist country.
    The country I am from, have had a communist government (part of so-called “eastern block”) and believe me, it was something totally different than the system you called as “communism”.
    Sweden might have had a social-democrat government (and as far as i know, they don’t have it any more) but please, don’t confuse it with communism.
    just an example: You wouldn’t be allowed to write this blog in a communist country, you would go straight to jail as an enemy of the system:))
    no offense, just kidding:)

    …but I have to admit, systembolaget reminds me communism,a little bit :)

  12. …well, one more:)
    you write about interesting topics and share a lot of useful information about living in Sweden. I usually enjoy reading, (I’m moving there so I’m curious) but sometimes I jus’t don’t get your point.
    I know it’s really not my business,and you can write here whatever you want,but please… can you explain me why you write such things like “fucked up nation”?
    It’s so unrespectful and, let me say, rude…you might get more attention by this, but does it worth? I mean, reading through the comments, I see that people get more and more pissed off, almost fighting, so much hate comes up…and what’s the point? what is your aim by writing about “things to hate Sweden” ?
    I might be stupid, but honestly, I don’t understand:)

  13. Actually, Sweden does share communist philosophies mainly having a classless society. Also, the government provides benefits to all citizens, a cradle to grave welfare state, which is a mixture of communist and socialist philosophies. There is also jantelag is about being nothing better or unique than anyone else, it’s only about the collective. Oh, and there is a Communist Party in Sweden that has municipal seats (it does not compete in parliament elections).

    Sweden can even be called capitalistic because of free markets and wages and goods.

    You can also say that Sweden is a monarchy because of its royal family (and we pay taxes for them to jet set in their castles). [Why this is acceptable under jantelagen is totally beyond me]

    And, the country is democratic since the citizens can vote people into offices.

    The country is fascinating because it’s a mixture of several, varied political philosophies. Today, I would consider Sweden to a socialist-capitalist country with a few roots in communism. It’s also a democracy with a symbolic monarchy.

    I pick on the communist aspect because I believe it is a ridiculous system rooted in idealism. What really amuses me about communism and Swedes is that when I meet them (mainly in södermalm – what a surprise), they consider society today to be too capitalistic, and that’s just bad.

    I ended up accidentally at a communist event last year at Tanto with their 5 tents and 30 fans pushing the communist agenda. Naturally, I have to pick on them because I really wonder why. Why do you believe in it?

    Oh, and on a depressing though funny note about communism, seems like Swedish teens consider it to be a pretty good system.

    “Ninety percent of teens aged 15 to 20 don’t know which foreign capital is closest to Stockholm, 90 percent don’t know what the Gulag is, and 40 percent think communism has increased prosperity in the world. Ninety five percent knew about Auschwitz.

    Dagens Nyheter also showed that 50 percent of the 1,004 teens questioned didn’t know that Berlin was the capital of a country bordering the Baltic Sea, 82 percent didn’t think Belarus was a dictatorship and 43 percent said they thought communism had claimed fewer than a million victims in the 20th century.

    Fifty-six percent said they didn’t know if Western market economies were democratic societies, and 22 percent said communism was a democratic social structure. ”

    Zenobia – To answer your question about my “aim.” The answer is simple: do you read it? Few places on the web have a forum/comment community that really discusses the issues in Sweden. You’re not going this shit in a guidebook or history book about Sweden.

    If you’re moving to Sweden, you should be able to talk about Sweden, the ups and downs, and find a connection to other people. You don’t to have to understand anything, but if you read my posts, then the post fulfilled its point of being read.

    I aim to be caustic and sometimes downright offensive. We can poke fun of America all day long but that’s not interesting. But, how many people talk about problems in Sweden? Even Swedish politicians are scared shitless of discussing immigration or free markets without a public backlash.

    This site is to share opinions (some are my own and some are not) and push people to respond. If I wrote about Sweden is full of fuzzy bunnies, would you really care to read this blog?

    You don’t have to get anything, either you read this blog or you don’t.

  14. Do you consider the things you post to be “issues” really?
    I have seen this behaviour before (trying to provoke) of course that was from my 7 year old son. While the answers from our teens are shocking here is a similar survey.

    When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

    So Sara Palin might be representative for the American people would you not agree?

  15. Sapphire (or whatever your name is), do you consider the US to be a fucked up nation? Technically you are not a nation but we will leave that alone for now.

    A few reasons.

    1. Election fraud in presidential elections.
    2. Torturing people (real democracies does not do that)
    3. Pathetically inept to manage your economy (which sadly affects the rest of the world, for now)
    4. Starting wars for silly reasons.

  16. Hey, I read through all these comments and what I’m finding is that people are getting offended by certain parts of the blog post that they disagree with. While the communist viewpoint may or may not be part of Swedish culture, trashing American politics/politicians or their government is doing exactly what these same people are accusing Sapphire of doing- posting unnecessary and offensive things intended to simply piss other people off.

    I’m not saying there aren’t issues with the States (everyone here can read the paper) but Sapphire does have a point that Swedish politics aren’t discussed nearly as often. Or, if they are, I don’t have as much access as maybe you do.

    I’m from Canada and am going to study a year abroad in Umea (northern Sweden) so any information about the country, whether fact or opinion, is welcomed. I’m not as sensitive to Sapphire’s opinions about the government, etc., because it doesn’t really/directly affect me, but please- try to focus on the positive intention behind the writing of this post (or simply read the “love” section and just ignore the “hate”).

    Last Two Points:

    Where it says:
    “Communists. Really people, that theory is great in our minds but you apply that shit to real, functioning economics and you end up with a fucked up nation.”

    Maybe a bit harsh and obviously debatable (see above) whether this is true, but this is a point of frustration/rant and Sapphire’s OPINION (sorry for yelling- there’s no italics).

    The back and forth between Sapphire and Johan where they listed a bunch of statistics doesn’t prove anything. More than half the questions that Sapphire listed were things I didn’t know- it does not speak anything negatively of my character. “…and 43 percent said they thought communism had claimed fewer than a million victims in the 20th century.” –> People who believed in extreme communist approaches did cause more than 1M deaths; it doesn’t mean communism itself did. How questions are worded leaves room for interpretation.

    Sorry for the long-winded reply and thank you Sapphire for posting this- there were helpful points you mentioned that I’ll remember when I get over there.

  17. OFF :

    hey Jessica!
    I’m also going to study in Umeå, and it’s so cool that finally I found someone else going there! Everyone who writes blogs about Sweden, lives in Stockholm, or Göteborg, or maybe in Malmö, but no other cities…I’m wondering how is life on the north, but I haven’t find, f.ex. Umeå-blogs yet.
    … maybe I’ll be the first who is writing about it, can’t wait! :)

  18. Swedes can’t see who they are and what are doing to all foreigners that comes to their country!! Swedes does not to say anything or explain anything in Sweden!! Swedes can’t see anything but others who are not Swedes!! Swedes have been created by their systems for 100’s of years. The real parents is the system!! Swedes, are so confused and mixed up people!! Everyone use anyone for any stupid reasons then everyone dumps anyone. Swedes can never criticize them selves because they have been grown up with this kind of brain washed system and life! Swedish have a real deep sickness with them selves and they hate their own selves more than anything but shows otherwise. It’s a sickness that not even them selves can explain. Swedes are so so so small when they just leave Sweden but shit on you if they are inside. Swedish is a Swedish, they are real sick nation that has been fucking each others and destroying them selves for thousands of years way before foreigners came to that land. Swedes cannot explain you anything because they just simply can’t or have it in them to do it. Swedes is quiet and choose to live alone and say nothing in life but just try to live in peace but what kind of peace jatelang peace I would say. Cheers guys!!!!

  19. Love: The countryside devoid of Swedes.
    Hate: The Swedish legal system with regard to father’s rights

    While Swedish feminazis are lobbying for rape laws that convict anyone with an erection, the courts are allowing Swedish women to alienate men from their children, then economically rape them. Yes, that’s right. Even if a father has shared custody of a child in Sweden, if a mother can convince the child to live with her at age 12, the legal system turns a blind eye. Then when the mother demands child support, the legal system enthusiastically helps her economically rape the child’s father. In essence he pays for his child to be alienated from him.

    Doubt it? Just read a few chapters in the Swedish family law book. Fathers in Sweden have little or no rights to their children or protection under the law from ex-wife initiated harassment.

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