What is a Swede?

Technically, a Swede is a rutabaga.

Seriously, it is.

Wikipedia says so.   It has to be true! Actually, it is true…the kålrot is called a swede in the commonwealth countries.

If you want to know what a Swede, the person is, well, I found an interesting blog post from an old blog called Living in Sweden by Ngala.   The text of his post, “What or Who is a Swede,” was found in computer lab in Umeå.

A Swede is tall, blond, blue-eyed, and wears a woolly hat in the winter.   By nature he is shy, reserved, serious, industrious, and finds it hard to laugh at himself.   He is also a creature of habit and every morning gets up at 5.30 to give himself enough time to read the morning newspaper before going to work.   Since work does not usually start until 8 o’clock, this can only imply that a Swede is also a slow reader.

Apart from himself, his chief interests are money, his job, his home, ice-hockey, and his family (in that order). He also loves animals – especially dogs – and spends hours cycling through the town dragging a huge and ferocious German Shepherd behind him on a leash.

A Swede is usually punctual, honest, reliable, clean, has his own teeth, and is law-abiding. Evidence of the latter is particularly noticeable at pedestrian crossings.    No matter what the weather is like, a Swede would rather get soaked to the skin than cross an empty street when a red light is showing.   Similarly, he always wears a seat belt, never drinks and drives, always has a television licence, usually hands in his tax-return on time, invariably has a plastic bag in his pocket when he walks his dog, and never has a bath after 10 o’clock.

{This article goes on quite a bit but as I’m not the copyright holder and have already gotten in trouble by my big-brother-eyeing-advertising network, I’ve taken down the text. Make sure to visit Living in Sweden to read the rest of the article.}

What do you think?

20 thoughts on “What is a Swede?”

  1. woah I definitely would love to hear Swedes’ take on this artcle. :)

    My favorite part was “With reference to marriage, a Swede is quite unlike most European men. Anything a housewife can do, he can do better – from cooking to sewing on buttons. In fact, everything in the home (apart from breast-feeding) is shared.”

    yes! haha

  2. Swedish input has been requested, and Swedish input shall be had (not in that way, mind you)!

    I cannot speak for the “average” Swede (knowing full well that I’m quite far away from what’s considered “average” in this country) but I can at least offer some comments regarding myself in response to the article above. In fact, I think I will do so one paragraph at a time, to make it more easily understood.

    I’m short, dark-haired, blue-/grey-eyed and while I do wear a hat in winter, it most certainly isn’t a wooly one; I’m far too used to the cold to need one, plus those things are darn expensive. I am fairly shy and reserved when I’m with several people, not so when I’m talking with someone one-on-one. Serious or not depends on the situation. I am fairly industrious. I used to find it hard to laugh at myself when I was younger, not so much anymore. I usually get up at 06:00, but then, I don’t usually start work until the afternoon; I seldom read the newspaper, though I may very well start the morning by reading a book or two, or simply cruise around the Internet.

    Apart from myself, my chief interests are literature (both fact and fiction), computers/gaming, health/exercise, and friends. Not in that order. I don’t care about ice hockey, I don’t care about either money or job (except as a means to an end; money in order to survive, and job because it would be dishonouring not to do well in something you’re getting paid to do), I car about my home in the sense that I would like to live in a nice place, and I do maintain it somewhat, but I’m not obsessed about it. With the exception of my father, I do not get along too well with my family, nor do I spend much time with them. I love animals, though I prefer cats over dogs. Chiefly due to allergies, I do not have any pets of my own.

    I am punctual, honest, reliable, clean (usually), have my own teeth, and generally abides by the law. If there are no cars coming from either direction, I do cross the street despite a red light; I do, however, make damn sure this is the case before crossing, because many Swedish drivers seem to have a problem with stopping at intersections regardless of the colour of the stoplights. I always wear a seat belt, I don’t drink period, I have a television licence when I have a TV, I always hand in my tax papers on time, I don’t have a dog, and I don’t really see the need for a bath after 10 o’clock unless I got home late in the evening (and even then I shower, I don’t bathe).

    I am semi-cautious, and may or may not do something on impulse; it varies greatly from situation to situation. I usually take my decisions quite seriously, and take the time to weigh the pros and cons. And I realize it’s a euphemism, but I most certainly do not try ten different cheeses before picking one, and I usually try to buy large cheeses that will last a while. I am single and childless.

    I am a fairly good cook, and in the opinion of my friends an excellent baker, but alas, I am not good at sewing, though I have had occasion to sew on buttons and such anyway. I do not live with a woman, so I do most of the housework on my own (and in fact, my own experience is that most Swedish women would be appaled at the mere idea that they should do housework unless they live alone, and even then it’s iffy; the majority invariably decide to consider it somehow beneath them).

    I am fairly well-informed, though alas, I do not know the sexual habits of the centipede. I must confess I only know the name of one or two of my closest neighbours (which is mostly explained by the fact that I hardly ever see any of them; we keep *slightly* different hours). I do not drink beer, so it’s a moot point; I prefer low-alcholic content cider or my own, home-brewed mead (which also has a low alcoholic content; I do drink for the taste, not to get drunk, and it usually tastes best around 1-2% anyway).

    I am not a fanatic as such, but I do try to keep healthy, though I prefer long walks and exercise at home or in the gym to running or cycling. I do not smoke, I usually stay away from overly-much sugar, I don’t drink coffee, I usually go to bed between 23:00 and 24:00, and I rarely mix with strangers; not because of any particular inhibition on my part (with some exceptions; I can’t stand smokers, for instance), but rather because I’ve found over the years that most people find my intellectual and physical interests to be…boring, or even worse, appaling. Yes, most Swedes prefer a much lower level of intellectual discourse (if any at all), and consider my views on morals and health to be too complex or difficult for them to deal with.

    I do consider that everyone should have a few basic rights regardless of anything else; however, unlike many “politically correct” people, I most certainly do not consider everyone to be “equal” – on a subjective level the very notion is impossible, and on an objective level the simple fact the people have different weights and height proves it is untrue, even if you choose to ignore everything else. That said, I absolutely detest when people are treated unfairly due to some arbitrarily chosen feature or characteristic – Swedish women are notoriously “guilty” in this regard – but for someone to be treated differently due to some objective quality, that I have no problems with. Unfortunately, most people who share my view that people are not all equal tend to base their opinion on some subjectively chosen, completely arbitrary set of characteristics (such as someone’s skin colour or height) rather than situationally relative, objective characteristics (like I do; for example, I would not consider someone with a weak constition and weaker muscles to be “equal” to a physically fit person when it comes to performing physical labour).

    I earn substantially less (both before and after taxes) than most Swedes, I do not have the typical taste in furniture nor do I dress the same as everyone else, my thought patterns are nowhere near those of the typical Swede, I do not drive a Volvo, and I do not go to Mallorca or Crete in the summer (I usually go mountain-hiking in the north of Sweden).

    I am most certainly prejudiced, however my prejudice stems from actual, prior experience, and I always allow people the opportunity to prove me wrong…although unfortunately hardly anyone has ever managed to do so, but that’s another story. I do not judge people based on arbitrary things like skin colour, nationality or similar things, though unlike politically correct people I do acknowledge general trends based on all those factors, but I also acknowledge that general trends are just that – general – and that they do not necessarily apply in the individual case, and such I judge each case individually.

    I enjoy the sun occasionally, however I seldom sunbathe, nor am I obsessed with being in the sun all-year round (unlike a fair number of other Swedes, let me tell you!); I prefer spring and autumn to either summer or winter, precisely because it is neither too hot nor too cold, though on average I handle cold much better than heat. I…don’t really care whether I’m first on the bus or not, nor do I see the point in doing so. I don’t care one way or another about queuing, however nowadays there’s almost always a ticket machine anyway, so it’s a moot point. Yes, I enjoy sex, however I’m not nearly as desperate about as most people I’ve met over the years (I haven’t actually had sex in four or so years, due to being single, which I understand fills most people with equal parts horror and pity). I don’t care one way or another about gypsies, nor do I see the point in doing so; I judge people individually, and have met gypsies who were really nice, and ones who were outright jerks – just like everyone else.

    Considering how many times the Swedish National Social Board of Health and and Welfare has chosen to make recommendations based on politics while completely ignoring all available scientific evidence (one prime example being how they once upon a time recommended daily smoking to “promote general health” despite scientific evidence being available at the time that it causes several forms of cancer, heart and lung diseases and a host of other problems; granted, this was a long time ago, but they’ve continued to systematically ignore scientific evidence in favour of supporting international companies and local politics, so yeah), I do not in any way, shape or form trust them at all; I instead make my own inquiries and researches.

    I do not believe in “God” because there is no reason for me to do so; and that’s not even mentioning that the “common” definition of the Judeo-Christian deity prevents said deity’s existence in the first place (in my experience, religious people rarely possess basic logic skills, though I have met a few exceptions – these exceptions all became atheists after having the logic pointed out to them, though, so perhaps they don’t count). I don’t care one iota about Ingemar Stenmark. I have not been drunk once in my entire life, though I have gotten slightly tipsy on a grand total of two occasions. I am not patriotic in the least (I am far too knowledgeable about my country to be such), and obviously I do not visit the off-licence (I must admit I had to look up the meaning of that term) at all.

    I do not visit family during Christmas, chiefly because I do not celebrate it (I do however “pay tribute” to the Winter Solstice by spending the evening and night watching movies and eating good food with friends). I do not go to English classes, nor have I had any need to do so since high school (wherein they were mandatory); I believe my English skills, at least insofar as the written word is concerned, are up to par regardless. I can’t say I’m offended by the article, sorry, but then I do not represent the “average” Swede, so that may have something to do with it.


  3. Heidar –


    I especially love this:
    “… I do cross the street despite a red light; I do, however, make damn sure this is the case before crossing, because many Swedish drivers seem to have a problem with stopping at intersections regardless of the colour of the stoplights.”

  4. A *hat*. In winter…!? I am fairily sure that is concieved as blasphemous is the wise and cunning eye of the Allfather. Surely a proud mane of hair, mayhaps braided, and a stoic heart is enough to keep the cold at bay. (Important note: If finding yourself wanting to wear a hood, and ignoring the poor sense of style now, keep in mind that this is only acceptable as long as it channels the refreshingly cold wind down your spine, thus pleasing Him)

    Actually, as for being typically Swedish… I kind of like the winters, and usually go for many long walks – or jogs in the snow, if we have any of that. And autumn is my favourite time of the year. Can’t stand the heat during summers, though. It makes me physically exhausted. Last one? I once had to sport an umbrella to protect me from the unforgiving sun. (And rarely have I seen my fellow swedes so frequently and untactfully break the social rule of No-Staring-Allowed. I stared back. It was all quite good fun!)

    I never complain about the weather, except during summers during which I do it to ruin the mood of my fellow humans, the same way they try to ruin it for me by endlessly nagging during autumn and winter. Yeees, I’m quite petty in that way.

    Right. Let’s try to do this in the correct order instead. (Was that Swedish of me…?) What is somehwat striking of the text is that it summorises *my* prejudices against the middle-class swedes (I’m working on those, alright?). Allow me, if you will, to be a (not ‘the’) voice of the urban working class!

    I’m fairly guilty of the look, with blond, obviously long, hair and blue, obviously piercing, eyes. Only 1.80 though! Yay! Facial structure and that is probably quite Scandinavian, as well. I’m sure I’d be seen as exotic somewhere, but clearly not so much of that here.

    Not really shy at all, though perhaps reserved – and often not in a very outgoing social mood, prefering silent contemplation with myself or a more intense communication with a few. And while I think that there is certainly an amount of shyness to us swedes, I wonder if it’s been a bit exaggerated as a result of a missunderstanding? Refering to our preference of not being “obtrusive”, invading personal space (which is quite the large amount of space in Sweden, yes), the live-and-let-live attitude, constant fear of bothering others etc. Not really shyness, though it might look as such? I can see shyness developing from such social circumstances, though. I shall ponder this. (Fun!)

    And with that said, I believe we *are* slowly and thankfully changing and opening up, much in thanks to immigration/globalization. Now, parts of our social life I really (really) like – the problem, as I percieve it, is to reach that stage with another swede were any social life is actually happening.

    I can be very serious and get filled by vikingly wrath at jokes about myself/I can be very unserious and appreciative of jokes about myself. Really depends on the context of the situation. But going through the workings of my inner self would tripple the length of this already long comment, not be terribly interesting, and be beside the point. Suffice to say; intent, intent, intent. That’s what really matters. I might not find all jokes funny as such, but as long as the intent isn’t malign I at the very least encourage the effort.

    I usually do get up earlier than needed. Mainly because I’m a fan of those big and healthy breakfasts, and also because I’m barely conscious the first hour awake. I need time to wake up! And for coffee, of course. And the news, yes. And a shower, certainly. (You gain extra points, and feelings of Joy, for going outside with wet hair during winter!)

    And yes, I am very interested in myself. Quilty. I try to excuse this with a not really equal but still quite large interest in others. I’m with Heidar on money. It is kind of needed to live, but I’ve never chased it as such, or had any particular interest in it. Fact is, I can’t think of many who have. Might be one of the points in the text, disregarding the more comical ones, I find hardest to relate to.

    As for work… I try to give it alot *when* working. Almost a matter of… pride. Or, in many cases, a free workout! But after working hours? I can’t be arsed to care, really. There’s, thankfully, other things in my life.

    My home… Nah, not really. As times when I’ve lived in nicer appartments, yes. But a small and cramped scrub like I live in now while being a student? Not really worth the effort.

    Ice hockey is a truly magnificent social institution in which the youth of today will be scholed in the classic arts of Machoism, the finer aspects of Pack-mentality, and let’s not forget the somewhat aging but still popular Homophobia! Not a fan of fotball either, but their players have the common decency to at least *look* good. 65% of the people trying to pick a fight with me have been middle-class hockeyplayers. But please, don’t let that put you off! They are quite the pee-pants (Swedish: Kissbyxor) once you get to know them. Not that you should. Bloddy buggers, the lot of ’em.

    Eh, what? Prejudices? Ohhh, right. Sorry ’bout that.

    I have met nice hockeyplayers. I have known nice hockeyplayers. I have kissed a nice hockeyplayer.

    There. Am I off the hook?

    While I like animals, or the general concept of animals, I am not that taken in by dogs. They *look* cute, but are rather obnoxious, loud, smelly and tends to fail at grasping a basic understanding of personal space.

    Pretty much this, yes. Not law-abiding for the sake of it, but if I see the point of the law in the current context – sure. That means I do cross at a red light if there are no cars coming. And while we’re on the topic of traffic: It seems to differ greatly, based on where you are. I’m not really sure why this is. There are small towns and big cities (by Swedish standards) where the drivers are horrible, and small towns/big cities where the pedestrian is treated as royalty. In Karlstad they often let me cross even if there is no actual crossing. I hear Stockholm is something quite… different. I want to give points to Stockholms pedestians though, whom moved delightfully fast and agile as a crowd the last time I visited. A certain tact and flow to it, which I found pleasing.

    I don’t pay the TV licence, since I’ve chosen not to have a TV. Which means I am a high-brow intellectual with far more pressing matters than the trifle mind-polluting entertainment of the unwashed masses. Oh, wait. That’s not what it means it all. I simply didn’t feel I had the time for it, so I didn’t bother. I sometimes watch it at other peoples places. And SVT Play, which I wholeheartedly support, even when they are showing a documentary about different types of rock in the carpathians. Which had led me to consider paying the licence after all.

    I sometimes, and brace yourself now, shower during the night! Pretttty bad-assed, yeah?

    I *can* be impulsive, though more often than not I’m more… tactical. I want all the facts, and to consider all the angles. If it involves other people and they are not utter pillocks, thier perspectives should be weighed in as well. I think that this tactical method is somewhat derived from playing games which either requires or endorses it. And my preference for such games may of course stem somewhat from a preference for tactical thinking. Circles are pretty!
    Heidar, should he actually be reading this, is welcome to contribute his thoughts on the matter should he so desire, being a gamer and seeming to lend towards the tactical side as well.

    As for marriage? If the imaginary woman would really want it, sure. It holds no weight whatsoever for me personally, though a possible partners weight on it of course might transfer somewhat to me (As in: She really digs marriage and wants to do that thing with me? Well, I’m flattered!). Also, I would never throw money at it. If she can’t prove that it is ultimately and entirely a ritual of love and not something… else, she ain’t getting any. It wouldn’t in any way be religious, either. I consider it a matter of respect for the religions *not* to engage in thier buissness light-heartedly, unless it’s a something like a funeral.

    I am of course a huskarl, and proud, like any good swede. The art of the needle and the thread is sort of like fencing, and in the kitchen my main inspiration is, needless to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykX2_Jh6LFE&feature=relmfu

    And yes, I try to educate myself regularly, for no greater reason than my pleasure, really. I wouldn’t call myself educated as such though, or even care about such prideful and vain labels. I just… do it. Do I know something about something? Yes. Most do. And what they know is not what I know. Also, the more I know the less I feel I know about being in the know, y’know? Alright, alright, moving on!

    I *have* given up on smoking and sugar. Still do snus though, and drink coffee… pretty much around the clock. It’s gotten to the point where it’s harder to sleep without it than with it. Also trying to keep fit, and when time admits, do some martial arts – which might be amongst the most intense things a swede can do with people she/he doesn’t know very well. I have also heard rumours of places where you can supposedly *dance*, but I doubt their existence. I would be willing to try it though, had time permitted it.

    I value economic equality and socio-cultural diversity and the individuals free pursuit of the latter. I dress somewhat different, I think different… hey, wait a minute… I think every bloke and blokette thinks different from the other? There’s just certain basic values in the Swedish culture, as in any culture, that tends to go around. And I dare say that looking from the outside (wether you’re an “outsider” in the culture, an immigrant etc not important for the context of my argument) makes it easier to spot these values, hence giving the impression that people in any given culture are alike? Isn’t that how we always generalize against people from other groups than our own? In fact, even writing such a text as above without conjuring up a wildly generalized and therefore faulty image of the Swedish people would be impossible. The concept of any form of greater cultural unity I feel is (largely) imaginary. Meaning that I might cheer on the same hockey team (I don’t) as another bloke, and we therefor feel a kinship… but over what? We can be wildly different as persons. Likewise me and my neighbours belong to this group called ‘swedes’, but I’ve met people from Vietnam with whom I felt a stronger kinship with than with my supposedly Swedish neighbours. So yes, there is likeness within cultures, but also a great diversity amongst everyone – ofter more so than we have the mental energy (let’s face it: we are lazy) to acknowledge. I can however believe, and hope, that the diversity in America is greater than here, given her size and history of cultural influx – but I’m sure you’ve unfortunately met some Swedish pillocks picking up traits of the American culture and labeling you all as the same, or even brainwashed.

    Aaand now it may seem as if I took a humorous text seriously. I must asuredly did not! Bullocks! I just felt like ranting a thought or five. It is quite fun!

    And yes, I am somewhat prejudicing. I’m trying to correct that though (maybe hockeyjugend excluded), and at the very least always makes sure not to *act* on my prejudices. Some of the prejudices may even be of the positive kind against:
    Koreans (a general good feeling)
    Irish (pleasant and charming)
    Indians (tolerant and humble)
    Poles (likable and intelligent sorts)
    Iranians (polite, thoughtfull and bloddy gorgeous. Yes, they got three judgments)
    Filipino (stalwart and grim, in an awesome way)

    It is still prejudices though.

    On a good day I’m even trying to understand those unpleasant pillocks in Sveridemokraterna. I doubt that succeeding would lead to me liking them more, but still… understanding before judging is pretty nice, ja?

    I obviously do not love the sun. I hate queing though. Really aggrevating. Queing in the sun? Not happening. I try to be first on the bus, to get a good seat at the back since I’m a high school kid at heart and in mind. I’m alright with winter. I’m currently in self-inflicted celibacy and liking it. I do *like* sex though. Who doesn’t? I just got tired of everything around it. Considering now that the celibacy has lasted for abound 5-6 years… Yeah, I might not actually be returning to that world. Other things in life, and all that.

    Have nothing whatsoever against gypsies, and consider our historical treatment of them shameful. Is it an issue these days though? Do people even think about them? National Social Board of Health and Welfare? Don’t really trust them. Don’t really distrust them either. If I care about something that relates to them, I will check it out myself. Don’t believe in God. Kinda dig Jesus though. He was rather “Socialistic hippie-powah yeah!” about it all, and acting on it without actually killing stuff. Couldn’t care less about Stenmark. Probably a nice chap and that, but doesn’t do anything that interests me. I rarely, if ever these days, get drunk. I drink at more occasions though, just not as much.

    I somewhat detest patriotism, on behalf of it making… well, not very much sense at all. I visit my father around twice a week actually. We do stuff together. He’s quite the sensitive good swedish man. I… don’t really get the one about english classes? I’ve never met anyone taking any of those outside of regular school. Confusement is mine!

    Finally I’m not in the least offended by the text. It was intentionally generalizing and humorous, and therefore doesn’t really concern any particular person at all. My self esteem is not reliant on this “swedish” thing. I’ve seen far worse things written about Sweden. Sometimes in the comments to this blog – and that’s not really offending either. Maybe… saddening, when trying to comprehend how the mind of a pillock (it as an excellent word) works when it spews it’s xenophobic hate through the persons arse. But this text? It was interesting, in a way. Obviously, since I’m writing. I would probably have found it funny had I not heard it all so many times before (usually from… swedes!) However, alternate perspectives, even if delivered in this short and humerous way, is always thought-provoking. In a good way!

    A kram for anyone that read through that. Don’t you have anything better do to!? I, most surely, did not.

  5. Heidar & Tobias, thanks for your comments! It warms my heart :-)

    I have decided to relocate to Sweden and people (including some Swedes) keep telling me ‘no, don’t go there’ and serving me the general stereotype about Sweden and Swedish people being boring.

    People around me are rather surprised that I have made the decision to move to Sweden. I have fallen in love with the language and the country. I think that a piece of my heart has been left in Stockholm.

    I hear bad stereotypes about French people all the time! I know stereotypes can be far off the truth too.

  6. Forgot to mention that you two live up to destroy the myth ;-P

    Crossing while the traffic light is red? Heidar, you like to live life in the dangerous lane, especially if you live in Stockholm.

  7. @Sapphire

    Thanks! :)


    Traditionally, when he’s in his “strange old man” form walking amongst mortals, Oden is most often portrayed or said to be wearing a cloak and hood regardless of the season, so I doubt he’s got much against headwear. Besides, the rimthursar are among his enemies, so dressing warmly would likely be fairly high up on his list of priorities :P And yes, I like the winters too, but only if it’s actually cold; I really don’t like it when it’s like 1-2 degrees Celsius out and there’s melted snow everywhere. Give me a good -10 or -20 degrees, with or without snow, and I’m much happier.

    And yes, I am indeed of the slightly more “tactical” bent, so to speak; though I do not play strategy games (though in most cases these should be more accurately referred to as “tactics games”) as much as I used to; nowadays I usually prefer rpgs (which I have always enjoyed, it’s just that my focus has changed a bit over the years).

    @ Estelliane

    You’re most welcome! And don’t worry about me, I live far from Stockholm, and as mentioned I always look every which way before crossing ;)

  8. Estelliane: Thank you, right back! (Swedish thing!) I did some reading of your blogg and pondered commenting there instead, buuut that would be rude against Saphire. ;)

    You seem to have really made up your mind, and should do fine! There are loads of people who would hate Sweden, and loads who would love it. With most somewhere in between. If you feel you like it here… Well, you don’t really need anything else in way of confirmation, eh? And yes, sometimes swedes consider themself to be boring. It might even hold some truth, depending on what *you* find to be funny. Extrovert people and small talk usually bores me within seconds. I’m sure they find me to be equally much of a bore. And that’s perfectly fine. But if you would have found them to be boring, why are you even talking to them? ;)

    Some friendly tips: There are lots of groups around, or ‘föreningar’ (organisations, but the meaning is kinda lost in that translation) doing… well, pretty much any hobby you can pick. Sports. Pottery. Weaving. Dancing. Pretty sure there are gaming clubs. Mountain climbing. Martial arts. Many have government backing and costs, if any, tend to be minmum (you join in paying for the groups common expenses, or/and your own material). Yes, I’m sure they’ve had the same everywhere you’ve lived. But the point? Swedes tend to actually talk with eachother while there. Some even become *friends*! I strongly suspect that is the sole reason for the weaving going on, which no one really ought to be able to like in itself.

    Other than that… read up on the country… which is exactly what you are doing, so I shall kindly shut myself up now regarding tips. :D

    Regarding France: Most common prejudice I’ve come into contact with over here is that they are somewhat prideful and arrogant. Some would even say *charmingly* arrogant (which is bloody awesome!). In truth? I think they are refering to Paris, not France – and I’ve always doubted the amount of truth in it anyway. There’s also a certain kind of respect and even admiration for it’s culture and history. That’s pretty much it, from what I’ve seen. France is let off easy! I’ve heard, time and again, that one particularly tiresome prejudicing joke that France, who paid such a heavy price during World War 1, would be cowards. But that’s from media outside and never from any swede. Quite glad of that. Points to us! Yay! Needed those. That excuse for a joke is neither true or funny. Even if it had once been funny, it’s expiration date is long past. Yes, this pisses me off strangely much.

    Myself… don’t really have an opinion. I have, you see, never met anyone from France. Never. Quite an acomplishment! I’ve even met people from Lichtenstein, and they have a population of about two waiters, nine bankers and a goat (They were nice though).

    Anyway, I wish you luck! I’ll be sure to be reading your blogg. These newfound outside-eyes-at-Sweden bloggs are really exiting. Well, Saphire is a right and propah swede now, but you get my meaning :-)

    Heidar: I am *terribly* long-winded. Worse than I thought. I shall try to ansver briefly. A personal challenge.

    I thought Hangatyr often was pimpin’ that Gandalf look with a “slokhatt”? Which of course doesn’t really help me either way, now does it. You, as they say, got me. Well played, good sir! (If somewhat deviously performed. And you cheat!) If I have taken with me anything from this, it is that one day I shall have as many bitchin’ names as Odin. And mayhaps a hat.

    I agree on the winter. :-) Blaskväder isn’t my… fovourite kind. It is quite…. not-fun. I… musn’t… complain… Gah! Yeah, alright. It is basicly shite.

    Also with you on the somewhat misslabled strategy games. Isn’t RPG’s often rather tactical though? Or at least used to be when I was younger and everything in the whole world was better.

  9. @ Tobias

    Oh, I quite enjoy the devious label, so thanks ;) And yes, many RPGs are indeed tactical in some sense or other; those are the best kind! Having an engaging, personal-level story and combining that with tactical-level combat and planning? Yes, please! :D

    Oh, and as for having as many names as Oden: better get crackin’ on getting those nicknames then, aye? Or perhaps Skatteverket (or failing that, Patentverket) might not be opposed to a person having lots of first names ;)

  10. I can’t understand about taking (or never taking) a bath after 10 pm. Why don’t they do it? I usually take a bath after 10 pm (yeah, I’m not Swedish), but my boyfriend never tells me anything about that.

  11. Heidar:

    You, sir, are indeed a man of refinement and taste. Good job!


    I’m actually just guessing here, since I’ve never really come into close contact with that social rule. But I *think* it might have to do with all that water going through the pipes possibly annoying the neighbours? That said, me and others have done it in the nights. Half of my neighbours (I do talk to them) is awake in the nights anyhow.


    I actually enjoyed that. :D Him not being Swedish just added to it.

  12. @Heidar & Tobias – Both of you brought up not trusting the National Social Board of Health and Welfare.

    I am really curious why and if you have some examples of bizarre things they have supported (e.g. the smoke a day?!)

    And what is the board called in Swedish?

  13. @IH: I love the Fika commercial! I think it is absolutely brilliant.

    @Tobias: please feel free to comment on my blog if you want to discuss anything :-)

  14. In Swedish it’s called “Socialstyrelsen” (lit.: “The Social Board”).

    The reason many people don’t trust them is because they have a long history of “bending in the wind”, so to speak; basically, whatever the ruling politicos say, goes, whether it’s backed up by science or not; this is doubly so because many of the “heavies” on the board are in fact politicians put there by their ruling brothers and sisters, with ZERO scientific education or even basic understanding of anything more complex than 1+1=2 (heck, half the time it seems they can’t even manage that much).

    Because of this, the “quality” of Socialstyrelsen has varied immensely over the years, all depending on who’s in political power. After Moderaterna took over, Socialstyrelsen has suddenly and inexplicably become much less critical and more accepting of dubious products from foreign companies, for instance, because increased international trade is one of Moderaterna’s political goals.

    What makes the whole situation even worse is that there ARE many good, hard-working people with integrity working for Socialstyrelsen, but because of the politicos they are often prevented from doing what they’re supposed to – namely protect the public by raising awareness and signalling the alarm when they find something harmful in products or services (particularly in the healthcare sector). More than one person has been fired from their job after speaking out against their superiors in Socialstyrelsen, more often than not after presenting scientific evidence that something the higher-ups have deemed “okay” is in fact not at all okay.

    The “one smoke a day” thing is ancient history, really (it happened decades before I was born), but it illustrates the problem perfectly: Because Socialstyrelsen is largely controlled by the politicians, if said politicians consider something to be in their own interest (like making money from foreign companies wanting to sell tobacco, for instance, as was the case back then), then the rest of Socialstyrelsen has very little say in the matter, and anyone employed by the state (such as doctors, nurses, dentists, etc) risk losing their jobs for even so much as implying that something that’s been officially handed down by Socialstyrelsen may in fact be in error; back in the day of the “one smoke a day” thing, literally dozens of people in the healthcare sector lost their jobs because they spoke out against it, all the while citing scientific evidence that smoking was harmful.

    And although public awareness has *to an extent* been raised since those days (largely thanks to various media), the same thing does occur over and over again, only on a smaller scale. Because of this, “civilians” who actually take the time to do their own research are highly sceptical of Socialstyrelsen, as are many of the older/more experienced state-employed healthcare workers (though they will usually only speak out in private to their friends and relatives, as doing so in public would be pretty much guaranteed to lose them their jobs; in fact, the typical healthcare employee contract clearly states that saying or doing anything that goes against Socialstyrelsen’s “recommendations” is grounds for immediate dismissal). Younger, newly-graduated healthcare workers (whether they are doctors, nurses, dentists or whatever) are usually unaware of what’s going on, and will more often than not react with anger that anyone dares to question the “all-knowing” Socialstyrelsen.

    That’s the sad reality, m’fraid.

  15. Esentially what Heidar said, yes, and he seems to know more than me about them. I really wish we Swedes could get rid of our notion of ourself being uncorruptable as a country, since it pretty much garantees corruption will take place under blind eyes.

    I also *think*, but am to lazy to look it up, that they were behind or at least suported some not really nice things during our politically browner period. Racial hygiene, Compulsory sterilization and such hilarity. Important now? Well, no, mayhaps not. And it could be argued that they were merely a tool. But it still goes to show what such an instution *might* become in less pleasant times.

    And we live in post-modern times, and I would be one of it’s confused heralds. Nothing is true; at least not the first time you hear about it. If I care about something, I will try to look it up myself from different angles. And then, then I take a guess! Not saying everyone is lying, mind you, just that their truth might not by mine.

  16. I have read about the sterilization during the 40s-70s. I guess it was supported by Socialstyrelsen?

    Sometimes I feel Swedes are so proud of themselves that corruption isn’t possible. These Swedes usually point to Africa as being obviously corrupt compared to themselves; therefore they are not corrupt. Blind eyes for sure.

  17. Well, I’m not 100% sure, but it likely was, yes. As I wrote though, they’re really just a tool. I’d prefer if they were more like… say, SVT. As in getting money, but no one in poltiics having any power over them.

    Heh, I usually hear us compared to Italians. I think the blind-eye mechanic applies to alot of issues though, wherever humans may rear their cute little heads. Most free nation of all? Yeah, I’d prolly investigate that. Most democratic? Not for long. Most peaceloving? I’d be careful with them. These sorts of things needs to be watched, and occationally, or even continuelly, fought for.

    But to give us a little pat on the back: We like to consider ourself the most egalitarian nation, and weather true or not – the feminism debate is still living (though somewhat reduced), as it should be.

  18. Who is a Swede?
    A Swede is someone who self-identifies as a Sweden AND whom other Swedes in his community identifies as a Swede. I would put more emphasis on the latter part since some Swedes eschew their own ethnicity and pretend they are not Swedish.

  19. Ha! This is brilliant indeed! I do not think I have seen two Swedish guys ever say so much in a short period of time! ;)

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