11 Swedish lifestyle tips that will make you feel like a local


1. Just say hej to everybody

The Swedes took the paperwork a long time ago, so you can greet anyone from your partner’s mother to your doctor with a “”hey!

2. Avoid gossip like the plague

There is no need to go beyond a simple “hey!With a stranger however. Swedes are thrifty with words and only really speak to people they want to talk to. Chances are they don’t understand the value of foreign words beyond enough polite “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” to strangers.

3. Measure the year in weeks

Swedes will instinctively know what week it is without checking, especially if they work in education, at university, or have school-aged children. This is how they often refer to a date or time of the year, for example “I’ll be on vacation from week 26 to week 30”.

This can be confusing for people who are used to measuring the year in dates, like August 9th. If you want to cheat to follow your Swedish friends, there is a website to keep you posted.

4. Wear only black, white, gray or beige

Walking around a Swedish town can give the impression that there is a strictly regulated uniform that does not stray from black, white, gray or beige.

This is the unspoken fashion law in Sweden. Colors are off limits, except perhaps for the summer solstice, and even then white is preferred. Whether it’s a love of simplicity, natural elegance, or just the desire not to stand out, style-conscious Swedes almost always avoid bold colors and patterns.

A simple aesthetic is the key to Swedish style. Photo: FilippaK / imagebank.sweden.se

5. Take the whole month of July out of work

Hardly anyone is at work in July. The shops are closed and the streets of the city are empty as everyone heads to their summer homes to spend a few weeks. Most employers offer staff a minimum of 25 days of annual leave, and Swedes take much of it during the summer, especially when school ends in July.

Don’t be the only one handling emails in the office.

6. Get a sommarstuga

You will need something to do with all this free time, so why not renovate a country cabin?

About a fifth of the population is fortunate enough to own a summer home, and even more have access to it through family and friends.

You don’t have to buy one right away. In many places you can rent one on a yearly basis, and they are often much cheaper than the normal price in town. Some may not have running water or heating, but that’s part of their rustic charm.

7. Become one with nature

It’s no surprise that Swedes enjoy spending time outdoors in the vast expanses of forest that cover the country. Picking wild berries is something every Swede comes to in the summer. Even in winter, some more courageous souls can camp on snow-capped peaks. Wild swimming (with or without a swimsuit) is a culture staple, whatever the weather.

You’d be hard pressed to find a Swede who doesn’t have some sort of rugged outdoor hobby, be it Nordic surfing or LARP.

Some sommarstugas are basically glorified tents with wooden walls and a roof, but not much else. Photo: Martin Edström / imagebank.sweden.se

8. Don’t bother with the rounds

In Sweden, the concept of buying drink tours does not really exist. Everyone buys their own. It’s not about rudeness or selfishness – just necessity. Alcohol is so expensive in Sweden that you can barely afford a beer, let alone seven for the whole table.

So although you will be extremely popular if you offer to buy beer for everyone, it is not the right thing to do in Sweden.

9. Pull up the legs of your pants by about 10 centimeters

Even in winter you will see Swedes with their ankles exposed. This is called the Swedish ankle (by me). Swedes like to keep the hems of their pants high. Whether it’s a new trend, a throwback to 19th-century prudishness, or a way to show off a subtle, harmless flash of skin on summer nights that could be hotter, I wouldn’t know. tell you that, but you are more likely to see an ankle than an elbow in Sweden.

10. Follow the rules

Freedom is enshrined in the Swedish constitution, but it is a freedom that comes with reservations. Alcohol is restricted, drugs are severely criminalized, and people tend to stay within limits. You might see a few walkers, but that’s probably the extent of the typical Swedish law violation.

11. Know your Eurovision Song Contest

Even the most reserved Swedes will come out of their shell at Eurovision time. They will know all the songs, list the winners and outstanding artists from previous years, and scream wildly for their favorites. Add to that the cultural phenomenon that Melodifestivalen, where millions of people log in to decide on the country’s entry to Eurovision for the year and you have an event almost as big as the European Cup final.

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