Sweden is a Scandinavian nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. And there are quite a number of interesting facts about this egalitarian country.
For instance, how does the Swedish society hold the child? And for how long is parental allowance paid after the child born? Again, in case you arrive too early for a meal invitation, how do you pass time while waiting? And which flowers must you not take to the host’s wife?
Find out the answers to these and more in the following 12 interesting facts about Sweden.
Currency: Swedish krona
Population: 9.593 million (2013) World Bank
Official language: Swedish
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarch
King: Karl XVI Gustav
Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven
Interesting Facts About Sweden
1. EGALITARIAN AND HUMBLE
One key characteristic of Swedish culture is that they are egalitarian and humble. So when discussing with them, you must know that they find boasting absolutely unacceptable. You will find it interesting to know that Swedes prefer to listen to others as opposed to ensuring that their own voice is heard.
2. SOFT AND CALM
When speaking, Swedes usually speak softly and calmly. It is rare for you to witness a Swede displaying anger or strong emotion in public. In like manner, when dealing with them, they will find it distasteful to see you displaying such.
3. HOSPITABLE AND KIND
Swedes rarely take hospitality or kindness for granted. As such, they will often give thanks. For that reason they have come to believe that saying thanks means the receiver values the kindness. So, never fail to say thank you…it would be perceived negatively in Sweden.
4. MODERATE IN EVERYTHING
Behaviours in Sweden are strongly balanced towards ‘lagom’ or, ‘everything in moderation’. Extremes are highly abhorred in Sweden. As an example, “work hard and play hard” are not Swedish concepts. People work hard but not too hard; and they enjoy themselves, but not too much. Interesting!
5. CHILD WELFARE RIGHTS
As a visitor or one considering marrying a Swede, you will notice that rights Swedish families have to ensure they are able to care for their children are the best in the world. These include:
- As a parent, you are entitled to leave from work till your new born child reaches 18 months.
- As a parent you are entitled to reduce your workload by 25% till your child is 8 years old.
6. DADDY’S MONTHS
As a non-native man whose Swedish wife just had a baby, you have what is known as “Daddy’s months.” What this entails is that, for 480 days after the birth of the child, a parental allowance is paid that you and your wife share. The interesting part is that 60 of those days are meant for you as the ‘minority’ parent.
7. FAMILY FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS
As a visitor, you will notice that amusement parks, restaurants, and all such establishments have family friendly environments. Even on trains, you will find it interesting to see toys and play areas for kids. So, by all means, go to Sweden with your kids on a visit!
8. WAIT IN CAR OR STROLL
If invited to the home of a Swede for a meal, be punctual, but don’t arrive too early! You might find it interesting that sometimes, in Sweden, guests sit in the car until the last minute or walk around the block until the expected time of arrival has arrived!
9. DON’T ASK FOR TOUR
To honour meal invitations, dress smartly. Otherwise would be considered disrespectful to the hosts. Do not ask to see the rest of the house as Swedes are generally very private. Interesting also is the likelihood that the only room (other than the dining / sitting room) might be the bathroom.
10. TABLE MANNERS/ETIQUETTE
When eating, keep your hands in full view, with your wrists on top of the table, with knife in the right hand and fork in the left. Start eating only after the hostess has started. Do not take the last helping from a plate. Finish everything on your plate as it is considered rude to leave any food uneaten.
11. ALL ABOUT TOASTING
In Sweden, do not toast anyone more senior to you in age. When toasting, lift your glass and nod at everyone starting from those on your right and on to those on your left before taking a sip. The interesting part is that you must nod again before replacing your glass on the table.
12. FLOWERS TO AVOID GIVING
If you are invited to a Swede’s home it is suggested that you take a bouquet of flowers or, a box of chocolates. If you choose to give flowers, then avoid taking white lilies or chrysanthemums. The two flowers are typically given at funerals.