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Stockholm Sucks

A beautiful city, just be sure to avoid the Swedes


Concluding Remarks

In Swedish people’s defense, what I have interpreted as arrogance and detachment may be due simply to distrust of outsiders and cultural protectionism.  Or, even more simply, to my living in Stockholm during the dreary winter season.

Sweden has a unique and remarkably well preserved culture due to its geographic isolation and harsh winter climate that historically kept outsiders away. And I sense that they feel immigrants and outsiders are diluting what’s left of their proud and historic Swedish culture.

I am told that the Swedes in the Stureplan area are particularly rude and arrogant, but that Swedes from Göteborg and other surrounding cities are incredibly nice people.  But I have not been to Göteborg, and I have not been to Sweden during the summer, so I cannot comment on these alternatives.

Regardless, there is no excuse for the excessive rudeness and narcissistic behavior I have witnessed over the last three months.  Be it winter or summer, Stureplan or Gamla Stan, Stockholm or Göteborg, the world has become more open and will continue to bring new visitors to Sweden’s doorstep.

So, Dear Swedes, please check your egos at the door and teach yourselves some manners.

Not wanting to leave you on such a sour note, I invite you to view some fun Stockholm Videos from YouTube.


45 Responses to “Concluding Remarks”

  1. December 3rd, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Marco says:

    swedish people are cold and unfriendly when you first meet them, but once you get close to them, they can be very friendly.

  2. December 24th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Nigra says:

    Come to Göteborg and experience the good sides of Sweden.

  3. December 25th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Adam says:

    You’re right on so many points, however stockholm is known amongst us countryside swedes as the capital of arrogance. Like previously stated you’re more likely to meet friendly people outside of stockholm.

    Something which us swedes find rather rude/weird is that americans always say “Hi, how are you doing?” without asking an actual question.

  4. January 7th, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Felix says:

    Haha, oh I had a good laugh reading this :P While I am from Sweden and currently live here, I must say you are on the spot sir!

    But there are only 9 million of us here and we do have the winters most of the time, and during the summers, everyone goes to Thailand! So there aren’t always a lot of people to be social with, I find the streets of Stockholm to be very empty compared to, let’s say, Naples or Rome.

    No, the way to get the kind Swedes is either to a) Get to know them, then they’ll show you some manners or b) Get them drunk, that’s when they stop to get boring. Myself included.

    Although people don’t consider me to be boring, I am very shy and not THAT social, but when I party and drink, oh man, everything lets loose.

    And also, we have the most beautiful women in the world, and if you search closely, you might find the most intelligent AND beautiful woman in the world ^^

  5. March 24th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    JD says:

    I don’t know about the mos beautiful women…I you want to see beauty go to Brazil or the Dominican Republic…Just my opinion.

  6. April 20th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Seattle.

  7. April 20th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Jack says:

    Great article. Very informative. i was actually conemplating moving to sweden-i might have to rethink things.

  8. July 14th, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Jack says:

    It’s funny that someone should mention Seattle, because to be honest, I found Seattle to be very similar too. The thing is though, there were some really friendly people. I was served a coffee by a pretty young girl and when she heard my foreign accent she really got clingy and wanted to take me out and show me Seattle. She had friends who were similar too, and they were all in to rock music and seemed to cling to their friends quite desperately because I think they felt a bit like outsiders in their own town or something. But it was nice to see the young people stick together. In general, I have found Americans to be one of my favourite people. There are good ones and bad ones, but in general, they are nice people and they know how to run a country in my opinion… Restaurants, bars, tourist places, they are all run really well. I really like Americans.

    Swedish people however…. Well, you can see what I think on the first page.

  9. September 24th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Jeff says:

    I’ve had my fair share of Swedish woman and while they were entertaining at the beginning and easy on the eyes, I believe that Latin woman are the most loyal, giving and sexiest and hard to find other culture’s that come close. Although, I’m born and raised in New York but now live between Miami and LA. It’s hard to find quality in both places but does exist and luckily I find myself traveling most of the time.

    Latin woman are much more passionate than the Swedes

  10. October 28th, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Kevin Tubb says:

    I have been living in Alingsås near gotebörg for nearly 2 years now and it is time to move! I’m originally from England and at times I thought the British were rude, but the Swedes beat all nations including the French hands down. Coupled with the fact that they have all had a sense of humour bypass, it makes Sweden one of the most tediously boring and inhospitable places in the world to life!

    Stay well away!!!

  11. February 23rd, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Sofia says:

    Omg, ppl! Okay, yah, we can be rude, but that’s mostly Stockholm ppl. And whatever, you can find rude ppl wherever you go, Sweden ain’t bad. I can understand that you feel like it was no fun, Stockholm during the winter ain’t no fun, not to mention, they are pretty rude and antisocial, expecially in the beginning. But you know what? Go to the west coast during the summer, like not Gotenburg, but actually some smaller locationa a bit further up, and you’ll see a BIG difference! And hey, we don’t like just randomly start talking to ppl we don’t know, that’s just… we’re careful, okay? But, if you do start talking to us, we evantually start relaxing and being really nice. We’re shy ppl.

    I’m from Sweden, but I live in Alabama as an exchange student right now, and gosh, I love Sweden much more. I mean, we’re not that rude, we just like our space. We like to go outside on a walk, or go to the store without getting caught up talking to random strangers for forever! We like to do things fast and easy and get it overwith. Just because we’re not like yall, doesn’t mean we’re rude!!

  12. March 22nd, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Andréas says:

    Well if this is supposed to be some kind of conclusion, then I’ll write my conclusion of what I’ve read so far too.. I must say, I dont “recognize myself” in almost anything youve written. I always greet people I, if even remotely, know when I meet them in the street and always says “Hi” back to people who greet me, even if I dont know them.. And I feel that most people I meet are the same way. Maybe it is like someone stated, very clear-sighted if you ask me, that youre not really that use to the “customs” and cant expect people to act the same way as in i.e the US.. They who are use to it, notice the subtle things that makes it, not arrogant, but just the way that we are use to, and appreciate. Everybody’s different you know.. A good example someone stated was about all this “Hi, how are you?” that i.e Americans do all the time, but dont seem to mean it , or even want an answer to. Very strange and bordering to arrogance, to my ears. But hey, as I said, different people different customs, I dont whine. Maybe you could have made an effort in trying to see it from a different angle. Since heres mostly whiners who made commentarys I guess they probably just looking for a place like this, so they could whine a bit more.. But sure, you made some points and some things are probably “Swedish” in a bit less good way. We are not so “Large in our gestures” if you know what I mean. Were more for subtleties, maybe therefore the alleged coldness. But what do I know haha.. Finally theres just one thing that made me kinda halfcranky hehe, there was someone who made a comment on the humour(lessness).. That so wrong it could be, what I experienced! At least about the kind of people I hang around. I find the swedes having an intellegent, subtle ironical/satirical humour, often with self-distance. In contrary to the american humour which is just immature, the only thing that seems to work is either someone falling, hitting their head and/or groin, poo/farts or others misery. Even worse still, the british, how disappointed it was, a country who brought us Monty python and alikes, living there and discovering theyre just dull and loud..

  13. June 1st, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Frazer says:

    I am a Canadian living in Sweden. I must say you are complaining about life here in Sweden when you actually didn’t even experience Swedish living. What you are discussing seems like a long extended bad vacation. Not once in your bashing words did you mention how it was in the typical Swedish home. Well other than take your shoes off at the door.

    Sweden isn’t about bright lights and glamorous lifestyles. It is about healthy living, education and family traditions. It seems to me like your stay wasn’t about those things at all. It seems your stay was about being a snot nosed student that wants’ to get lucky on a night out on the town. I guess because of your business ethics and statics you were in the class that didn’t get any? (just an observation) I am sorry that your mentality was so short that you didn’t get to experience what Sweden has to offer. Even in the cold, wet, drizzly, dark winters.

    You were living in an upper class city setting. That is actually quite rare in Sweden over all. Also the people you are generally referring to are young students. Who are trying to find excitement just like yourself. Most young adults with a few drinks in them become annoying and irritable. But I guess you are American and prefer that they smile and say “Hi, How are you? Then come back later with a few guns and do a drive by shooting! (no offense to americans I was just stating a stereotype)

    I don’t know about any other person here but I find that Swedes in general have to do a lot of waiting for service. Most places you pick a number and wait for your number to be called. Just common sense if you ask me. I know that in Stockholm the Tunnelbana can be rather hectic during the rush times. But I find it quite mild compared to New York City or Toronto for that matter.

    As for your tomato story. Sounds like that little girl and her mom had a very rough moment. I have to ask though… Did you help them gather those tomatoes? Because you failed to mention in your bashing that you put on your cape and came to their rescue. I admit that living in Sweden has it’s moments where I wish that people would be more courteous. But for the most part swedes just don’t want to embarrass each other. They want to think of it as not a big deal. But you can continue to cry over spilt milk (or in this case tomato sauce)

    Just in case you are actually considering Sweden to live. Especially if you are from North America. It is different. Here in Sweden your health comes before the dollars. Your family comes before your work schedule. If you are sick you take the time off. Oh and the most horrible thing… You get five weeks off of work a year sometimes longer if you are that unfortunate.

    But really, The best thing about Sweden is the family lifestyle. Their traditions are simple but worth more than any ticket to an amusement park in the world. They enjoy their “Fika” times and they enjoy being with one another. They enjoy the summer months by soaking in the sun and reading a book. When the sun goes down in the winter; They ski, travel but mostly they are at home spending time with their families. Lighting up their windows with their non-tacky christmas lights, and enjoying every moment!

    If you are coming to Sweden for a vacation, try to come between May and September. I assure you, you will love the flowers and nature. The water fronts and the archipelago. If you are here for mid summer you will see some of the most wonderful Swedish traditions of music, dance, and yes even Swedes laughing and enjoying each others company. If you having a real good time dancing around that Maypole you might want to join in on the Surströmming and snaps tradition. Trust me you will never be the same again! hehe

  14. July 4th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Innia says:

    Most of the time we think something is INCORRECT because we don’t understand it.. or we think it’s wrong bec. we don’t fit in it.. Or we label something negatively just bec. of our bad experiences with it..

  15. July 7th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Robin says:

    To me it sounds like the creator of this site has a severe case of culture shock. Although alot of points that are brought up are valid to a degree or another it is mostly due to a difference in culture.

    I am myself a swede, but an expat having lived 3 years in Dublin and just recently moved to the Netherlands.

    It is funny because alot of the things that you are accusing the swedes of being, arrogant, cold, narcissistic, etc. the dutch are also being accused of by expats in this country. And this is yet again simply due to cultural differences.

    I’m not saying you are totally off in everything that you are saying, but that we view things differently.

    Where you might feel someone being distant/cold that person in turn is probably just leaving you space and privacy. Something I guess we have started to value up here in our isolated scarcely poluated north ;)

  16. July 11th, 2010 at 1:26 am

    Maria says:

    I just aggree with the fact that Swedes are extremely impolite, cold, arrogant and unfriendly. I spent almost five years in a town in Sweden I was very surprised by the fact that my Swedish neighbours would go back into their apartments and shut the door if we happened to open the doors at the same time. This was because in this way they would avoid saying hello!

    Also when I happened to enter the building the same time as one of the neighbours, if one of us took the elevator the other one would walk up the stairs just to avoid to be in the same elevator.

    Swedes themselves like to describe themselves as shy but I don´t agree with this because shyness is a lack of confidence. Swedes on the other have a lot of confidence to a degree of arrogance and also they continously go and suspect foreigners of all the possible and impossible incidents. They would hardly have a positive approach to you unless you are from an english speaking country and they have the intention of profiting from your language skills. They would love to show of that they speak english. But it stays there.

    Another striking thing with Swedes is that they are extremely outgoing and friendly when they are abroad to the extent that you think you have become very good friends with them because you have a lot of fun together but finally when you are in Sweden and you take contact with them they just let you down for reasons like I have to “wash my hair” or I have to wash my clothes so I can not meet you!!

    So their friendship abroad is just fake and they just profit from the situation to have some extra fun. But as soon as they leave the country and go back to Sweden you are forgotten as well!!

    Swedes are fake, negative, suspicious, unfriendly, cold and extremely impolite and racist to a degree that it is impossible to understand.

    I just feel sorry for foreigners who are obliged to, in one way or another, to live in sweden with these racist, unfriendly, arrogant and cold Swedes.

  17. July 22nd, 2010 at 1:38 am

    christopher says:

    I would like to say that the author of this website strikes me as your typical clueless, spineless, puppy-dog yankee prick who thinks everyone in the world should find him interesting and be immediately over-friendly in that fake-ass yankee manner that they call normal and everyone else calls insincere.
    I would rather live through a miserably cold and long winter with the rascist, unfriendly, arrogant and cold Swedes than spend 52 weeks a year on a sun-kissed tropical beach with you vacuous, self-absorbed, eternally-adolescent yankee idiots.
    Piss off back to America now, and stay there. You guys talk too much, and think too little.

  18. August 13th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Kim says:

    Okey, so I had a laugh reading this, but … excuse me? Am I the only one who sense the lack of “thought” in all of this? First of all, when we start talking about arrogance, arent the arrogant one the person who, after only a short time and only meeting a few people, decides that ALL of Sweden is the same?
    Eh … Okay … I´m sorry, I didn´t realise, I always thought I had a mind of my own and a free will, but I guess I dont – after all, I´m a Swedish girl and even though I have never EVER spoken so disrespectfully to anyone like the article talks about swedes, I guess you know better then me. If you met a few people that didnt get along with you, then I guess your right – I must be hateful, arrogant, narcissistic and coldhearted. (I would go on but I´m so sarcastic right now it almost chokes me)

    Honestly though, this is a very childish article. Had I been a little more lika my mom (who is a true, blond and blue-eyed swede, btw) I would have ignored this and taken it with calm. You see, thats how most swedes do things. They show respect for both space and feelings and at least the people in my life handle other cultures with respect, something that cant be said about you. Unfortunately Im not like my mom, Im like my dad – my very spanish dad. And I got his temper. Thats why I wont ignore it and since he always thought me to stand up for what I belive in, I´ll do just that and say : You are a very childish man.

    Now do the world a favour and learn this simple little lesson : Dont judge everyone by the same collar. Atleast then you might actually gain some real knowledge about the world.

  19. August 18th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Sean says:

    D: I am in Sweden now, and I love Sweden FUCK all of you. …stor rumpa.

  20. August 21st, 2010 at 10:56 am

    John says:

    You got it nailed. As a Uk resident living here for last 10 years i agree with the authors comments. Being married to a Swede brought me here and if it wasn’t for that and the 2 kids i’d would not have stayed.
    Climate in the south is ok not too cold great in summer, but it’s having to deal with boring miserable Swedes every day which is the main drawback. Courtesy is something that most of the human race has except here it would seem.
    Having worked in the middle east for a time i met my first Swedes their and the majority were slightly odd i thought. Trying to have a decent 2 way conversation is tough. Their is something wrong in the genes i expect.For a race to be this way is not normal.
    But the reason for it is still a mistery to me. Maybe they just dont like foreigners, but are afraid to come out and say it at speaking their mind is taboo. Any explanation would be welcomed by many i’m sure.

  21. September 17th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Johanna says:

    I’m Swedish and I agree, we can be weird sometimes. I think a lot of it has do to with the long and dark winters. It’s dark until 8 or 9 am and sun sets 3-4 pm. This doesn’t mean that we got 6 hours sunlight, it’s mostly cloudy and sometimes you don’t see the sun for weeks. some days you get very weak sunlight for an hour…

    You go to work and it’s pitch black, you go home and it’s pitch black. It’s difficult to see faces in the dark so we don’t say hello to the dark ghost that passes us in the street. Also very few people live in Sweden. I live in Uppsala, 4th biggest city with about 200-250 000 people. Sometimes when I go for a walk I meet very few people.

    It’s cold and dark so we spend most the year in our houses, not meeting many people. Swedes are also into perfection. When we have guests over the house should be clean, you need to provide homecocked food and you have to be wellrested and feel sociable. Swedes set high standards for everything: we need to look perfect, be healthy, work like crazy (it’s normal that both the man and woman work fulltime even after having children), take care of our children, be perfect hosts, have rewarding hobbies etc. On top of that we get no energy from the sun! We are exhausted :)

    Swedes are not good at being casual. Chit-chatting on the bus or having friends over in the middle of the week is not common, at least not in bigger cities. We are too serious and want perfection, we think we are robots. Social gatherings are exhausting for a lot of people. We get energy by being alone or with partners/friends and family that we know very well. With our loved ones we don’t need to be this perfect robot and we can finally relax and be a normal person.

    I saw a person commenting on Swedes going back into their apartment or taking the stairs to not be in the same elevator. Yes, it’s truly strange. I think we are just scared of the akwardness that can occur when you talk to a stranger and suddenly it ends and you don’t have anything more to say. Also we love our own company maybe because we are used to it. Going for a walk alone is normal, you don’t always have to have someone with you. I guess it’s our way of chilling out. Being alone. Swedes are rude if you compare to your own culture. But we don’t mean to, we are just not social geniuses and we are scared of not being perfect.

    It takes some time for us to “defrost” and you need to be gentle. Don’t try to make friends with a Swede in an agressive way or we will run the other way ;) When you get to know a Swede for real you will se a kind, loyal, intelligent and maybe even funny person! I promise :) But I know we are mysterious people.

  22. September 26th, 2010 at 12:08 am

    ruty says:

    When I was living in Sweden, I was very surprised about the fact that there are so many fake blonds among Swedish women. Why do Swedish women want to give the impression that they are blonds and spend so much money on colouring??

    And unfortunately the majority of the world belive that Swedish women are real blonds. In fact their hair colour is brown/light brown, as the Swedes themselves call it “ratcoloured”.

  23. September 27th, 2010 at 2:51 am

    A Swede says:

    As a Stockholmer and a Swede I loled. :D But to each their own… After living abroad for several years (Melbourne, Berlin, Singapore) I realised there’s no place I’d rather live than here. But I don’t expect everyone to reach the same conclusion. Good luck to you in life. :)

  24. October 12th, 2010 at 6:29 am

    K B says:

    It ain’t easy to be a foreigner in Sweden!!!

  25. October 12th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    cc says:

    I have relatives in Sweden and have to agree that at first they sound appealing (tall, blond, attractive, stylish). Then you spend some time there and realize a) they are incredibly standoffish, unless they are drunk, b) the most attractive ones have their heads up their butts, c) they are painfully superficial. They aren’t stylish because they are…they are stylish because they want to look better (or simple show they have spent more money) than other people. The extent to which women participate in this, and the extent to which they are ‘taken in’ by this nonsense is depressing.

    I watched this happen with my niece. She started out okay…at 14 she was still nice and relatively down to earth, by the time she was 18 I quite honestly couldn’t stand her personality anymore.

  26. October 22nd, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Liz says:

    The only thing anyone can say that has not been said is that if you want long meaningful, warm caring relationships with open and genuine people go to Latin America, Italy or anywhere else because here in Sweden you won’t find it!

  27. November 24th, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Chris McIver says:

    Swedes take a little time in building friendships – but when they bond its forever.

  28. November 26th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    HM says:

    Currently I live in Seattle, Washington, USA, where there is a very large Scandinavian population (generation upon generation of Norwegians, and especially Swedes). The social climate here is extremely similar, if not exactly as you describe it in your article. Where this was once a mystery to me before, it seems to explain things more and more as I research Scandanavian culture and social norms more and more. Unfortunately there’s no amount of research I can do that would change the fact that such habits and exchanges (or lack thereof) make for an unpleasant, awkward and very negative day to day life. Unhealthy.

  29. December 1st, 2010 at 4:18 am

    John says:

    Most of this is true.
    People never look you in the eyes and people don’t even say hello in the fucking elevator or stairs.
    They also have a hard time replying to your hi as if it costs them money or something.

    I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here.

    Something is very wrong in this city.

  30. December 10th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Amerikan says:

    I find this interesting. Firstly I’m a 32 year old male from the mountains of Kentucky. I now live in Columbus which is similiar in size to Stockholms population. I’ve worked with a Swede in Florida and he was somewhat reserved and quiet but polite. Growing up in Kentucky we had an exchange student from Goteborg and she was very friendly and nice. I don’t think either of them were pretending just because they were in America.

    I’m not Swedish but I take the same approach as Swedes do. I don’t want to speak to anyone in the elevator or passing on the sidewalk. When I am hiking I will say hello and people will say hello first as well. I think at those moments I open up to say hello because being in the woods they must be of like mind so a hello doesn’t hurt and their intention is harmless. A stranger walks up to me downtown and says hello, they must want something or be up to no good. I found this out years ago when I actually was friendly to someone who said hello and I said hi back only to have them attack me. Not interested in what anyone has to say friendly or not.
    I have my friends already and my family so I see no need to meet more people. With that said I see nothing wrong with common courtesy either. Holding open a door or helping a stranger who has dropped something doesn’t dedicate me to being their lifelong friend or even carrying out a conversation.

    Also as an American I NEVER ask “how someone is doing” If I do not know them personally a simple Hey is sufficient to greet people I’m not acquainted with. If I know the person personally why ask them how they are doing? If I interact with them often I should already know how they are doing. So it’s a pointless stupid greeting.

    I think isolated regions of the US, like where I am from we tend to be more like the Swedes, we want our space and don’t want to be bothered with needless chatter and questions.

  31. January 9th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    turkish says:

    I have been living in Stockholm for a year now and I cannot agree more with the author of this article. I always thought myself to be open to communicate. I ended up talking to no one. Since I came here for a job position, I started to regret it. I came here not because I didn’t have a choice. However, many immigrants didn’t have a choice and has nothing to do in their own countries. Swedish people’s first questions are “where are you from”, “what are you doing here”. If you answer those questions on my behalf, you will be ended up with their silence. They don’t want to talk with their immigrant “working” class or “slaves”. They are too much of it. However, I met couple of cab drivers who are from Iran, couldn’t find a fitting job like being a surgeon in a hospital, a professor in a university so they ended up with being a cab drivers. Swedes don’t want you to take their precious jobs either. They are reserved for themselves. This closed society deserves to be lonely in order to learn their mistakes. %5 of their people are practicably Nazis. (racist party is now in the parliamentary)

    I first denied that these “educated” people couldn’t possibly make those kind of judgments. After time living here for a while, even though they will never say segregation exists, they will definitely behave in that way. I made friends in Stockholm where they are from outside of Sweden were all confirming what I just said. They behave totally different than what they talk.

    Metros are quiet. People in the bars are very distant (I have dark hair, and dark eyes, which gives away my origin probably). My colleagues (swedish) are very distant and refusing the communicate in English (most of the time I don’t know what the fuck is going on in the office) I put all my energy to melt the ices. They sucked all my energy and hope for this city. I haven’t seen so much shallowness, arrogance, clever dickness in a nation wide Sweden people rather than any in other country.

    Oh, like I said, I have a choice. Soon, I am fucking leaving this country for good. In the new era, Sweden will lack of development because they probably kick every immigrant out of the country in a psychological way or just by force who do their fucking actual work for slow, lazy ass Swedes.

  32. April 7th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Sven says:

    Sounds like any big city or small, more people more percentage of rude, less people less people rude.

  33. August 27th, 2011 at 7:26 am

    cleland says:

    i’m an american expat. i’ve lived in stockholm for the past 10 years and i wish i had seen this site 10 years ago. so true, so true.

  34. December 13th, 2011 at 7:00 am

    scooby says:

    Hi all!

    Very interesting the comments made on this site.

    I have lived in the South of Sweden for ten years now in a village and have been married to a Swedish woman for 25 years, having both lived in London prior to moving here.

    I can really relate to the many comments made here, at first, I thought it just needed time to integrate into this country.

    But, it seems Swedes have fundamental flaws in their personality makeup and I can say, your experience of this or acceptance in this society does not improve with time.

    First, Swedes are basically rascist despite their frequent claims to be not, they appear to be in a state of self-denial. This I have witnessed on many occasions, from youth footballers bring called ‘negers’ to Växjö university having a ‘Neger party’ it reminds of how London was in the seventies.

    Second, Swedes have absolutely no personal manners and appear as being extremely rude and ignorant people and this can be witnessed daily, From a lack of a personal greeting, to lack of eye contact and just lack of acknowledgement of another person. the word ‘thank you’ is not used as in most other civilised countries. For example, as a motorist stopping at a zebra crossing in Sweden the foreigner is immediately recognised for they are the only persons to say or wave ‘thankyou’ whereas Swedes believe it is their right and completely blank you, starring into oblivion. On a recent visit to a pub in the nearest large town the amount of times I was knocked into without even a ‘sorry’, I lost count after ten times.

    Third, Swedes by nature are extremely jealous people, nothing of which I have seen before, Further, everyone must be the same and noboby can be better than anyone else. This was shown when our two children aged 9 and 11 years started school here in Sweden, having attended UK schools before from the age of five. We were informed by the school that they considered their English only to be one year higher than the other Swedish pupils, such is their arrogance, we were flabbergasted to say the least.

    All Swedes believe they are much better than they actually are, maybe a bit of a big fish in a small pond syndrome thing.

    As Cleland says, I wish I had seen this site before, since ten years is long time to keep this thoughts to yourself. Although all my family and friends always commented on rude and unfriendly Swedes when visiting us.

    Maybe if their actions during the Second World war were examined more closely then their true personality traits can be seen…(lying bastards!)

    We are now considering our future here.

    A lovely country, just a shame about the people!

  35. December 30th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Nicola says:

    My husband and I used to watch a cooking show (No Reservations) with Anthony Bourdain who travelled around the world. Each episode was of another country. The shows were so exciting and he was so hilarious and brash but also a brilliant & adventurous cook and the camera work was great and so on.

    Until they got to Sweden. As if someone was all of a sudden kicking us, the viewers, in the shin. You could see that Bourdain was also not in his element. His jokes were rebuffed and the food that he discussed or cooked was extremely boring. Just from watching that episode I completely understand this article.

    However, in defense of the Swedes, it may take a while to get to know them and if you click, you probably will have a friend for life. It’s the people that fly around your neck that are unreliable and fly-by-night friends.

    Unfortunately, transients rarely have time (several years) to experience the loyal Swedes that way (and they could still be boring, but that can be the case in any country).

    Personally I find South Africa the friendliest country in the world (and one of the most beautiful), but it’s also one of the least safe. Can’t win, hey?

  36. February 1st, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Grasshopper says:

    One more thing: I worked for the Virgin Group for several years in California prior to moving to Sweden (due to my beautiful blonde haired/blue eyed fiancée). I met Richard Branson numerous times. Funny that the guy you claim doesn’t like Swedes has his Virgin Galactic headquarters in Swedish Lappland.

    Yeah, Sir Richard really hates the Swedes. Shaking my head.

  37. February 20th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Pete says:

    Been there recently, saw all that. These people are somewhat paradoxical, being very attractive physically (average girls look stunning to my foreigner eyes) but really standoffish and cold, almost to the point of rudeness or hostility.

    Ah yes, I forgot to tell you, Swedes are easily, by far, the most BORING people on this sorry planet.

  38. March 8th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Pickle says:

    I 100% agree with Maria’s comments, if I ever were to describe my experience in Sweden to someone, I’ll just use whatever she has typed.

  39. April 10th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Tobias says:

    To be swedish is to be part of a exlusive club where almost members are legacy-members. You can’t simply move to Sweden and expect to become a member of the club, it simply don’t work that why.

    Sweden operates on a code of conduct that differs from most other countries. It’s what makes Sweden great and it’s what makes Sweden bad.

    Two key points in this code of conduct is efficiency and trust. Everyone does there part with little of no friction and everyone trust everyone else to do there part the same way. The result is a well-oiled economic machine, a highly productive workforce and 0% corruption.

    The result is also that outsiders are distrusted. They are not part of the club, they can not be trusted to do there part.

    From these sense of efficiency comes the hatred for “nonsense”-talk. Swedens diplomats and politicans for example hate politicans from Latin-Europe because according to swedes they never talk about the real issues just “nonsense”. The Latin-american politicas off course think that swedes are rude, offensive and arrogant because they are uninterested in exchanging the niceities they belive are so necessary for a good working environment.

    One poster (Jack mentioned a swede in an international working-group critizing other peoples work and according to Jack was being rude. When called on it he did not back down but insted defendes his position. This is an exempel of how Swedes work. They expect high efficiency in the workplace and they expect everyones work to be open to criticism so it can be made more efficent. They don’t care that they are “rude”, rudeness in Sweden is not that you criticies people. Rudeness in Sweden is that you try to take up space.

    For example a swede in a business-meeting telling another swede that there work is subpar is not rude. But a Swede taking up a lot of time during a business-meeting with “nonsens”-talk is considerd extremly rude because he is not efficent and wasting peoples time (wasting time is considered very rude).

    You will notice this efficiency is shops as well. There will often be few sells-people and if you want service you usally have to ask for it. To have people “standing around” just waiting to help is not the swedish way.


    To become friends with a swede takes time. Usally at least a year. Swedes often form there friendships early in life and usually only have a small group of friends they associate with.

    If you want to become friends with a swede the best why is to invite them to small social gatherings. Not so many people so that they can disapper into themselves or just hang with there friends but not so few that they feel like they take up to much space (which is rude). Inviting 6-8 people over for dinner is perfect to get to know swedes.

    “Fika” is also a great way of geting to know swedes. To fika is to drink coffee and eating a pastery in a small bakery. During “fika” is when swedes socialise and talk about life.

    But if you truly want to be friends with a swede you need to (binge)drink togheter. Swedes just don’t seam to accept people as friends before they have been wasted together. This is of course one of the reason why it’s hard to befriend older swedes – they don’t (bing)drink that often.


    If you want to be accepted as part of the swedish “club” there is only one way – master swedish. And I mean master, not just learn to talk a bit. Swedes usally finds it irritating when foreigners try to talk swedish (after all they know english and you know english so it’s more efficent to talk english directly). This of course makes it very hard to learn swedish and even harder to master it.

    Language is how swedes separate “us” from “them”. That is also why sweden have such large problems with immigration. Older immigrations that can’t learn the language perfectly are never accepted as swedes. Children of immigrants that don’t speak “proper” swedish because there parents don’t master it are not considered swedes but “secund or sometimes third(!) generation immigrants”. The comment made by turkish ( is one-sided but probably quite accurate on how it is to live permanantly in sweden and not being part of the club.

    For most foreigners the door to Country Club Sweden remains closed.

  40. April 21st, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Pat says:

    Self assured, and self reliant is how I would describe the Swedes I’ve met, and most seem practical in a manner which would not be viewed as attractive by American standards.

    As such an old culture, they no doubt have endured much from their European counterparts that has bred out of them a mentality of blind faith in humanity, causing a degree of protectionism that may seem cold but isn’t. Like many other ethnically isolated groups, openness is not necessarily their style, and warmth may be something that needs to be cultivated, but placed in its proper context, as secondary to their own social and cultural welfare, and perhaps rightfully so. They’ve been successful at interpreting social cues for 1,000 years now, and are still going strong, and still vital as members of the human race, not especially prone to fads or frivolity where human sensibility is concerned. There are many who would do well to emulate some of their more humane qualities and their philosophies rather than to leave themselves open to ethnic and social assimilation to a point where they no longer have a culture to look back upon as a social history. Some countries are assimilated out of existence.

  41. April 26th, 2012 at 5:10 am

    bix says:

    Well, too bad you’ve based your opinions on observations from a few blocks known to most swedes as having the highest number of dickheads in the country (or maybe the world – since that is the rethoric we’ve chosen). Given your pretty limited experience of sweden and swedes, I (who is a swede but moved to Stockholm a few years ago) would conclude that Yes, you are propably right. At least about the women…

  42. June 20th, 2012 at 1:23 am

    ed says:

    I try my very best to be level-headed and open minded and take Swedish society for what it is. All societies are good and bad in their ways. I think the problem that is being raised here is that one of Sweden’s downsides is that it is indeed a closed society. They are very good at public relations and don’t like to look bad at an individual or national level – see Eurovision song contest. They will spend lots of time and money producing reports about social ills, including immigration, and make sure that all boxes are ticked and then they can say ‘look, we have no problem here, we did a report, and published it, its true we really are the best people in the world.’ On an individual level, getting someone to actually give you help is nigh on impossible. As an immigrant, from wherever, you are pretty much an underclass. You will be ground down, moulded to the Swedish way before you start to exist. This isn’t necessarily a conscious effort on the part of the Swedes but this is what Swedes go through from day 1 in life. Learn the social rules. If you are arriving in Sweden as an adult, you are way, way behind. They don’t tolerate people being different. Amongst themselves they are not different. There is a homogeneity in Sweden that I would have never thought possible. Sure there are metal bands and interesting art but you can bet your bottom dollar those bands and artists used quasi- state run organizations to develop their ideas. Very little happens in Sweden through private initiative or spontaneously. It feels like somewhere between life and death. Lets temper this argument, there are nice people in Sweden, there are lots of nice people in Sweden, there are intelligent people, and creative people but there is a spark missing. In Sweden, Sweden is the most important thing. I believe the state to be a rather outdated concept. What makes Sweden unusual with its xenophobia is that they do their utmost not to appear to be that way. But they are. Not racist, but xenophobic. Frightened of strangers. You will get some novelty value here for a while as a foreigner and people will be friendly but you will never be part of their club. They are not outwardly thinking enough to be able to handle other peoples ideas and ways at looking at life. So they stick with their own. Its pretty much how any right wing person in any other society wishes their society was. Holding on to traditions, language and social rules with dear life before they got washed away in a sea of color and chaos.

    I was in a meeting with a nice man from the regional business organization yesterday who was boasting that his well paid job meant he didn’t have to do much besides drink coffee, chat and attend meetings. He has very kindly got me in touch with someone he claims actually does something at Arbetsformedling in order that i might get some work experience because pretty much all doors are closed in Sweden. I have no idea what the entitlement is but to me that sums up Sweden. Lots of people working in pointless jobs, doing very little, ticking the right boxes, recycling tax money. It seems that the motivation is not to achieve on a personal level but to be seen to be achieving on a societal level. What you actually do is irrelevant.

    Having said all of this, people I have met who have escaped to the forests are not like this. They are more genuine and practical and critical of the Swedish system. If they are not going mad with solitude.

    I ended up here, like so many others, because of a relationship. My professional and creative aspirations are all but dead if I stay here. If i spend a few years learning the language, a language that is not a transferrable skill, and rules, also not particularly useful in any other context, then I might get myself onto a pointless social project and join the other 30% of Swedish labour market sucking on the taxpayers feet.

    I think Sweden suits some foreign people, if you are a refugee then its a darn sight better than where you came from. If you are from any other developed country it has a lot of things that are pretty hard to swallow. For me, the pretense that this is some sort of model society is the hardest. When it very clearly isn’t.

    ‘there aint nothing more powerful than the odor of mendacity’ to quote cat on a hot tin roof.

  43. July 12th, 2012 at 4:38 am

    nvd says:

    Surely enough, the replies are much more interesting than the article itself. This discussion has been going on for 4

    years on this page!

    I have been living in a comparatively smaller city than Stockholm, Linkoping for 3 years.

    I belong to Pakistan, the place where social security is close to none. Coming to Sweden was a different experience.

    Beautiful, respectful but reserved and boring people except when drunk.

    Most of the people are complaining against the society and Swedes. We travel around the world to see the change

    and Sweden provides that in a magnificent and brilliant way but then some start to whine as hell.

    Not judging the pond through one fish, they are not jealous or racist. They are just different from most of the world

    which explains why there are so many critical comments. I do not see any problem with them being different.

    It is the social and geographical isolation of many years that has preserved a specific way of behavior. The social clues

    are quite feeble here. A small smile with warmth mean “How are you?” in an affirmative and respectful manner.

    Though eye contact is avoided, blame the cold and dark winters, you will always get a positive reply with a smile if

    that ever happens.

    Yes, individual level thinking or working is not that much important and that keeps the country and welfare system

    together. Just have a look at countries where a few rich people have taken away “food on the table” from many.

    With such a social system, there is no fear of dying out of uncured sickness or hunger. There are few examples like

    this in the world.

    I have felt the discrimination sometimes but where in the world would you not find racist people?
    Such negative feelings are taken away by other 99% friendly people if one just don’t shut oneself up forever.

    Yes, it is a boring country. It was quite peaceful before it got boring. We are never happy with what we have. We

    need change as humans and that’s why people strive for new experiences all the time.

    If there a lot of people around, there are many social obligations which take away inner peace. Sweden gives the

    personal independence and frees one from guilt associated with occasional “improper” social behavior in other parts

    of the world. That’s why hollywood celebrities appreciate being here without being asked for autographs on every

    turn of a street.

    Yes they are scared of strangers just like a remote tribe in a jungle unless you speak the same language. That’s why

    not so many people know about its existence on the map.
    I personally feel closer towards people who speak my language. Does it imply that I am a racist? Mother language

    stimulates some deep embedded memories and brings a stranger closer.

    I have got equal respect all the time during my stay and some people who are complaining here even after living for

    10 or more years just got stuck to the first impression.
    Their memories got frozen. Blame the winters. ;)
    Generally, it is easy on mind to assume and fix a specific definition rather than to reevaluate the assumptions as new

    experiences pop up.

    Regarding the attitude towards refugees and immigrants, it is quite natural. Sweden is not a mixed society. It has

    seen inrush of people mostly from poorer countries. Most, if not all, of them came without proper work skills. Not

    surprisingly, local simple minded Swedes have been exploited by a few of them that has earned a bad name for all.

    People are talking about cultural shocks. Swedes are seeing one while being in their own country as it moves

    through a transition from “Swedes only” to a multicultural society.

    No one is underclass here. Just be impartial and observe honestly without doubt. The son of my boss has been

    cleaning my room. What is the problem if one drives a cab? Being a holder of Engineering degree, I never felt strange

    about distributing the newspapers.
    Most of the students do it here and they are happy with that.
    People from class based countries also bring the class related work sense where the type of work defines the social

    status. I am now working full time and am doing what I wanted to do in life. It gives me a good feeling to contribute

    to a socirty that has a lot to offer.

    To sum up, I would suggest either to engulf it or spit it. Do not stand in the middle of the road. Reject the society and

    leave or live and stop whining. It is quite conspicuous that all who decide to live here have some good reasons; a

    blonde and sweet chick or a good work life.

  44. October 28th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Dillweed says:

    any normal loser geek always thinks the beautiful girl is stand-offish, snobby and aloof,

    – whether it is in US high school or Marseille elementary school –

    simply because the loser isnt getting her attention. Then imagine a whole population where all the girls are beautiful – then the loser non-Swedes feel left out, not getting to sample these amazonian tall blondes… just think about. You are probably a loser

    All you complainers are mere losers

  45. November 19th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Nat S C says:

    I have to say you are right to 99% and right on, even though it feels hard to admit! I myself a Swedish girl who attended SSE (Handels) few years ago, and on top of that being from same generation as our price/princesses. You have got it so right, from the arrogance to following in the royal family’s lead. I could only add that boys are so arrogant and not willing to lift a finger for trying to get your interest as a girl, a combination of to many pretty girls to eager to get attention of men. As a girl with exotic good brunette looks due to immigrant parents, I only need to cross the border to Norway and Denmark to be worshiped by contrasting blond boys. But back home in Stockholm I’d go unnoticed by, even rejected in some clubs for not having the trade mark platinum hair! I now live in Copenhagen and don’t miss the arrogance of Stockholm a bit…SSE being the most concentrated form of it’s empty arrogance!

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