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Stockholm Sucks

A beautiful city, just be sure to avoid the Swedes


Swedish Etiquette

Sweden is the only country in the world where I have seen more public spitting than in China. When I was in Beijing, I remember thinking, ‘wow – the Chinese spit a lot’. Well I’ve got news for you Beijing, you’ve got nothing on the Swedes. The Swedes will out-spit the Chinese any day of the week. Walking around Stockholm in the winter on a Friday or Saturday night is especially treacherous.

Sweden Etiquette

Sweden Etiquette

The guys and girls (yes girls) chew snus (a tobacco product similar to snuff), which elicits a spitting reaction. The grade school kids like to imitate the older folks, so they join in on the spitting. The result is nothing less than a veritable minefield of spit checkering the sidewalks that must be danced around on your way down Kungsgatan to Stureplan. Yes, that’s what shoes are for, but still, it’s disgusting. The Swedes abide by a universal custom: Never wear your shoes indoors. Now you know why.

Harmless disgusting habits are one thing, but downright rudeness is another. And the Swedes are, hands down, the rudest people I have ever met. I assure you, you will experience more civility in a back alley in The Bronx, New York than in Stockholm.

Somewhere in history, when the Swedish Kings were breeding blond hair, blue eyes, and broad shoulders into their minions, they forgot to include social awareness, empathy, and common courtesy. Even the bartenders in Tijuana have the munificence to give you free shots of tequila, a pat on the back, and a big smile before they attempt to swindle you. The Swedes do it with a straight face and without a hint of sympathy. But the Swedes aren’t after your money; they’re after your space. If you happen to be occupying a space they want, be that in line for the bathroom, coat check, bar, or even at McDonalds, you’ll get boxed out quicker than you can say Shaquille O’Neal. In Sweden, its ‘first come, first served’, regardless of who’s in front of you.

Read on for Merry Christmas, from Stockholm


94 Responses to “Swedish Etiquette”

  1. June 23rd, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Davide says:

    you need to go there in the summer. the swedes are cranky and depressed during the winter. there are no nicer folk than drunk swedes at the beach over the summer…

  2. December 3rd, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Grant says:

    i spent some time up there over the summer and i didn’t see any spitting

  3. December 26th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Grim says:

    Too bad you had such an unpleasant experience here in Sweden. I don’t live in Stockholm though, and I do agree that the people there can be unfriendly, especially in the winter.

    And don’t tell them that you’re American if you would ever come back here, we Swedes really don’t like people from the states, and that might be one of the reasons why you got threated so unpleasant.


  4. February 16th, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Anonymous says:

    “we Swedes really don’t like people from the states”
    I’m sorry but that is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Sweden is a small country but there are still 9 million people living here. How can you possibly know that Swedish people dislikes American people?

  5. February 16th, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Thomas says:

    That also goes for giving directions on the street. The tourist guide book Lonely Planet’s Stockholm edition (of 2001) actually warned people against asking for directions. People will answer your question, and no more. If they don’t know they will say that they don’t know and continue walking.

  6. April 20th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Anonymous says:

    Dear anonymous,

    Actually, it’s not that funny. While the statement might be a generalisation, American unpopularity has been growing all around the world and mocking statements like “I’m sorry but that is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time” haven’t helped to counter the reputation for American arrogance.

  7. April 23rd, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    borth says:

    Here in Mexico, people loves Americans, and swedish and all that people coming from northamerica or Europe or Argentina. That’s because of a sindrome called ‘Malinchismo’, where mexican thinks people from the outside are better. I work for an American company and I do agree with the last Anonymous: Americans are very arrogant.

  8. May 23rd, 2009 at 3:55 pm


    Yes, the writer is is disgusting, I dread going out, once spring starts, because, you know you have to deal with the no mannered majority of Swedes, who yes, spit right in front of you, on the sidewalk, no discretion, it seems almost everyone smokes, because you cannot avoid smoke being puffed right up your nostril…i am the sensitive one, because I am allergic to smoke. Many days I just burst into tears, because there are sooo many infractions here….people here are just ignorant and totally oblvious! The gook on the street and sidewalks will make you baff, yes, it happened to me many times, germs, germs, the new swine flu, God help us if it comes here, because most people who sneeze do not even know that they should cover their mouths…that is another thing…they have absolutely no manners. I dont know why swedes get upset when the truth is spoken, a fact is a fact, there is so much more I could write, but the Swedish goverment need to fine people for spitting in the street, is is downright nasty and germsy!

  9. May 23rd, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Factarefacts says:

    Yes, quite a bit of Swedes are rude, cold and callous! You only need to come and visit and see what kind of service you will get, as a tourist in this town. I mean they do not even greet you when you walk into the shops, its like you are dong them a big favour! And yes, I too have experienced the spitting thing, it is digusting, how is it that people can do this, without even thinking about ethics, is beyond me, its embarassing, but if you have to, just step to the side and do it discreetly. As for the smoking, ohh yes, we went to this drotningholm park, people were everywhere, having picnic and catching the sun, but boy the smoking was unbearable, we had to get up 4 times to find a spot where smoking was minimal….for people who claim they are environmentally conscious, boy whats with the smoking people! I saw kids actually smoking, could not be any more than 14, 15, but I understand they start very young in sweden doing many things…..also heard how wild the kids are, drinking, smoking, sleeping out at early age at boyfriend or girlfriend house….heard they call this independency! So what does the parents do, when the kids roam the street all day..hmmmm interesting!

  10. May 27th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    HairySwede says:

    snus doesnt cause spitting. thats the whole point of it.

  11. June 5th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Anonymous says:

    If you don’t like it, why don’t you move home? Very few Swedish women uses “snus”, perhaps 1 in 10,000. No Swedes chew tobacco, Americans do. Swedes put it under their upper lip.

  12. June 14th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    mike leyva says:

    thats not true. swedish girls are the friendliest. my girlfriend is swedish. as far as spitting thats also unheard off.

  13. July 12th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Jim says:

    Yeah they do spit quite alot mainly due to the snus, and yes the customer service is frankly the worst I have ever experienced and yes they are pretty cold and stand offish, and i do find it strange that they think its fine to shoulder charge you out of the way – but if you can get past that there are plenty of nice people here. In stockholm in particularly there are plenty of very vain and fairly stupid and blinkered people around and in defense of americans while they can be pretty arrogant see what happens if you say something even slightly less than complementary about sweden to a swede. There is a belief amongst swedes that sweden is simply the best country in the world, everything in sweden is apparently perfect and the bits that aren’t are down to the immigrants who are spoiling everything by have dark complexions and have ambition…

    However getting back to my point – if you meet average everyday swedes they are good company and nice people – just not the most welcoming people in the world. Given that there are plently of other places in europe where the people are nicer to strangers (including crazily germany) I would suggest possibly not going on holidays here… even denmark or norway are actually more welcoming places…

  14. November 16th, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Mac says:

    @To the author of this article – Yes, all Swedes are rude and all Americans are arrogant. Because I’ve met Americans who are, both on the Internet (e.g. you) and in real life and that means I have enough insight to know that all Americans are like that. Right? At least according to your logic (if you have any).

    However, luckily enough, I’m not as arrogant, narcissistic, self-centered and judgmental as you, so I don’t see it that way. I think you should try to understand the Swedish culture rather than judging it. Try to understand why it is in a certain way and accept and even embrace it’s differences, rather than dismissing it because of it’s differences.

    Yes, there may be certain things you don’t like but cultures are different from each other and just because something is different than to what you’re used to doesn’t mean it’s worse. I’m not asking you to love everything about the Swedish culture, there will always be things you like and things you don’t, but you could at least accept it.

    P.S Having been in Stockholm does not give you enough cultural insight of Sweden to understand and know the whole country and it’s population. If you want to know Sweden and Swedes go outside of the capital, as well! You will be surprised at how different it is from Stockholm.

  15. December 17th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    butilovemyswede says:

    I’m from the States and my boyfriend is from Sweden, whom, by the way, has plenty of etiquette. I’m flying to Sweden for the first time to meet his family and friends in a few days, but your post scares me! I hope your incorrect about all Swedes hating people from the states, because I’d be in pretty big trouble if it was true.. I’m a little Californian girl that knows close to no Swedish and will be under harsh scrutiny next week, so I hope they’re nicer than you say.

    I do, on the other hand, have some racist and arrogant Stockholm-Swedish friends in Los Angeles.. what assholes they are.. but I don’t think you can generalize on the entire Swedish population. We so often fail to see the good in people, and the bad seems to consequentially become accentuated. Have a little faith in people and respect for cultural differences – maybe if people didn’t feel so judged, they might be nicer :)

  16. February 14th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    sapphire says:

    You haven’t been to India then. They spit everywhere. Swedes have nothing on them.

  17. March 13th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Open and Reserved People - World - Page 2 - City-Data Forum says:

    […] was just reminded of the word "standoffish" by a comment in this blog entry: Swedish Etiquette – Stockholm Swedes are actually very rude | Stockholm Sucks Perhaps "standoffish" is a better to word to use in this […]

  18. March 19th, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Scuba Sid says:

    Met a few swedes in Thailand, some are ok, girls not to bad to look at, but most were as dull as dish water.


  19. April 5th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    thor says:

    hi. I’m a swede who left that country 30 years ago, reluctantly visited family in 2002, could not wait to get on the plane OUT OF THERE. Sweden is a Godless spirituall desert, due to decades of socialism, people are totally empty and conformists, taking on personas and behaviours in line with the “unseen, unspoken, code of “the socialistic correctness” they don’t know it themselves, they are indoctrinated to believe they are free, democratic and right in every way, to the point where they tell other countrys how to run their business. The zionist influence, through socialism and communism which the jews invented, has quietly , slowly, but deliberate and methodically eroded what was once sweden, and the swedish “way”, strong, upright, with a strong sense loyalty to there own, nationalism. The swedish narcissism, so well known, is a subcontious rebellion against the control and surpression of individuality, and freedom of choice. Corruption nepotism and the secret love of money and status, is really at the core of swedish society, but try to tell them that!!! Narcissists can’t be told, that is the primary symptom, pathological denial, The Zionists, under the guise of socialism, have got them just where they want, ready to be exploited, for the zionist plan of world dominance, if anyone can see what I can see, in sweden or elsewhere please contact me, EM. Regards Thor

  20. May 4th, 2010 at 6:11 am

    NoNo says:

    Hi…. I’m a swede, been living here my whole life. We don’t greet customers because we see privacy as an important thing. We don’t give pats on the back to strangers, due to privacy. We don’t ask customers in a store if they want help, because that is, yet again, breaking the privacy.

    We do spit a little, but no where near as bad as the original poster write.

    We don’t smoke more than any other country, I’d probably say quite the opposite considering most smokers here in sweden switch to snus.

    We might be seen as cold, but we are just very concerned about privacy. If you ever befriend a swede, you’ll see that we are more relaxed.

  21. May 30th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    SwissChocolat says:

    Thanks to everybody to all of these very interesting informations about the swedes – it is a good preparation for our journey through Sweden. As I read in a german book, the swedes seem to be quite reserved, don’t like conflicts and if you like to talk to them, ask better for a hammer and nail, don’t ask for personal opinions. You must not show your talents and it is a virtue to be modest. Privacy is very important and the real face you may only see with very close friends and in the family. Many of the behaviors are developed during centuries and not meant as a offense. But it seems sometimes very difficult to see it this way – specially for extrovert people. How really it is – we will see soon (hopefully).

  22. June 26th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Anja says:

    I am of Swedish decent and was shocked to visit at how slutty the girls were- they acted worse than spring breakers in cancun. Just sleeeping around, no self respect and throwing themselves at anyone with a fat wallet. Really you would want to get an STD check before marrying a Swedish girl!

  23. June 29th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    joz says:

    Wow, I wish I was in Sweden. Sexy to see blondes spitting

  24. July 23rd, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Roslyn says:

    I have a Swedish SIL and assumed that she just didn’t like to me as she never replies to letters, e-mails etc or even cards. On brief visit to Uppsala can’t say was made very welcome – I am a Scottish person and not into hugging acquantances but felt very out of it.

  25. July 31st, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Dalia says:

    Sooooooo Trueeeeee, so rude and ugly to see that, no manners at alllllllll.
    Pathetic easily

  26. August 19th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    T. says:

    Hey! I’ve had many of the same experiences here. I’m from Norway, so I haven’t travelled as far as you, and Norwegians and Swedes are quite similar. Still I was shocked when I moved here. It’s very hard to get to know people, even the ones you feel you have a lot in common with. They seem to separate work/school from private life very much and they’re always in a social group. They seem to never time for you. Maybe it’s about me, but I have talked to MANY others who have experienced the same here.

  27. September 13th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Jonathan says:

    Dude. Go geek somewhere with your world of warcraft which u guys seem to love hell a lot in USA, and maybe the only thing you’re good at.

    I was living in chicago for a couple of months. And gosh, stupid and boring people.

  28. September 13th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Swedenson says:

    Jonathan – no world of warcraft here. you’ve got the wrong guy. I’m the social, outgoing, athletic type that plays a lot of sports and has always been very involved with extracurriculars in school, work, clubs, etc.

    Chicago is actually a great city full of friendly people. I think you’re wrong there too.

  29. September 16th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    b2b telemarketing says:

    I would like to visit in the summer. I have a friend and his brother has a Swedish girl friend that chews tobacco or snuff. He said that many girls use that stuff there. Is that right?

  30. September 18th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Ep says:

    How can u say that privacy is important to Swedes when they flaunt themselves in their homes by avoiding to use curtains/blinds in the windows. One of the most narcissistic countries in the world. Anyway, it’s a primitive country with no class, you can’t buy class

  31. September 26th, 2010 at 12:05 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.”

  32. October 11th, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Judy says:

    Swedes are rude, very very rude and they go out of they’re way to be rude. Oh sure they play the it’s part of our culture card when they are really just awful miserable people. I’ve never encountered such unpleasant miserable people in my life. I moved here 10 months ago from NYC and can’t wait to get out of here. Just last weekend this Swedish girl knocked over two full pints of beer onto my friends lap, pretended that she received a call then proceeded to go outside and pretend to talk on her phone. Never said sorry or anything and waited outside until my friend left. He had to leave with that amount of beer on him. Pretty typical behavior. BTW, Swedish girls being hot is a myth. Most of them have a weird orange tint to them like Oompa Loompas and never learned to walk in they’re heels. Look out for them in the subway on Friday and Saturday nights falling down and puking in trash cans. Real class!

  33. October 13th, 2010 at 4:46 am

    rumenska kvinna says:

    Why so much frustration? Sweden isnt your backyard. Adapt, dont try to change what its not yours. It’s your duty to adapt to this new world since you decided to come and live here. Maybe you dont like it, maybe you hate it , but its narrow minded to live like the whole world and all persons must be as you want.

  34. October 19th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Judy says:

    Well ‘rumenska kvinna’ the purpose of our comments and this blog is to warn others about Swedes in case they are deciding to come here. So you want us all to adapt and become nasty people like all of you? We don’t expect every country and everyone around the world to be just like us but I think everyone can agree that there is a big level of common decency that Swedes lack for they’re fellow man. You people are just so damm nasty to each other it’s truly amazing. Honestly, you really can’t deny how bad it is in Sweden… And if anyone out there is thinking of traveling to Sweden don’t bother. Save your money and go elsewhere in Europe!

  35. October 23rd, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Elis says:

    It is not only Stockholm. I have lived in Sweden for twenty years and am married to a Swede. There are people who we know and visit, but no real friends who…Are there when you need them and true real friends. Not even my husbands family. It is not to get used to or to compare Sweden with —say the rest of the world. They are just this way. A social defect or whatever, it is not even to put them down, but if you want loving, loyal long meaningful, warm caring relationships with open, honest and genuine people go to Latin America, Italy or anywhere else because here in Sweden you won’t find it!

  36. December 19th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Olaefr says:

    hey Judy and everyone else

    I do not find swedes as rude as people say! I have been there tons of times…been to stockholm, malmo, gothenburgh, umea, kalmar, vastervik, norrkoping, lynkoping, soderkoping, wisby, vastervik… and none of them have ever been rude with me! I do feel weird sometimes (im not white and there are still some feelings against immigrants, altho i have been only a traveller in non touristy places). But they have been polite people to me.
    maybe it is because I am not American nor an American judging them?

    and I do agree with rumenska kvinna! she is not being rude just for saying something that’s true!
    if you live in a place YOU need to adapt to the culture of that place not the place to you, many americans are so used to have everything adapted to them!!
    now, if you cant adapt and do not want to live in a country full of rude, shallow people… go away then!!

    One thing for sure is that many swedes are melancholic and Im sure they try to always look good not because they love themselves, but because this is the way how their self esteem grows, just like in any other part in the world.
    some can be very insecure people but that does not mean they are rude nor self centred.

    but you will never get to know them if you are always complaining about them, instead of reading and watching their literature, trying to learn their language and actually trying to get to know them without prejudices!!! in other words, you need to open your narrow mind

    If they are so nasty, cold and rude why is it so easy for me to get along with them?

    @Thor you clearly hate communism (which is totally different than socialism), but do not blame it just on the fact that sweden was socialist (thanks to that there is no misery like in other capitalist places, now wait and see how the gap between the rich and poor extends in Sweden and the UK).
    when sweden was Svea Rike (a guy whose nickname is Thor should know more about this topic than me) it was already like that…or how can you explain that they lost part of denmark and the whole norway? but it does not stop there, these two have also become, economically speaking, bigger (under the same socialist system).

    sorry but, Corruption and nepotism, if we are to compare sweden and the US, there is more in the US…the only difference is that their love for money is not hidden.

    PS. how can they love money and status if they “are totally empty and conformists”? that sounds like a contradiction to me (?)


  37. December 25th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have been living in Sweden for two years and I think swedish people are very polite and nice although of the spitting and all the disgusting habits! yes they have this very disgusting thing of cleaning their nose right infront of you making loud disgusting noise especially when they are eating, I do not know what is the secret about it, but to me this is very disgusting and rude and in my first days there I imediately loose my appetite! but I like swedes! they are a little bit cold but in a good way I think, this coldness protect them from being rude with others. the weather is strange but Interesting. And do not let me start talking about Swedish men, they are realy gentlemen! I like Swedes!

  38. February 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Tim Bryant says:

    Swedish people are wierd, they tend to be serious and very sensitive. The men are okay and sometimes funny but the women are really difficult, their goodlooking so that makes them think their superior to the rest of the world. Swedish women get angry very easily and often will accuse a man of sexual harrasement when in reality he didn´t do anything wrong in the rest of the world that´s purgey and a crime. Be careful with Swedish women they can get you into trouble even if you´ve done nothing wrong their like the forbbiden apple in the garden of Adan and Eve eat it and hell will break loose, keep away from swedish women

  39. April 5th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Kayla says:


    Hmm. I’ve read all of these comments, and wow. Just… /wow/.

    All of the anti-American feelings, and the idea that Americans are all very arrogant just really… I don’t know, you could probably sit back and negatively stereotype every country in the world.

    Honestly, I know some very modest, wonderful people. They actually make up the majority of the people I know. I know a lot of Americans who definitely don’t think that the US is “all that,” or that they’re any better than anyone else.

    It’s strange, really. I live in Minnesota, dubbed the friendlist state in the country. It’s also coincidentally the most Scandinavian state in the country. Sort of ironic, yeah? I don’t know, I don’t really find the “Leave everyone to their own,” bit appealing. I think it’s really nice when I look like I’m in trouble, and someone comes to help me. I also rather enjoy the feeling of helping someone else out when they’re in a bind. I don’t mean running around, hugging random strangers and butting into other people’s business, but just the comradeship that comes with doing small favors for other people, or how much more interesting the bus ride becomes when you spend it getting to know someone new.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that MN, USA is any better than Sweden, or that Sweden should change, it just means that Sweden really isn’t for me. I’d still like to visit, for sure! But maybe just for a day or two after visiting Spain and stopping in the UK on my way to Germany. ;D

  40. April 18th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    DJ says:

    That’s funny. If Swedens so unempathetic how come they have one of the best welfare systems in the world?

  41. April 23rd, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Anon says:

    Ah, the classical city Swede. I thank you sincerely for including me in this group of — sub-humans. It feels great to know that the defender of prejudices towards America, is at the same time making sweeping generalizations about the entire Swedish population.

    Yours truly.

  42. June 2nd, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Anonymous says:

    I haven’t been to Sweden myself, but judging from online interactions alone, i must say that many Swedes i’ve “met” there really did end up behaving in some arrogant, ignorant or self-centered way to others.

    They somehow seem to mistake being “easy going” for not having to care much about how your behaviour might phase others, or showing a basic form of respect.

    Then again, maybe i’m just unlucky and end up meeting the asshole-swedes instead of the decent ones.

  43. June 15th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Cat says:

    Can everyone piss off with the American generalizations because honestly not everyone in America is an arrogant prick. Going to Sweden, i made an effort to learn the language and was very polite to whomever i dealt with. The people will treat you nicely if you do so in return, just like everywhere else in the world. No nation should be entirely judged based on a few number of certain individuals.

  44. June 22nd, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Anonon says:

    Tbh, it’s Stockholm – the city of assholes.
    Go to any mid-sized swedish city and you’ll see the difference.

    Also: I don’t get the point of travelling, when you want all the places to be just like the US.

  45. June 30th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Natalie says:

    I love Sweden and I love Swedes. I don’t understand why you hate them so much?

    They are a cool and modern people with beautiful nature…if you look around the country you’ll see how clean it is. Stockholm is a perfect city for shopping and party. The Swedish Economy is strong and wealthy. Swedes talk a fucking good english too, comparing to other countries around Europe.

    Their girls are not generally blonde, but they have a scandinavian look with trendy clothes and shoes. The boys are really handsome too. They look rich, clean and trendy – not like the people in Germany, French and other contries…

    Maybee you never talked to a swede before? They usually don’t speak to foreigners they don’t know. They think ”I can look around myself, I don’t need your fucking help” if a seller starts to irritate them in a store. Ofcourse doesn’t a Swede tell their opinion, they don’t want to make an arguement out of a silly thing…

    Swedes are in generally very private during the cold winter. They just don’t like the snow and do rather fly away to some warm land for vacation.

    But in the summer..Oh dear..

    EVERY SWEDE sits down in a restaurant, chilling with wine or bear, smokes, party, eat barbequed meat and fresh vegetables. They really loves to be outside and talk to everyone. At least if theres around 22-30 degrees celsius and sunny weather.

    My tip: Take a look at the Swedish television comedy called ”Solsidan”. It’s a funny story about two families from the richer parts of Stockholms. The serie makes jokes about the swedes habits and cultur in a funny way.

    Hope someone will agree with my opinions!

  46. July 4th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Wonderland says:

    Well something has clearly gone wrong with Sweden. There is just too much that is wrong, judging from reading this thread and others. How did this happen? I was there about 15 years ago, and so were my friends, and we liked it. We were only there for a short time though, but the comments on this thread are fairly typical and paint a place that is very isolated and moving alone in a strange direction, very lost and surreal. What went wrong and why can’t it be corrected?
    Girls using tobacco snus, vomiting from over drinking, sex at 10 years, rudeness, spitting, antisocial etc such a long list. This is a very wealthy country, why are they behaving as if they haven’t changed from their poor days in the 19th Century. They seem to have many backward and undeveloped hbits and manners.

  47. July 31st, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Kevin gouw says:

    I m in stockholm for 3 days now and in holland i get allong with girls just fine.

    My english is fluent and i look and talk nice but when i ask BUTT UGLY girls the way they say nothing and pretend to be supperior to me…

    Here i ve found some of the ugliest girls i ve ever met , and their air is above the clouds…

    A few days ago i was in kopenhagen and it was the nicest and friendliest city FULL of goodlooking and friendly girls i ve ever seen!

    In a few days i ll be in oslo , i hope the girls there are more nice cuz stockholm is a real shitplace to go out if ur after the ladies!

    We can t wait till tomorrow when we will leave these arrogants behind!

    Greetings from holland , kevin , remco and xavier!

  48. August 5th, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Jag. says:

    Go to somewhere that is not Stockholm, for a starter. People there are considered more rude even by their fellow Swedes.

    If you would get yourself out into the smaller regions you will find a whole different atmosphere.
    People working in smaller shops will usually ask something along the lines of ‘Can I help you?’ and when told no; ‘Just ask if it’s something then’. Polite, smiling.
    And people usually just mind their own business, or they don’t. It’s not that usual but while waiting in line or just standing around people come up talking to you.

    For an example I visited a zoo a few years ago and one this one-meter-plush-wolf. I carried it on my back like a rucksack and this man walks up too me and asks if I really should steal the animals like that and if they liked it.

    You just happened to meet the wrong kind of people.

  49. September 4th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Josef says:

    Yes, there´s something weird about swedes. I would be the first to agree, I’ve been living here for too long, stuck with family duties. I´m irish myself. The swedes are not easy to interact with, mostly because they are very uptight and distanced, a great few of them even snobbish(Stockholmers especially, it´s not a myth) and sometimes because they rather be talking to their own kind than you. You see, swedes are despite of their politically correct fear of being seen as patriots(that would be the same as being racist in sweden, not pride for their country) in fact eminently concerned with everything swedish and are not so oriented internationally as they like to think. Their big problem is that they are in denial on so many things. They don´t realize that they actually might be regarded as arrogant, because “Sweden is so acceptive and progressive, we are so clever and forwardthinking”(This could be the new national anthem)…and this is swedes last national pride. It´s a boring nation for sure, but that doesn’t go for the rest of Scandinavia. Norwegians for instance are much more easy-going and laid back, more charming and natural. Danes are also very friendly. It´s sad that the rest of Scandinavia too get associated with this weird disease. But Sweden is the biggest of the three, and the most aggressive self promotor.

  50. September 29th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    April says:

    I’m enjoying Sweden so far. It is a bit of a culture shock for an American but the Swedes seem to be nice people once you get to know them. They are very shy and quiet. That might be some of the tension you’re seeing.

    However, the spitting is just out right gross. Right on about that!

  51. October 1st, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Planes, Trains and Buses | Florida Travel Gal says:

    […] of Stockholm is pretty clean with the exception of cigarette butts, dog poop and spit.  The public transportation is no different (Clean).  I haven’t seen any trash on the subway or […]

  52. November 22nd, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Take it Easy says:

    Well, I don’t disagree with the spitting and even being a French man, I believe that streets are very dirty. There are rats e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, it’s a bit crazy.
    On the other hand I find that people pretty well educated when it comes to wait inline, what is a national sport here.

  53. December 12th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Oscar says:

    I come from Sweden and I can say that many swedes are shy and quiet, especially if they are talking to someone that doesn’t speak swedish. Swedes are generally afraid to say something that is wrong or not understandable.

    People often say that swedes are very good english speakers, but it isn’t really true, the english that most swedes know is pretty basic, but the things they know, they are often very good at, for instance if they want to order a meal at a restaurant they will probably wont have any gramatical errors, but it will be in basic english.

    The “Spitters” are not common in my opinion, there might be some people that spit a lot, but that is often only a few people. I have a friend of mine that usually spits where ever he goes, if he’s sitting on a bench he will spit probably around 100 times. When we leave there is always a big puddle of spit there.

    Sweden and Stockholm is a very nice country to go to, but if you go here, go to the nicer places in sweden, and preferably one of the big cities, where they are better at speaking english. I can recommend Gothenburg and Stockholm. If you go to Sweden in the summer the people are often more kind, then in the winter, but if you want to go to Sweden in the Winter, you should visit Åre in the north of Sweden. There is some good skiing there, but it’s rather expensive.

  54. December 14th, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Johhny English says:

    I have read this thread with a certain degree of delight and a feeling of vindication. I have been living in Sweden for 12 years, half the time in Stockholm and half in Gothenburg. Here is my take:

    I find the Swedes to be on the whole kind and friendly and very welcoming. However their manners are non-existent.I have read it here and I will repeat it: the Swedes are a thoughtless, arrogant bunch who are so self-involved. Anyone that has walked the streets of Sweden will find themselves being try not to get mown down by other people who no doubt believe this is MY pavement and I will not move for anyone. Expect people to step aside whilst you alight from an elevator? Forget it, push your way past everyone trying to come in or you will never get out. Same with the trains. Standing on an empty 5 meter wide platform with a book in your hand you can find yourself having the book almost knocked from your hands by a passer by! There are only 2 people on the platform! Why?

    I could go on and on about this personal space issue and common courtesy or lack thereof.

    I have come to the conclusion that swedes are brought up to believe in the value of the individual to the extent that they now have their heads so far up their own rectums they cannot see the people around them.

    Other than that they are really quite decent. Oh except for the spitting.. but let’s leave that for another day.

  55. December 14th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Anonymous says:

    When I see how you all described Sweden and Swedes, I thought you all area talking about Malaysia. Which is where I am from. It is pretty the same on the bad habits side, maybe just worst. And none of the cleanliness mentioned, plastic bags in the river, or everywhere.

  56. December 24th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    EP says:

    Spot on. I’ve lived in Sweden for nearly 10 years and know a lot of Swedes. They’re not shy, they are just uncultured. What would be good for them to go along with all the wannabe fashions that they buy is to invest some cash into an etiquette course. The Swedes love taking evening courses, so why not one on etiquette? And I agree, they do spit a lot in Sweden

  57. January 24th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    SwedePete says:

    On the spitting thing, it must be a “big city thing” or they must have had rabies, or you have the facts all wrong…. Smokers use snus indoors (no one smokes inside their houses, besides it’s illegal in public buildings), no spitting indoors, right ?
    You don’t spit when you use snus, you’re thinking of “American Hill Billy chewing tobacco” (which we don’t use in Sweden). I work all day without spitting once having a snus under my lip.
    On the rude thing, you’re quite right, that’s why I never go to Stockholm (except Arlanda airport twice a year). Last time I was to Stockholm was some twenty years ago.

    Stick to the country side, where people are much more friendly and don’t like Stockholmers anymore than you do ;)

  58. February 7th, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Elin says:

    Let`s get some things cleared out.

    Swedes are reserved and respect your privacy. What you consider rude can mean something totaly different in Sweden.

    Sweden has the fewest people in the world smoking. It`s prohibited to smoke in restaurants and public buildings.

    Swedes don`t spit because of snusing. Snus isn`t chewing tobacco or dip. You don`t chew snus and then spit out the tobacco. Anyone saying that Swedes spit because of snus has no idea of what they are talking about. When snusing you put it under your lip and there it stays. You don`t go spitting it out.

    Swedes don`t spit any more then any other people. Sweden is one of the cleanest places in the world.

    Sure this site is great to inform people of cultural differences, but to rant about things that isn`t even true is just sad. It also seems as if you are descreibing big city people more then you do a Swede.

  59. February 25th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Alex says:

    Seriously guys, it really feels much better reading through your comments! Been here for a while and during all that time I kept on comforting myself that its like this all around the world and there is no so called “perfect land” but really?
    This is a personal opinion and I hope nobody get offended here!
    I don’t know about the spiting issue here, but that’s the least you need to worry about. It’s a social dysfunction sociality, as someone described it above.
    There are no real friends though everyone is friendly after alcohol.
    Smoking/snus is the new revolution.
    In Sweden, they have everything you can ever imagine, but nothing really works.
    Healthcare is not free, its cheep.
    The weather, really? Nothing wrong with that, the storm is in their mentality not in their climate.
    And finally Stockholm…. a city of delusion and unpleasantness, nodiscusion about that!
    Sweden is recommended to travel through let say from Norway to Denmark, but it’s not a country to stay in. There are good people of course let’s not exaggerate reality, but they are less than 30 %.
    There are things that I personally like about Sweden/Swedes, but that’s another day!

  60. February 27th, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Lavash says:

    I live in Eastern Europe but have a Swedish girlfriend, so I make frequent trips to Sweden to see her family. I can see a bit of truth in what the critics of the Swedes say, but it’s not the whole story.

    My girlfriend’s family in Skane have been extremely warm and welcoming to me, and trust me – they know how to cut loose and party! They love each other, their kids and their pets, they have endearing eccentricites and a rioutous sense of humour. Great folks. Maybe these people are different to other Swedes because they’ve lived and worked in a lot of different countries so they know what it’s like to be an outsider, but they are my main window on this culture and I like what I see.

    At the same time, I have found even these globe trotting people to be a bit insular. They seem uncomfortable about boasting, but at the same time its clear they think the Swedish way of life is superior to the rest of the world. They think they are extremely tolerant, but at the same time they look down their noses at Eastern Europeans as dirty neighbours they’d ratherthey wish would just go away. This is no doubt down to the media which feeds a constant drip of negative stereotypes. It’s also no different to any other society – sadly there’s an inherent human need to form hierachies – but the Swedes hypocritically think they are above all that when really they’re just as biggoted as everyone else.

    This failure to see their own faults is already causing major problems with their immigrant. I’ve visited Rosengard and a few other immigrant neighbourhoods and they are amongst the most depressing places I have ever set foot in. The sense of alienation between these ghettoes and the wider culture is palpable, the crime rate is sky high, and there’s a reaction from “real” Swedes voting for racist parties. But the dominant view seems to be that sticking a few black faces on TV proves their tolerance and openness and will make the problems go away. Earth to Sweden – it won’t. Stop trying to maintain your empty self-iumage and deal with your real problems or in a very short while you will be deep in shit.

    Definitely agree the people are much nicer down south than in Stockholm. I get the feeling Stockholmers think Stockholm is a major world city and they to put on the swagger to suit, whereas its actually just a provincial town. Sure it’s beautiful, the islands are wonderful, but sorry – everything else is a bit dull. Never noticed the spitting but the service IS rude in many places, (with pleasant exceptions of course) – and it has nothing to do with the customer’s privacy. Partying in Stockholm? I’ll take Copenhagen any day. Or Tallinn or Riga or St Petersburg – real, living cities at a third of the price…

  61. February 28th, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Samantha says:

    I don’t like Swedes! I have lived here for 2 yrs ( and am MOVING in October- I can’t wait!) I have travelled all over the world. I am a designer and writer…I am open by nature, friendly and have many friends around the world! Swedes are the coldest,sorriest, and rudest lot I have ever encountered! The are also disturbingly RACIST! Enough about your Neo Nazi talks about the foreigners in your country! Makes me sick to my stomach! Everyone is a human being! Get the Hell in the 21st century ignorant Swedish Morons!

  62. March 5th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    steve says:

    Sad to be reading this because much of it is true.

  63. March 8th, 2012 at 4:25 am

    HurrDurr says:

    Samantha if you look around in sweden you will see that there is full of immigrants here and they are stealing everything, you almost have to nail everything to the floor…. For about 30 years ago we didnt have to lock our cars, doors, bikes, etc but then we started to allow too much immigrants in here and look now.

  64. March 10th, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Anna says:

    I must laugh at this shit! You can’t say that all swedish people are the same. You dont know all Swedes and you don’t know me. I don’t use tobaco and that kind of shit. I am only rude to people who are rude to me and the don’t happend often. You have probably habits in your country that we Swedes feel are bad and strange but you feel that they are normal. All people are not racist either. I am not a racist. I like to talk and learn about other cultures and religions. So dont say that all Swedes are the same and are racists. When you think and see it like that it means that you still have lot to learn. Maybe I am not a Swede depite I have been living all my life here and have a UK boyfriend.

  65. March 12th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    bel says:

    Hello my dear Samamtha,

    I am happy to read your comment, I lived in this fachist country for 8 years and should stay here until my children are old enough to travel by themselves.
    I was married for 6 year to a sweed girl and divorced, I have ended up in prison twice for nothink . The justice system is biaised and racistic in such a way that it seem like a nazi system, they have make it a crime for me to see my chidren and am allowed 2hours every 3 weeks…altough I was the one who was home with the kids until they go to dagis, until one week before the bitch ask for divorce she reproach me that I should spend more time home with the kids.
    When she demanded divorce she stop me to see the children, when I went to the police they refuse to take my complaint when I got upset they arrested me and sent me to prison, the social services repeated every think my ex said ex: Iwas a drug addict, violent ect.. even when I showed test negative and my criminal record(virgin at the time) they still reported to the court in my ex favour altough they never saw me with my children. I have 43 years old and never in my life had problem with the police, now twice in prison and perhaps more because I phoned for my son byrthday so I should go to court again in march.
    I hate this country and what they have done to me and my children. They are destroying me on the smallest excuses. I must say I am of muslim origin and they assume that I am violent nasty, hate women and must be beaten into submission, I live a nightmare

  66. March 29th, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Fifi_May says:

    Ohh God help me as my family and I will be relocating to Sweden for 3 years. I love my life in Dublin, but we had no choice as this is work. I hope it is not as bad as it sounds. I’m hoping that if you are nice to others, you might get the same treatment back motto.

  67. March 30th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Jake says:

    I can’t say I agree with this article. Stockholm is a very pleasant and CLEAN place. I’ve been in Beijing aswell, and it is just plain dirty in that City.
    Swedes may seem rude, but it is simply because of the culture. To judge a country by the way they lived for centuries is wrong. Maybe Swedes think that Americans are rude because we are to loud and to talkative?
    I read somewhere that they don’t greet you when you enter shops, and I know for a fact that this is because most Swedes HATE that. They want to look at stuff calmly without anyone breathing down their neck.

    I’m just saying, don’t judge a book by it’s cover..

  68. April 1st, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Minnesotan says:

    Just for the record, Minnesotans may be dubbed nice, but they are just as racist and rude as anyone else. Don’t believe the hype.

  69. April 6th, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Bertil says:

    I agree with all posts here, but try telling any of this to a swedish person and they will think you are a total idiot. They are under the impression that they are well travelled internationals, when in fact all they have ever seen outside of sweden are places like Las Palmas and other real tourist havens. Swedish people are so incredibly arrogant. I was born and raised there, but with one of my parents being from Australia. I have now moved abroad and will never be coming back! Sweden is the definition of hell in the developed world. A totalitarian bullshit country.

  70. April 12th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Anonymous says:

    I am asian and married to a swede but we live in HK. I live amongst many nationalities and have travelled to many places both for work & pleasure. I have been to Sweden many times and met many Swedes there & abroad. I never encountered rudeness. May be frankness yes , but I always give allowance to cultural difference. I don’t expect them to say hi and hello all the time like Americans do or be warm and too personal like how Asians and Latinos can be. It’s called cultural difference !
    It is true that they value privacy a lot and I actually prefer that… In Asia everybody wants to know what’s going on with your life. Every place has good & bad people, it is not fair to generalize. I’ve also never encountered spitting & have been with people who used the snus. Most Swedes don’t smoke too as they are very health conscious… They like to eat veggies!!!
    I think you need to expect to find differences from your ways and you will either like it or not As long as the difference is not extreme ( eg forced marriages, etc….) I think we should be tolerant as much as possible. If you can’t then just leave the place .No one wants to hear others trash their Culture…. Each one is different.

  71. April 12th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    HKSWEDE says:

    I am asian and married to a swede but we live in HK. I live amongst many nationalities and have travelled to many places both for work & pleasure. I have been to Sweden many times and met many Swedes there & abroad. I never encountered rudeness. May be frankness yes , but I always give allowance to cultural difference. I don’t expect them to say hi and hello all the time like Americans do or be warm and too personal like how Asians and Latinos can be. It’s called cultural difference !
    It is true that they value privacy a lot and I actually prefer that… In Asia everybody wants to know what’s going on with your life. Every place has good & bad people, it is not fair to generalize. I’ve also never encountered spitting & have been with people who used the snus. Most Swedes don’t smoke too as they are very health conscious… They like to eat veggies!!!
    I think you need to expect to find differences from your ways and you will either like it or not As long as the difference is not extreme ( eg forced marriages, etc….) I think we should be tolerant as much as possible. If you can’t then just leave the place .No one wants to hear others trash their Culture…. Each one is different.

  72. April 19th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    benke says:

    it saddens me that people thinks so harshly of us swedish people.

    you people have to realize that our country suffers from the same problems that any other country does, like douchebaggery,arrogance and similar problems.

    but do not take out your anger on our people as a whole, all of my friends are gentle and social people who value other people. take out your anger on the people that ruin your day rather.

    i am very saddened by all this hate.

  73. April 24th, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Seamus says:

    Hi There,

    Culture my eye, an asshole is an asshole. I spent three years in Stockholm as an “javle invandrar”. The trick for survival there is to try an locate Swedes that actually not assholes. They are there and can be great.

  74. May 1st, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    bree says:

    I was in Norway for almost a month before a short visit to Stockholm prior to flight back to Asia. What a drastic difference, ‘em Norwegian and Swedish! Norwegian is the most (raw) friendly people I’ve met in Europe! Not overly warm to the point of being almost prententious. Just right and pleasant. But they are a distinctive difference between the people in Stavanger and Oslo. Overall, pleasant.

    Swedish – to be fair, I’ve only visited Stockholm – gave me the impression they can be quite reserved & wary of strangers. I opened a door to a lady when I saw her carrying two big pots of plants. I am a female by the way. I can see she was actually taken aback (took 2 steps backward), gave me scan through from top to bottom and back to top, like a street kitten being wary & unaccustomed to human touch, before I reassured her with a hand gesture to “go on, I hold the door and go ahead in”. With a smile, of course. She didn’t thank me verbally but she wasn’t defensively rude either. She just seemed confused but in a rush to get her pots indoor.

    When I went back indoor and saw her there, talking to her colleagues, she gave me a slight nod of thank. She still has that unsure and wary expression on her. This is, perhaps, a culture (difference) shock to her? As I’ve later learnt in another experience at a different scenario within Stockholm, another wary and confused individual taken back by, what I’ve perceived as my natural reaction, to just “lend a hand”.

    I wouldn’t go as far as saying the Swedish being an in-your-face rude loads. They are just very wary of any possible hidden agenda out of stranger’s kindness. Unaccustomed to express gratitude loudly but not one to exactly returns your kindness with vulgarity. Once they are given a little time to process, the tensed air will be cleared for them to reflect a little gratitude in a way they know how. I had a worse time in Paris and nowhere else in Europe are quite like that.

    So, if you are acting out to others in a manner you’ve decided deem fit to your conscience based on individual case/personnel, does one put a blame onto others if the return/outcome isn’t a positive one? Their decisions aren’t within our controls. But our decisions are our own responsibilities.

  75. May 7th, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Ramblin' Boy says:

    There’s a fair amount of truth to much of what has been said by many who have followed this link. I married a Swede and lived near Stockholm for a year while she went to University. Once, at Christmas, our three children and I went out for a walk on Christmas day and greeted everyone we passed with “God Jul” or “Merry Christmas”…most averted their eyes like we had the plague. My eldest child was then ten and my youngest was five..very friendly and innocent looking, as am I, but only about one Swede in ten would smile and repeat the simple greeting..really epitomized my feelings about the Swedish personality if one can generalize a bit. Lots of very nice people once you get past the front door but many can be pretty damn cold if you don’t have a formal introduction. Some of the anti American stuff cited by some of the bloggers on this string is ridiculous..sure there are lots of a-holes in the USA but there are lots of very generous and warm, albeit unworldly and geographically challenged, Americans who will go out of their way to help too. To those Swedes who deny the spitting, open your eyes and watch your step..really…here in Canada horking greenies on the street is a rarity whereas it is much more commonplace in Sweden as it the frequent resort to using the English F word to punctuate loudly on the streets the use of svenska. There does seem to be an inability to tolerate alcohol well…maybe because it’s so damned expensive that some feel they might as well blow a bundle and get pissed and loud and make it memorable. I recall a good tv ad about travel to Denmark wherein the narrator asked the Swedes whether they were going to enjoy Denmark or just come to vomit and piss on the streets..a rather sad commentary on the fact that so many would get loaded on the ferry crossing where the booze was cheap. I have often wondered whether the apparent lack of empathy stems from the fact that some of the social graces seem to be lacking in the language itself (which I speak reasonably well) e.g. there is no word equivalent to “please” in Swedish…there is thanks and you’re welcome but no please. And, by the way, anyone who tells you that Sweden is absent of racism need only attend a midsommar party to see how the culture is focused primarily on the fair skinned like me…I lived in Sweden at a time when the so called Laser Man was targeting non whites with his rifle..a fact well recognized by my dark skinned classmates in Swedish as a Second Language. I am glad to have lived there and would visit again were it not so expensive but would not set it as my goal in life to retire in Sweden. There are good and bad people everywhere so keep an open mind and just know what to expect when you go. It does no one any good to hide heads in the sand and just deny that there are some unlikeable features. The photo of the “Swedish Maid” at the start of the thread is pretty silly, I must say, and looks more like a German dirndl or Swiss Miss, perhaps, and detracts from the more important points raised in the complaint just as does pretending that all Swedes sound like the Muppet’s chef or that abnoxious voice of the guy from IKEA in tv and radio commercials. Have a nice visit and usually helps.

  76. May 11th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    You need therapy says:

    This is bullsh*t
    I’m not taking it to heart.
    This girl who wrote this stupid page had a bad experience that’s all, y’all know to little about her
    “situation” to judge a whole country, so seariously people use your brilliant minds.

    Try tap in to Danish etiquette and I’m sure they will write a blogg
    and make up lies there too.

    It’s a typicall “we against the bad guys” situation, to
    Bad the world isn’t 2 dimensional! Ha?

    Sweden is a country neither better nor worse than any other.
    We have a great economic system and we are proud of our freedom
    To speak out about different opinions and still be diplomatic without nuclearing
    Each other. Maybe that is something that you Americans should learn from us?
    On how to have some self respect and privacy!

    I’m not directing my critics to everyone just the ones who think they hate

    With love from a Swedish teenager.


  77. May 12th, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Proud Of Sweden says:

    The People

    Sweden is a predominantly middle class country with one of the most far-reaching social security systems in the world. Patriotism is important to Swedes, who are very proud of their nation, towns and regions.

    Meeting and Greeting

    Shake hands with everyone present — men, women, and children — at business and social meetings. Shake hands again when leaving.
    Younger people generally do not shake hands when meeting friends. Older people expect a handshake when being greeted or when leaving.
    If no one is available to introduce you, shake each person’s hand and introduce yourself.
    Body Language

    Generally, Swedes are reserved in body language. They do not embrace or touch often in public.
    Maintain eye contact at all times while talking with someone.
    Corporate Culture

    Swedes take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect you to do likewise. Call with an explanation if you are delayed.
    Use last names and appropriate titles until specifically invited by your Swedish host or colleague to use first names.
    English is commonly used in business. An interpreter is rarely necessary. Business cards in English are acceptable.
    During business meetings, Swedes usually get right down to business after very brief cordialities.
    Agendas are clearly set for meetings with a stated purpose.
    Swedes are factual, practical, precise, reserved and get to the point quickly. When communicating with Swedes, be clear and concise in detailing what you expect from them. They will be equally clear with you.
    Presentations are important. They should be clear, to the point and detailed.
    Reports, briefings and presentations should be backed up by facts, figures, tables and charts.
    Swedes are generally tough negotiators. They are methodical and detailed, slow to change their positions and will push hard for concessions.
    In the relatively small private sector, it is important to know who is who and how everyone fits in the corporate structure. Important decisions are often made by middle and lower level managers.
    While decision making may be a slow process, implementing decisions is often rapid.
    Do not call a Swedish businessperson at home unless it is important and you have a well-established relationship with this person.
    Dining and Entertainment

    To beckon a waiter wave your hand and make eye contact.
    Business entertaining is most often done in a restaurant during lunch or dinner. Business breakfasts are acceptable, but not as common as in the U.S. Business can be discussed at any time during a meal.
    Spouses may be included in business dinners.
    Female guest of honor is seated to the right of the host. Male guest of honor is seated to left of the hostess.
    Dinner is often served immediately at dinner parties. There may be no cocktail hour.
    Toasting is something of a formal ritual in Sweden. Don’t take a drink until your host has given a toast.
    Look into the eyes of the person being toasted and say Skål (Skohl).
    Allow hosts and seniors in rank and age to toast first.
    When toasting, make eye contact and nod to the others present, before putting your glass down.
    After making a toast, the men wait for the women to put their glasses down first. Do this immediately. It can be annoying for men to wait too long for the women to put their glasses down.
    The meal ends with the male guest of honor tapping his glass with a knife or spoon and thanking the hostess on behalf of all the guests. The female guest of honor should thank the host.
    A butter knife is usually provided. Do not use a dinner knife for butter.
    Always ask permission before smoking.
    Keep your hands on the table at all times during a meal — not in your lap — and keep your elbows off the table.
    It is polite to try everything served.
    When finished eating, place knife and fork side by side on the plate at the 5:25 position.
    Call or write the next day to thank your host and hostess.
    Do not ask for a tour of your host’s home unless you have a well established relationship.

    Swedes wear fashionable, but often casual, European style warm clothing. It is important to be well dressed in public at all times.
    For business, men should wear conservative suits and ties. Women should wear dresses, suits, and pantsuits.

    Gifts are generally not exchanged in business, but it is common to give small Christmas gifts to a Swedish colleague. Gifts representative of one’s business or home area are appropriate.
    When invited to someone’s home, always bring a small gift for the hostess. If host has children, a small gift of candy is appreciated.
    Give flowers (unwrap before giving), wine (liquor is special because it is very expensive in Sweden), chocolates, books and recorded music. Do not give crystal or items made in Sweden.
    Gifts are opened immediately.
    Helpful Hints

    Knowledge about Sweden’s economy, high standard of living, sports, architecture, history, etc. is appreciated.
    Remember to thank someone for dinner or gift upon next meeting.
    Men should tip their hats to women and remove their hats while talking to women.
    Do not praise another city or area in Sweden over the one you are presently visiting. Swedes are very proud of their own town or region.
    Do not criticize Swedish lifestyle, sexual habits, suicide rate, prices, etc.
    Do not compliment lightly. Insincere comments are considered rude.
    Especially For Women

    In Sweden, women make up 48% of the work force — the highest percentage of working women in the world.
    Foreign businesswomen are widely accepted and should encounter few problems conducting business in Sweden.
    Businesswomen may pay the check in a restaurant without any embarrassment.

  78. June 3rd, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Anonymous says:

    Sweden is easily the most depressing place on planet earth. Full of vain, rude wanna be Americans. The countryside reflects the people. Flat, stagnant and dull.

  79. June 3rd, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Doug says:

    I to lived for almost 3 years in Sweden, and I’d much rather have spent 3 years in prison! At least you can make friends in prison.
    Sweden has no soul, the people are undoubtedly xenophobic and racist, which is strange because the only social scene revolves around greasy turkish style kebab shops that sell overpriced beer.
    They all think they are this Aryan nation that the world should look up to, but they share a national history of cowardice, hence the yellow in the flag. Never helped other nations in war except to sell steel to the Nazis.
    The countryside is as flat and dull and the Swedish persona. Goodbye and good riddance!

  80. June 25th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Keri Callerson says:

    I’m scared! My husband and I are going to Sweden in 3 weeks and I am now officially frightened to see what we will be up against. It sounds like there is a mixture of all kinds of people whether they be rude, unsociable, cold, or perhaps friendly. I am very sorry that I read any of this since it has tainted my first impressions of Sweden and I have not yet stepped foot off the plane. I guess I will have to wait and see what my own experience brings.

  81. July 17th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Mike says:

    When I read a similar thread about Thais I was surprised how easily some people shower dislike and contempt over a whole nation and I wanted to read about how people perceive us Swedes. While I read this thread I went from incredulity, to anger, to listlessness, back to anger and finally to stupefaction, and, again, I am surprised how much energy some people can put into pouring utter tripe over 9 million people based on their own subjective experience. I hardly know where to start but since the thread continues to be read and some people actually seem to become reluctant to visit Sweden I can’t refrain from commenting. Of course I can’t argue with opinions like “Sweden has no soul” since it is very unclear what exactly it is based on but as for the other opinions I can perhaps give a few ideas from a Swede’s perspective, a Stockholmer at that, on a few of examples people here brought up. Please note though that I’m sure the ideas can’t be said to be true for all Swedes.

    First of all, I agree that spitting is gross. Not that I know anyone who does but sometimes I have seen smoking teenagers do it, leaving puddles in their wake. it completely freaks me out but fortunately I don’t ever see people do it. (I live in the city centre of Stockholm btw.)

    As for general politeness I think it is important to remember that what is polite in one culture is not polite in another. In Thailand, for example, people might laugh at you when you hit your head to save you from embarrassment. To me, having people laugh at me seems what’s really embarrassing but there you are. I agree that we Swedes don’t use the same overt politeness strategies as many people in other countries: many Swedes feel uncomfortable when shop assistants say hello when you enter, and then, “Can I help you?”, perhaps because we feel obliged to buy something. So many shop assistants don’t. If you make eye contact and say hello first they do too though (which I sometimes do).

    One commenter wrote about how a girl spilled beer onto a friend’s lap without apologizing or giving him/her some sort of compensation. What can I say? It was simply terribly uncivilized of her and someone should have set her straight but I think she was simply too embarrassed to do anything else. Also, she might have heard that you weren’t Swedish and maybe she panicked even more at the prospect of speaking English. She simply didn’t have any good strategies to use.

    As for snobbish Stockholmers many people people in the rest of the country think Stockholmers are stuck up and unfriendly, as do the French about people from Paris, as do the English about people from London. I think it’s more to do with the small town-big town mentality than about Swedes. In small towns people feel that they have time to say a few words in the grocery shop whereas in a bigger town (I’m not comparing Stockholm to Paris or London sizewise) people desperately want to catch the next train which leaves in 2 minutes.

    As for problems with multiculturalism, racism etc. we have the same problems as in many other countries, e.g. the UK, the US and France. There are areas with terribly high unemployment which leads to a loss of self respect and people may turn to violence, just like in London last year. Sadly some of these areas have a very high proportion of people whose families originally came here as refugees. Some people think the crime and unemployment is the immigrants’ fault and vote accordingly (the Swedish Democratic Party got 5,7 % in the last election; 3 % from Stockholmers). The rest of us want to find other solutions. As for general xenophobia a Swede might be shocked at how readily people can express racist ideas in e.g. Italy or France so I don’t think Sweden is inherently more racist than other countries.

    As for alcohol intake, yes, many people, especially young people in their 20s, get wasted at the weekends. Binge drinking I think they call the same phenomenon in the UK… It’s just silly.

    One commenter thought that our not covering up the windows with closed curtains was an example of indecency. That’s funny because in Sweden it is rather a sign of sophistication to let in light (we crave it in the summer months) and air into the rooms and then we’re able to see out. Of course it’s important that people can’t see in so traditionally blocks of flats don’t have windows on the ground floor and single family homes usually have hedges or trees between the house and the street. In the last 10 years or so however a few residential areas have been built (in Stockholm at least) where they used glass for walls of the living rooms/balconies. These are very trendy and expensive but personally I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s all a matter of taste.

    Finally, I agree that Swedes don’t say that they love you after spending a day together (like a host family did with me in the US) and then never get in touch but to write that Swedes are too cold to form long and caring relationships with is just offensive (and I wonder who exactly is rude here). And obviously it’s wrong since quite a few of the commenters themselves seem to be in romantic relationships with Swedes. And for the rest of you I hope that you are independent enough to come here and see for yourselves!

    PS For more experiences from Sweden, check out tripadvisor! For another perspective, search for a similar thread about your own culture. It’s quite interesting.

  82. July 30th, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Gerald says:

    I agree. As an american i couldnt stand my swedish girlfriend any longer. The spitting and the snus, enough is enough!!! I moved to Amsterdam but i am back here in Stockholm this summer visiting a good friend. But I will stay away from these swedish women, you are not getting what you think you are!

  83. August 2nd, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    serb says:

    Go first to Sweden, then after that to Finland.. The difference is unbelievable! Finns are honestly the friendliest nation I know, well I havent been to asian countries yet;D And swedes definitely the most arrogant. I have always wondered that. Greets from Serbia

  84. September 29th, 2012 at 2:56 am

    nanne says:

    Before any one read my response id like to say sorry for my bad english.
    So down to the point… If you ask me no real swede go to stureplan, i think you was in a kind of group where maybe 10% of stockholm people like to be..Second theres no spitting of snus, the women use a little mini mini snus thats not seen from outside and is becuase not smoke. Third did you notice the streets is all clean? The streets is without hole in them? Just a tiny question. I lived in Italy for many years, if you yes YOU has money to spend the will always be nice the italians. If you mean friendly nice, if you mean real warm friendly like inviting you if you are in need for food, or shelter or cant spend for the appartment..Theres no people so rude, and i mean rude! So i think your just a little messed up by the caractere of one nation to another… How on earth could you afford being a student in kth? Ive tried get in for so many times. LUCKY YOU.

  85. October 13th, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Healthcare Crisis says:

    Whatever it may have been, Swedish healthcare is now a crisis. The government serially and increasingly rations away lives and life quality. There’s a shortage of doctors, nurses, pathologists, hospital beds. Ambulances have been sold off. Ambulances don’t run. Emergency rooms have been shut down. Patients are denied emergency help at emergency rooms. Research funds are cut. Hospital budgets are slashed. Medicines, treatments, tests, medical technology is outdated. People are maimed and/or die on months-and-months-and-years of waiting lists. Sick people are denied social insurance. Swedish politicians are culling the herd. Doctors do not work for patients. Doctors work for the state to eliminate cost units, i.e. sick people. The welfare state once force-sterilized “problem” peoples in order to save money. Today’s “problem” sick are simply left to die. Sweden is “Animal Farm”.

  86. November 1st, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    A.B.Surd says:

    The quality of Sweden is not judged by first impressions of politeness or what is perceived as lack thereof. The real Sweden is revealed to you when you live there for years. The snobbism, the arrogance is only a small part of it. What is much worse is the hypocrisy and the racism, low key but very present. Add the general incompetence, that things tend not to work and that nobody can be asked to do what they are paid for, and you have a recipe for across-the-board failure of the country. The most damning remark a Swede can make is ‘jag fölar mig kränkt’ (I feel insulted). The universe must then stop, all activity cease until the situation has been tututed by a mother figure and the poor guy awarded six months sickleave. The shameless selfpromotion of all values Swedish takes sickening proportions when the pretended Swedish tolerance is pushed down the throat of everybody, in particular foreigners: ‘We Swedes are so tolerant, you foreigners are so racist’.

  87. November 5th, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Anonymous says:

    From all I’ve been reading, it’s ridiculous. I am an exchange student living in the U.S right now, and I can say that most Americans I’ve met are very kind, and they are very open and friendly. And then again all of that nonsense with Swedish people being rude, it’s true that people from Stockholm can be rude, but as it has been stated above: go outside of the capital! There’s so much more to see and the people you meet may not act the way Americans do, but if you get to know people, you will have a great time. And if they seem rude it’s most likely because of their fear of talking in English. I was like that once too, but if you get a conversation started, you can most likely get a friend.

  88. September 12th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Anonymous says:

    If you want to meet nice Swedis people the do not visit Stockholm visit any city in västra götaland and I can promise you, you have seen a change in the behaviour.

  89. October 2nd, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Joe says:

    Swedes are actually very racist but they do it in a quiet way. A Swedish company will rather hire a less qualified Swede than hiring a more qualify non-Swede. They are racist but don’t like to say it to your face. I work in a company where in my department I’m the only non-Swede. Even though we all know each other for a long time, when we go out for lunch and if the group has a odd number, I’m always the one sitting on one end. It happens to other US transplant coworkers as well.
    You can hardly ever have a close friendship with any Swede if the connection is not through your wife/husband/partner. If you guys break up, all of the Swedes friends will unfriend on Facebook.

  90. December 5th, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Andy says:

    Never ever have I read so much rubbish condensed on one single page…

  91. December 14th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Leoxx says:

    After being living in Sweden for 5 years, I can assure you they are very “polite” and “correct” in a way. (In Stockholm though, they are mostly rude, and you’ll stand in endless lines. It’s never worth it!) And that’s about it.

    The Swedes are overly submissive to written and unwritten rules. They behave in a boring, very regulated way. No spontanity, no humor. And they absolutely do not understand irony.

    With most Sweds you don’t get the feeling they have a warm and accepting core self. More like there is nothing more there. Sometimes you get the feeling they don’t have a soul. Sad to say that, cause I was expecting something totally different when I moved there.

    Besides, the Swedes are obsessed with inequality, gender and racism. If you happen to disagree a little, you get freezed out (even more), you are likely to loose your job (true), loose your “friends”, your right to study etc.

    As a Norwegian, and for the other Nordic countries, Sweden this days more and more are viewed as The empire of evil. Don’t go there. Go everywhere else!

    As a Greek said to me once “the Swedes are not cold, they are icecold”.

  92. January 8th, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Ron says:

    I have found Swedish children to be the rudest, brattish and most selfish of all the international tourists I have come across. A Norwegian friend says that many Swedish parents opt out of parental responsibilities and let the children do as they please and roam the streets. I am told that even the Norwegians find the Swedes rude.

  93. April 30th, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Rick says:

    I love the way you write. That line about “breeding … into their minions” was pure gold!

  94. August 19th, 2014 at 6:39 am

    David says:

    I have lived in Sweden for 26 Months’s and I must say that it is all true!

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