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Stockholm Sucks

A beautiful city, just be sure to avoid the Swedes


Swedish Narcissism

One thing that’s sure to help you get laid in Stockholm is expensive clothes. After living in Italy, I thought I’d never encounter another culture more fixated on fashion than the Italians. An Italian friend of mine once stated: “You Americans so obsessed with money. In Italy, we don’t need money to be happy. All we need is nice clothes.”

Swedish Girl

Swedish Girl

I must admit the Swedes are the best dressed humans on the planet – topping even the Italians. But there is a subtle difference between the Swedes’ and Italians’ interest in fashion.

For the Italians, wearing nice clothes is a celebration of fashion, culture, and beauty and is linked to national pride in iconic brands such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, Cavalli, Armani, Fendi, and others. The Swedes, on the other hand, wear nice clothes as an exercise in one-upmanship and display of superiority. The Swedes are shallow and narcissistic people, and their fixation on materialism exceeds that of any other culture I have encountered.

For the longest time I was puzzled by why Swedes are so shallow and narcissistic. What are the roots of this air of self importance?

I have concluded that it’s the cultural influence of the Swedish royal family. Just as overly fervent religiosity handicaps large swaths of populations in the Americas and the Middle East, the institution of royalty handicaps the Swedes.

Swedish King Carl Gustaf

Swedish King Carl Gustaf

Mark Twain said it best, “The institution of royalty in any form is an insult to the human race” (1888). In America, our heroes are self made and stand on their merits, e.g. Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, or Warren Buffet. We don’t care if you’re white or black, red, yellow or brown. In Sweden, people gain self assurance by associating themselves with the “Royal” family. That the Swedes still attach so much importance to birthright is as hollow and shallow as the royal family itself.

About the only thing the Swedish “Royal” family is good for is laughs. I get a kick out of seeing pictures of the Swedish royal family in military fatigues conducting ‘military exercises‘ in the woods of Sweden. When you see a decorated military officer from the United States, Great Britain, France, China, or Russia, you can trust they earned their stripes and deserve some degree of respect. In Sweden, this is not necessarily the case…

Read on for Concluding Remarks


34 Responses to “Swedish Narcissism”

  1. July 17th, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Elin Holngren says:

    the swedes all dress like movie stars and celebrities

  2. December 3rd, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Jonathan Abrahams says:

    but they have no good clothes of their own. the italian clothes are the best

  3. March 16th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    PD says:

    Interesting observation and hypothesis re: “handicaps” the psyche of different nations. I have no experience of Swedes but am thinking that, psychologically speaking, casting an idolatry on a royal family figure is no different than doing it to a God, a Faith, or cultural figures of success like American entrepreneurs. In the mind, they are all icons that are idealized, emulated, aspired too, etc. The question on whether we need these “heroes” is a bigger question — it seems to be human nature — but it seems all the same process to me.

  4. April 9th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Anonymous says:

    I think you’re a bit delusional on this one.
    Most Swedes don’t give a damn about the royal family, a large percentage of Swedes don’t want them.

  5. April 9th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Swedenson says:

    maybe you’re right. maybe it had to do with the fact that i was in the downtown Stockholm area, and that most Swedes outside of where i lived don’t give a damn about them?

  6. April 12th, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Ron says:

    isn’t one of the swedish princesses dating a gym owner? how ‘pedestrian’

  7. April 23rd, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    borth says:

    I like that girl. Actually, I got here by looking for swedish girls in google images.

  8. June 5th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    John c says:

    It is funny you say the Swedes are shallow and narcissistic, that is exactly what they say about Americans. At least they have a reason to be narcissistic, they are hot!

  9. June 10th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    CLARK KENT FLY says:

    borth said

    “I like that girl. Actually, I got here by looking for swedish girls in google images.”

    …same here!!

  10. July 4th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    anonym says:

    funny article! i just like to said that parts of what you have written is true, but not all of it. for example, the swedish king is not classified a “hero” in sweden. it’s just a traditon since the royal title is more than 1000 years old. let’s compare with some celebrites who have got their fame out of practically nowhere. let’s make paris hilton an example! she got maybe hundreds of more papparazzis than the swedish royal family, people almost worship her! for what…..? being on partys?
    the royal family at least marketing their name for charity to poor people in africa, unlike celebrites in america who is far more celebrated.
    as for the clothes. since i live in sweden i think i have more experience than you. swedish brands are far more common than italians among the swedes. fienden, cheap mondays and acne are some swedish examples, you might not know about them because you live outside sweden but google them and you will get results. and they are by the way cheaper than italian brands!
    and finally about swedish militarys, googleing last time sweden official were in war ain’t gonna help you much! last time were like 1809 during the napolean war. most of the swedish officers with stripes and awards have done international service such as in kongo, kosovo and afghanistan.

    i just like to add….if you were in stockholm you were probably in the fancy quarters of stockholm and most large cities have them, so i’m not surprised that you saw shirts and skirts worth a small fortune!

    and next time explain your sentence “royalties handicaps”! since the swedish king have no political power! we have an an elected prime minister for the job!
    but hey! i hope you visit didn’t ruin all of your page of sweden.

  11. February 5th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Shane says:

    What a load of crap!!how can you judge a country just by meeting a few Swedish people thats account for every person in that country i treat people the way they treat me i don’t judge a country bye one person.

  12. February 19th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Dirk Smith says:

    Better a Swede with no clothes I reckon….

  13. February 28th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Anonymous says:

    Hehe swedish people or girls are not all shallow and narcistic. I’m a swedish girl and I’m very proud to say that we are one of the hottest women, nicest and most honest women in the world! Why don’t you first hang around with swedish people instead of judging them just simply out of jealousy!

  14. March 14th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Sanna says:

    I am saddened by your attack on the Swedish people.
    You are judging a whole country based on your experience with young swedes at Handelsskolan in Stockholm?
    That is like judging Americans based on a posh upper eastside school in Manhattan!!!!
    Sounds to me like you made up your mind pretty quickly.
    Was it a Swedish girl that turned you down that soured you so?
    Come on! Let’s not be so quick to judge…
    I admit that some Swedes are reserved. And I can see that as an American you completely don’t get the Swedish people because they usually don’t have the open friendliness towards strangers. Their ackwardness in dealing with strangers is what you perceive as coldness. But if you ever get to really know a Swede, you’d come to find out that they are warm, humorous and kind people. And if you are a friend of a Swede, you are a true friend. None of this shallow- Let’s do lunch- bullshit that sometimes goes on in America.

  15. April 5th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    thor says:

    Hi All, this is my second comment, to your website, again I left sweden 30 years ago, after living there for 30 years, I have visited only once in 2002, and it was a sad experience, it is hard to believe how the country has spiraled down hill, in every way, the lack of progress was quite devestating. On narcissism and fashion, Yes, it is definately not worn for thr same reasons as the italians, its is for the same reason as all the eastern europeean countrys dammaged by sociallism and communism, The clothes represents the persons ability to show other that- I am not controlled by the system,- I am above, I am protesting to the proletarian ideology, the content poor masses, This all stems from a feudal past that is still very strong in the collective subcontious mind of these people. Less then 100 years ago Sweden was a country controlled by landowners {the aristocracy}, and over 80% of the population were farmers or farm hands.Stocholm is full of decendents of those people, as it was populated in waves by peole from the countryside, many grandparents still living, remember those times, Materialism stemming from envy and Godlessness is what you see, there is something very brittish about it , Sweden is also a very class contious society, people judge each other on materialistisc grounds, everyone know that if have money, you have ben able to ride above the socialistic machinery that keeps most people down, and you must therefore be someone special with special connections, corruption and nepotism is rampant. Money represents strenght.The blond on the photo, would be talked about as “plastic”, considering the amount of scilicon she carries in those breastinplants, yet every women wishes she had the money to do it, thats the denial, there is the official socialistic roleplaying and then there is the truth, hidden deep down, under a kind of psudo political correctness, very few dare to stray from, EM,

  16. April 14th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    j.n. says:

    I see your point about the Swedes. But why not just let them be? Who gives a shit about what everyone wears?

    I’d be more interested to know if there is anyone kind, fascinating, dedicated…I’d rather focus on that.

    Yes, there are liars, plastic people, one-upping people, but there are also nice people. Let the majority lie in its plastic piss puddle. Celebrate the outcasts in Sweden, or….

    Go to FINLAND.

  17. July 12th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    DoubleD says:

    I lived there for a few years and I am 1/4 Swedish. I’ll be first to admit, I’m no expert on Swedes. It seemed they have a great deal of national pride and many are a bit vain. I think that runs in the USA and other countries too. I won’t try to compare. I have worked lately with a number of them, and the ones I have dealt with have been very capable and professional. Not vain in the least that I can detect. I spoke with many and I think that a large number are unjustifiably arrogant, but I greatly admire the ones I have had closer contact with. I think your sample size is way too limited. I don’t think you can hang any of this on the Royal Family either. They are a national symbol like the queen of England. I can’t figure out the enthusiasm there either, but It’s no different than stardom, sports figures, or political notoriety. I think many are simply lost. For many years most parents worked, and most swedes live in a lifestyle that is fairly void of work. Simple values slip away and many from a young age begin to gravitate toward “having a good time” rather than fostering a drive for meaningful pursuits which I think increased parental interaction genders. Of course this is an over generalization, but I also think those of this type pool in the “hot spots of Stockholm.” I alla fall, det ar vad jag tror.

  18. August 13th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Kim says:

    Born in Sweden, raised in Sweden, a swedish girl myself with just a tad of spain in the blood and I gotta say, havent laughed this badly in years. Especially that part about sex and fashion. I can honestly say you got most of it wrong. The sex part was off the charts (moral is actually not uncommon here, you know) and what you said about fashion … I mean, do you have any idea how stupid most of the teens look these days? And Im only 19, so trust me, its bad) xD Thanks for the laugh, though, its always interesting to read what we swedes seem like to other cultures ;)

  19. September 21st, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Toke says:

    So what you are saying is that the swedish royal family doesn’t deserve to wear their stripes becouse they don’t fight other countries, or maybe you meant something else? You call the Swedes rude who haven’t been in war for over a hundred years but you call the States military heroes for slaughtering civiliance in the middle-east then laughing about it.

  20. October 23rd, 2010 at 4:26 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!

  21. December 10th, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Rieka Agardh-Norden says:

    I’m pure Swedish and I know for a fact that that girl isn’t Swedish. 10% of Sweden is immagrants. Her chin is too pointed.She looks latin. We Swedes have short chin, deep eye sockets, square jaws,and skinny noses.

  22. December 10th, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Rieka Agardh-Norden says:

    Also I care about the royal family. And you people need to realize most Swedes aren’t interested in dating foreigners. ESPECIALLY AMERICANS. Lately the American government has been treating them like shit. Telling them to toughen up and stop going easy on Arabs (Specifically Iran). Also they’ve been bashing Swedish peoples parenting. In Sweden people believe spanking a child is abuse and is actually even illegal and you’ll go to jail. My mom left my dad because she he believed in this. I have the best mom in the world who tells what I do wrong not make me fear her with abuse.

  23. March 7th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    C T says:

    The funny thing is that the Swedish Royal family is descended from FRENCH PEASANTS! The “House of Bernadotte”, how un-swedish can that be? They went over and asked a mediocre ex-private from the Napoleon fiasco to be their king!?! They are the lowest form of ‘royalty’ in Europe anyway. Couldn’t they have found at least a SWEDE to be their king?

  24. April 11th, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Jimmy says:

    “In America, our heroes are self made and stand on their merits…”

    Right. America represents a perfect meritocracy and nepotism is but a myth. It’s also worth mentioning that you have conveniently forgotten to mention the admirable George W. Bush (what is more heroic than becoming President?) and the wildly anti-meritocratic ‘alumni’ networks utilized by ivy league school admissions offices. A+ for stacking the argumentative deck.

  25. July 28th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Alondra says:

    I’m pure Swedish and I know for a fact that that girl isn’t Swedish. 10% of Sweden is immagrants. Her chin is too pointed.She looks latin. We Swedes have short chin, deep eye sockets, square jaws,and skinny noses.

  26. October 11th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    lol... says:

    “About the only thing the Swedish “Royal” family is good for is laughs. I get a kick out of seeing pictures of the Swedish royal family in military fatigues conducting ‘military exercises‘ in the woods of Sweden. When you see a decorated military officer from the United States, Great Britain, France, China, or Russia, you can trust they earned their stripes and deserve some degree of respect. In Sweden, this is not necessarily the case…”

    Ever heard of vikings? not a military, but I do not think you could stand a chance.

    This whole thing is a joke. Reading to the end of it I am convinced that you are the one who “sucks”.

  27. October 13th, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Chrille says:

    Haha! Totally wrong analysis boy! Swedes has no admiration for their royal family, actually they likes to make fun of them.

    But I agree about swedes being shallow and narcissistic.

  28. August 26th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    sdkfjkj says:

    Swedes don’t really have any fashion… lmao is article a joke? All you have to do to get laid in Stockholm is be funny, charismatic and charming. In America, women are a lot more picky, stuck up, have a lot tougher walls built up etc. In America, you need money to get laid, it’s almost as simple as that…. feminism fucking rotted America from the inside out. If you’re trying to get laid, definitely don’t come to America – don’t come to Canada, either.

  29. September 8th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    a says:

    Really sorry we gave you free education at HHS! You’re rude by the way, look in the mirror.

  30. September 25th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Captain Yuri says:

    “Hehe swedish people or girls are not all shallow and narcistic. I’m a swedish girl and I’m very proud to say that we are one of the hottest women, nicest and most honest women in the world! ”

    Hahahaha, brilliant piss take.

  31. October 26th, 2012 at 6:29 am

    ed says:

    some say the Swedes are just not very expressive people. Living in Sweden I change my opinion of the Swedes on a daily basis. I have only been here a year and expatriation is not for the faint hearted, its a tough slog with many growing pains. My girlfriend spends a long time getting dressed, changes outfits 4 times before going to the local shop and I think if you saw her out and about you would have the impression she is cold hearted and superior like ‘we’ think all other Swedes are but she is really the sweetest person you could ever know – she spent an hour last night fixing the zip on my winter coat, and she hates zips! I don’t know whether Swedes are pathologically vain. Maybe they like to look very nice because they have a culture of not being too individualist in terms of personality. Swedes tend to fit into a few modes of behaviour – calm, reserved, thoughtful and drunk. The last thing i will say is that in most countries if you approached a girl as hot as the hot girls you see in Sweden in another country they would most certainly not give you the time of day. In Sweden more often than not they will be friendly, sometimes they might not be interested and occassionally they might act a bit snobby. But in England good looking girls – who pale in comparison – are very much under the impression that their sh#t doesn’t smell. The same in other countries. I walk around town and fall in love every other minute. Just don’t tell my girlfriend.

  32. November 29th, 2013 at 2:49 am

    nope says:

    @ed : Vanity certainly fits the bill from what i’ve seen, even though i “only” know swedes online. But they do seem to really like to tell you how great they are or how great sweden is all the time, without much interest or regard for other people or nations. Very spoilt and loud in general. Granted, Norwegians don’t seem to be much better, although they are less obvious about their own narcissism – both are pretty cold though, must be the weather.

  33. December 8th, 2013 at 10:54 am

    MG says:

    OMG, you are really spot on right. I was born and raised in Stockholm so I definitely see the symptoms you are describing. I moved out of this country 4 years ago and hope that I will never need to come back, more than for some minor holidays.

    Excellent analysis about the Swedish military – which I also have been engaged within – it is a joke.

  34. February 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    mel says:

    Swedish people are the worst type of people I know.I have never encountered such ageism ,shallowness and unfounded arrogance in my life.I’m only 18 and I never thought such coldness and portrayed egoism existed

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