Ten things about Sweden

By Robbie on April 21, 2009

1.  There can't possibly be any country politer than Sweden.

2.  Generalize about the Scandinavian countries at your own peril.  They don't like it at all, being of the belief that their neighbors are swine.  Making satirical remarks in Sweden about how dirty and ignorant Norwegians are will get you the immediate attention of some nearby bigot who wants to continue the idea in a zesty, non-satirical tone.

3.  In fact, they are a lot different.  Norway is non-EU. 

4.  Sweden, though EU, doesn't recognize euros.

5.  Sweden, because EU, does recognize errors.  Particularly the error of having joined the EU, which has blanketed the country with silly regulations while hindering its ability to produce as much wealth as a certain next-door country.  Wealthiness is not among the many characteristics that Swedes are proud not to share with Norwegians.  That said, though, paper, iron, and ABBA music are good, steady performers.

6.  It takes fully seven hours to travel from the northern outlying suburbs of Stockholm to the lovely, lake-dotted, gently rolling southwest countryside of Sweden near the Danish border to play for two people.

7.  So alien is American appetite in these parts that if you order multiple items at a restaurant, only the last course you ordered will arrive.  It took me a couple days to figure this one out.  They think you must be changing your mind with each new dish you ask for.  A related note: don't pack extra-large size T-shirts to sell in Sweden.

8.  There are actually a lot of brunettes in Sweden.  And a fair number of Thais, Iranians, and black Muslims, from what I can tell.  There is no palpable atmospheric racial tension here, besides the Norway thing.  There's no customs officer or incoming baggage inspection at the Stockholm airport.  None!

9.  The average McDonald's worker here is slim, trim, smooth-skinned, and female.  In fact, 8 out of every 10 pretty young women I've seen have been standing behind a McDonald's counter.

10.  "Farthinder" means speed bump, and the traffic-sign graphic looks like female cleavage viewed from a horizontal angle.  So, even though the Swedes can be a cold-blooded and laughter-averse people, there is plenty here for immature Americans to point and snigger at!

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  1. avatar Ulf Posted about 7 hours later

    9. That means you must have visited McD on Regeringsgatan in Stockholm City. I go there quite often - and not because the Quarter Punder is extraordinary at this particular restaurant...

    Many thanks for a great show at Akkurat! I inherited a mini-disc (which proves I have listened to you for quite a while ;) with your greatest hit album from my father, and ever since I have really liked your style. You were ever as good live as I had expected!

    You should send a Swedish music/sport journalist Mats Olsson a thought. At least I did that, since he made me, and lots of others I presume, aware of the show at Akkurat in two columns (http://www.expressen.se/sport/matsolsson/1.1458838/mats-olsson-fantastiskt-om-fallna-stjarnor) in one of the biggest Swedish dailys. In the last one he even called everyone who'd miss the show as stupid...

    Good luck with the rest of the shows!


  2. avatar Dan'l Holway Posted about 12 hours later

    P.J. O'Rourke once wrote about a trip he made through Sweden, and he said that he was told this joke several times:

    Q: What does Norway have that Sweden doesn't have?

    A: Good neighbors!

  3. avatar Rona Posted 5 days later

    3 additional things about Sweden:

    1. Swedes eat their dinner nearly as early as Americans do. But unlike Americans, they do at least eat proper cheese.

    2. On a Friday evening, every single person in Sweden, from road sweepers to radiologists, consumes his or her body weight in alcohol (but still remains unfeasibly polite, even when falling into your lap.)

    3. Buying a bottle of wine to take home for dinner is as complicated, shady and expensive an exercise as buying a handgun in England. But... venture into a cafe for breakfast and you'll see an array of miniature bottles of stuff which causes instant brain seizures to put in your morning coffee.

    4. Sweden is utterly wonderful for country music lovers! Apart from your gigs, we also saw a cool bluegrass trio in Stockholm and a fantastic rockabilly band in Umea.

  4. avatar Tomas Posted 5 days later

    Thanks for the ride home. I´m sorry I crashed some of your beer. Say hello to Nic by the way.


  5. avatar Folsom Posted 6 days later

    I'm jealous. I want a ride home from Robbie.

  6. avatar Katherine Posted about 1 year later

    I live in sweden, and by what i can tell, all swedes are very polite and proud, which is a good thing. They are very welcoming and almost every Swede you meet can talk fluent english. When they ask you how tall you are, they say "How long are you?" it is because in swedish it is "Hur långt är du?" (Her loongt air doo). They also can't tell the difference between funny and fun. They start wearing makeup at a pretty young age, and the country is very beautiful. In just about every city you can find wonderful outdoors parks and hiking tracks. They care a lot about fashion and arent afraid to speak their mind. They will think you are very cool because you speak english, and will be quick to become your friend. Swedes will talk as much english as they can, and make you feel at home, they will also be willing to help with anything.

    some people are nervous to use their english, so they will avoid you... but eventually if you seem nice and encourage them enough, they will start talking to you. THey always say their english is bad when they first meet you but you will be surprised at how much they can speak!

  7. avatar kory Posted about 1 year later

    this is halarious

  8. avatar Josefine Posted over 2 years later

    hej på er ;))))

  9. avatar Nageeb Muhamed Abdo Posted over 2 years later

    I got a chance to experience the Swedish people,I REALLY, like them a lot. They are very polite, show great respect to others, highly educated and you feel happy to conact with them.
    God bless Sweden and its people

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