8 Impressive Facts About Sweden That Prove It’s Nothing Like Other Countries

year ago

It could be a peculiar pizza flavor, a unique set of social rules, or even a building made out of ice that only lasts for a season — Sweden is always a never-ending source of amazement. Sweden is already present in our daily lives, and we don’t even notice it: that oat milk on your breakfast, the zipper on your jacket, the 3-point seatbelt on your car, and that ABBA song on your speakers? Thank Swedes for those!

Here, at Bright Side, we’re always delighted to share the most surprising things we’ve discovered about different places around the world, and today we invite you to explore the uniqueness of Sweden with us! By the way, have you ever wondered why the legendary musical group, ABBA, used to wear crazy costumes during their concerts? We’ll tell you the reason at the end of this article! Let’s go find out together!

8. A country with forward-thinking sustainability goals

If you want to know what it’s like to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, you need to book a trip to Sweden as soon as possible. This is one of the countries with the highest usage of biofuel in all of Europe. The Swedish zero waste production and recycling system has set an excellent example for the rest of the world.

7. A hotel that gets rebuilt every year

The first ice hotel in the world is located in Sweden and it’s rebuilt annually and opened from December to April. The thick walls, furniture, the bar, and even the glasses are made of ice. The rooms in the “Ice Hotel” are never the same, as different artists and architects from around the world are invited to work on the design of the hotel every year.

6. Living according to the Law of Jante

The Law of Jante is a code of conduct which is widely known in Scandinavian countries. The 10 rules of the law state:

  • You’re not to think you are anything special.
  • You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  • You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  • You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
  • You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  • You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  • You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  • You’re not to laugh at us.
  • You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  • You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

To see how it works and understand that it is not a manual on how to make you feel worthless in society, all you need to do is to go shopping, to a restaurant, or to a resort in Sweden. You’ll see that the Swedes don’t brag about their material wealth or knowledge, and never try to demonstrate their superiority over others. This is the main message of the rules.

5. Fika

Fika is a coffee break during the day. It’s an extremely important part of the Swedish lifestyle. Never, ever tell a Swede that drinking a lot of coffee is bad: they won’t believe you anyway. In the second half of the 18th century, King Gustav III of Sweden conducted a “Coffee Experiment” to prove the negative health effects of coffee.

Twin brothers who were sentenced to death were involved in the experiment. However, the king offered to convert their sentences to life imprisonment if one of the twins agreed to drink 3 pots of coffee, and the other — the same amount of tea, every day for the rest of their lives.

2 physicians were appointed to monitor and report the findings of the experiment to the king. Both doctors died before the experiment was completed. Gustav III also died before seeing the final results. Of the twins, the tea drinker was the first to die, at age 83, the date the coffee drinker died is still unknown.

4. Love for an unusual pizza

There are many Italian restaurants in Sweden. However, the menu is slightly different from an ordinary one. For example, one of the most popular dishes in Sweden is kebab pizza which is topped with skewered meat and a special sauce. You can also try pizza with bananas at many different pizzerias across Sweden.

3. Personal space

The Swedes are very attentive to the personal space of others and they will never disturb you unless it’s urgent. Even at bus stops people stand at a certain distance from each other.

2. National entertainment

If you want to check your aim, you should participate in the Swedish carnival game of throwing herrings into a barrel. The winner of the game gets a stuffed fish.

1. Cashless payments

In recent years, the amount of cash in circulation has rapidly decreased in Sweden. Even public toilets accept payments exclusively from credit cards. By the way, there are LED lights installed on the door handles of the public toilets. Red signals that the stall is occupied, while green shows that it is free.

Bonus: The reason why the members of ABBA wore strange outfits.


The musicians from the famous pop band ABBA used to wear extravagant and colorful costumes in order to pay less taxes. According to the Swedish law at that time, the clothes were tax-deductible only if it could be proven that they weren’t used for daily wear.

What surprised you the most about Sweden?

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit abartlo / Reddit


I'd like to spend a couple of nights in the ice hotel.
Law of Janta impressed me the most. Maybe that's the reason why Scandinavians are the happiest ?
Interesting. I've never heard about the "national sport" herring tossing, and I'm Swedish. Stop making things up.

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