17 Things About Life in Sweden That Stun Even the Most Experienced Travelers
Many people who have visited Sweden now have a different understanding of what the average quality of life means. Everyone who lives in this country has the right to get a free education, free medical services, high allowances for children, and unemployment benefits. But that’s not all. Recently, they have started implanting microchips in people so that all the important data about a person is stored in one place — their finger.
Bright Side has learned something about the lives of regular people in Sweden and realized why the entire world should try to go in the same direction.
1. The Scandinavians are tough people.
The Swedes are totally okay with cold weather. When it’s 32°F on the thermometer, or even below that, you can see this: office employees are going to have lunch and wearing just jackets, men are wearing thin windbreakers and riding bicycles, 3-year-old children outside without any hats, and fathers carrying their babies in unbuttoned jackets.
2. There are rules about good manners in stores.
Local people go to supermarkets with special shopping bags made of fabric in order not have to use plastic bags that are bad for the environment. And if there is a piece of news about a company or a farm that contaminates the air, the water, or abuses its animals, the people there will just stop buying their products.
At the cash register, the Swedes put their products on the counter so that the cashier can see the barcode right away. This makes the whole process significantly faster. And in order to make it easier for customers to find the necessary foods, there are maps on every supermarket cart.
3. Fathers have to spend 3 months with their children when they are born.
Maternity leave in Sweden is 480 days long and fathers have to spend 90 days with their newborn children. This is the law and there is no way to avoid it. The authorities believe that the father has to be fully involved in the process of raising children, starting with the very early days of their lives. So, tough-looking men with strollers are a very ordinary thing to see on the streets here.
4. The Swedes are very eco-conscious.
There are a lot of green areas in all the towns of this country. Parks are inhabited by birds, rabbits, hedgehogs, and other animals. And you have to respect nature. There was a case when a man shot a sparrow with an air rifle in the forest and someone noticed it. The shooter was sentenced to several months in prison and given a fine.
The country has a law that says that everyone is allowed access to natural resources. According to the law, people can swim in the water, camp, collect berries, and ride bicycles, even on the private property. In lakes and rivers, there are fish, but they are only caught as a sport and then they let the fish go. Wild animals even live near big cities and are seen pretty often. Some people have even been lucky enough to see the rarest species.
White Reindeer, Malå, Sweden
5. In Sweden, people don’t work overtime.
This is a normal situation: you are in the middle of an important communication with the manager of an organization, like a tourist agency or something similar. And then, at 6 pm, you receive an automatic reply that says, “The working day is over, we’ll continue tomorrow.” The local people respect this time and their private lives.
And if a company has a 45-minute lunch break, the employees will spend exactly 45 minutes on that break. They follow the rules. By the way, the offices are mindful, not only about the moral, but also about the physical comfort of their workers. For example, next to many keypads, there are shelves for people’s cups.
6. They almost never use cash.
The people in Sweden use a system called Swish to pay for all of their purchases. It is connected to their phone number and their bank account. In September 2018, it had 6.5 million users. There is even a verb “to swish” which means to transfer money or pay for something. They can “swish” the money to a seller, even in a street market.
7. They don’t yell at each other when they argue.
When they have a confusing situation that they can’t solve on their own, they always ask for a third-party mediator. For example, if someone turns on loud music at night, a Swedish person will write a complaint to the landlord of the house. When there are family issues, they go to see family therapists. Whatever happens, there is always a third party there to restore justice.
8. In Sweden, people eat candy on Saturdays.
This sweet tradition, as strange as it sounds, has a pretty dark origin. In the 1940s, together with several candy corporations, the government ran tests on the patients of psychiatric hospitals in order to find out if there was any danger in eating sweets.
When they found out that eating candy too often was bad for your teeth, the lördagsgodis tradition was born: the Swedish people could eat as many sweets as they wanted, but only one day a week. So, an average Swedish family eats about 2.6 lbs of sweets on Saturdays.
9. Regular citizens are responsible for the official Twitter account of the country.
Everyone has the chance to become a manager of the official Twitter account of the country for one week. The goal is simple: to show the country through the eyes of the citizens. In order to become the manager, you need to live in Sweden but your citizenship doesn’t matter. You can’t nominate yourself though, only someone who you think deserves to do this.
10. There are no beds in Swedish kindergartens.
A mother that moved to Sweden and who takes her child to the local kindergarten shared her first impressions, “The matter of sleep is solved in different ways. In one kindergarten, the kids that want to sleep, can sleep on mattresses, and those who don’t want to sleep, don’t have to. In other kindergartens, the smallest children are dressed up and taken outside in big strollers on the porch and they slept there, even in winter. I guess this is good for their health. In fact, the Swedes have their own version of what is right and what is wrong.”
Children that are one year old can already go to kindergarten and there are no requirements for them at all: they don’t need to be able to speak, or use the potty, because at this age, many children are just learning to walk. The kindergarten teachers are mostly female, but sometimes there are men who work there. These men are totally okay with changing diapers, feeding, and changing babies’ clothes.
11. They have “gossip windows.”
A Reddit user posted this photo and wrote, “What is the purpose of these mirrors? I came across them in Trosa, Sweden, near the river. They are on almost every house.” He was told that it was an old invention that is usually put on the kitchen windows, so you can see and gossip about what is going on outside while you are drinking coffee. “It is basically a mirror that makes it possible to view the street from the comfort of your couch,” someone replied in the comments.
12. The Swedish passport is the third most powerful passport in the world.
This means that this passport makes it really easy to travel around the world: you don’t need a visa and you also don’t need to give any information about yourself when you want to travel. The locals are very proud of the fact that they can enter 171 countries without a visa. The United Arab Emirates is in first place on this list: the residents of this country can visit 179 countries without a visa.
13. €10 old boxes are in demand in Sweden.
On workdays and on weekends, the Swedes go to stores in search of cool-looking vases, pillows, and lamps of all kinds. Nobody skimps when it comes to comfort and original design in Sweden. An internet user shared their opinion about this, “In Sweden, we have real marketing geniuses! Instead of just throwing away our old vegetable boxes, they put some hipster caption on them and sell them for €10 each. I just saw a lady who bought 4 of them for her daughter’s room.”
14. Sports are extremely important in this country.
3 million Swedes have a membership to local athletic clubs. Winter sports are very popular, but people here also play soccer and basketball, they love swimming, hiking, and of course, riding bicycles. In the intersections, there are special posts that have a pad to place your feet on and rest while on a bike.
15. The Stockholm metro is the longest gallery in the world.
The Stockholm metro is famous for the unusual decor in its central stations. The city is built on rocks, so the tunnels are literally dug in stone. Every station has its own unique design. Also, there are a lot of different exhibitions like, for example, children’s drawings. Tourists visit the local metro as one of the city’s sights to see.
16. In 2015, they started implanting chips in people in Sweden.
The Swedes started experimenting with microchips in 2015 and now, there are more than 3,000 chipped people in the country. The procedure is very simple: they use a syringe to inject a chip under the skin. It looks like a thin wire. They contain information about credit cards, all access cards, driver’s licenses, and all other important data. These chips cost between $150 to $200.
17. They have very strict rules about fireworks.
In order to ensure the safety of people during the holidays, in 2019 they adopted a law regarding fireworks: in order to launch fireworks, people have to take special classes and get special permission. And sellers can only sell their products to the people that have completed this class and have a license.
Which of these things would you like to have in your country? Tell us in the comment section below!