Top 8 Swedish Culture, Customs and Etiquette

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Should you remove your shoes when visiting friends? Should you greet those on elevators with a smile? When thinking about the dos and don'ts in your own ... read more...

  1. The egalitarian attitude of Swedes, together with their humility and abhorrence of boasting, is one of their fundamental cultural traits. In many ways, Swedes value listening to others more than advocating for themselves. Swedes are known for their quiet, collected speech. A Swede expressing anger or other strong emotions in public is uncommon.

    The Swedish rarely take courtesy or goodwill for granted, and as a result, they frequently express gratitude. It's considered rude in Sweden to forget to express gratitude. In Sweden, behavior is strongly geared toward "lagom," or "everything in moderation." Sweden abhors excess, flashiness, and boasting, and people work to find the middle ground.

    Work hard and play hard, for instance, are not prevalent ideas in Sweden. People put in a lot of effort, but not excessively, and they go out and have fun, but without going overboard. Sweden has a strong egalitarian inclination, therefore competition is discouraged and kids are not taught that they are any more remarkable than other kids.

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    Some of the best rights in the world are those granted to Swedish families to enable them to provide adequate care for their children. Here is a summary of these rights: Until their child turns 18 months old, either the mother or the father may take time off from work. Until the child turns eight years old, either parent may cut their workload by 25%. (and is formally ready for school).

    A 480-day parental allowance is paid, and it is meant for both parents. The "minority" parents must use sixty of these days. Because of this, this portion of the allowance is frequently referred to as "Daddy's months." You are entitled to up to 60.

    For the purpose of caring for a sick child, you are entitled to up to 60 days off annually. However, some in Sweden question the extent to which these rights are actually beneficial because data suggests that women frequently underperform their male counterparts in terms of position and salary. Anyone visiting Sweden will observe that the majority of restaurants and other businesses of this nature have a family-friendly atmosphere. Even trains have a play area with toys!
  3. Guests are typically welcomed to a Swedish house for coffee and cake rather than a meal, but if you are invited for a meal, make sure you: Be on time because being late is seen as being exceedingly unfriendly. In a similar vein, avoid showing up too early. In Sweden, it's normal for visitors to wait in their car or take a short stroll around the block until the scheduled arrival time.

    Dress formally since failing to do so would be regarded showing disrespect to the hosts. The house may be shown to you, but avoid asking to see the rest of it because Swedes are often quite private people. When eating, place your wrists on top of the table so that they are clearly visible.

    Knife in the right hand and fork in the left should be used according to European eating etiquette. Until the host or hostess says "vars goda," you are not allowed to eat. Never take the final bite off a dish. It is considered impolite to leave any food unattended, so finish everything on your plate. Don't raise a glass to someone who is older than you.

    When making a toast, hoist your glass and give a wink to everyone in attendance while gazing from your right to your left before taking a sip. After that, nod once more and set your glass back on the table. You should avoid discussing business at the table since Swedes tend to make a distinction between home and work. In formal settings, the person seated to the hostess' left usually gets up to thank her on behalf of the entire party during the sweet. Within a few days of the meal, make sure to write or phone the host or hostess to express your gratitude.
  4. If you are planning a meeting in Sweden, make sure to offer at least two weeks' notice. If at all possible, stay away from the following months: June, July, and August, as well as late February through early March, when the majority of Swedes will be on vacation. Similar to the UK, the majority of Swedes are away throughout the holiday season.

    Being on time is really necessary. If you are late, it will look highly unprofessional and reflect poorly on you. Small conversation is generally avoided by Swedes before beginning a meeting. People will instead dive right into the pertinent subjects. Ordinarily, meetings are guided by an agenda that is made available to participants before the meeting.

    In Sweden, awkward silences are rarely considered to be awkward, and as a result, Swedes do not immediately try to fill them. It is extremely rare for a Swede to overexplain during a discussion, even if they are attempting to sell anything, therefore try to tone down your use of emphasis or superlatives if you are trying to sell something. If you don't follow this, people can think your delivery isn't sincere.
  5. Many historical buildings, including townhouses, churches, and palaces, feature Swedish architectural design. When Romanesque cathedrals like Lund Cathedral and Alvastra monastery were constructed in the 12th century, stones were used as a construction material. Later, the Gothic architectural style was adopted, with bricks serving as the primary building material.

    A few, like Visby's city walls, have been kept among the majority of the classic middle-age structures that have been repaired. The Swedish fathers of architecture are renowned builders like Simon De la Vallee and Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. Famous designs include the Stockholm Palace, Kalmar Cathedral, and Katarina Church.

    The streets were laid out in a grid layout, and the cities had well-planned central squares. A national Romantic Style was adopted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The adoption of modern and postmodern architecture was prompted by population growth.
  6. It is impossible to discuss Swedish traditions and customs without bringing up the Fika. Swedish people also enjoy a customary social break of coffee and cake with friends, similar to how English people enjoy their afternoon tea.

    Fika plays a significant role in Swedish culture. In fact, a lot of Swedes believe that scheduling time for fika each day is practically mandatory. Let's go fika! is a phrase used by Swedes to refer to a fika session. Even in some large Swedish companies, taking a moment to halt is institutionalized, so the goal is to slow down and spend time with friends.

    So, if you're asked to fika, take advantage of the opportunity to interact and perhaps even meet some new acquaintances. However, ordering decaf during fika, which is typically not available, is one among the dos and don'ts in Sweden. If you prefer tea instead of coffee, you can do so.
  7. Do not expect a tour of a Swede's home when you pay them a visit; instead, bring a small gift as a gesture of appreciation. If you decide to send flowers, be sure that the bouquet doesn't contain white chrysanthemums or lilies. This is because both kinds of flowers are frequently presented at funerals It is always advised to bring gifts for any children who may be part of the family you are visiting because Sweden is such a child-centered nation.

    It is customary to unwrap gifts that are personally handed to you as soon as you receive them. Never neglect to remove your shoes prior to entering. It is best to get in touch with your friend the day following your visit to express gratitude to him and his family for their thoughtful hostility; otherwise, they might think you're being impolite.

    Swedes shun hugs and other similar greeting customs since they are not extremely intimate people. Instead, they only shake hands. You'll see that Swedes are very conscious about their appearance and favor formal attire compared to other nations where informal attire is favoured.
  8. Over time, Sweden's religious landscape has expanded in diversity. From the 12th until the early 20th century, nearly all of the people in Sweden were Christians; but, throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, that number has been quickly declining.

    Christianity first arrived in Sweden in the ninth century, primarily as a result of increased trade. The old Nordic cults were gradually superseded. A few centuries later, all kings became Christians, and Christianity was accepted as the state religion. The church belonged to the Catholic Church until 1527, when it became the Swedish state church, a Protestant organization founded on Lutheran doctrines, as a result of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation, which converted the majority of Germanic Europe.

    Up until the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Lutheran Church of Sweden served as the nation's official religion. The religious landscape in Sweden has changed significantly in recent years, with Christians making up roughly 61.3% of the overall population in 2020 (of which 55.2% are members of the Church of Sweden), as well as an increasing number of non-Christians (34.8%) and followers of other religions.

    The Lutheran Church of Sweden, which was the state church until 2000, is by far the largest Christian denomination, but its registered membership is steadily declining. In 2020, 55.2% of the population will be members, down from 2.5 percentage points in 2018. Free churches, the Catholic Church, and Eastern Orthodox Churches are some smaller Christian denominations. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews make up the majority of adherents to other religions.

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