A lot of people around the globe are convinced that Scandinavia is the paradise on Earth. If you are not one of them… You must be already living your best life elsewhere, congrats! However, we regular folks are attracted to the Scandinavian region – millions of people visit the Scandinavian countries as tourists and even more of them dream of moving there one day for good. Why? The answer is simple. Find out the nine things that make Sweden the country it is.
The countries of the Nordic area are considered to be the best for life because of the high living standards, breathtaking nature and convenient location. From year to year, the World Happiness Report puts those at the very top of the ranking hierarchy, which implies that Scandinavian people are the happiest in the world!
However high levels of life satisfaction are not the only thing that makes the Scandinavian region countries so attractive. Another appealing factor that drives lots of people there is their unique culture. Indeed, the former land of the Vikings can boast having one of the richest histories, which, subsequently, engendered a lot of cultural peculiarities. With a contemporary twist, of course – Scandinavians are the biggest adepts of modernity, minimalism and simplicity. They have a very specific approach to life, which differentiates them from the rest of European inhabitants.
One of the brightest examples of Scandinavian culture is Sweden. Despite not ranking the highest among the entirety of Scandinavian countries, it is still the most popular Nordic travel destination. Indeed, Sweden has a lot to offer to both tourists and locals – it is the real gem of the North! But what exactly makes Sweden the country that it is? Read on to find out about the top 10 most crucial factors that constitute the Sweden we know and love.
Kungens Kurva IKEA
In the modern consumerist society, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear any mention of Sweden is one of the numerous brands associated with this country. The most famous one is, undeniably, IKEA. Regardless of whether this brand has already entered your local market or not, you must have heard of the epic and absolutely legendary low-cost furniture manufacturer.
Even outside of Sweden a trip to IKEA is a fun adventure in itself. In fact, in the 30 years of its existence, IKEA has successfully expanded into the foreign markets and has fully infiltrated the American culture. In the USA, people actually go to the furniture store for fun and can spend hours wandering around the shop. There’s a good reason for this, too! IKEA stores, both in Sweden and outside of it, are built in a very peculiar way: there’s a maze with twists and turns, with fake fully equipped rooms and hundreds of pieces of furniture with funky names. In fact, the names of the IKEA furniture is yet another reason that makes the brand so lovable – there’s a fun and a little bit crazy name for everyone to match! Hence, it was inevitable for them to go viral on the internet and become the subject of numerous memes online.
And then, of course, there are IKEA meatballs, too! Who doesn’t love those?!
If you are a fan of those, you will love Kungens Kurva of Sweden, the home to the largest IKEA store in the world! It’s so big you can actually get lost there!
Bold National Foods: Pickled Herring
Since we have already started talking about food with the delicious IKEA meatballs why not elaborate on the topic a bit and move onto the next point of this list.
Another thing that makes Sweden stand out is its national cuisine. You might be confused one: surely, every country has a couple of odd dishes on the national menu. However, one can say that Sweden is particularly crazy about making sure their foods are getting enough attention. You can either hate it or love it, but you cannot stay indifferent to Sweden’s bold national foods!
One of the most famous (or, shall I say infamous – a lot of people find this particular dish absolutely vile!) positions on the menu of Swedish restaurants is pickled herring. Sir Jamie Oliver described Swedish food as ‘Big, bold, brave and definitely up there with the best in the world’.
Swedish Design: The Homeland of Minimalism
If you are reading this article from the comfort of your bare-walled white-painted house with a couple of plants here and there but nothing much to not mess up the aesthetics, Sweden is the country you should thank for it! One of the most apparent cultural peculiarities of Sweden is its love for minimalism.
In fact, there is even a specific name for that – Swedish Ultra Minimalism. In Sweden, people believe that less is definitely more. So, both their houses and their lives are all about simplicity, purity, and calmness. What first started as a buying strategy (initially, Swedish Ultra Minimalism was associated primarily with buying less and buying better) has quickly turned into a lifestyle that spread across the world.
Fika: The Coffee Culture
As mentioned previously, Sweden is all about simplicity. Wait! You thought this point was about the coffee culture? Well, you are right! Yes and no… Indeed, the Swedish love their coffee breaks but in this case, it is more about breaks and less about coffee.
This is a mindset, a concept, that literally allows Swedish people to remain among the happiest in the world – they make time to take care of their mental health. Despite the fact that the Swedish have a very strong working ethics, they are also very adamant about ensuring they are enjoying each and every moment of their lives. Sometimes, it means stepping away and focusing on what cares the most – Fika refers to making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat and simply have a second to reflect on how good life is!
Great Environmental Ethos: Zero (Well, Actually, 1%) Waste Culture
But don’t forget about making sure your cup of coffee is not made of plastic! Sweden is well-known for its robust environmental ethos – the country and its government care about the environment on the national level. This allows Sweden to qualify as a country with a Zero Waste culture.
In fact, Sweden takes the process of actively caring for the environment a step further. Instead of recycling, they are trying to minimize the consumption altogether. This ties in well with the concept of Minimalism.
The Northern Lights
And nature is glad to cooperate! One of the most mesmerizing wonders of the world – the Northern Lights – is the national Swedish pride. Those have been romanticized in popular culture for ages now. So, every year, people from all over the world come to see the sky change colors.
It is not only the Northern Lights that Sweden can boast. The land is rich in absolutely beautiful scenic landscapes. Some of the most popular among locals and tourists places include:
All of these look unreal and will definitely look good both in your memory and in photos!
Lapland Santa Village
Sweden is believed to be the country of wonders. Of course, granted that you can see the Northern Lights there… However, there is something more that makes Sweden so popular and magical. It is the home to Santa Klaus himself!
Swedish Lapland Santa village is the epitome of Christmas vibes: all year round (but especially closer to Christmas time) it is brimming with decorations, little elves packing presents and reindeer jumping in the snow. If you ever want to feel like a child on a Christmas Eve again, Sweden is the place to go!
At last but not least, Scandinavian women are a treasure on their own! Even though it is believed that Ukrainian and Russian women are the prettiest in the world, you cannot deny the fact that Nordic women are mesmerizingly beautiful. After all, the famous Barbie looks like one of them. Or shall I say women in Sweden look like Barbie? They are tall, slim, blonde and blue-eyed.
However, it is not just the looks that Swedish women charm a foreigner with – they are also extremely smart, hard-working and independent. Some people would say they are unapproachable but really, they are just reserved.
And… Even though this article has already covered the top nine things Sweden is famous for, including gorgeous Swedish women, there’s one more thing we forgot to mention. One man, to be precise. Mr Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg better known as PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber that has become a true legend in his lifetimes. Felix got famous playing video games on camera and has inspired generations of talented content creators to start their careers! Good job Sweden!
What Is Sweden Famous For? Nine Things That Make Sweden the Country It Is, written excusively for Daily Scandinaian by Karl Murphy. Karl is a professional journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he’s launched his career and over its course, Karl was contributing to the popular publications for men. He’s passionate about eSports, so now he develops his blog bestesportsbettingsites.net
Feature image (on top): Swedish parliament, Stockholm. Photo: Sweden.se