The Swedes are generally a conservative people who avoid boasting and public self-importance. They see pompous behaviour as discourteous and aggressive. Swedes dislike arguing, especially with guests or foreigners, and avoid discussions concerning private details like wealth and family. If a Swede abruptly changes the topic of conversation it may be because your questioning was becoming too personal. Swedes are unfailingly proud of their country and a liberal society so avoid any negative comments about that either. Above all, remember that there is no tolerance for sexist, racist or inappropriate jokes.


Swedes prefer not to translate the word Fika. They don’t want it to lose significance and become a mere coffee break. It is one of the first words you will learn when visiting Sweden, right after tack (thank you) and hej (hello). Fika is much more than having a coffee. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Fika can happen at any time, morning as well as evening. It can be savoured at home, at work or in a café. It can be with colleagues, family, friends, or someone you are trying to get to know. It is a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day. Accompanying sweets are crucial. Cinnamon buns, cakes, cookies, even open-faced sandwiches pass as acceptable Fika fare. It comes as no surprise that Swedes are among the top consumers of coffee and sweets in the world – or that Swedes appreciate the good things in life.


When you come to Sweden, one of the first things you will notice are the queues and the strange relationship of the average Swede to them. There are queues everywhere, in places where you never suspected a queue would be necessary: bakeries, bike shops, cheese counters and banks. Some places even use these ticket machines where you get a number and then wait for your number to be called in order to get the service. It is important to know that when standing in line you should be mindful of others by not making too much noise or too many sudden movements which might annoy other people.


Behaviours in Sweden are strongly balanced towards ‘lagom’ or, ‘everything in moderation’. Excess, flashiness and boasting are abhorred in Sweden and individuals strive towards the middle way. As an example, work hard and play hard are not common concepts in Sweden. People work hard but not too hard, they go out and enjoy themselves, but without participating in anything extreme. Due to the strong leaning towards egalitarianism in Sweden, competition is not encouraged and children are not raised to believe that they are any more special than any other child.


When you are in Sweden you have the right to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp on any land with the exception of private gardens, near a dwelling house or land under cultivation. We call it the Freedom to Roam. Sweden’s natural wonders; Swedish Lapland, the Swedish mountains, coastlines and archipelagos are waiting for you to come and discover them.
So come to Sweden and claim your right to enjoy the sights and sounds of Sweden’s great outdoors.The Right of Public Access is a unique right to roam freely in the countryside. But with this right come responsibilities – to take care of nature and wildlife and to show consideration for landowners and for other people enjoying the countryside. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sums up the Right of Public Access in the phrase ‘Don’t disturb – Don’t destroy.’


Apart from Christmas, midsummer is the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar. For some, midsummer is the most important. The successful midsummer never-ending lunch party formula involves flowers in your hair, dancing around a pole, singing songs while drinking unsweetened, flavoured schnapps. And down a whole load of pickled herring served with delightful new potatoes, chives and sour cream. All in all, a grand day out.

When: Originally June 24th. Now Midsummer Eve is celebrated on June 20th-25th.
Where: public parks, gardens, summer cottages, in fact, anywhere in Sweden will do as long as it is outdoors!

Who: Every Swedish man, woman and child.

How to do it like a local: Get invited by a local


New Year



Maundy Thursday

Good Friday


Easter Monday

May Day



Mother´s Day

National Holiday Sweden

Midsummer Eve

Midsummer Day

All Saints

Father´s Day

Christmas Eve


St. Stephen´s Day

New Year´s Eve



More videos on the Swedish way of living:

Weird things Swedes do
Swedish Midsummer for dummies
10 Good things to know about Sweden