The Swedes are…

“Tall blond beautiful people that wear only H&M clothing while sitting in their typical red houses with white trim, filled with IKEA furniture, eating rye bread with weird herring and meatballs.”

For being a rather small country in the world, Sweden has a relatively big impact on the global population. Most people can name many Swedish brands, such as: Volvo, Saab, H&M, Absolut Vodka, Acne Jeans, Ericsson, Bjorn Borg, IKEA, Electrolux, “Swedish Massage” etc. Because Sweden has penetrated so many different markets there are also many stereotypes about the Swedish people. It is often said that Swedish people are tall and blond, that they live in typical red barn houses in the North Pole, and they speak a strange guttural language that makes for a funny English accent.

Some comment also that the Swedish are environmentally conscious and energy efficient, good at time management, are well organized, have good fashion sense and style, and are often very naive. More critical assessment says that the Swedish are reclusive and would all like to be “in the middle” of everything because they are afraid to make fools of themselves by being too extreme on either end.

On one hand, most stereotypes have some type of basis in reality. The “lagom” concept, which basically means “exactly average”, is strongly embraced by most Swedes. Sweden is also often a test market for new fashion trends since the people are so fashion oriented. But on the other hand, not all Swedes are tall, or have blond hair and many are not as withdrawn as an outsider may interpret. Stereotypes will always exist, but you must assess for yourself, and understand that even if one thing is true sometimes, it is rarely true for every case.


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