Hi 5, Myths About Sweden Busted

Our reporter has moved to Sweden, and here are her views on what it is like.

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Text Bianca Beyer

1. Swedes Are Less Distant – Superficially!

They say an introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes. And it’s true! Unless you ask for something specific, they prefer to keep at a distance. On the contrary, Swedes would rather approach you with a smile, shake hands, introduce themselves and start a friendly small talk. So you get an impression that they are way more open. In fact, they only want to look more sociable while being as introverted as the Finns. At least in Finland you know right away where you are at.

2. “Royal” Clubbing Culture

Stockholm is twice the size of Helsinki when it comes to inhabitants, but is that really a reason to act all posh when it comes to clubbing? Firstly, you need to have your name on a guest-list to avoid spending a fortune on an entrance ticket. And if before approaching the overpriced wardrobe you don’t put all your belongings in the purse, they just take them in the blink of an eye and charge you for each of them separately. Secondly, having “drunk eyes” is already a criterion for being kicked out of a club – not imaginable in Finland. The only plus is that people dance in Swedish clubs instead of pushing each other.

3. All Swedes Are Gay? No Way, José!

Finns referring to Swedes as gay is a big misunderstanding, probably driven by the out-dated misconception of recognizing someone’s sexuality by clothing. Now here’s the breaking news: You can take good care of your outer appearance. Manliness is not related to dirty fingernails and long greasy hair. If you mean hipster beards, trench coats or smart-casual looks, they are simply fashion trends that come and go. And some of them are probably set in Sweden.

4. Tolerance Levels

When it comes to official measures taken against discrimination, Sweden is a few steps ahead of Finland. Only last year Finland managed to get enough votes to pass the law for same-sex marriage, while Sweden did that back in 2009. When it comes to immigrants, Sweden hosts almost four times the amount of Finland. When following the media, Finland seems to be more concerned about preserving its own culture than the neighboring country, which does not even keep track of ethnic groups in their statistics. And with a non-interchangeable parental leave also women’s rights are more secured in Sweden than in Finland.

5. 9-to-5? Not With The Swedes!

Recently, Swedish media have been discussing the uprising trend to shifting to a 6-hour workday. Even in the public sector this has been pulled off already: nurses work 6 instead of 8 hours for the same pay. This results in happier, less exhausted and, therefore, more productive employees, who have more time for their families, sports and hobbies now.

Published 21.10.2015 in 8/2015

Bianca Beyer

When I don’t sit over plans to erase all evil and meet unicorns, or dream of eating cotton candy, I believe in hard facts and science, doing my PhD in Accounting at the University of Oulu. Using writing as an information transmitter, outlet for creativity or simply for mere entertainment, I believe I am totally living the dream with all my current jobs. Blog: beapproved.wordpress.com

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