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Old 04-17-2002, 08:59 AM   #1
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Sweden and Swedes, some info maybe??

I laughed so hard when I read this. Most of it's all true but it's written with a HUGE exaggeration and is simplified. So, read and enjoy and read a whole lot of irony into it.

This is all on me, being Swedish.

>This is a bit of a long story on Swedes, well worth reading if you would
>like to really understand us......

>The Secret files
>The size of Sweden
>8.9 million inhabitants occupy the fourth largest country in Europe. If
>you were to swing Sweden round at 180* using the
>southernmost tip as the axis, you could reach central Italy no problem.
>Mind you, the Sami (Laplanders) would want to know what they
>were suddenly doing in Naples. travel by sleeper. This means that not
>many Swedes know what their country looks like. They either
>fly 10 000 metres above it or sleep through it.
>The southern part of Sweden is the most densely populated and is
>inhabited by people called Scanians, a kind of Swedish-speaking
>Dane. They are proud to tell you that they were once a part of Denmark
>and that they have absolutely nothing in common with the rest
>of the country. Indeed they are geographically closer to Berlin than to
>Stockholm. The southern part of Sweden is the gateway to
>Europe and the rest of the world. Or at least to Copenhagen for a good
>night out.
>The north of Sweden is inhabited by northerners (Norrlänningar) and the
>Sami (Laplanders), an ancient hunting and fishing nomadic
>people who live in tents and speak a Finno-Urgic language they
>themselves can hardly understand. This is perhaps why they hardly say
>anything at all. Norrland, as this area is called, stretches across 60%
>of Sweden and is so sparsely populated that the inhabitants
>hardly ever meet anyone to talk to.
>In central Sweden lies the capital, Stockholm. Stockholm is inhabited
>by 'zero eights', so called because of their telephone area
>codes. 'Zero eights' have a reputation for being like sea-gulls, they
>scream and cause a mess wherever they go. Well, that's what
>the Swedish-speaking Danes say in the south. The people of the north
>haven't said a word. As usual.
>The Swedish summer
>The Swedish summer is the warmest day of the year. And as Sweden is a
>very normal country, it is normal for the Swedish summer to be
>a bit colder than normal.
>The Swedish winter
>The geography book will tell you that, although the country is on the
>same latitude as Alaska, Sweden has a mild climate and the
>Atlantic Gulf stream gives warm winters. The truth is that there are
>two types of winter in Sweden. A grey one and a white one.
>Swedes survive the winter only by dreaming of what they are going to do
>on that summer's day.
>Sweden - a peace-loving nation
>Sweden is a peace-loving country. There is, after all, such a thing as
>the Nobel Peace Prize. Having invented dynamite, gelignite
>and nitroglycerine, and other substances enough to blow the earth out
>of the solar system, the Swede Alfred Nobel got a guilty
>conscience and used his profits to set up the Nobel Foundation.
>The Swedes are neutral because they say they are. They are the
>conscience of the world and therefore only sell peaceful weapons.
>Preferably to be used as fireworks.
>For most Swedes Europe starts on the other side of the Sound in
>Copenhagen. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, although most of them
>would have preferred the EU to join Sweden on their terms.
>99% of the Swedes are now soberly against the EU as it is no longer
>possible to buy tax-free spirits and cigarettes when travelling
>from one EU country to another. For, up to now, it has always been the
>duty of every Swede to buy his ration both on the way out and
>on the way back. Once at a hotel in one of Europe's exciting
>metropolises, Swedes used to gather, lock themselves up in the room and
>drink duty-free booze out of the toothbrush glass. The fact that bar
>prices in Europe are usually considerably lower than even
>Swedish tax-free prices never occurred to them.
>Scandinavian neighbors
>As Victor Borge, the Danish entertainer, once said. Some things are
>better in Sweden than in Denmark. The Swedes have better
>Norway is very sparsely inhabited and has a average of three
>inhabitants per mountain. Norway always regarded itself as the little
>brother of Sweden until someone pointed out that if you flattened all
>the mountains, the country would be fifty times larger than
>it's big brother. That and earning zillions of crowns from North Sea
>oil has done wonders to raise Norwegian self-esteem.
>Swedish politics
>Swedes are liberal, yet they always vote for the social democrats.
>That's because they are so conservative. Or, as the well-known
>saying goes, the Swedes are a colorful people. They think blue, vote
>red and eat green.
>Swedish tax
>Governments in Sweden have spent years convincing Swedes that their
>money isn't really their own. But the Swede is a person of great
>initiative and has developed a few ways of keeping a few crowns for
>himself. Nobody is allowed to get rich. If people in other
>countries se someone drive round in a flashy sports car, they may
>exclaim 'Wow! What a cool guy!' In Sweden they'll say 'What a
>Business climate in Sweden
>In the USA business people go to their therapist's after a nervous
>breakdown. In Sweden people running their own businesses go to
>their accountant's.
>Swedish business culture
>Swedish managers want to be normal people and one of the team. That is
>why they like to be called by they first names; Bengan,
>Maggan, Bosse and Kalle by their staff. They never shut their office
>door and they even queue up in the same canteen as the workers
>and eat the same food. They like to think of themselves more as a coach
>than a commander. Swedish management delegates
>responsibility and authority throughout the organization. Over 80% of
>Swedes have some form of vocational training and staff are
>therefore quite capable of taking initiative and participating in the
>decision-making. For foreigners it's sometimes difficult to
>know who's in charge around here. Lasse in his open-necked, short-
>sleeved, yellow shirt and white socks and sneakers, doesn't really
>look the part.
>Swedish inventions
>Sweden gave the world ball-bearings, safety matches, adjustable
>wrenches, safety belts, Tetra Paks, Volvo and Saab. It also makes
>and exports Absolut vodka, which is rather ironic as the Swedish word
>for teetotalers is 'Absolutist'. Ikea, of course , is also
>Swedish. If the social democrats created the welfare state, commonly
>referred to as 'the home of the people', then Ikea furnished
>Swedish schedules
>The Bible of the modern Swede is his filofax. Everything he has to do
>for the next six months is meticulously written down. Take
>kids to day care, drop of suit for cleaning, ring dentist, meeting with
>sales team, fax figures, lunch with Bengan, meeting, pick up
>car, drive home, take off shoes, shout at kids. It's all in there -
>every movement. All planned and organised down to the very last
>minute. If a Swede misplaces his filofax then he loses direction in
>life - he simply does not know what to do next.
>Everything is planned weeks in advance and written down next to the
>times it has to be performed. Flexibility is not the name of the
>game here. Once written in, then thy will be done. Swedes are impressed
>by filofaxes which are full and overflowing. A chock-a-block
>filofax is a status symbol. The next time you want to arrange a meeting
>with a Swede, watch how he instinctively reaches for his
>filofax, opens it in January and flicks through week after week, month
>after month of crammed appointments finally to stop
>in October some time.
>Then something will happen. Your Swedish business partner will mutter
>something like 'Is week 37 OK? I can squeeze you in in week
>38'. Swedes count weeks. Each week has a number. Ask the average Swede
>when week 29 is and he hasn't got a clue. But that gives him
>another excuse to reach for his filofax and start flicking through.
>He'll find that it's in July, in the middle of his holiday and
>therefore he couldn't care less what the number of the week is.
>Swedes write the date backwards. Year first, then month and then day.
>Nobody says the date that way, but Swedes are sure it's the
>right way to write it. Everybody has a national registration number
>with ten digits based on the date of their birth and a few extra
>ones, such as 581023-6879. Or as one Swede put it "It's the day, month
>and year when you were born backwards and then followed by
>four figures". Childbirth is a painful business in Sweden.
>The Social Swede
>Swedish homes
>These are usually very tasteful, yet simply furnished. Swedish homes
>are simple, clean and uncluttered. Foreign guests very often
>ask 'How nice. When are you moving in?' Swedes have good taste in
>furniture and home-decorating. Walls are usually painted in a
>plain colour and the sofa, the carpets, and the curtains all match.
>Indeed, when they entertain at home, even the candles match the
>curtains, which match the table cloth which matches the serviettes
>which often match the hostess's dress.
>Invited to dinner - 1
>They take the paper off a bunch of flowers before they ring the
>doorbell of their hosts for the evening. It's rather like unwrapping
>a Christmas present before you give it to someone. Nobody ever knows
>where to put the paper once they've screwed it up. Usually the
>hostess end up taking it. A bunch of pretty flowers in one hand and a
>soggy, screwed up piece of wrapping paper in the other.
>Invited to dinner - 2
>The person sitting next to you at the dinner table will offer you a
>lump of butter on a wooden knife. It is not some ancient
>superstitious Viking ritual whereby the knife has to be passed once
>round the table. It's quite simply the height of politeness to
>offer your neighbor some butter on a knife. What you do if there's not
>enough butter on the knife or if there is some left over,
>goodness knows. But there's no need to pass it on to the next person as
>he's busy handing butter to someone else.
>Invited to dinner - 3
>Swedes are very polite guests. They show much appreciation for the
>food. They guess the ingredients, enquire how it was cooked,
>wonder where the ingredients were bought and ask how long it needed in
>the oven. In fact, most guests ask for the recipe and this is
>the greatest of compliments. They eat and mutter 'This was good' which
>is rather strange as they are still eating it.
>At the restaurant - 1
>You are forced to hang up your coat when entering a restaurant as it is
>infested with all sorts of harmful
>bacteria. For this pleasure you are expected to pay. Why should you
>pay? To pay the cloakroom attendant. Why have a cloakroom
>attendant? If they didn't there'd be no-one to take your 15 crowns. Get
>At the restaurant - 2
>Swedes believe in fairness. No-one should be in debt to anyone else.
>Consequently they insist on all paying their fair share at the
>restaurant when the bill comes. Who had what and how much takes forever
>to work out and is not made easier by the fact that nobody
>at that stage has a clear head. Lenghty calculations on a serviette and
>countless restarts later, they've worked out how much each
>person owes down to the last krona. This is when several in the group
>realize they need to take out an instant bank loan.
>Swedish alcohol policy
>The Swedes do have an alcohol problem. It's so expensive that no-one
>can afford it. How can anyone afford to get drunk, let alone
>become an alcoholic?
>The 'Systembolaget' (the system company) is the national retail
>monopoly which displays wine and beer behind locked glass cases. If
>you really must buy the horrid stronger stuff, then it's safely stacked
>away on shelves behind the counter. No wonder Swedes think
>it's an exciting adventure to go into a bright, open, welcoming tax-
>free shop at the airport where they are trusted to pick up a
>bottle of booze and not drink it before reaching the check-out.
>How do you ask for something if you can't pronounce it? To help Swedes
>get their tongues around strange foreign names once they
>reach the counter, the Systembolaget's brochure used to contain the
>phonetic pronunciation of all the wines on sale. Coteaux de
>Langedoc became something like
>kåtå de långödock which doesn't look at all drinkable. Today, as fully
>fledged members of the EU and therefore full-blooded
>Europeans, Swedes have to manage without this customer-friendly
>linguistic help. Mind you, if you ask for a Californian wine in
>fluent English, the chances are the assistant won't understand. They
>need a Swedish accent.
>Beer in Sweden is classified into four types according to alcohol
>content. This is perhaps best explained by a Swedish business man
>in a Stockholm restaurant who had just been told by his Japanese guests
>that they would like to drink beer with their meal.
>'In Sweden we have beer with different classes. You can have a 'lätt
>öl' which is a light, easy beer with no alcohol. You can even
>drink it at lunch time. Then you can have a 'people's beer', a folköl,
>and if you want you can buy that in shops. We also have in
>Sweden a mellanöl which is a 'middle-class beer'. Yes and then you have
>another one, a class 3 one too. This is a big, strong one
>but you have to go to the system company to get it. But not on
>Sundays.' I think they then asked for mineral water.
>If you want to get the Swedes singing then open a bottle of ice-cold
>snaps - which is the Swedish word for schnapps. Swedes drink
>snaps, flavoured with caraway, aniseed, coriander, fennel and wormwood,
>with herring (of course) and crayfish.
>You'll please them no end if you, too, were to join in the singing of
>a 'snapsvisa' (a song which accompanies schnapps).
> >Here is an English transcription of one of the most famous songs. Grab
>a Swede and sing along. Skål!
>Hell and gore
>Chung hop father Allan Allan lay
>Hell and gore
>Chung hop father Allan lay
>Oh handsome inter hell an tar
>Hand hell air inter half an four
>Hell and gore!
>(Now knock it back in one)
>Chung hop father Allan lay
>Swedish food
>This is delicious. Swedes love anything that is pickled in spice and
>vinegar. You pickle it, they'll eat it. Other tasty delicacies
>include fried salted herring, marinated herring and more pickled
>herring. Certain dishes are associated with particular holidays and
>times of the year. At Christmas, the Swedes eat a Christmas ham which
>is all very nice. They also eat dried stock fish. Believe it
>or not this is dried fish soaked in lye. (Are your mouths watering?).
>This is followed by cold rice pudding. Yes, you read
>Swedes get very excited about the advent of new potatoes. There is
>nothing like a new potato having just been pulled out of the rich
>fertile soil of Scania, southern Sweden. The price per kilo in the
>first weeks is prohibitive but after a while normal Swedes, as
>they all are of course, can afford what they've all been waiting for.
>Swedish new potatoes are usually eaten with chives, sour cream
>and-yes, you've guessed it, pickled herring.
>Once you have tasted pickled herring, salt herring and marinated
>herring it is time to try fermented baltic herring. A specialty
>from the north, the fish is nowadays tinned. The tins become spherical
>as the fermentation continues. To the uninitiated the smell,
>once the tin has been opened, reminds you of....
>No wonder there are so many MacDonald hamburger joints in Sweden.
>No, seriously. Swedish cooking has opened itself up to all manner of
>international influences which has led to a Swedish culinary
>miracle. Stockholm restaurants can match anything that Parisians can
>'Smaklig måltid!' which in English means Bon appétit!
>The normal Swede
>Every Swede should aspire to being normal and average. There's no
>greater compliment than to be called an ordinary kind of person.
>'To be as people usually are' is a fine way to describe yourself and
>you'll instantly earn others' respect. Successful people are
>just normal people who have had a spot of luck - but it won't last.
>Every Swede can tell you about 'Jantelagen' the law of Jante.
>This states that you shouldn't think you are somebody. Somebody who is
>somebody pretends to be nobody because anybody can be nobody
>and nobody would really want to be seen as somebody in the eyes of
>anybody. Get it?
>The honest Swede
>Swedes are basically honest. They don't like cheating. That's a foreign
>habit. There are only two occasions when it's acceptable to
>cheat. Joy-riding on the Stockholm underground which is regarded as a
>kind of sport, and filling in your income-tax forms which is
>regarded a necessity.
>The silent Swede
>Silence is not necessarily negative. Swedes are marvelously reflective
>and introvert. To sit and say nothing for an hour is good for
>the soul. Indeed, which other nation would sing about the virtues of
>silence in their national anthem? 'Du gamla, du fria, du
>fjällhöga nord. Du tysta, du glädjerika sköna'. (Ye ancient, ye land of
>the free, the high fells of the north. Ye silent, ye
>glorious beauty).
>The Grateful Swede
>The Swedes are a very thankful people. They may not have a vord
>for 'please' but they more than compensate by using the word 'tack'
>(thank you) in any number of situations. They say 'tack' or 'tack
>tack'. The reply is 'tack' or even 'tack tack'. They say 'tusen
>tack' if they are particularly grateful which is a thousand thank yous,
>and which in English is multiplied by another thousand to
>become 'thanks a million'. They say 'tack för maten' after a meal,
>which means thank you for the food and they say 'tack för senast'
>meaning thank you your hospitality the last time we met. They say 'ja
>tack' for 'yes please and 'tack själv' for thank you.
>The 'lagom bra' Swede or the Swede who is not too good but, then again,
>not so bad either.
>The Complete Oxford Dictionary may boast over 650 000 entries to prove
>that English is a very wordy language. Swedish, on the other
>hand, has a smaller vocabulary, but they compensate by having words for
>which there is no English equivalent. Swedes are fond of
>neither extravagance in any form nor excesses (except in liquid form).
>Which is why they have a word like 'lagom', meaning 'just
>enough' and 'with moderation'. Everything can, and indeed should
>be, 'lagom'. What is
>absolutely-fanastic-marvellous-way-out-super-terrific to an American
>is 'lagom bra' to a Swede ('Just about right and nothing to
>make a fuss about'). 'Bra' here means 'good' and has nothing to do with
>lingerie in medium size.
>Doing things in moderation means always taking the middle path. If
>there is a choice between 'ja' and 'nej' the Swedes say 'Nja'. If
>there is heartless capitalism on one hand and mindless socialism on the
>other, the Swedes develop a 'lagom' sort of compromise
>called the Swedish Muddle or is it Model?
>The safety-conscious Swede
>Swedes need to feel safe and secure in everything they do. They wear
>knee pads, cycle helmets, ear plugs, protective glasses and
>life-jackets - and that's when they do the washing up.
>Swedes hang Swedish flags on their Christmas trees. Swedes even wipe
>their mouths on the Swedish flag as you'll even find Swedish
>flags on serviettes on special occasions. The Swedish flag appears on
>birthday cards, Christmas cards and playing cards. The Swedish
>national day is called the day of the Swedish flag when you may even
>find a Swedish flag at the top of a fag-pole. In fact the flag
>is run up on the slightest excuse. They hoist the flag if there's a
>birthday in your family, or indeed in anybody's family. They
>hoist it when they are expecting guests, they hoist it on Sundays and
>public holidays, and on the king's birthday.
>They'll hoist it simply because everybody else has hoisted theirs.
>Sweden probably has the highest rate of academics in the cleaning
>business and in hotel kitchens. They are all called Hassan and
>Bogdan. Those looking for jobs they are more than well qualified for
>often change their names to more Swedish sounding names. Hassan
>becomes Hasse and Bogdan becomes Bengt. This might at least fool the
>prospective employer on the application form and they may be
>called to interview. Of a population of just under 9 million, there are
>1 million immigrants. Sales of peroxide are unusually high
>in Sweden.
>The relationship Swedes have with Nature is particularly difficult to
>explain to a foreigner. Swedes are incredibly knowledgeable
>about plants, flowers, animals and creepy-crawlies. They not only know
>the name of the bird, but they can tell you how it sounds in
>the morning, where it nests and from whence it has migrated. Such is
>their worship of nature, that it is reflected in their family
>names. Wouldn't you like to be called 'Aspengrove' (Asplund), 'Lilly
>leaf' (Liljeblad), 'Flowertwig' (Blomqvist) and 'Mountain
>stream' (Beergström)'
>Swedes gave up being Catholics years ago and adopted Lutheranism.
>However, always keen on having any excuse not to work, they kept
>the Catholic holy days and made them holidays; Twelfth Night, All
>Saints Day, Ascension Day. Twelfth night is logically called 'The
>eve of the thirteenth day' in Swedish. All Saints Day is nowadays
>translated as 'Halloween' with a Swedish accent, and Ascension Day
>was once translated by a Swede as 'The day Jesus took a flight to
>Crime and punishment
>Major criminals like those omitting to file their income tax returns or
>forgetting to pay their bills on time are dealt with
>severely. Minor criminals like murderers and those convicted of
>grievous bodily harm are told not to do it again.
>Swedish Television
>God may be watching you. But I doubt whether he watches Swedish
>At prime viewing time Swedish television tells you that everything is
>dangerous to your health. Don't eat this Don't drink that,
>don't do that either. However, the death rate in Sweden is still 100%.
>Most of the money from the television license goes towards staging the
>Eurovision Song Contest which Sweden insist on winning every
>third year.
>Swedes excel at sports. There is a nation-wide interest in sports,
>exercise and outdoor recreation. There are over 22 000 officially
>registered sports clubs, not taking into account the thousands of local
>clubs, including those at workplaces. Swedes are justly
>proud of their famous sportsmen and women - Björn Borg, Ingemar
>Stenmark, Ingemar Johansson, Annika Sörenstam to name but a few.
>Their ice-hockey players are so good that most of them have been sold
>and exported to major teams in the NHL. Swedes are frequently
>world champions in bandy. Then again, it's relatively easy to be world
>champions in a game nobody else has ever heard of.
>Swedish sex and sin
>There isn't any.
>Swedes take the whole summer off work. They have five weeks paid leave
>which they usually take in July. Once a Swede was told he had
>only five weeks to live. 'I hope it's in July' he said.
>Public holidays
>Yes, Sweden has its fair share. But they are not enough. 'Swedes are
>world best' (one of their favorite phrases) at finding excuses
>for not being at work. They created the 'squeeze day', explained once
>by a Swede as 'a day squeezed in between a holiday and a
>weekend. We have worked for it, so it's not a free day really'.
>Translated this means that if there is a public holiday on, say, the
>Thursday then they don't think it's worth going into work just for one
>day before they're off again at the weekend. The Friday, in
>this case, is a squeeze day. They accumulate time by working four
>minutes extra every day so they reckon it's not a holiday but time
>off in lieu of the overtime. Get it?
>If they are lucky, the Swedes can enjoy what can only be described as
>a 'squeeze week' during the first week of May. There's the
>weekend, then a squeeze Monday as Tuesday is the 1st of May and a
>public holiday. Hopefully Ascension Day falls on the Thursday so
>it's no good going to work on the Wednesday and the Friday is squeezed
>between Thursday and Saturday and before you know it it's
>already the following weekend.
>Some Swedish traditional holidays
>1.Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis night)
>This is the evening before the 1st of May public holiday. A
>metamorphosis occurs. Like a butterfly emerging from months of lonely
>darkness in its cocoon, Swedes wriggle out into the open, stretch and
>flap their wings. The winter is officially over, at least
>according to the calendar, by gathering outdoors and lighting huge
>bonfires. From now on, Swedes shed their thick, cozy winter
>attire and put on flimsy, brightly-colored, cotton summer wear. If the
>Jews are God's chosen people, then on this night the Swedes
>are God's frozen people. Wind, rain, hail and snow abound, so quite
>often the bonfires don't have a long life-span. The Swedish
>calendar is not always in tune with reality.
>2. Midsummer
>This is celebrated on the weekend coming closest to the real midsummer
>day, 24th of June. A mass exodus takes place just before with
>thousands of Swedes evacuating the towns and cities and heading for
>their weekend cottages in the country. They erect a maypole,
>erect being the operative word as in fact it is a pagan symbol of
>fertility. It looks like a long thing with two round dangly bits!
>They dress it up in leaves and flowers (the maypole, that is) and then
>spend the afternoon dancing around it pretending to be small
>frogs. It's true.
>Swedes eat new potatoes and pickled herring (of course). Before long,
>it is not only the herring which is pickled as they do end to
>imbibe large quantities of beer and akvavit. No wonder they dance like
>frogs afterwards. Another important dish on the menu is fresh
>strawberries and cream. No foreign watery, tasteless EU-regulated
>strawberries, but large, curvy, juicy, sweet Swedish ones.
>Lucia, 13th of December
>Most people have no idea how the Lutheran Swedes came to celebrate the
>Sicilian Saint Lucia when even the Sicilians Don't pay her
>any attention whatsoever. In Swedish homes, hospitals, old-people's
>homes, factories and offices and up the High street, Lucia comes
>to spread light in the deep winter darkness - usually long before dawn,
>which at this time of year is just before it gets dark
>again. Little blonde girls, teenage blond girls and not-so-young-any-
>more blonde Maj-Britt who works in the accounting department,
>dress up in a full length, white gown with a red ribbon around their
>waist and become this year's Lucia. Lucia wears a wreath of
>lingonberry sprigs on her head and positioned in the wreath are several
>lit candles. As only one can be Lucia in each procession,
>the other less fortunate dark-haired girls have to walk behind her
>acting as some kind of bridesmaid. As Sweden is an extremely
>egalitarian society, boys (or Per from the purchasing department ) are
>invited to take part in the procession as 'star boys'.
>Lucia's henchmen, sort of.
>This festival is typically and uniquely Swedish and the song,
>surprisingly entitled 'Sankta Lucia', sung by Lucia and her back up
>group, brings tears to everyone's eyes. As indeed it should.
>The Right of Common Access
>Swedes can be proud of many things. ABBA, tennis players and a variety
>of pickled herring. One thing that every Swede cherishes very
>dearly is the right to roam wherever he wishes on open land and to pick
>flowers, berries and mushrooms in forests and fields and to
>go swimming and boating in lakes and the sea. You are not allowed to
>pitch your tent in someone's back garden and you are not
>to pick flowers from someone's flower beds. Likewise you are not
>allowed to climb over any fence enclosing a private home and you
>are certainly not allowed to take growing trees, bushes, bark, leaves,
>acorns or nuts. However, the right of common access does
>allow you to swat as many swarms of mosquitoes as is humanly possible -
>for the common good.
>Swedish small talk
>Swedes call this 'cold talk' or 'dead talk' which more or less sums up
>their opinion of it. Not being first in the queue when God
>dished out conversational talent, Swedes limit themselves to one major
>topic of conversation - the weather. Sweden is so large that
>it has all kinds of weather at once which is very convenient as there
>is always something to talk about.
>Swedish conversation
>When Swedes say something, they mean exactly what they say. No more, no
>less. There is usually no hidden meaning and they don't have
>to read between the lines. There are few fantastic metaphores in daily
>conversation, and exaggeration, a string of vivid adjectives
>and enhancing repetitions are often viewed with suspicion. Try
>retelling something that happened and embroider a little to make the
>story more stimulating. After a while the Swede will correct you as
>your version is beginning to stray from what really happened.
>'And then there were loads of people who', 'There were five people'
>says Sven. 'And then after
>half an hour they came and', '20 minutes' says Sven 'They came after 20
>minutes'. Elaborate story-telling has never been possible in
>Swedes are extremely good listeners. Sometimes it's difficult to tell
>whether they are thinking about what you said or if they have
>mentally gone to lunch - but they are listening to every word. The
>marvelous thing is they don't interrupt. Interrupting is a sign
>of bad manners. They patiently wait for their turn to express
>themselves concisely and precisely. Sometime they have to wait for
>rather a long time. Especially when meeting with foreigners.
>Swedish women sometimes sound as if they have a breathing complaint.
>When they agree, they breathe in and say 'jahhhh'. Or they
>inhale and say 'nejhhhh'. They are not about to pass out in an asthma
>attack. They are just participating in the conversation.
>Swedes have a tendency to state the obvious. If you meet an
>acquaintance in a shop he'll probably say 'Oh, so you're out shopping'.
>Or, if you meet somebody you know out strolling in the countryside
>he'll say 'Oh, so you're out walking'. The temptation is to say
>'No, I'm playing the piano' but don't. Sarcasm doesn't go down too well.
>Swedish discussion
>Being neutral and avoiders of conflict, the Swedes are careful not to
>express an opinion which may cause heated discussion. Ask a
>Swede what his opinion is he'll probably answer 'It depends'. He won't
>actually tell you what it depends on as that might lead to a
>debate and then you have to take sides. Hundreds of years of neutrality
>has taught him not to take sides - well at least not until
>he knows who's going to win.
> >
>The Swedish language
>'Hej' - the word for hello and good-bye is the same. It's difficult to
>know whether people are coming or going.
>'Gift' - the word for married is the same word as for poison. This
>probably could explain the high divorce rate.
>'Sex' - the word for six is the same for sex, which gives a 'six-pack'
>a whole new meaning.
>'Oväder' - the word for stormy weather is, literally
>translated, 'unweather'. And I would have thought it was very much
>'Sambo' - you live and sleep together with your partner but are not
>married, well at least not to that particular partner.
>'Särbo' - you sleep with your partner and then go home to your own bed
>'A-laget' - in Swedish, the 'A-team' is a group of hopeless alcoholics
>hanging outside the state liquor store. Not the kind you'd
>want in the national basketball team in other words.
>'Osvensk' - the word 'un-Swedish' mostly has a positive connotation! A
>recent book review stated 'It's an exciting thriller,
>entertaining, has colorful characters, lots of action and imagination
>and very un-Swedish to name but a few positive qualities'.
>It's unbelievable, but true! Can you imagine a Frenchman using the
>word 'un-French' as a positive quality?
>Swedish English (Swenglish)
>Although the Swedes generally have a very good command of the english
>language, sometimes they just don't get it right.
>'Please take off your clothes and follow me to the whip room.'
>(Translation: May I take your coat and accompany you to the VIP room)
>'She's away with the VD.'
>(Translation: She's away with the Managing Director) (VD =Managing
>'His name is Öberg, a zero with two pricks.'
>(Translation: The letter 'o' with two dots = ö) (prickar = dots)
>'You'll have to show your leg before entering'
>(Translation: You'll have to show identification before entering.) (leg
>= id)
>'Please keep hanging on the line'
>(Translation: Please continue to hold the line)
>'Thank you for the last time'
>(Translation: Thank you for your hospitality.)
>'Can I follow you to the big mess in Stockholm?'
>(Translation: May I come with you to the large fair in Stockholm?)
>(mässa = fair )
>'He has many balls up in the air'
>(Translation: He is involved in many different projects.) (att ha
>bollar i luften = Swedish saying)
>A lesson in Swedish
>The Swede is a person of few words.
>Eng: Excuse me, I didn't quite catch what you were saying.
>Swe: Va? (vah?)
>Literal translation: What?
>Eng: Sorry for bumping into you like that. So terribly
>clumsy of me.
>Swe: Oj! (oi!)
>Literal translation: Oh!
>Eng: It's you! How lovely to see you!
>Swe: Nej, men! (nay men)
>Literal translation: No, but!
>Eng: How are things with you?
>Swe: Annars? (an ass)
>Literal translation: Otherwise?
>Eng: Excuse me, may I disturb you for a second?
>Swe: Du
>Literal translation: You
>Eng: Could I have a pint of your best bitter please.
>Swe: En stor stark
>Literal translation: A big strong one
>Eng: Shall we treat ourselves and indulge in a schnapps?
>Swe: En liten djävul? (en liten yayvull)
>Literal translation: A little devil?
>However sometimes English is just that bit more concise:
>Eng: Mind the gap!
>Swe: Tänk på avståndet mellan vagn och plattform när ni stiger av.
>Literal translation: Think of the gap between the carriage and the
>plattform when you alight.

"U2 on it´s own is a very interesting group and all. But U2 with it´s audience is a culture" - Bono

Pictures from Copenhagen (shirtless ones), London and Dublin, Slane.

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Old 04-17-2002, 10:45 AM   #2
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Location: six convenient metro locations
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This is awesome....Tusen Tack!

Being an American of Swedish descent (one great grandfather left because he was stuck in the Swedish Army for life - the other arrived with five kids and wife), I love learning about Sweden - even if it is humor-based. I need to get over there soon (we have quite a few relatives in the Gothenburg that I want to meet, and supposedly want to meet me. I'm thinking I should come over for Valborgsmassoafton! It's my birthday.

Living in Minnesota, USA (with a large population of Swedish and Norwegian descendants), many of the descriptions above translate to who Minnesotans are!

Again, Tusen Tack.

MissZooropa, E-mail me if you want: zonelistener@yahoo.com

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Old 04-19-2002, 06:53 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2000
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rofl!! That was great, hilarious! and very true.
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Old 04-19-2002, 11:06 AM   #4
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Posts: 16,567
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That was great! Both hilarious and enlightening. When I was traveling through Europe some years ago with a Eurail pass, I was planning to go from Oslo to Amsterdam and on a whim I thought, wait a minute! I can't miss Sweden! So I took the overnight train from Oslo to Stockholm just to have lunch and roam around a bit for a day. then I had to keep moving and took the overnight on to Amsterdam. So I had one day in Stockholm and it was delightful. I hope to return some day.

But now I'm fretting over the butter thing...I didn't pass butter on a knife to the person next to me.
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