Culture and Etiquette in Sweden

In many ways, Sweden is a model country: society is liberal, people are prosperous and the social and economic position of women is one of the most advanced in the world. As a result, most visitors find Sweden an easy country to visit.

Swedes, in general, are an efficient nation – planning meticulously and booking ahead to ensure they get what they want, when they want. Accordingly, spontaneity and flexibility are not high on the agenda in Sweden, which can sometimes create a mistaken impression of rudeness to the outsider. Honesty and straight-talking are two highly cherished sides of the Swedish character; a promise in Sweden is just that. Haggling over prices is not the done thing. On meeting, friends of both sexes usually hug, rather than kiss, each other. In more formal situations, people shake hands whilst saying their name.

In line with the liberal reputation Sweden gained during the 1970s as a result of countless soft porn films, nudity is widely accepted. In changing rooms, people are uninhibited about their bodies and don’t feel the need to cover up with a towel. Nude lake swimming and sunbathing are common practice across the country. If other people are around, show them consideration, but you’re unlikely to meet opposition.

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