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Reisverslag What is Swedishness about?
18 maart 2016
What is Swedishness about?
I have lived in Jönköping now for exactly 2 months and I believe I already know a few interesting facts about this great country and its people. In this blog I will give you a short summary of what I have learned so far. So, whenever you decide to travel up north into the beautiful forests covered in snow you will know what to expect, thanks to me. Of course it definitely depends on where you come from and the way you experience new cultures. But this is what I know so far:
Some fact and figures:
- Capital: Stockholm
- Population: 9.6 million
- Sweden is the fifth largest country in Europe after France and Spain.
- Forests: 53 per cent
- Religion: The Church of Sweden is Evangelical Lutheran. There are also many other religions in the country.
- Form of government: Constitutional monarchy, with parliamentary democracy
Let’s start with the misconceptions of Sweden. Everyone expects to find polar bears when arriving in Sweden and that everything is covered with snow. I haven’t seen a polar bear yet and I will not keep my hopes up. I do agree with the last one. It is the end of march and when I look out of my window I can still see trees and cars covered in snow. Don’t get me wrong I love the snow but I think it is time for the birds to sing and the flowers to blossom.
The second misconception people had and I am embarrassed to say I thought this as well, is that all Swedish people are blond and have blue eyes. Well, yes there are blond people walking around Jönköping but fairly not everyone. The people look different than I expected, they look just normal.
What is typically Swedish?
I admire a lot about this country especially their Fika. It is not just a coffee with a piece of cake. It is much more than that. People socialize and talk with each other and get to know each other, next to drinking a cup of coffee and eating a kanelbulle (cinnamon roll).
I believe the term ‘Fika’ exists because the Swedish people love coffee. The average Swede consumes a total of 8 kilos of coffee. The EU average was 4.83 kilos per capita, according to statistics by the International Coffee Organisation. And they love to drink it strong and black.
The last thing I want to talk about is the word ‘lagom’. It is a Swedish word which does not have a direct translation. Loosely translated, the word lagom means ‘just enough’, ‘in moderation’, ‘appropriate’. When used in reference to societal behaviour, it means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion.
People say that the Swedish people try to blend in and they try to not get to much attention of being different than others. I find this quite interesting but also difficult. I don’t think I could life in a country where everyone is just trying to blend in and doesn’t strive to make a difference or to think out of the box I believe it can hold back a lot of great and creative ideas. Especially in this society ,we live in, it is important to be yourself and try to change the world by thinking out of the box and accept challenges.
Albert Einstein explained this perfectly in one of his quotes and it inspires me to be my best self: “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein
When travelling to different countries and discovering new cultures I can always learn something from it and I have to be open for new things.
Foto's bij verslag (3)
18 maart 2016 22:19 | Door: Hanneke
You go, my daughter! So proud. Love you, mom.
31 juli 2016 18:58 | Door: Simone Groeneveld
A very late reply, but I've read your blog and think it good and insightful. You go beyond merely describing things, also analysing and reflecting. Your being in Sweden proves you are one to not conform to the crowd.