The Kingdom of Sweden is located in the north of Europe, on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The climate in the northern country is surprisingly mild, thanks to the Gulf Stream.
The country is well known in the world, it has given us a "wall bar", "buffet", "Swedish family", IKEA. But there are several myths that make it difficult to adequately perceive this country.
Socialism has been built in Sweden. They say that socialism was never built in the Soviet Union. But in the Scandinavian countries, capitalism with a human face was gradually transformed into socialism. In fact, the picture is beautiful only from the outside. There are plenty of problems in Sweden. In Stockholm alone, officially 5,000 people do not have their own homes. Convenience store sellers are on strike in the country, whose salary barely allows them to make ends meet. Before taxes, it is only 12-14 thousand kroons (10 kroons = 1 euro). After paying numerous taxes, only about a thousand euros remains on hand. Utility bills will take 70-80% of this amount. The remaining two or three hundred euros have to survive. The difference in salaries between ordinary employees and managers is also outraged. If a beginner journalist receives 20-25 thousand kroons, then the editor-in-chief is 10 times more. Perhaps that is why every tenth journalist in the country is unemployed.
Sweden has the highest taxes in the world. In the 1970s-1980s, Sweden did have a semblance of socialism, but the banking crisis forced to reconsider the attitude towards its economy. The country began to deregulate energy, communications, transport, and reduced taxes. In 2006, the center-right came to power, led by Frederick Reinfeldt, who accelerated the departure from the socialist model. The country began to sell state-owned enterprises, including alcohol producer Absolut, cut social benefits, raise income taxes, and the luxury tax was canceled. Sweden today still has a generous benefit system and taxes take half of the income. However, in neighboring Denmark the rates are even higher. True, the Swedes do know what they get for their high taxes - clean streets, free health care and higher education.
Families are exemplary in Sweden. The intimate life of young people here begins at school, at the age of 13-14. After this, it is difficult to force someone to marry. Many women choose to have their first child at 39-40 years old. Moreover, children are also spoiled, because to punish and bring up harshly is to violate their rights. And with this in Sweden it is strict. In the gardens, children can wallow on the ground, grimy and dirty, but educators do not care. And no one will tell the girl that she should not sit on the ground in cold weather. Statistics show that 70% of Swedish adults prefer to live alone, without a family. You can often find an adult woman walking not with her husband, but with three or four dogs.
The buffet is varied. It seems that in Sweden a common table should certainly delight with variety, being the most classic. In fact, tourists say that the choice of food in hotels is not rich - a couple of types of cheap sausages, cheese, eggs, a couple of types of herring, meatballs and muesli. And such food is served every day, no one thinks about the variety. Soon, tourists begin to grieve for their native cuisine, devouring all the food in a row upon their return. So for a real "buffet" bland and monotonous.
In Sweden, the state can take the children away from their parents. In Russia, they are verbally building a cult of the family, nodding to the negative experience of Sweden. The practice of selecting children, if any, is manifested no more often than we do. But the attitude towards children is much more favorable than in Russia. At least here educators do not shout at pupils, and teachers do not humiliate them. For the weaning of children from their parents, good reasons are needed - physical punishment, beatings. Social services will be interested in a dirty and hungry child. However, they can take it away from their parents for a while, giving them time to think again.
You can't find a job in Sweden. This myth is often repeated by Russians who decide to move to live in Sweden. In fact, this belief characterizes the people themselves. There may be no work when all residents lead a primitive lifestyle - they heat with wood, take water from the river, and cook with food from the garden. In a modern country, a person always has something to do. It is simply that it is often not possible to find a job that matches the education. Then you need to say more simply: "There is no job for me" or "I do not have enough knowledge and experience to get a position." And it already sounds different. It's just that such recognition requires work on oneself. We must search more actively, improve our skills. In 2015, unemployment in Sweden was 7.6%, which is lower than in neighboring Finland, but slightly higher than in Germany and Denmark.
In Sweden, everyone hates Russians. To debunk this myth, you need to visit Sweden itself. A few days of living there will be enough to understand that there is no cultivated hatred of Russians. But even before our people, its great culture, literature and music, no one here bows down. More attention to European and American values. Russians are treated as if they were part of the newcomers, without particularly singling out. Some facts from Russian history will be remembered, perhaps out of politeness. Nobody is interested in elections and repressions in Russia. It even makes our patriots nervous, it turns out that the great nation is not interesting to the Swedes. Russians for them are on a par with Arabs, Iranians, Somalis. And this is the right of the indigenous people. We must not rely on our exclusivity, but to win a place under the sun.
Sweden is an expensive country even for Europeans. Scandinavian countries are considered to be expensive, adding Denmark and Iceland to this cocktail. Yes, there are really expensive places there, but Sweden is not one of them. And even Stockholm is not among the most expensive cities in Europe. Living in Rome, Milan and London will require much more money.
It's always cold in Sweden. The average summer temperature is 20 degrees. Most of the territory has a temperate climate. In winter, the average temperature in the southwest is 0-1 degrees, snowy winters only in the north of the country. For many southerners, even this weather seems cold. But the Swedes have adapted by leading a normal life even in such "extreme" conditions. In Siberia in winter it is much colder than even in the north of this Scandinavian country.
In Sweden, there is an increased number of suicides due to lack of sun. The country has a low number of suicides - 12 per 100 thousand people per year. And if in sunny Italy the indicators are half as much, then in France this number is slightly higher, about 16. But there is clearly more sun there. If you look at the statistics, Sweden ranks 35th in the number of suicides, behind even such warm countries as Cuba, Korea, Uruguay, South Africa.
Swedish girls are sexy and easily approachable. This myth pushes many travelers to visit Sweden. Many consider it almost the sex Mecca of Europe. The strangest thing is that even women believe the myth. This belief emerged with women's emancipation in Sweden. It seems that freedom and independence are transformed into an easy attitude towards sex. Locals really love making new acquaintances and spending time with companies. Nevertheless, girls have certain rules that they will not break for the sake of a charming stranger. This does not mean that an unmarried girl will refuse sex. It's just that young Swedes choose their own partners. If the girls didn't like something, then it will be difficult to convince them. A woman can calmly approach a man and invite him to spend the night at her house. And such a relationship is not considered reprehensible in Sweden. A man is responsible for illegal use of sex services. He will not be sent to jail, but he will be decently fined. Married women have fewer taboos. They are allowed to have relationships with other men, not only sexual ones.
There are only blondes and blondes in Sweden. This story, as well as the fact that a tall blonde model is ideal for Swedes, is a complete myth. According to polls, Crown Princess Victoria is the ideal for Swedes. And her hair is dark. In general, in the country there is an approximately equal proportion of blondes and brunettes - 50 to 50. At present, out of 10 million inhabitants, 15% were born in another country. Many famous Swedes do not have local roots. For example, the most famous football player in the country is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The face of the nation is rapidly changing due to immigrants from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Even Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has foreign roots. His great-great-grandfather was an African American circus performer.
Swedes don't like compatriots. There is a myth that local women despise "weak" Swedes, giving preference to residents of other countries. Are Swedes from childhood really expecting an Englishman, American or Frenchman to take them away? This myth is debunked by numerous polls and just statistics. The peculiarity of gender relations in the country is such that it is not easy for Swedes to get used to the mentality of foreigners, as well as to the customs of other countries. And the Swedes themselves consider their compatriots the best option for creating a strong family.
Swedes demand from husbands equal rights in the performance of household duties. In fact, a Swedish woman will require her spouse to do most of the housework. For Russians, such a picture seems inconceivable.
The beauty of the Swedes is of natural origin. Swedish girls closely monitor their figure, their diet and daily routine. Studies have shown that from the age of 7-10, girls here begin to think about what they eat, what kind of sport they should do. With age, these aspirations only get stronger. Regular jogging is just as important for Swedes as sex and family. So the beauty of local women is not a natural combination of genes, but constant work on themselves.
Swedish women are rude and cold, always reserved. The behavior of Swedes depends entirely on the interlocutor, it can be completely different.
Sweden has always been a neutral country. Neutrality and rejection of military alliances allowed Sweden not to participate in both world wars. But still the country could not have nothing to do with them. When the Germans occupied Norway, they used Swedish railways to transport their goods. During the Cold War, the Swedes did not officially support either side, nevertheless, they counted on NATO if they had to defend themselves against the USSR. Since joining the EU in 1995, Sweden can no longer be considered neutral, as all countries pledge to help each other in the event of armed aggression. And although Sweden never joined NATO, its troops and aircraft regularly participate in the bloc's exercises and even campaigns (Libya in 2011).
In Sweden, everyone is crazy about sex. This reputation for the country came from explicit films filmed in Sweden in the 1960s. But a calm attitude to nudity and sex has nothing to do with the promiscuous sex life that is inherent in other peoples, the same Americans. Swedish views on sex have been shaped by the women's movement for gender equality. It is unacceptable to perceive Swedish women as a sexual object. This is reflected in the attitude towards pornography, which many here consider demeaning. And the law on prostitution is unusual - the buyer of sex is to blame, not the seller.
The Swedes have no sense of humor. The humor changes from country to country. Swedes prefer low-key humor with a thinly veiled hint. Outsiders may not understand exactly where to laugh.
The Swedes are silent because they have nothing to say. Many Swedes prefer to listen more, this is considered a sign of modesty. But this behavior is perceived as stupidity. The Swedes themselves consider chatter and bragging to be one of the most despicable human qualities. In the local ancient agrarian society, drawing attention to oneself was taboo.
The Swedes are closed in themselves. Swedes are really not the most sociable people in the world. They even say that they look through the peephole before leaving the apartment. This is how the Swedes guarantee themselves that they will not meet with a neighbor and they will not have to talk. The average resident of the country will still talk to a stranger, giving him the right path. But if the weather is bad, the conversation will be short. Many Swedes fear invasion of their privacy, so don't ask too intimate questions. This detachment has nothing to do with rudeness. If you manage to make friends with the Swede, then warm communication will gradually improve.
The Swedes are constantly in session. It's a bit strange to hear this, given the reticence of the Swedes. Nevertheless, the Swedes really love meetings. They can hold a scheduling meeting to develop an event. To an outsider, this may seem unnecessary and ineffective, but this is the local culture of consensus. Everyone is given the opportunity to express their opinion. But this non-hierarchical approach to decision making does not always work. Swedish managers unsuccessfully try to implement an open door policy in foreign offices, but there the corporate culture can impose a prohibition on pointing out other people's mistakes. In Sweden, there is no problem with this, since managers easily share problems with employees.
In Sweden, they work 4 days a week. Most enterprises have a standard five-day period. Of course, there are organizations working on a non-standard schedule, including 4 days a week, but this is just an exception.
Polygamy is allowed in Sweden. The modern Swedish family is quite classic European. Polygamy is prohibited by law here. Even Muslims who have come here to live are forbidden to practice polygamy. So the "Swedish family" is a big myth.
The currency of Sweden is the euro. It is logical to assume that an EU member has a single European currency. However, the Swedish kronor is circulating in the country, whose rate to the euro is about 10 to 1.
Swedish cuisine is bland. In Northern Europe, there have always been problems with spices, which is why it was necessary to create a contrast between the existing components of the dishes. For centuries, Swedes have learned to combine a limited range of foods, using only dill or berries as a seasoning. But today there is no need for this. For a long time, Sweden has been preparing food according to recipes from all over the world. Here you can find both pizzerias and kebabs. Swedes love spicy food just like other Europeans.
The Swedes do all their purchases at IKEA. There are a wide variety of furniture and accessories stores in the country, allowing you not to get attached to one, even a national brand. Some things can only be purchased in other countries. So, alcohol with an alcohol content of over 3.5% can be bought only in a special state store.
The Swedes are the world champions of coffee drinking. In this country, coffee is a popular drink. But the Swedes with 8.2 kilograms per year per person are still far from the first, yielding to Finland with its 12 kilograms. In general, no one can compare with Scandinavians in love of coffee. Sweden is behind Norway, Iceland and Denmark. There is a good tradition in the country to take a break from work to have a cup or two of a hot drink with friends or colleagues.And such a custom in no way corresponds to the classical image of a "cold nation".
Everyone in Sweden speaks English. Many people go to Sweden, believing that knowledge of English is sufficient to be hired. But in the country they still communicate in their native language, although many also know English. You still need to know Swedish to be hired. It will be difficult to get a job without this skill, while English will be just an additional bonus.