• Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Ireland!

    Ireland: Cliffs of Moher! Go Now!

    Ireland
    The Emerald Isle is world famous for its landscapes, foods, beers, and culture. Explore Ireland!

  • Serbia!

    Serbia: Houses in the mountains. Go Now!

    Serbia
    Serbia is a historic power now looking internally to re-discovery their identity and future. Explore Serbia!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Switzerland!

    Switzerland: The Matterhorn. Go Now!

    Switzerland
    This mountainous country unites ethnic Germans, French, and Italians; making it home to a number of diverse cultures. Go Now!

  • Iceland!

    Iceland: Traditional House! Go Now!

    Iceland
    Although linked to Scandinavia, as an island Iceland has a culture all its own, but most visitors come for the natural beauty. Explore Iceland!

Social Life in Sweden

Behavior

The Swedes are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted (but not encouraged).

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively, whether that be in your attitude, talking about finances, making others wait for you at a meeting, polluting their environment, or even in personal relationships. Putting others down gets the same reaction; Swedes view men, women, minorities, and people of all sexual orientations as equals and not doing the same can be very offensive.

As a visitor to Sweden, try to follow the lead of the locals by being modest, dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Sweden Dining & Food Page), and avoiding sensitive conversation topics such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

The traditional dress in Sweden was similar to modern European dress and fashion as the Swedish men tended to wear pants and shirts, while women often wore dresses. Despite the commonalities in style, the designs of these traditional outfits were quite varied as each region had its own design, colors, or pattern. These outfits, with distinct historic traditions, are called folkdrakt. Because of the vast diversity, there was no true singular dress among the people, although the styles were similar from region to region.

As the country united the dress became more uniform and today the national dress consists of the colors of the flag, yellow and blue, but remains in the style of more historic outfits as the men wear knickers, loose-fitting shirts, and a short vest while women wear loose-fitting dresses. Today this dress is only worn on special occasions; most people wear western-styled clothing that is similar to that found in much of the world, although the Swedes tend to enjoy particular shoes, which can distinguish one from a crowd to a trained eye.

As a visitor to Sweden, you are welcomed to wear just about anything. Most people, and many situations, call for a more modest form of dress, but shorts and short-sleeved shirts and tight-fitting clothing are fine so long as they are not too revealing. Just dress for the occasion as some settings require more formality than others. Also be aware that sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is only permitted in certain places so always be sure to know where this is allowed before doing so.

This page was last updated: November, 2013