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6 things you’ll discover your first 3 hours in Sweden

Sure, we’re a little biased, but Sweden really is a good place to be. It’s an even better place to study, but we’ll talk about that another time. Like all countries, Sweden has its share of quirks. Most of them are charming and cute. Here are a few that you’re sure to notice in your first few hours in Sverige.

Written by Adam Horne
November 6, 2019

1. Coffee, coffee, coffee! Love, love, love!

There are very few places on earth that drink more coffee than the Swedes. In Sweden, coffee drinking has its own tradition. It’s called fika. It’s when friends, family or colleagues meet for coffee, often with something sweet on the side, like a kanelbulle. Most Swedes will enjoy at least two little fika’s a day. It’s the perfect way to catch up and bond, to gossip, dream, flirt, and do business (but usually not all at the same time).

2. Swedes sure do love a line

From the passport line at the airport, to coffee shops, or the tax office, you’ll develop patience as you wait to be served in a queue. In fact, many businesses even use a ticketing system. It’s usually a small machine that frustratingly hidden from the view. But it’s there. So grab a ticket, and dive into your smartphone and wait. Your number will appear on the screen behind the counter.

3. You’ll discover the “Lattepappan” or Latte Dad

Men certainly do their part in staying home and raising their kids. That’s because, in Sweden, couples are entitled to a total of 480 days of paid parental leave - which can be shared between parents. And its given rise to the Latte Dad. He’s the one you’ll see hanging out with his kid and his best friend (who’s also on paternity leave with his kid) as they all enjoy a little fika. Often near a gym with a child-minding service. 

4. Things happen on time

Being on time is serious business for the Swedes. The airport bus leaves on time. Your job interview starts on time. Your friends text you if you’re not on time for fika. Time matters and the Swedes are on it. And they won’t wait - meetings will start on time with or without you. The train leaves on time even if you’re running down the platform. Yes, Swedes are punctual, and you’ll learn to adjust.

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5. You can drink tap water, and it’s pretty great

You can drink straight from the tap in Sweden. Well, we suggest you use a glass, but you know what we mean. The water is clean, fresh, and generally pretty cold, so you can save both money and the environment by avoiding bottled water. In summer when we often get 19 hours daylight, it’s nice to know you can quench your thirst at the nearest tap. 

6. Shoes! Off! 

You’ll quickly notice that shoes are kicked off immediately when entering private homes. Some say it’s the fact that Swedes spend much time outside in winter and don’t want to drag in dirt from outside. Others say it’s a sign of respect. Either way, you might want to think twice before wearing full lace-up boots. And even though it’s not always easy, strive for matching socks that are free of holes. It’s the best way of telling if someone’s an adult or not.