Sweden not Switzerland

Location: Motala, Ostergotland, Sweden

Monday, July 03, 2006

Some help for confused Americans...

I have been in USA for three days now. And there is one thing that is really annoying me.

It's not that people isn’t nice or anything, because they really are. I mean people are in general polite and interested. They ask where you come from, how things are there and how you like America.
That’s very good, actually they’re probably being more polite then most Swedish persons would be. But the thing is there will always be a point in the conversation where the American says something like:

- Well I love Swedish chocolate! Or:
- Your watches are great, and the cheese is really tasty!

And it’s not that we don’t make chocolate in Sweden, cause we do, but the moment someone complement me about the chocolate or the cheese I feel a bit frustrated. Because then I understand that they think I’m from Switzerland not Sweden. There’s noting wrong with that, everybody can make mistakes, but it’s their disappointed face expression that makes me feel sad.

But now I finally can do something about it. Because now I’m going to tell all you guys about the things that makes Sweden so special. What we’re famous for and all about the nature. But I’m also going to do a “do and don’t” list which you should remember when talking to a Swede.

Short facts about Sweden:
Name: Kingdom of Sweden
Area: 449 964 km²
Capital: Stockholm
Population: 8 900 000
Constitution: Monarchy
Head of State: Carl XVI Gustaf
Prime Minister: Göran Persson
BNP per capita: 38 449 US dollar

So why are Americans so confused when it comes to Sweden and Switzerland?
Could it be because they're neighbors? No it couldn’t be, because they’re not. Lock at this map, Switzerland is the red country in the middle of Europe. Sweden on the other hand is the long yellow country in the north. So they aren’t even close.


So what is Sweden famous for?
Well we're really good at music many big singers come to Sweden to record and make new songs. Sweden is actually considered the third greatest exporter of music, following the US and the UK. ABBA remains the most successful act ever to come from Scandinavia. The group topped worldwide charts during the mid-to-late 1970s selling many hit singles and albums. The group has sold more than 300 million records, the vast majority being self-penned.

If you're intrested in listening to some Swedish artists these are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Another thing from Sweden that is known world wide is IKEA. IKEA is a international home furnishings retailer and the worlds largest charity (dedicated to the noble and altruistic cause of "architecture and design".) It is well-known for its unique furniture which consumers are often required to assemble for themselves. The chain is famous for its functional yet stylish products, and has 231 stores in 33 countries. IKEA is one of the few store chains to have locations both in Israel and in other Middle Eastern nations. IKEA is actually so well known that it’s appears in very different places. Like for example the TV-show Futurama. In one episode Professor Farnsworth purchases a self-assembly supercollider from πkea (pi-kea), which subsequently explodes. Incidentally, the supercollider is delivered by a robot designed to look like an IKEA TV-stand (who almost completely falls apart on his way out after delivering the goods.)

πkea Robot: (leaving) Enjoy your affordable Swedish crap!

Bender: Finished! And only seven missing pieces!

Fry: Those Swedes sure know how to put in almost everything you need!

Well guys, that will be all for today... You all can lock forward for the exiting continuation tomorrow.... Bye