Culture of Sweden - Learn about Sweden
The Swedish people are very conscious of their lifestyle; they do not like to be too showy, they love to share and they live in moderation. Swedes are very conscious of how they live affects people around them, as well as the environment. A concept Swedes live by is Logom, which means “just enough”.
Most Swedes live in towns and cities and have small families. Their homes are spacious and bright and are insulated well to keep them warm in the winter. Due to the fact that Sweden has lots of forests, their homes usually contain many beautiful wood products such as wood floors and wood cabinets.
Education in Sweden
Education is important in Sweden and school, called grundskolan, is compulsory. Many Swedish toddlers attend preschool which is provided by the government, though it is not compulsory. Most children start grade school at the age of 6 or 7. The government funds all schooling and provides free books and sometimes lunches.
There are many traditional hobbies that children learn in school including knitting, embroidery, woodcarving, lace making, rug making, candle making and blacksmithing. Home schooling is not popular; however, the local school authorities can give permission for home schooling for one year at a time and there is much monitoring and assessment. One in three children in Sweden go on to post secondary education which is also free.
Arts and Theatre
The government of Sweden provides much funding to the culture of Sweden and to the arts. Ticket and access prices are therefore quite low in Sweden, making it affordable for everyone to attend.
Swedes are avid readers and the Nobel Prize (A Swedish creation) for literature has been awarded six times to Swedes. There are more than 2000 libraries in Sweden and Swedes buy more books per person than all other European countries. Famous Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren wrote the popular Pipi Longstocking series.
As well as reading, Swedes also love to sing. A variety of folk music and folk dancing are still popular in Sweden. Some of the folk instruments of Sweden include the fiddle, accordion and the nychelharpa. There are also many famous pop singers that have come from Sweden. These include Abba, Ace of Base, Roxette, and The Cardigans. Swedes also enjoy the symphony and jazz.
The Swedes have a vibrant folk culture and enjoy many wonderful crafts, known for their high quality. Woodworking is popular in Sweden and tables, chests and small carved objects are handsome works of art. Glass blowing is also popular and the Swedes produce beautiful glass objects. Ceramics, silver and textiles are also famous crafts of Sweden with long histories in the nation.
The national costume of Swedes is still worn on special occasions. The men’s national costume consists of embroidered waistcoats, breeches and felt hats. The women’s costume consists of a flared skirt, brightly colored apron, a waistcoat and bonnets. The clothes are often embroidered with floral designs. For pictures of the Swedish national costume please check out the Sverigedrakten website. Clicking on each picture will enlarge it.
Sweden is famous for the popular Smörgåsbord, a large buffet filled with fish, meats, cheeses, salads, omelets, stuffed cabbage and sweets. Soups are also popular in Sweden. Because Sweden has many lakes and coasts, fish is an important staple in the Swedish diet. However, because of pollution and over fishing, it has become quite expensive. Fish is served in a variety of ways including pickled, smoked and fresh. Herring is a common fish to Sweden. Other common foods of Sweden include cheese, sausage, potatoes and other root vegetables. Table manners are important to Swedes and they often use they phrase “tack for maten” (Thank you for the food).
For some Swedish Recipes, check out our Recipes section.
Sports and Health
Sweden is one of the healthiest nations in the world, probably due to the great health care system and the active living philosophies of the population.
are a wide variety of sports in
Sweden. Popular sports include:
soccer, tennis, surfing, swimming,
golf, skating, skiing, running and
hockey. Most Swedes receive about
4 weeks of paid vacation per year
and they often travel to the countryside
to enjoy various outdoor activities.