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Swedes might be best described as binge drinkers, culturally speaking.

Drinking Swedes

For example, and almost to my surprise, it is frowned upon to drink during the week, and having a glass of wine a night is just as bad. Which might lead one to think that Swedes moderate their alcohol intakes when they do drink.

Wrong.

Systembolaget

Swedes buy their alcohol at the Systembolaget, the state-controlled alcohol stores, and the taxes that they pay on alcohol are extremely high. These stores typically open only from 10 am – 6 pm during the week and until only 1 pm on Saturdays. While this may seem depressing to those live in more alcohol free countries, compared to drinking alcohol at a restaurant or a bar, the Systembolaget is the cheaper option.

systembolaget

The beer section at the systembolaget

Even so, alcohol is still cheaper overseas, thus many Swedes opt, depending on their geographic location, to travel to Finland, Denmark, and even Germany to stock up on booze. Even after paying for the costs associated with the trip many Swedes come out ahead. And it’s not restricted to the Swedes; the Norwegians also travel to Denmark to buy alcohol, and the Finns cruise over to Estonia.

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