Swedish Personality

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Where does one start to describe the Swedish personality? It is of course to generalize a country as a whole, and there are always exception to the rule. But one seems to run into more personality types than the other in Sweden.

While Swedes are very friendly, they are also notorious for their stoicism. Is it that it’s simply far too cold to express any emotion? Is it such that this country’s focus is so much on surviving the biting conditions that it’s simply a useless and extraneous expenditure of energy to convey feelings?

“Swedes are a painfully shy people. We’re taught very early not to stand out from the crowd or risk making anyone uncomfortable.”

– Åke Daun, Stockholm University

The Natives in Sweden: Swedes

How can one accurately describe the demeanor and behavior of the Swedes, their quirks and qualities that make them distinctly Swedish. They are indeed a friendly brand of people, who although may not appear so much outwardly to the average American who is used to the force smile and upbeat voices of those serving them.

“It is this land…that Swedes talk about when they say they love their country. Rather than history, it is geography that unifies the Swedes, and silence that keeps them apart.”

– Don Belt, National Geographic


Swedes are definitely a people proud of their country, with a sense of nationalism and unity like the proud French. When driving in Sweden throughout the countryside you can expect to see many Swedish flags proudly flapping in the wind. But when you bring up politics, the Swedes do realize as with any country theirs is not perfect, and their government is as corrupt as every other country’s. So they tend to simply ignore the political system (though many still vote) and hope if they don’t bother the government, then the government will leave them alone.

As far as the makeup of the population, there is quite a large number of immigrants. Compared with America, though it probably goes without saying as for most of Europe, there are is not an obesity epidemic, and you will see far fewer overweight people as compared to the United States. On the other hand, the suicide rate in Sweden is one of the highest in the industrial world. It is that cold. They also score high in happiness and life satisfaction. Go figure!

Swedish personality
Sometimes it is simply too cold to smile.

Swedes are also well known for their pessimistic outlook. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight, or maybe it’s in the genes. Even more remotely is that it’s the combination of both of these factors. Or perhaps it is the fact that they have survived being prepared for the worse, and thus continue to think that way.

Emotions are not expressed as much in Sweden as in other countries. You can expect a Swede to be happy, sad, etc, but may not jump up and down in enthusiasm or speak loudly and proudly as an American would (this is coming from SwedishFreak, no matter how long I live overseas I cannot get rid of my emotional American self!)

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