Swedish Language Blog

Öresund – where two countries meet Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in Culture, Living in Sweden

Hi there all readers. How are your nyårslöften coming along? Kämpa på! (For the translation of these phrases and words see Jan 3rd’s post).

Just one bridge away from one of the most southern tips of Sweden is Denmark. The bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark is called Öresundsbron and is 7.85 Km long. The project was started in 1995 and the bridge was officially opened 2000. 30 years ago, when the only way for people to get to Denmark was by ferry, it wasn’t easy to be a Swede living in Denmark. There was a lot of discrimination against Swedes and snide and mean remarks were not unusual. One of the main reasons Swedes crossed the water to the shores of Denmark was for the cheap alcohol and tobacco, products which the Swedish state had put high taxes on. Therefore the image of Swedes was one of drunkards lying on the street no longer able to stand straight. However, talking to Danes today that image seems to have almost disappeared completely.

Many people think that the building of the bridge has opened up the two countries and improved their relationship with each other. In just the past couple of years a new term has even arisen: Öresundsmänniskan, Öresund is the name of channel between Denmark and Sweden, and människa is person. Öresundsmänniska therefore is a new term for people who constantly cross the boarder between the two countries, maybe working in one and living in the other.

While most would say that the relationship between the countries has gotten considerably better since the bridge was built others would say that the cultural differences between them have gotten stronger. People on the Swedish boarder want to keep their Swedish customs and the people in Denmark theirs. So in general there isn’t a feeling of a “joint culture” even though the two countries are very close to each other. But that having been said many people in the most southern parts of Sweden are geographically closer to Copenhagen than they are to Stockholm, and have most likely gone shopping or on holiday there.

What to begin with only seems to be a bridge connecting to pieces of land is actually a whole lot more. Something effecting two nations identities, to say the least.

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  1. Lena:

    I’m from Ukraine. Saw this bridge from a plane a month ago, it looked magnificent. Been to Sweden several times and only once – to Denmark. I would say the cultures are very different and to my mind it’s good, but it’s great that such things as this brigde – helping nations to become closer – exist 🙂

  2. Moe:

    Beautiful! I love both Malmo and Copenhagen as much as any foreign cities in the world. Luckily, my mother-in-law still lives in Malmo, and a number of good friends live in Copenhagen. Found your blog google-ing Kalle’s Kaviar – just ran out and trying to buy more! Very nice! Skal.