Swedish Language Blog

The golden rule of the thermometer Posted by on Jul 27, 2010 in Culture

Some of us like to swim and some of us don’t. I think every country has that in common. But what I’m not so sure about is if every country has the tradition of not going into the water if it is not above a certain temperature. So Swedes have this little thermometer which they stick in the water before they can even think of going in. Instead of actually sticking your foot in the water to see if it feels just right for you, people check their thermometers for the magic temperature of 22°C.

If you meet somebody on the docks or near some water where it would be possible to swim a conversation starter would be to comment on the temperature of the water. For example “Hur varmt är vattnet idag då?” in english “How warm is the water today?”.

A term used for people who don’t like to go swimming is badkruka, literally meaning swim-pot. In English we would probably call somebody a chicken.



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  1. Rastik:

    I’ve heard that the coast south of Göteborg has excelent beaches. Do people mostly stay on the beach or they swim in the sea? How many days/months there’s water temp above 22C?

  2. Katja:

    I can really only speak for the northern part of Sweden, but then people mostly stay on the beaches. Kids and younger people you’ll see in the water when it is warm enough and sometimes even when it isn’t. 🙂 Usually during the hot period (about 3 weeks) probably. It depends on the year as well.