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You Know You’re From Sweden When… (part 1) Posted by on Jun 6, 2009 in Culture

Because it is Sveriges nationaldag (Swedish National Day) today, let’s celebrate it with a light-hearted look at “swedishness” at its finest.

This installment is about one Swedish institution we all love and cherish – IKEA.

So, you know you’re from Sweden when…

1. You trust IKEA more than your government.
2. IKEA is your home away from home.
3. You grew up in a house looking exactly as if it would have been in the IKEA catalogue.
4. You fear beyond death not getting the IKEA catalogue if you put up a sign for the postman saying that you don’t want any adverts.
5. You know the names of a multitude of IKEA items.
6. You know how to pronounce these names and sigh when non-Swedes don’t.
7. You live abroad and virtually all your furniture is from IKEA, even if there are still no IKEA stores in the country. (Note the word “still” as in: you are expecting IKEA to one day be found in every single country in the world.)
8. You rarely visited IKEA when you lived back in Sweden but once you are abroad you think visiting IKEA is a small trip back home, which makes your eyes damp and feel even more homesick than before.
9. Going to IKEA abroad, you end up loitering in the Swedish Food Market and buying more food than furniture.
10. While on the one hand you praise the Swedish Food Market, you feel betrayed since the “svenska bullar” they sell are clearly not anything like what you had back home.
11. In addition, you just have to stop and explain to the locals shopping in the Swedish Food Market what they are buying and exactly how delicious it is.
12. When living outside the borders of Sweden you panic when IKEA has sold out of “julmust” before Christmas.

Now it’s your turn – feel free to add your own IKEA points to the list. 🙂

And tomorrow, if you are eligible to vote in the European parliamentary election, please go and cast your vote – you CAN make a difference.

Happy National Day!!!

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  1. Luke (Sydney):

    I am not qualified to comment but I think one from sweden will just try any new product IKEA adds in the food market. I know because I met a swedish woman just the other day buying a jar of concentrated blueberry juice. I asked if it’s nice and she said she didn’t know because she had never tried before.

  2. David from Oregon:

    Yes, I must admit that I recognize myself in items 8 and 9.

  3. Vee:

    i love it. i love ikea in chicago. i go around and read all the names out loud so people can hear me. 😉 and of course i stock up on everything from the food shop.

  4. Kenia:

    It’s SO true that swedes live obsessed with IKEA!!
    I’m not qualified either to add my own points to the list, but I just wanted to say that I find this post hilarious, I mean Anna, how you put it in words, is even funny. =)

  5. Josefina:

    Anna, I must confess that I am guilty of all 12 points on this list! I do get all damp in my eyes when I visit IKEA stores in Russian… and yes, I do buy all my coffee and cookies from the Food Store there. And yes, I do expect there to be an IKEA in every city in every country one day 😉

    IKEA must be the most Swedish thing there is. Or the other way around – IKEA used everything Swedish there is to create their trademark…

    Förresten är jag ett stor fan av din blogg om svenska språket, som lärare i svenska i Uralbergen är det väldigt inspirerande att läsa det du skriver om!

  6. Stu:

    IKEA, the home away from home. Josefina! I understood that! I’m learning….

  7. Erik:

    My son returned from a year in Falun (Dalarna) as an exchange student (thank you Rotary International) and we have to now make a regular trek to the nearest IKEA for food. I love it…still can’t get him to try the herrring!

  8. David from Oregon:

    You know you’re from Sweden when… you go to Scandinavian festivals in out-of-way places. Junction City, Oregon will soon be holding its annual Scandinavian festival. It’s a great place to buy genuine plastic horned Viking helmets, coffee mugs and bumper stickers imprinted with the famous Norwegian battle cry of “Uff da”, and lots of other stuff of more or less Scandinavian origin. You can watch little kids and adults in nordisk folkdräkt dance ringdans and the hambo and schottis. They also have many arts and crafts kiosks that have nothing to do with Scandinavia. Expect hot weather, huge crowds, long lines at the more popular food kiosks, and bring lots of money. So smear suntan lotion on your more sensitive body parts, put on your shades, shorts and sandals and go enjoy the festival.


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