Culture of Sweden

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Swedish culture is generally seen[according to whom?] as egalitarian in nature, and since the early-1970s, the Swedish establishment[clarification needed] has very deliberately embraced feministic, anti-racist, progressive and anti-fascist stances and views.[1][2] Swedish society and its culture is concerned with the welfare and well-being of others, both within and outside Sweden;[according to whom?] (See also; Income inequality in Sweden).

Prehistoric Sweden was the source of Viking culture, which was dominant in all of Scandinavia for many hundreds of years, and the Temple at Uppsala in Sweden was a site of pilgrimage and worship for all the Scandinavian peoples who worshipped the Aesir gods. Though western culture mostly recall the Vikings from present day Norway and Denmark who invaded France, England, Scotland and Ireland, the Swedish Vikings left huge marks on Byzantine culture (where they were known as Varangians) as well as being the founders of the Kievan state.

Of the country's many monarchs, a few of the more powerful ones, such as King Gustav III and Queen Christina, have been exceptionally important to its cultural development.

In modern times many Swedes have been internationally celebrated for their cultural work, among them Jenny Lind, Anders Zorn, August Strindberg, Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA.

Foreign influences on Sweden[edit]


Historical provinces of Sweden

The 25 historical provinces (landskap) of Sweden, which early in their histories had poor intercommunication, each have a distinct culture. The provinces long ago lost their importance as administrative and political regions, but are still seen as cultural ones, and the population of Sweden identifies with them. Each province has a specific history, each with its own robust nature. Some of them constituted separated parts of Sweden with their own laws. Other regions have been independent, or a part of another country, such as (Denmark or Norway), etc. They have different indigenous dialects of North Germanic, and some have ethnic minorities. For more information about these cultural regions, see the provinces' articles:

Food and drink[edit]

The consumption of alcohol in the home is less than in many other European countries, owing to the state monopoly on alcoholic beverages, but not at restaurants and bars.[3]

Sweden ranks among the top 50 nations in alcohol consumption per capita with 440 AA groups in the country working on problems with alcoholism.


Poster for The Seventh Seal

Famous actresses and actors include Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, Noomi Rapace, Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård, Alexander Skarsgård, Ingrid Thulin, Lena Olin, Dolph Lundgren, Mikael Persbrandt, Michael Nyqvist, Felix Kjellberg and Peter Stormare.


Singing is popular in Sweden, and of its 9 million inhabitants, 600,000 belong to various choirs.[4] A few of the world's leading songwriters, such as Jörgen Elofsson and Max Martin, live in Sweden.

In popular music, the group ABBA became the essence of Swedish music during the 1970s and early-1980s. Later Roxette emerged, mostly performing joyful songs in the late-1980s and early-1990s. This band was also successful in the USA. Europe, Ace of Base and The Cardigans are Swedish pop groups that have been popular internationally.

Pop promo director Jonas Åkerlund is from Sweden. He is perhaps best known for The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up and Madonna´s Ray of Light video.

Indie pop/rock is very big in Sweden. Gothenburg especially has spawned a great number of prominent bands and artists, thanks to labels such as Sincerely Yours, Service, and Luxury. Notable Swedish indie bands and artists include Jens Lekman, The Knife, Love Is All, The Concretes, Broder Daniel, The Tough Alliance, Peter, Bjorn and John, Little Dragon, El Perro del Mar, Maia Hirasawa, Fever Ray, Popsicle, Studio, The Embassy, The Honeydrips, Brainpool, Air France, jj, Joel Alme, Pacific!, etc.

In contrast with its large pop music scene, Sweden also boasts one of the most prolific death metal scenes in the world. Gothenburg is famed in the scene for the "melodic death metal" sound. Many of these bands such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, The Haunted, as well as Stockholm's Amon Amarth and Opeth have seen growing commercial success throughout Europe and the United States. Melodic death metal is quite a broad genre with many variations, but with its more obvious roots in traditional death metal, black metal and classic metal such as Iron Maiden. Still, many bands are influenced by genres as broad as Swedish folk music, alternative music, electronica, gothic music, progressive music and even neo-classical music. Sweden is known in the extreme metal community for its famous late-80s to early-90s death metal scene, spawning important bands such as Entombed, Dismember, Grave and Unleashed as well as more obscure, brutal bands as God Macabre, Repugnant, Obscurity, Treblinka (later Tiamat) and Grotesque.

Other Swedish bands and artists on the international scene are Ghost, Dungen, José González, Lykke Li, Mando Diao, The Sounds, The Hives, Neverstore, Sahara Hotnights, Robyn, Movits!, The Shanes. Some are very notable on the national music scene, such as Kent, Håkan Hellström and Lars Winnerbäck.




Traditional Swedish national costumes according to Nordisk Familjebok.

Traditional Swedish national costumes are sometimes worn on special occasions, such as Midsummer. Many such costumes are darkly colored. Sverigedräkten, a version mainly in blue and yellow, has been the established National Costume since 2004 and is thus worn by royalty on some official occasions.[5] There are many different variations of Folk costumes in Sweden and many provinces have their own design, some with long history and tradition and some recreated or created in modern times.


Modern clothing is very internationally influenced. In recent years, Sweden has gotten more involved in the fashion industry, headquartering famous brands like Hennes & Mauritz (operating as H&M), J. Lindeberg (operating as JL), Gina Tricot, Tiger of Sweden, Acne Jeans, and Filippa K within its borders.

A new breed of smaller Swedish fashion labels like Diana Orving, So Last Season, Odd Molly, WESC, Whyred, Hope, Nakkna, Velour, Carin Wester, Ida Sjöstedt, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Cheap Monday, Nudie Jeans, and The Local Firm are emerging and being recognized.[6][7]


In the 19th century, the painter Carl Larsson (1853–1919) shaped the image of the idyllic countryside home with his naïve picturesque illustrations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anti-racist feminism in Sweden - Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Scrutton, Johan Ahlander and Alistair. "Swedish feminist party wins EU seat with anti-racism drive". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Anderson, P.; Baumberg, B. (2006). Alcohol In Europe A Public Health Perspective (PDF). London: Institute of Alcohol Studies. pp. 78, 266. ISBN 92-79-02241-5. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2005-10-11. 
  5. ^ "Kronprinsessans knep mot isande vindar". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "® - mode, trender, shopping och skönhet!". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Stockholm Fashion Days - Your Trusted Fashion Source". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

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