Breaking Scandinavian stereotypes

Breaking Scandinavian stereotypes

July 8, 2020 Off By Ludvig Hoel

There are a lot of different Scandinavian stereotypes and today we are going to break some of the most common ones. We are no longer the Vikings many people still associate us with, nor do we have polar bears walking the streets. Let us see what we Scandinavians actually are. 

Not all of us are blond with blue eyes:

Look, I get it. It’s fairly common over here to have blond hair and blue eyes but far from everyone has this. In fact, brown here is basically just as common. Also, we are not all extremely tall. Some of us are tall, some of us are short. Just like the rest of the world. Sure, we might be a bit taller on average then a lot of the world but that does not mean you can’t be a short Scandinavian!

There are no polar bears

Seriously, where does this one come from? As far as I’m aware, there have never been polar bears in Scandinavia, not even in northern Norway or Sweden. Sure, we do get cold winters and sure we do have normal bears but we do not have a single polar bear! The only part in Scandinavia where you can see a polar bear, outside of a zoo, is in Svalbard (actually a part of Norway). Where is Svalbard you might ask? It’s an island around 500 miles north of Norway’s northern coast. Basically, if you want to see polar bears you either have to pay for zoo or travel really far north. 

We do have summers

There is actually summer in all of Scandinavia a few months of the year. Sure, we get cold winters but we also get really warm summers. In fact, the warm and bright summers help us get through the cold and dark winters. If you travel to the northern most part of Scandinavia you will see something called “midnattssol”. It means midnightsun and is exactly that, sun at midnight. The sun never sets, it’s bright 24 hours of the day. In contrast, the sun never raises in the winter., it’s dark 24 hours of the day.  

But why do we get these nice summers so far north? Because of something called the “Gulfstream.” It brings warm water and air from the south and gives us a pretty mild climate year-round. Without it, it would get cold fast up here so we are really happy it exists. 

We do not fear other people

Sure, we listen at the door to avoid meeting someone in the stairs. Sure, we stand a few meters apart when waiting for the buss. Sure, we never talk on public transportation. Okay maybe we do fear other people. At the same time, we can be really open with people we already know. Dinner parties, especially in the summers are normal. After work is a trend that’s really catching on. 

So, what is our problem then? Are we open or do we fear each other? We do not fear people, we fear strangers. Walking up and talking to a complete stranger, that is the scariest thing we can imagine. We speak with the people we know, not with the people we don’t know. Then how do we get to know new people? I honestly have no idea. 

We do love queues

Here is a stereotype that does not need breaking because it’s true. All over Scandinavia you will find queues. The interesting thing – no one ever walks past the queue. Ever. However, diffuse the queue may be, we all know out spot in it, who is behind us and who is front of us. If you come to Scandinavia, you better learn to queue properly.

Ludvig Hoel
Ludvig Hoel is the owner and driving force behind Scandinavia.life. A native Norwegian with ties to Denmark, Sweden and Finland, he is the perfect guy to guide you through the delights of Scandinavia.
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