New Sweden Challenge with 10 instead of 25 tasks

Two years ago, in 2017, I started the Sweden Challenge, for all who want to experience Sweden in a more authentic and entertaining way.

Since 25 tasks might have been a little too overwhelming for most Sweden Lovers – and to be honest, some of the tasks were a little too difficult (or boring) to fulfill – I have come to the conclusion to shorten the list and keep only the best 10 tasks in it.

So, here is the new Sweden Challenge. (More detailed description below.)

Sweden Challenge, 10 tasks

  1. Have a fika
    Try typical Swedish pastry, like akanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and en kopp kaffe (a cup of coffee) in a cozy Swedish café.
    Order “En kaffe och en kanelbulle, tack!
    More about how to have a Swedish fika, here.
  2. Order a drink in Swedish
    Here is how to order a …
  3. Have smalltalk with a Swede about the weather
    You can use any language, it doesn’t have to be Swedish.
    Swedes like to speak about the weather in small talk situations.
  4. Get a nummerlapp
    Nummerlapp is a ticket from a ticketdispenser. You find them in many stores, banks, post offices and pharmacies. (It still happens that I go into a store and wait in the queue, not realizing for several minutes that I should have taken a ticket from a ticketautomat (ticketdispenser). Embarrassing.)
  5. Pick godis (candy) from a godisvägg (candy wall, in supermarkets) into a little paper bag.
    Try Swedish liquorice! Swedes love it. It’s salty. You will either love or (most likely) hate it.
    More about Swedish candy from the candy wall.
  6. Open a can of surströmming
    Surströmming is fermented herring. But first, let a Swede explain to you why you MUST NOT open it inside a building. It’s up to you if you – after having experienced the “distinct” smell of it – want to actually try the taste if a bit of surströmming.
    More about what can happen if you open a can of Swedish surströmming.
  7. Go into a Systembolaget
    Systembolaget is a Swedish alcohol chain, owned by the Swedish state. It’s actually the only proper alcohol store there is. Swedes really seem to like their alcohol to be sold by a state-owned chain, and it has to be expensive. So, check out the prices of your favorite drinks and gasp ;) More about drinking alcohol in Sweden – rules and culture.
  8. Dance Små grodorna
    Små grodorna is a typcal Swedish midsummer dance. You hav to dance like little frogs in a circle. Ask a Swede for proper instructions, and have a big laugh together. More about Swedish midsummer traditions.
  9. Sing the song Helan går
    Helan går is a song that Swedes love to sing when they drink a snaps or any kind of spirits from a shot glas. You can learn it quickly, you find the lyrics and a video, here.
  10. Jump into a lake
    Preferably from a brygga (jetty). Swedes enjoy spending time in the beautiful Swedish nature. And what can be more fun experiencing it than having a dip into one of the idyllic lakes or waters at the stunning archipelagos which you can find plentyful at the coastline of Sweden.

How you can join the Sweden Challenge

You can either do the tasks just for you and your friends, or you can share your success and let us follow your progress by following these steps:

Book about Sweden - How to be Swedish
  1. Take a photo or video that shows you solving one of the 10 Sweden Challenge tasks (see above)
  2. Add the hashtag #SwedenChallenge 
  3. Add the tag @hejsweden to the description of your photo or video and publish it (publicly visible) on your Instagram or Facebook

I will check out all contributions. The best pictures and videos will be shared on Hej Sweden’s Instagram and Facebook.

Lycka till! Good luck!

Old Sweden Challenge, 25 tasks

And for those of you who are a little overambitious, here the old list with 25 tasks:

  1. Have a fika
    Eat a kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and en kopp kaffe (a cup of coffee) in a Swedish café.
    Order “En kaffe och en kanelbulle, tack!
    #SwedenChallenge #fika
  2. Sit in the luggage space of a Volvo V70/V90
    #SwedenChallenge #volvo
  3. Order a beer or cider
    “En öl/cider, tack!”
    #SwedenChallenge #enoltack
  4. Get a nummerlapp
    Nummerlapp is a ticket from a ticketdispenser. You find them in many stores, banks, post offices and pharmacies.
    #SwedenChallenge #nummerlapp
  5. Get godis (candy) from a godisvägg (candy wall in supermarkets) into a little paper bag
    #SwedenChallenge #godis
  6. Kiss a Swede
    … on the cheek (at least). That should be someone who you haven’t know longer than maybe an hour.
    (Of course, I can’t prove how long you knew the person. Just see is as an opportunity to strech your comfort zone a little and get to know a Swede with the excuse that you’re just participating in the Sweden Challenge. :))
    So, even better, get a puss (kiss) from a Swede on your cheek.
    #SwedenChallenge #puss
  7. Drink a Swedish snaps after singing the song “Helan går
    #SwedenChallenge #snaps
  8. Listen to ABBA and make an ABBA (or 70’s) dance move
    #SwedenChallenge #ABBA
  9. Go by Swedish public transport (bus, subway, tram). Choose an empty double seat. Put an item on the seat next to you to mark that you want to sit alone. (Picture of that item on the seat.)
    #SwedenChallenge #public
  10. Take a selfie with a moose (or moose sign) in the background
    #SwedenChallenge #moose
  11. Sing the Swedish national anthem, together with a Swede. Show your best singing skills or pose (if you post a photo instead of a video)
    #SwedenChallenge #anthem
  12. Try a kebabpizza together with vitkålsallad (kale salad)
    #SwedenChallenge #pizza
  13. Go into a Swedish souvenir shop and get an item with a Swedish flag on it (can be anything, from a fridge magnet, key ring to an actual Swedish flag)
    #SwedenChallenge #flag
  14. Go to an Ikea store, lay down on one of their beds and pretend you’re sleeping
    #SwedenChallenge #ikea
  15. Eat köttbullar
    (Pronounce correctly while ordering. Now that you already are at Ikea. ;) )
    #SwedenChallenge #meatballs
  16. Go to Systembolaget to buy a systemetpåse (Sytembolaget’s plastic bag) and carry a bottle or can of … (whatever you like) in it
    #SwedenChallenge #systembolaget
  17. Take a picture of you in front of a typical Swedish red house (rött hus med vita knutar)
    #SwedenChallenge #redhouse
  18. Stand in a queue with an appropriate Swedish distance to the person in front
    #SwedenChallenge #queue
  19. Have a barbecue, while trying not to get bitten by a mosquito.
    #SwedenChallenge #bbq
  20. Show your love to nature (What about doing so by hugging a tree?)
    #SwedenChallenge #nature
  21. Swedify your first or last name. If impossible, choose which Swedish names you’d like to have in case you’d be a Swede.
    #SwedenChallenge #name
  22. Play kubb (Viking chess)
    #SwedenChallenge #kubb
  23. Make a midsommarkrans (midsummer wreath)
    Even though it’s maybe not exactly on midsummer. But just to get a little feeling of this Swedish tradition. Put it on your hair and dance like little frogs in a circle. Ask a Swede for proper instructions
    #SwedenChallenge #midsummer
  24. Open a can of Surströmming
    But first, let a Swede explain to you why NOT to open it inside a building. It’s up to you if you want to try to taste Surströmming
    #SwedenChallenge #surstromming
  25. Jump into a Swedish lake from a brygga (bridge)
    #SwedenChallenge #jump

Lycka till! Good luck!

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